Two things I like about the ESV

From a doxological and liturgical perspective, two of the many reasons I like the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Holy Bible are as follows:

  1. Selah is retained in the text of the Psalms as was the case in the NIV 84, while the NIV 2011 consigns every occurrence to the footnotes. The ESV choice confirms my conviction that this word should be spoken when the Psalms are read publicly and aloud.  Pronounce: sě∙lā(h) [with accent on the first syllable].
  2. The ESV has what I believe is a more sensible and defensible translation of the original Greek phrase te kardia in Ephesians 5:19: singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, while the NIV 84 has: Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord. The NIV 2011 is an improvement over the NIV 84 on this score, translating from your heart. On all scores, however, the ESV more accurately and defensibly translates the grammar, vocabulary, and structure of the original Greek.
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Published in: on October 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm  Comments (2)  
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  1. Hi, its Doug S here; I am curious why you think ‘selah’ should be spoken when the Psalms are read aloud. You mentioned this in a sermon a short while ago, and I couldn’t exactly follow your reasoning w.r.t. II Timothy.

    BTW I was fortunate enough to hear a lecture from Wayne Grudem, the editor of the ESV, on God & law (as in secular or civil law) at the recent Christian Legal Fellowship meeting in New Westminster. It was very good.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Doug. Here’s what I said (at least is what I had in my manuscript) before I read Psalm 59 last Lord’s day: Notice that in Psalm 59, after both verse 5 and verse 13 it says Selah. This word belongs to the original text of the Psalm, and should therefore also be read. Although there are a variety of guesses about the actual meaning of this term, it is probably a musical term that means something like: interlude or crescendo of the musical instruments during which the voices went momentarily silent and the musical instruments swelled to punctate and intensify the words being sung. Even if we are not completely certain of the meaning of this term, however, this doesn’t mean we should leave it out. Even though we don’t necessarily know the meaning of words like miktam or shiggaion, we don’t therefore exclude them from our reading either. We believe that all Scripture is God-breathed, so we should not leave out certain words even if we don’t understand them. Thanks for checking in, Doug.


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