Tools and Resources using the 2011 ESV Bible Translation

I want to show you some of the great resources that are ready to use and share using the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible translation. I also want to let you know some interesting things about the ESV that you may not know. Crossway Books, the publisher of the ESV Bible has made it very easy for apps and resources to be created using the ESV Bible text leading to some fun tools that you should try.

Resources that use the 2011 English Standard Version

  1. The ESV Hear the Word Audio Bible MP3 format comes as 8 zip download files, containing a folder for each book of the Bible and 1 MP3 file for each chapter. 75 hours of Audio. Retails for $29.99. Free in January 2014.
  2. Official Crossway Online ESV Bible for Bible text, audio, apps and reading schedules.
  3. Rember Me Scripture memory app for Android, iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, BlackBerry 10 and Windows (via BlueStacks)
  4. website uses hyperlinks to immediately see verse references from ESV Bible
  5. Fighter Verses Scripture Memory Program
  6. Scripture Memory Madness Android app contains 25 missions comprised of 10 verses each which are organized by themes
  7. Olive Tree Bible app is offering ESV for free
  8. Download a Free ESV Kindle Edition Bible
  9. C&MA Bible Quizzing 2013-2104 ESV Android App
  10. Share the Story Gospel Presentation uses the ESV Bible

There are three editions of the ESV Bible being sold at the stores:

  1. Originally published as the 2001 edition
  2. Updated as the 2007 edition
  3. Updated as the 2011 edition where 500 changes were made. Click here for article with details
    click here to download a chart of the 500 of 750,000 words that were updated.

Most of the ESV Bibles for sale in the store right now are of the 2007 edition. The ESV Bible edition would need to have been originally published late in 2011 or after to contain the latest edition. An example of this is the ESV Ryrie Study Bible that was published January 2011 and contains the 2007 Text edition. Crossway Publishers have made it easy to see which edition you have when you look at the copyright page. You can also easily tell which ESV Bible translation you have by turning to Ephesians 6:5-8 and if you see the word “Slave” then you are looking at an older version and if you see the word “Bondservant” you have the 2011 text of the ESV.

How to tell if you have 2011 ESV Bible Updated Text

As you know we are blessed with many Bible versions and have easy access to God’s Word. Most people in the church do not have the skills, tools, time or desire to try to translate the Bible’s original language Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic for themselves.

Calvary Chapel in Boca Raton has a helpful Bible comparison chart at

I have no problem with Bible scholars trying to produce the most accurate translation for today’s reader though it does make it a little inconvenient when you buy a Bible and then an updated version comes out. When our River Rock Church C&MA student Bible Quizzing switched to the ESV Bible this fall to compete against other churches studying ad quizzing through Romans and James the kids may have gotten Bibles using the 2001, 2007 or 2011 Bible to prepare.

I sometime think the ESV is a bit too wordy and prefer the simplicity of the NLT but then I also find that I sometimes would miss out on the deeper meaning of a word that the ESV is helpful with. Below is an example of 2 Timothy 3:16 where I think the ESV is the best translation:

  •  All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16 NLT
  •  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Timothy 3:16 KJV
  •  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16 ESV

Another example is Psalm 91:4 where I at first said “pinions and “buckler – who talks like that??” But then I looked up the definitions of those words and thought about for a bit. Pinions are more protective than just feathers as they allow flight and a buckler describes a type of armor on the arm that can be used to shield and to attack.

  • “He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:4 ESV
  • “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Psalm 91:4 NLT

With digital publishing and computer enhanced research I expect the number translations and updates to increase. Choosing a trustworthy translation for a church to use requires much study and research. The ESV is a good choice because it is easily available in print and digital forms and is being used in useful programs and apps. The list of pastors I know and respect that choose to use the ESV continues to grow. A few of those people are on this list: And a couple of them are in this video:

The ESV is not that New

At first I had heard that the Official ESV was an updated version of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible but then I read an article by Wayne Grudem that explained that the ESV is a descendent of the faithful King James Version of the Bible.

In 1997, Crossway Books, an evangelical publisher based in Wheaton, Illinois, obtained the rights to use the 1971 update of the RSV as the basis for a new translation in the KJV tradition, to be called the English Standard Version (ESV).

The ESV translation committee (called the Translation Oversight Committee) consisted of twelve members, but we made use of suggested changes to the RSV that had been submitted by a wider group of 60 specialist scholars. These consultants had been hired by Crossway to propose revisions to the RSV in the books where they had scholarly expertise (these were mostly scholars who had already published commentaries on the various books). In addition, a wider “advisory council” of 60 additional pastors and Christian leaders sent in their suggestions as well. The ESV was first published in 2001. It changed about 8% of the RSV, or about 60,000 words. The remaining 92% is the RSV, much of which is simply “the best of the best” of the KJV tradition. The ESV translation committee removed every trace of liberal influence that had caused such criticism from evangelicals when the RSV was first published in 1952.  Read more at

I Find Many Bible Options Helpful

I use many Bible translations for my devotional life, personal study, church ministry and preaching. I am not quick to adopt a new Bible translation as the bad ones seem to fade away quickly and the good ones seem to rise to the top. I personally grew up with the King James Version, for decades have used the now “forced into retirement” 1984 New International Version, I like the 1995 New American Standard Bible for word studies, enjoy the New King James and Holman Christian Standard Bibles, and actively promote and distribute the 2007 Updated New Living Translation for pre-Christians and new believers.

I love the New Living Translation (NLT) of the Bible to share with people who are just getting started reading the Bible and I frequently quote from it when writing and preaching. The New Believers New Testament and New Believers Bible with practical notes from Pastor and Evangelist Greg Laurie is very helpful for those new to the Christian faith. The more difficult theological words are made easier to understand and the opportunity for people to understand and apply God’s Word to their lives is enhanced. I also have many Study Bible editions with different notes in them in print and on my computer, tablet and smart phone. My favorites that I have been using most frequently over the years are the Thompson Chain Reference Bible, the Ryrie Study Bible and the Life Application Bible.

You can’t “Do all things” with the 2011 NIV Bible

A quick way to tell if you are reading a 2011 edition of the New International Version (NIV) is by turning to Phillipians 4:13: if it says “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” then you have the newest version as the 1984 edition of the NIV said “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”  Unfortunately Biblica, the publishers of the NIV have done all they can to remove access and end the distribution of the 1984 NIV edition. Many Bible students and churches are not pleased with the updated 2011 NIV for a variety of reasons so now many have chosen to move to using the ESV as their primary Bible for church and deeper study. Many of my pastor friends are now using the ESV and some of them have replace in NIV 84 Pew Bibles with ESV Pew Bibles.

Gideon’s Share Billions of Bibles

The Gideons in Canada have made a great outreach Bible tool that I have enjoyed sharing that is the only downloadable free New Living Translation tool I have found like it.

Speaking of the Gideons, I mentioned the three versions (updates) of the ESV but now make that four as the Gideons International (the people who place Bibles in hotels and distribute them everywhere they can – they are getting close to having shared 2 Billion Bibles) are now using the ESV but they are making some changes as they see fit to the text. Joshua Holman has made a list of about 50 of these changes the Gideons are using in the new Gideon ESV Bible they will be distributing

A few links to churches that have proclaimed the ESV their Bible:

Chuck Swindoll has switched to using the New Living Translation:

For many years of his ministry, especially since 1971 in Fullerton, California, Chuck exclusively used the New American Standard Version Ryrie Study Bible in his preaching. However, beginning in early 2013, after careful investigation, personal research, and discussions with those involved in the publishing of The New Living Translation, he has switched to that version of the Bible in his public ministry. Approximately 90 biblical scholars went to the original texts during the foundational work of their translation to guarantee the accuracy of their efforts.

These devoted individuals then pursued the best and most helpful ways to express the meaning of the biblical text in our English language, which resulted in a much more readable translation. Because Chuck’s threefold commitment remains the same (accuracy, clarity, and practicality), he desired to use a version of the Bible that did not require a seminary-trained scholar to understand it, and yet he wanted to make certain the version he used remained faithful and true to the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. Chuck has come to realize that The New Living Translation best serves his purpose in helping others realize how reliable, relevant, timeless and true God’s Word remains to this day.

Why so many Bible translations?
answered by Ravi Zacharias in this video clip:


I have added the 2011 ESV Bible to my collection and am starting to use it more frequently during my Sunday morning sermons. I am also actively using many of the resources I have listed at the top of this article. Let me know if you found any of them helpful.

What ESV Bible tools have you found most helpful?

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