In our next overview of various English translations of the Bible we are taking a look at the NKJV and the ESV.
Let’s begin the Bible translation comparison.
Origin of the NKJV and the ESV Bible translations
NKJV – This translation includes the Alexandrian Manuscripts in order to find more direct information as to the meaning of the original words. This translation was created in order to reflect better readability over the KJV.
ESV – The ESV translation was originally composed in 2001. It was based on the 1971 Revised Standard.
Readability comparison of the NKJV vs ESV
NKJV – While this translation is extremely similar to the KJV, it is a little bit easier to read.
ESV – This version is highly readable. It is suitable for older children as well as adults. Very comfortable to read. It comes across as more smooth of a read since it is not literally word for word.
Bible translation differences of the NKJV and the ESV
NKJV – This translation was commissioned in 1975. It was created in “complete equivalence” which is in contrast to “thought for thought” methods of translation. They wanted a brand new translation that would retain the stylistic beauty of the original KJV.
ESV – This is an “essentially literal’ translation. The translators focused on the original wording of the text as well as the voice of each individual Bible writer. This translation focuses on “word for word” while also taking into consideration the differences in grammar, idiom and syntax of modern English to the original languages.
Bible Verse comparison
Genesis 1:21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Psalm 136:26 “Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever.”
Deuteronomy 7:9 “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.”
Romans 13:8 “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
Isaiah 35:4 “Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”
Philippians 1:27 “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
Genesis 1:21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Psalm 136:26 “Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.”
Romans 13:8 “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
Isaiah 35:4 “Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”
Philippians 1:27 “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.”
NKJV – The NKJV New Testament was released from Thomas Nelson Publishers. It became the fifth major revision. The full Bible was released in 1982.
ESV – The first revision was published in 2007. The second revision came along in 2011 as well as a third in 2016.
NKJV – This translation is aimed at a more general population than the KJV. With its slightly more easy to read format, more people can understand the text while staying loyal to the KJV viewpoint.
ESV – This translation is geared towards all ages. It is easy to read and is suitable for children as well as adults.
NKJV – While the KJV is by far the most popular, 14% of Americans will choose the NKJV.
ESV – Is by large one of the most popular English translation of the Bible.
Pros and cons of both
NKJV – one of the biggest pros of the NKJV is it is reminiscent of the KJV but is much easier to understand. It too is predominantly based on the Textus Receptus, and that would be its biggest flaw.
ESV – The Pro for the ESV is its smooth readability. The Con would be the fact that it is not a word for word translation.
Pastors who use the NKJV – Dr. David Jeremiah, Dr. Cornelius Van Til, Dr. Richard Lee, John MacArthur, Dr. Robert Schuller.
Pastors who use the ESV – Kevin DeYoung, John Piper, Matt Chandler, Erwin Lutzer, Philip Graham Ryken, Max Lucado, Bryan Chapell.
Study Bibles to choose
Best NKJV Study Bibles
The NKJV Abide Bible
Apply the Word Study Bible
NKJV, Know The Word Study Bible
The NKJV, MacArthur Study Bible
Best ESV Study Bibles
The ESV Study Bible
The ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible
ESV Reformation Study Bible
Other Bible translations
Other Bible translations are very useful. The KJV and NIV Bible translations are other great options. Having a variety to pursue when studying can be beneficial. Some translations are more word for word while others are thought for thought.
Which Bible translation should I choose?
Please pray about which bible translation to use. Personally, I think that a word for word translation is much more accurate to the original writers.