I’m Pro-KJV but not a strict KJV-Onlyist. I enjoy reading and meditating on God’s words from various translations. Sometimes I carry the NLT with me to the park, sometimes the ESV. I’m also aware that verses are missing and sometimes certain passages are not properly translated. As a student of Scripture, this isn’t really a problem because when studying theologies and doctrines it’s good practice to check many other translations. For devotion and spending time alone with God I’m not picky when it comes to translation.
With that said, I want to bring something to your attention. I have both the ESV and NIV in my collection and I do read from them. In fact, I got the NIV Reader’s Bible not that long ago for going through another reading plan, and I’m also planning to get the The Psalms (ESV) for devotion later on. I’m not bashing the ESV or the NIV here, but as a Berean who studies doctrines I have to point out biases in translations. Biases in translations is not something I go looking for, but it’s something that enters my radar when studying biblical doctrines that are controversial. The lesson here is not to put all your trust in one particular translation. You have to put in the hard work of investigating and rightly dividing the word yourself. Don’t be lazy and blindly follow the ESV or NIV or _ (fill in the blank).
There are two doctrines that are extremely controversial if you’re a Christian living here in the West. The first is: Regeneration precedes Faith, and the second is Headcovering. I have carefully and diligently studied the doctrine of the New Birth and can say that the NIV is wrong with its translation of First John [5:1].
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.” (NIV)
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.” (ESV)
If you want to look more into this, start here with this PDF: Does Regeneration Precede Faith in 1 John? (Matthew Barrett) Even if you don’t believe that regeneration precedes faith, you will at least see that there’s inconsistency going on here:
It should be noted that in regards to 1 John 5:1, the New International Version (NIV) should not be followed. The English Standard Version (ESV) correctly translates the perfect verb as a perfect, but the NIV translates the perfect as if it were a present tense verb. “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ [is born] of God,” could be taken to mean that one’s faith produces or results in regeneration. Strangely, the NIV translates the same perfect in 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; and 5:4 as a perfect tense verb (“has been born”). Why the NIV is inconsistent when it comes to 1 John 5:1 is unclear, but it gives the impression that faith precedes regeneration when that is not the case. —Matthew Barrett
I have written a post briefly explaining how I came to believe in headcovering. I can talk more about it in the future but right now not in this post. To see what’s really going on here with the ESV you will have to put in the time to really listen to both sides of the debate. The ESV starts off by making it about a married woman. Because of the way the ESV is being promoted and how it’s being used in a lot of churches, Christians that haven’t put in the time to investigate will automatically assume that the ESV got it right. There are a lot going on in the world and churches that most Christians aren’t aware. Things that are going on in the world do affect how doctrines like this are taught. On top of studying this doctrine exegetically, you also have to keep in mind of political correctness, feminism movement, 501(c)3 and Career Christianity to see the bigger picture.
1 Corinthians 11:3-6 (ESV) But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5 but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. 6 For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head.
1 Corinthians 11:3-6 (NIV) But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.