Waiting for Translation Revisions

Q. Do you know when/if R.L. Allan will offer its ESV Reader's Edition in the updated ESV 2011 text? 

Off the top of my head, I'm afraid not. Questions like this are best directed to the good folks at R. L. Allan themselves. My guess, based on past translation revisions, is that it will take some time to trickle down. In the case of the Reader's Edition, which is not based on a current Crossway/Collins text block, that may take longer. 

The question you have to ask yourself is how important having the updated text is. The last time the ESV was updated, I recall getting questions about whether it would be better to wait before buying an ESV. After all, a quality Bible is a lifetime investment. You don't want to lock yourself into version 1.0 when there's a version 1.1 on the verge of being released. (This is the logic that has led me to hold onto my iPhone 3GS instead of upgrading to the iPhone 4 when I qualified to do so.)

In hindsight, the changes to the ESV weren't significant enough to make the wait worthwhile. And even if they had been, imagine holding out for the last revision before making that lifetime commitment, then getting the word that version 1.2 was coming down the pipeline. And suppose there's going to be a 2013 revision, too? 

Obviously, you've got to decide for yourself whether the extent of the revision is sufficient to justify a new purchase. For what it's worth, it would take a major revision of English prose style (moving away from the RSVs more awkward locutions) before I could see myself "needing" to switch. 

21 Comments on “Waiting for Translation Revisions

  1. Has there been another ESV update? I’m only aware of the 2007 update. Thanks.

  2. The ESV 2011 text is being rolled out right now. If you buy a Crossway ESV right now, it will most likely be the 2007. It is a minor update according to Crossway. I have heard of some editions of the thinline being the 2011. I’m pretty sure that the New Classic Reference bibles are as well.

  3. The best thing to do is to contact Crossway and see if they will release information about any updates including which passages will be affected. Remember that the most current textual revision may not necessarily be the best one. Textual changes, once made, are debated all the time in commentaries, etc. A New Testament scholar was once asked which tanslation of the bible he liked the best. His answer: “Which verse are we talking about!” We can get too bogged down in revisions but on the other hand new editions can be important. Hopefully Crossway will release information about its revisions so that anyone can judge for themselves the significance of any changes to the text. A practical consideration is that major revisions affect study tools that one has purchased (e.g., concordances, etc.). I’ve had to purchase three separate concordances for the RSV or NRSV just be sure that I’m doing an accurate or up-to-date word search based on the edition of the text that I have. Of course computer based search tools do not have this problem when their biblical texts are updated.

  4. I have contacted Crossway in the past about obtaining a list of changes for the 2011 version and was told they have no list to provide, which is disappointing. They did make a point in saying the changes were minimal, in fact here is the reply:
    “We have not published a list of changes, but the updated text is available on our website at http://www.esvbible.org.
    Please be assured that changes to the ESV text are very limited and have been made only to achieve the highest level of accuracy, taking into account the best scholarship available. Great care has been taken not to destabilize the ESV Bible text and to carry forward the classic Bible translation legacy.”
    This was as of 7/06/2011.
    Personally there are a number of translation changes I wish they would make, although don’t get me wrong, the ESV is my main Bible, but I have noted a number of verses where I prefer a different (better) translation.
    While I would prefer to be “up to date” with the latest version, I was never able to find a 2007 Bible that I preferred over my 2001 Bible(s), so I am still using those and making marginal notes.

  5. That’s why I love my KJV. Since 400 years no “update”, no “revision” and no “new version”. My KJV is still as fresh as in 1611 – the spelling update of 1769 doesn’t count! 🙂
    If I buy a KJV from 100 years ago or 50 years ago it is still always the same accurate and beautiful text as ever. Never thinking about waiting another year because then comes a “new, better, improved version”.
    I just avoid unfaithful publishers like Zondervan and Nelson who print a lot of spelling errors. I get my good King James Bibles from Cambridge, R.L. Allan (Oxford) or Local Church Bible Publishers. My favorite is the Cambridge Concord KJV in French Morocco, a very old school ultra-stiff leather cover. Ready to hammer a nail in the wall.
    BTW: When will we read a review of the new Cambridge Clarion KJV here, Mark? You will love that, its not a verse by verse setting. I’m a bit skeptical about the ultra-modern Lexicon font.

  6. I am not against the use of newer translations, and have several including the ESV by Allen (2001 edition). However, I prefer the KJV for several reasons: it’s history as a standard English text, the beauty of the language and my “preference” for the underlying Greek text. Without getting into the different editions I will have to agree with the KJV dude that for those of us who prefer the so called “Authorized Version”, we do not have an issue with this problem. I wonder if there is a good reason why we are having so many updates with the ESV? It would trouble me if the reason behind this is money! This would not surprise me in the competetive world that we live in. I wonder how the Lord feels about this? Christian companies need to make money but I can only hope that the gratification of getting the word out is more important than the idea of generating more profit with a new and improved edition. This idea cannot be a good witness to unbelievers if they are paying attention, and believe me they are.

  7. I really doubt that the ESV update is for money. They haven’t promoted the update.
    As I understand it, this a small update changing some grammatical things and footnotes.

  8. It’s also interesting to note that Crossway has made the ESV text available in several electronic formats FOR FREE. They would make a great deal of money if they charged 99 cents for it.

  9. My thoughts mirror yours John, Crossway certainly isn’t promoting the changes and in their email to me they play it down.
    For ‘me’, the KJV has many areas that need “updating”, and I am not talking thee’s and thou’s nor its underlying Greek text. Nobody owns the KJV so there is no way of making changes where it is across the board on every KJV Bible thereafter, otherwise the possibilities may be greater. For the record I have a KJV, although an edited Scofield edition, thankfully; it sits on the counter along with my others I use.

  10. Mark, please take time to show pics and give your review on the Cambridge ESV Clarion Reference Bible (due Nov. 2011). I’m anxious to see how this bible compares in size to the Pitt and Wide Margin Reference editions – as well as the R.L. Allan editions too. I’m also convinced this could be the perfect Bible I’ve been waiting patiently for so long (single column, paragraph, ESV, black letter, cross references, etc.). My hope is it also has the new 2011 ESV text. Thanks!

  11. I second that request. Also, I believe the KJV Clarion was released a couple of days ago. I cannot find any good photos of the finalized exterior of this bible no matter how hard I look. If anyone has any good photos, can you please link them. Thanks!

  12. It appears that the KJV Clarion has been delayed. Evangelicalbible.com is listing October now.

  13. I just heard back from R. L. Allan…
    I would expect that we will begin to introduce the 2011 ESV text next year. The few 2011 revisions affected the footnotes rather than the text.
    Kind regards
    Nicholas Gray

  14. Buy up the ESV 2011 now. I have a friend who studied under one of the ESV Study Bible editors and he told my friend they are already planning a 2013/14 ESV update. This was my fear once they announced a 2011 update. The ESV is becoming a commodity translation instead of a lasting one. Most of 2011 updates were the result of poor editing. I really can’t understand how you can say you have a unified translation philosophy and a good editorial board and then make “updates” every couple years to your text. Grammatical errors are just poor editing and if you’re changing the language to make it more ‘modern’, then you never had a translation philosophy to begin with.

  15. Michael, this constant revision is getting crazy, IMHO. Not to sound like a KJVO, but that’s a big reason I prefer the NASB more and more. At least they’ve left it alone since 1995. How many revisions does a translation need, anyway? And, I would hate to try to do memory work in a constantly revised translation.

  16. Crossway is now stating there won’t be a 2013/14 update. This is curious since my friend regularly corresponds with the former editor I mentioned above and the editor says they are “gearing up” for an updated ESV text. Maybe Crossway has pushed back the schedule? In either event, ESV updates are becoming as regular as a high fiber diet.
    Bring on the ISV!

  17. I think it’s time to stop with English bible translations. I think we’re covered.

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