Kevin DeYoung, pastor of University Reformed Church in Michigan, wrote a booklet called Why Our Church Switched to the ESV. You can read the whole PDF for free here.
DeYoung’s church had to replace their aging bibles and they decided to go with the ESV, which is personally my favorite translation. In summary, his church switched from the NIV translation to the ESV translation for the following reasons:
1. The ESV employs an “essentially literal” translation philosophy.
2. The ESV is a more transparent translation.
3. The ESV engages in less over-translation.
4. The ESV engages in less under-translation.
5. The ESV does a better job of translating important Greek or Hebrew words with the same English word throughout a passage or book.
6. The ESV retains more of the literary qualities of the Bible.
7. The ESV requires much less “correcting” in preaching.
I hope that everyone considers the ESV for their personal study. I hope many churches make this switch one day, including my own. DeYoung concludes:
Choosing a Bible translation is not a life or death decision, but it’s far from a minor issue either. The Bible we study, the Bible used in our pulpits, the Bible read to our children is the Bible that will shape our vocabulary about God and even the way we think about God. The translation we choose can clarify difficult passages for us as the translators saw fit, or it can help us get closer to the world of the Bible, closer to the original languages, and closer to the figures and images of Scripture. The difference between the two approaches is not insignificant. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). So why not let these words—ancient, imaginative, and sometimes ambiguous—shine through as much as we can?
Don’t forget to check out the study bible as well.