Whose Bible?

Author:Foreman, Chris
Position:Correspondence - Letter to the Editor

In his article "A Bible for Everyone" (December 2003), Alan Jacobs laments the absence of a widely shared English Bible. I second his lament. In this world of biblical Babel I too long for a Pentecostal remedy. Professor Jacobs then makes a case for using the English Standard Version (ESV) as this widely shared Bible. No matter what its merit, I doubt this translation will ever be widely used for a reason that became obvious to me only last summer.

At my Baptist seminary I attended a meeting where representatives from Holman Bible Publishers were distributing free copies of the New Testament that is included in the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) translation. After an in-depth conversation with the Holman people, I finally grasped the root motive for yet another translation. The publishers explained that the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) produces billions of pages of Sunday school and mission material every year. In past years the SBC had used the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible in its publications. As they explained, this usage was just becoming too expensive. The SBC was paying Zondervan Publications millions of dollars every year to quote copyrighted words from the NIV. That is no longer a problem. SBC is now using its own in-house translation, the HCSB.

Prof. Jacobs also credits the editors of the ESV with a...

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