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ESV-Only Movement Emerging

Important Editorial

The people who read the NLT, NIV or the NKJV may have their preferences, but they generally aren’t the type of people to tell you that their translation of choice is the only game in town. But increasingly, we’re seeing ESV readers of various ages and denominations being adamant, dogmatic and even militant about their choice. It’s easy to see an ESV-Only group emerging and emerging quickly, with most coming from Reformed or Calvinist Baptist backgrounds.

Action Bible ESVThat whatever market forces have compelled David C. Cook Publishing to release The Action Bible, a comic-book format Bible for children in an ESV format, available this January, is genuinely disturbing.

One of the joys of operating a children’s book department is that the story of Noah’s Ark is Noah’s Ark regardless of your particular doctrinal slant. We have Mormon and Jehovah’s Witness customers who aren’t too enthusiastic about the rest of our store, but will gladly embrace just about anything in our kids book section. I always tell customers that, “The distinctions really disappear as you browse these shelves.”

For Cook, obviously there is enough profit at stake to justify striking a new edition. But where does this end? How many of Christian publishing’s top titles now have the potential to be offered in ESV-friendly editions with all the references changed?

Retailers need not worry about this. Increasingly, Reformed and Baptist customers are buying through their own channels. In some markets, such as ours, they abandoned mainstream Christian retail a long time ago.

Are there circumstances under which I might stock the new edition in January? Yes, if there were repeat inquiries I might do this, but it would be at the sacrifice of inventory levels on the regular edition — the one that heretofore has been good enough for everyone else — so the publisher is going to be no further ahead.



  1. August 24, 2014 at 1:16 am

    Just wait till the Pentecostals and Charismatics join the fray, as MEV-only partisans.

    Which word-for-word translation will carry the day?

    • August 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      I really don’t see the MEV finding that much of an audience. Our store has passed on it completely.

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