NKJV vs. ESV: The Final Battle

In my earlier post, NKJV vs. ESV: Thoughts on the Translation Wars, I noted a few differences that the ESV had with the NKJV. Yet, in the end,  those differences did not amount to any reason to discount one version over and against the other. In other words, there is no Holy Spirit-inspired version that we have today.  So the four major versions, NIV, ESV, NKJV, NASB,  are perfectly acceptable.

I’ve used the NJKV since a group of friends gave me the Reformation Study Bible in that translation for my graduation from seminary back in 1999. R.C. Sproul had us convinced it was the best translation, and we took his word for it. But alas, then came the ESV, and Sproul immediately adapted the Reformation Study Bible to that translation. Since that time, Reformed churches everywhere began to make the shift to the ESV. I found fewer and fewer churches using the NKJV, or the more loosely translated NIV.

Those churches made the shift for a very good reason: the readability of the ESV was much better than the NKJV, and the translation was a tad superior to the NIV. For this reason, I started looking at the ESV and have wanted the new Reformation Study Bible from Ligonier Ministries for a while.

But making the change from one Bible to another isn’t as easy is changing from one shaving cream to another. Let’s face it, changing to a new translation, even a new Bible isn’t easy. After all, I have walked, preached, prayed, read, and lived in the Bible I was given by my friends for 17 years. There are quite a few notes, underlined passages, and even a big green ink stain on the side of it put there by my first son when he was a toddler. That bible and I have a history.

So making the change is not as easy as it sounds.

Alas, I am here to announce that I have made the change. Heidi knew I wanted the newer Bible some time ago, so she thought it fitting that I have the same translation as the church were we attend. I was quite surprised! I was also surprised at just how heavy the new Reformation Study Bible is. This is because Ligonier has packed it full of useful notes, as was expected, as well as articles explaining the Reformation, covenants, preaching, canonicity, and worship in the back. All very helpful.

But they went one step further in their additions: they added the creeds of the Reformation as well which include the Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, Synod of Dort, Westminster Confession of Faith and even the London Baptist Confession. All this in one package which means I’m truly delighted with the Bible. The package is a true gold mine for those of us who are Reformed Christians. It’s an absolute delight.

With that, I can highly recommend the switch if you have not done so. It is worth the $75 for the genuine black leather version. (I would like to point out that if you balked at such a price, would you balk at such a price for a pair of shoes? Is not a quality Bible worth far more than a pair of shoes?) You can order it here.

One final note: I don’t think they offer one with the red letters for the words that Jesus spoke. I thought this would bother me, but it doesn’t. Far too many people already want to exalt the words of Christ over and against the rest of Scripture, so let’s not aid in that faulty practice.

Now for the biggest joy, so much Bible to read, so many notes to add, so much underlining to do! I can’t wait.


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