Our Bible Preference
We believe in the absolute authority and accuracy of the 66 canonical books of the Bible; its full verbal inspiration in the original manuscripts and its all-sufficiency as the Christian's rule of faith and practice.
(II Timothy 3:16, 17; II Peter 1:19-21).
The original scriptures were written in Hebrew and Greek. As the Roman Catholic Church became the dominant expression of the church from 500 to 1500AD, the scriptures were translated into Latin and were available only to authorized clergymen. The Reformation of the 1500's lead by men such as Martin Luther and John Calvin affirmed the belief that the Bible should be available to every believer in their own language. The King James Version of the 1600"s became the definitive English translation. Its basic method of translation was to find the best manuscripts available, to do a word for word translation, and to make it readable with a literary flow.
As time went by, the English language changed. With the same belief that the Bible should be available to every believer in their own language, the search was on for a modern English version.
• The New American Standard Version (1971) was accepted by some evangelical churches. It used the best manuscripts available at the time and used a word for word method of translation. But the translation lacked a literary flow.
• The New International Version (1978) was accepted by many evangelical churches. The translation used the best manuscripts available at the time and it was readable with a literary flow. But many were uncomfortable that it did not maintain a word for word method of translation.
• The New King James Version (1982) was accepted by many churches as a modern version of the King James Version. The version maintained the word for word method and retained its literary flow, but it was not a new translation based on the best manuscripts now available.
The English Standard Version (ESV) maintains the tradition of the King James Version.
• It is based on the best manuscripts now available.
• It uses same word for word method of translation.
• It is readable in modern day English with a literary flow.
We recognize the ESV Bible as the trusted Word of God at Ellington Baptist Church. The fact that the ESV version is finding acceptance with both evangelical and fundamental churches leads us to hope that it will be the version of common ground for these two different circles of influence.