The third most popular translation of the Bible has just become, officially, the unchanging word of God.
The latest edition of the English Standard Version, or ESV, included a 52-word revision followed by a board vote declaring the text will never be altered again, its publisher said.
“Beginning in the summer of 2016, the text of the ESV Bible will remain unchanged in all future editions printed and published by Crossway — in much the same way that the King James Version (KJV) has remained unchanged ever since the final KJV text was established almost 250 years ago (in 1769),” Crossway announced.
“This decision was made unanimously by the Crossway board of directors and the ESV Translation Oversight Committee. All future Crossway editions of the ESV, therefore, will contain the Permanent Text of the ESV Bible — unchanged throughout the life of the copyright, in perpetuity.”
The permanent text is the completion of 17 years of work by the creators of the ESV, which authorized the translation in 1998, the company said.
The 52 words changed covered 29 verses. One change included Gen. 3:16, which now reads, “Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” It previously read, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
A passage in Matthew reads, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he has seizures and he suffers terribly.” Before it read, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly.”
Like the King James Version, the ESV seeks to be a word-for-word translation, in contrast to translations that focus on the meaning or thought behind each passage, Christianity Today reported.
“By most counts, the ESV is the third most popular Bible translation in America, after the KJV and the New International Version (NIV),” the magazine said. “More than 100 million printed copies have been distributed since the ESV was first published in 2001, including 30 million last year.”