Crossway Apologizes, Takes Back Decision to Keep ESV Bible Translation 'Permanent'

ESV Study Bible
(Photo : Crossway)

Crossway has decided to reverse the changes it had finalized in ESV Bible, after the alterations were heavily criticized by leading Bible experts and church leaders.

The non-profit Christian publication ministry had changed 52 words from 29 verses out of over 775,000 words and 31,102 verses.

"I'm glad Crossway made this decision about the ESV, and I'm glad to see them change their minds in an admirable way," Desiring God editor Bryan DeWire tweeted.

Bible translators at ESV had worked for 17 years before they finalized the changes, which were slated to be made permanent.

The controversial changes in ESV included tweaking of Genesis 3:16 which in NIV says, "Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." Crossway wanted to change it to "your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you."

Scot McKnight, Northern Seminary New Testament professor, told The Christian Post that the word 'contrary' sounds like God cursed women to be rebellious against their husbands.

"This new translation of Genesis 3:16 suggests the curse against the woman is an act of God (a curse) that seals estrangement, alienation and tension between females and males. By so rendering this verse, the ESV creates the impression that females and males are contrarians with one another," he said.

"Some think they make women rebellious and men authoritarian in response. That is a sad and potentially dangerous interpretation for it gives the wrong kind of males a ready-made excuse for domination."

Writing for the Patheos blog, McKnight says that the Hebrew word "el" used in Genesis 3:16 means "unto" or "towards," and has a terminative implication in the sentence.

"It is a preposition indicating the termination of movement. That is its primary meaning. If I leave my office and walk to my house, I would use the preposition 'el.' Towards," he said.

Other verses which were changed in the ESV included 1 Kings 8:48, which has been changed from "If they repent with all their mind and with all their heart in the land of their enemies," to "If they repent with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies."

James 2:10 was also changed, from, "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it," to "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it."

"We have become convinced that this decision was a mistake," Crossway president and CEO Lane Dennis said in a statement. "We apologize for this and for any concern this has caused for readers of the ESV, and we want to explain what we now believe to be the way forward. Our desire, above all, is to do what is right before the Lord."

Tags ESV Bible, English Standard Version Bible, Crossway

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