At this time in history, we are blessed to have many different translations of the Bible from which to choose. These translations range from word-for-word translations and thought-by-thought translations to paraphrase translations, which attempt to capture the narrative essence of Scripture. In the past at Stonecreek we have used the New International Version (NIV-1984) translation of the Bible in our worship. The NIV is a well-respected and useful thought-by-thought translation. While every translation has its useful place in the life of a believer, we believe that for our teaching and preaching purposes, a word-for-word translation will best help us study God’s Word together. The English Standard Version (ESV) translation is a word-for-word translation of Scripture that expresses the depth and beauty of the original Bible words. Because of that, we will begin using the ESV translation of scripture for our worship gatherings in place of the NIV translation.
Here are two examples of the subtle differences of the ESV's word-for-word translation of the Bible compared to the NIV's thought-for-thought translation and The Message paraphrase translation. All verses are accurate and useful. Of the three, the ESV best captures the original language of the Bible:
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NIV thought-by-thought)
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (ESV word-for-word)
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. (The Message Paraphrase)
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV thought-by-thought)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (ESV word-for-word)
“I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (The Message paraphrase)
If you currently use the NIV, you have an excellent translation and may want to continue using it for your personal Bible study. Should you desire to use the same translation we will use in our teaching ministry and worship gatherings at Stonecreek Church, we wanted you to be informed that we will be using the ESV translation.