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Is the English Standard Version (ESV) the Word of God?

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

All modern English versions of the Bible, starting in 1881, are a false way; they all derive from the corrupt gnostic-laced Critical Text (CT), the compilation and architectural work of two very ungodly, dark, Rome-loving apostates by the names of B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort (see the following: Theological Heresies of Westcott and Hort) and most translated by the corrupt methodology of dynamic equivalence — all of which is driven by Textual Criticism, the work of unregenerate skeptics and scoffers. Westcott and Hort are the two architects behind the Critical Text and consequently all English Bible versions since 1881, which is all 500+ of them since they all derive from that Text—both the CT and its offspring must be rejected for its attacks on God, and on His Word and many doctrines, adding, subtracting and changing Scripture.

Born again believers have the attitude of the Psalmist:

“Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.” (Ps 119:104).

The ESV hails from the CT, and perversions of Holy Writ are not just a little leaven (Gal 5:9). How bad are these perversions of Gods Word? Very bad would be an understatement. They diminish and deny the deity of Christ, turn God the Son into a liar, diminish the severity of hell, change Satan into Christ, change many doctrines including salvation, and make the Bible a laughing stock to Christ denying heathens.

Is there someone who has always hated God's Word, desired to destroy it, and attempted to cloud man's mind and heart about its validity? In other words, as we read the Bible, is there any evidence that somebody has founded a "Yea, has God said" society? According to Gen 3:1, Bible corruption began with Satan. He is the original Bible revisor. When he confronted Eve in the garden, he added to God's Word, subtracted from it, diluted it and finally substituted his own doctrine for that which God had said. We find this occurring today. Nothing has changed. People are trying to add, subtract and change words in the OT and NT. We must understand Satan is behind this continuing attack on the Word of God.

If we are commanded to hate every false way (Ps 119:128), how much the more ought we to hate the false ways of perverting Gods very Word, which He says is greater than His Own Name (“thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” — Ps 138:2). Not only the ESV, but every last modern Bible version should be rejected for the only faithful and reliable version of Gods Word in the English speaking world, the King James Version. This is the only version, I mean the only one, that is translated from the true text that God inspired, the Hebrew Masoretic Text (OT) and the Greek Textus Receptus (NT), and one of the only ones translated by the word-for-word translation methodology.

Scripture is very clear that every jot and tittle (which are smallest consonant and vowel in Hebrew) is inspired and preserved of God. Jesus said “the word of God . . . the scripture cannot be broken” (Jn 10:35), yet all modern perversions are broken and “corrupt” (2 Cor 2:17). Concerning the ESV, there are many very serious errors, and the following are reasons why no true Christian should ever read this perverted version of the Bible falling under the condemnation of Rev 22:18-19 — judgment on its architects & accomplices by giving heed to it. In this brief expose, you will note the ESV is just another translation of the corrupted CT & has absolute agreement with the Catholic ASB & the Jehovah’s Witness NWT.

1. The ESV is Basically the Same Corrupted version as the RSV.

Though it was published in 2001, it is based on the 1971 edition of the RSV, which was translated by theological modernists and owned by the exceedingly ungodly and apostate National Council of Churches. It follows the Critical Greek NT that removes 3,000+ words (230 entire or partial verses) from the text that underlies true Bibles such as the English KJV, the German Luther, the Dutch Statenvertaling, etc, and introduces significant doctrinal changes such as omitting "which is in heaven" from Jn 3:13" and "God" from 1 Tim 3:16 and Jude 1:4, and the Godhead from 1 Jn 5:17.

The CT is based on Greek manuscripts that were produced in Egypt during the early centuries after the apostles and that were discarded for 1,500 years of church history until their recovery by modern textual critics in the 19th century. While the ESV claims to build upon the Tyndale and Authorized KJV tradition, this is not remotely true and is in fact based only upon the RSV, itself a revision of the RV, the first English modern perversion (late 19th century), and neither the RV nor the RSV can be even closely considered a continuation of the Tyndale-KJV tradition, but represent, on the contrary, a dramatic break from that tradition.

The ESV was meant to be a conservative version of the RSV but due to textual basis and translation errors carried over from the RSV, it is the same corruption of Scripture. Those acquainted with the history of the RV are aware that Westcott and Hort were convened by the Anglican Church to undertake the revision of the KJV, acted quite contrary to their instructions which charged them to make no change in the textual basis of the revision except where absolutely necessary. On the contrary, they quite boldly changed it, and supplanted the Received Text with their own Text. Instead of protesting the unprincipled actions of these two men, the apostate Anglican Church acquiesced and accepted the work of revision. They also hid the work from the public, because they knew the opposition and uproar it would create and how easily it would be debunked by men like Dean John William Burgeon (documented in this excellent book by him: The Revision Revised: A Refutation of Westcott and Hort's False Greek Text and Theory.

The publishers intentionally mislead and deceive people when they claim “The ESV Bible is a new, essentially literal Bible translation that combines word-for-word precision and accuracy with literary excellence, beauty, and depth of meaning...” (ESV website). This is an absurd lie. What the publishers fail to tell people is that there is a raging debate over which “original” Greek texts are trustworthy and which ones are not. The ESV NT is not based on the Traditional Received Text of Gods inspired Word. The OT behind the ESV is a random mixture from Hebrew Masoretic tradition, the Greek Septuagint (which is heretical), the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Syriac, and the Vulgate, while the NT is entirely connected to the heretical and blasphemous Westcott and Hort CT. It is the old RSV in a new coat.

The ESV was produced by 95 "evangelical scholars” representing 20 denominations, with J.I. Packer acting as editor. This speaks volumes, considering these are blatant heretics including Packer who also approved the exceedingly blasphemous Message “Bible” by Eugene Peterson. How corrupt and spiritually blind does someone have to be in order to approve of a perversion that says of Col 2:10 (in The Message): “You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him...” What?! Wow! Many other neo-evangelicals and “conservative” reformed Calvinists have promoted the ESV, including John Piper and John MacArthur, who even has his own study Bible bearing his name. How glorious! What Piper calls “a dream come true” is a horrible nightmare.

2. The ESV as Translated from the Critical Text Contains Words Found in No Greek Manuscript in the World.

Modern version “scholars” and proponents maintain that the modern Greek critical text position is consistent with the view that all of God’s words are preserved somewhere, in at least one manuscript (MSS). But that is not true. In Lk 3:33, the God inspired and preserved Textus Receptus (TR), following 99%+ of MSS evidence, has the reading “του αραμ” (“which was the son of Aram,” KJV), while the UBS reading “του αρνι του” (“the son of Arni,” ESV) is not found in ANY GREEK MSS UPON THE FACE OF THE EARTH, not even one. If one rejects the 99% + of MSS evidence, there are single manuscripts that give six alternative readings. The UBS CT puts together the first part of the Aleph MSS’s reading and the first part of MSS B’s reading to create something in no Greek MSS anywhere, which then rejects the 99%+ reading as corrupt. It also creates a new person to Scripture (who in the world is “Arni”?) To make matters even worst (as bad as it is already), the CT adds even more to God’s Word in this passage by adding “the son of Admin,” between “the son of Amminadab,” and the made up name “the son of Arni.” That name Admin does not exist in the lineage of Christ, nor does “Arni.”

So it is not true that all the words of the Critical Text are found in at least one manuscript. Here is one example where no manuscript in the world contains that word. It’s just fabricated, pulled out of thin air, very fitting with this evil and corrupted text. And this is apart from the fact that the Bible teaches not only that every word God inspired is preserved (Ps 12:6-7; Mt 5:18; 24:35) but that those preserved words would be available to every generation and preserved through the use of the Lord’s people and churches (Is 59:21; Mt 4:4; 28:18-20; Rev 22:18-19). This point alone should cause everyone to flee from the massive heresy of modern perversions such as the ESV.

3. The ESV Attacks God’s Word and Teaches False and Blasphemous Doctrine Through the Changing, Omission, and Addition of Words.

Although there were few attempts to correct the textual basis of the RSV using the eclectic method (“God” is returned to Matt 6:33 and all of Matt 21:44 was put back), there are still many hundreds of omissions and changes as noted by the CAPS below:

  • Attacks the Deity of Jesus Christ in Dan 3:25. ESV puts forth that Jesus, God the Son, was merely a son of the gods, and not the Son of God. “He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like A SON OF THE GODS.” (ESV).

  • Attacks the Deity of Christ in 1 Tim 3:16: “HE was manifested in the flesh,” while it should read “God was manifest in the flesh.” (KJV). This is nonsensical and ridiculous; all of mankind is manifest in the flesh.

  • Attacks the Deity of Christ in Phil 2:6: ”who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,” while it should say: "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” The difference here is the difference between heaven and hell. The ESV robs Jesus of His deity, asserting He couldn't grasp being equal with God. Jesus is Almighty God (Rev 1:8) and He knew that, but the ESV is blasphemy.

  • Attacks the Deity of Christ in Jn 3:13, which is supposed to read: “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, WHICH IS IN HEAVEN” — removing the last portion of the passage: “which is in heaven.” This verse is teaching Christ’s Deity, the omnipresence of the Lord; while localized on earth, He is at the very same time omnipresent in the Spirit. Who is that has a problem with the omnipresence of the Lord? Yes, the Devil does, who is the father of gnostics. Every person that uses a modern perversion is supporting the work of the Devil.

  • Attacks the Trinity in 1 Jn 5:7, reading “For there are three that testify” and removing all these words: “FOR THERE ARE THREE THAT BEAR RECORD IN HEAVEN, THE FATHER, THE WORD, AND THE HOLY GHOST: AND THESE THREE ARE ONE.” This incredibly powerful statement on God’s Trinity, is diabolically attacked by the CT and practically every modern perversion including the ESV.

  • Attacks the Character of God and salvation. In Luke 2:14 we have the wonderful hearld of angelic hosts proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” The ESV however reads “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Were the angels continuing to proclaim God’s universal benevolence toward all people, as v. 10 is absolutely sure, “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to ALL people” — or only his particular grace to “those with whom he is pleased” (ESV)? This horrible perversion of Gods Word changes the very character of Gods goodness, something you can read more about in this report: The English Standard Versions (ESV) Perversion of the Angelic Christ-Child Birth Message

  • Advances the Heresy of Adoptionism. This heresy teaches that Jesus was not the Christ, which runs rampant throughout the CT (and thus corrupted versions such as the ESV) as indicated by the constant and deliberate removal of the full title of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Gnostics did not did not want to acknowledge that Jesus of Nazareth was the Lord God or the Christ, and thus the denial is expected in the Gnostic-bred variants which are manifested in the CT and its subsequent modern perversions. For instance, E.W. Fowler in Evaluating Versions of the New Testament records some 221 times the CT omits the full title of the Lord Jesus Christ, along with some 213 omissions by the RSV. 1 Jn 2:2 asks: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” That is the reality of the translators and many of its adherents. They remove and change enough of Christ’s deity to question His deity, but even just one change would be damaging enough, since it changes what God said.

  • Attacks the Salvation Testimony of the Apostle Paul. His entire testimony found in Ac 9:5-6 is removed. What should say in vv. 5-6, “And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: IT IS HARD FOR THEE TO KICK AGAINST THE PRICKS. AND HE TREMBLING AND ASTONISHED SAID, LORD, WHAT WILT THOU HAVE ME TO DO? AND THE LORD SAID UNTO HIM, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do” says in the ESV: “And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” Why would someone so hate a true testimony of salvation, as to remove it?

  • Attacks the Doctrine of Salvation in Jn 6:47 stating, “Truly, truly I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” The very important words “on me” is removed from Christ’s words here which should read: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth ON ME hath everlasting life.”

  • Attacks the Doctrine of Hell. Two passages in Mark 9 where Jesus warns of Hell are completely omitted: “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched . . . Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (vv. 44, 46)

  • Apparently God doesn’t Call “Sinners TO REPENTANCE” (Mt 9:13), He just calls them. No man can be saved without repentance and it is true, the devil does not want mankind to be saved.

  • Attacks Gods Purpose in Coming, to Save the Lost in Matt 18:11. Complete omission of the following words: “FOR THE SON OF MAN IS COME TO SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST.” That isn’t a surprise for the ESV considering the heretical TULIP that accompanies many who embrace this perversion, which follows that God sovereignty elected people before birth to eternal life or eternal reprobation. In that sense, the Calvinists are justified because there would be no purpose in seeking to save that which was lost, since the only ones lost are the non-elect and since you can’t do anything to change that, there would be no point in seeking after that which was lost, because the lost-elect are going to be elect regardless of their will.

  • Attacks the Virgin Birth of Christ in Matt 1:25, “but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.” It should read: “And knew her not till she had brought forth HER FIRSTBORN son: and he called his name JESUS.”

  • Attacks Believers Water Baptism in Ac 8:37 by omitting the entire verse: “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” This is the best verse in the Bible supporting both believer’s baptism and immersion only. Although the principle of believing before baptism is left in a few scriptures, this is the only verse that directly says you must believe before you can be baptized. The ecumenical apostate Westcott and Hort and the RSV translation committee surely reveal their true colours and fidelity to the tradition of infant baptism (and pouring/sprinkling) by removing this incredibly important scripture.

  • Attacks the Sin of Adultery in Remarriage in Matt 19:9. The passage should say: “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: AND WHOSO MARRIETH HER WHICH IS PUT AWAY DOTH COMMIT ADULTERY.” God forbids remarriage of someone that is separated or divorced (Mt 19:3-19; Mk 10:2-12; Rom 7:1-3; 1 Cor 7:10-11, 39), it’s an act of ongoing adultery that is only stopped upon repentance which requires the sin to cease, but modern Bible translators and adherents want a license to live in sin, so they remove the no remarriage clause. I have personally witnessed this corruption put into practice.

  • Attacks Righteous Anger. Matt 5:22 should say: “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother WITHOUT A CAUSE shall be in danger of the judgment...” God forbids anger WITHOUT A CAUSE, but not anger with a cause, which Jesus demonstrated multiple times (Num 11:1, 10; Mk 3:5; Jn 2:13-17; etc) as did Moses (Ex 32:22; etc) Paul (Ac 13:9-12) and others, and we are commanded to do the same (Eph 4:26; 2 Cor 7:11; Ju 1:3), but heretics like ESV translators and adherents don’t like receiving anger over their rebellion and evil so they remove the clause, effectively causing a contradiction in Scripture and turning Jesus into a sinner. That is both evil and blasphemous!

  • Attacks the Lords Prayer and Gods Sovereignty and Glory in Matt 6:13. The following words that Jesus spoke are completely removed: “FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY, FOR EVER. AMEN.”

  • Attacks a Prophecy of Christ, Leaving a Prophecy Unfulfilled. The ESV completely commits Mk 15:28, “And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.” The omission of this verse makes the prophetic verse of Isaiah 53:12 concerning Jesus Christ, unfulfilled.

  • Attack on Forgiveness in Mk 11:26. The entire passage that commands forgiving others is committed: “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

  • Attack on God’s Injunction to Hypocrites in Matt 23:14. Hypocrites are always lost people, including those who add, omit or change the Word of God in the ESV, hence the complete removal of their greater condemnation: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.”

Many other verses are corrupted, perverted, and mutilated, resulting in the following false and blasphemous teachings:

  • Jesus had a sin nature like mankind;

  • God had a fallen nature;

  • Joseph, not God, was the father of Jesus (Lk 2:33);

  • Lucifer (Satan) is turned into the Saviour (Is 14:12; cf. 2 Pet 1:19; Lk 10:18);

  • Satan is an instrument of God and will ultimately be pardoned;

  • Man is saved by the symbolic death of Christ within man, not by the blood of Christ (hence the bloodless “gospel” of John MacArthur, a major promotor of the ESV);

  • Christ was a created being and therefore had a beginning in time;

  • Man is saved through sacraments and faith in his own works, not that of Christ’s;

  • Etc.

4. The ESV’s Omission of Entire Verses.

The following verses are omitted from the ESV Bible in their entirety (following the CT) but are found in the Textus Receptus Greek NT, the text which underlies the NT of pre and Reformation-era translations and the text that represents the vast majority of Greek manuscripts (+95%) in comparison to its opponent, the Critical Greek Text (5%):

  • In Matthew: 12:47; 15:28; 17:21; 18:11; 20:22; 23:14

  • In Mark: 7:16; 9:44, 46; 11:26; 15:28

  • In Luke: 9:55-56 (most of); 17:36; 23:17

  • In John: 5:4

  • In Acts: 8:37; 15:34; 24:7; 28:29

  • In Romans: 16:24

  • In 1 John: 5:7 (the famous Trinitarian reading known as the Johannine Comma is omitted without any footnote to explain its omission).

5. The ESV Casts Great Doubt Upon Many Other Verses and Words of scripture, Even Producing Ridiculous Doctrine Along the Way.

Putting footnotes into the text, doesn’t mean they are not attacking the text of God’s Word. The ESV seriously questions and casts doubt on the validity of many verses in scripture by putting them into brackets or footnotes, which is in fact little different than actually removing verses, since this will have the same effect in the mind of the reader. For instance:

  • In Mark: 16:9-20 is entirely in brackets.

  • In John: 7:53-8:11 is entirely in double brackets.

  • In Luke: 22:43-44 is doubted by claiming “Some manuscripts omit verses 43 and 44.” This passage proves Jesus was the God man. He had a human side to Him. Modern reversions attack both His deity and humanity. These all directly question the Word of God.

  • In Luke 2:14, the ESV corrupts salvation and God's love and goodness, by corrupting the angelic Christ-child birth message, changing it so that only those with whom God is well pleased were to receive the message.

  • In 1 Samuel: 13:1, ESV changes “reigned” to “lived for” which then reads “Saul lived for one year and then became king” means he was 1 years old when he became king! What idiocy when God’s Word is tampered with!

6. Conclusion.

The examples in this study are just a small portion of all that could be given of where the ESV departs from the Hebrew Masoretic text and follows the Greek Septuagint (LXX), Syriac, Samaritan Pentateuch, Vulgate, or Dead Sea Scrolls, and follows the Critical Text (Nestle-Aland). The ESV even often footnotes readings of the Septuagint, Syriac, or Dead Sea Scrolls. The inevitable result is confusion and uncertainty regarding what God has said to us. Further reading can be found here: The ESV Dream and here: What Today’s Christian Needs to Know About the ESV.

Embracing modern perversions of Scripture that derive from the non-inspired and non-inspired Critical Text such as the ESV is a rejection of the preservation of Gods Word. God has preserved His Word in a pure text that has been received by the true local churches over the centuries, and the Critical Text, which was compiled in 1881 by two extreme apostates, most certainly isn’t it.

A great deal of scholarship and theological activity is being concentrated to discredit the Bible. There is an all-out attack, in the name of scholarship, upon God's Word and historical true Christianity. Concerning the invention of perversions of God’s Word, is probably the greatest evil ever to have infested the Christian faith. We must be committed to a belief in Scripture as word for word God-given, every word that God inspired in the Hebrew Masoretic Text and Greek Textus Receptus has been preserved to this day and for all eternity. We must aggressively oppose the arbitrary assumptions, illogical arguments, and false conclusions of the Textual Critics and their corrupt text and all their offspring which is every single English version besides the KJV.

Since most NT’s in the various languages of the world follow the Gnostic Critical Greek text, most, if not all, of these heresies are also found in the modern NT translations such as the ESV, NASV, NIV, RSV, NRSV, etc. No one should read, study, or support modern perversions such as the ESV, which is dangerous poison. Supporting perversion of God’s Word is high treason and criminal. God has magnified His Word above all His name (Ps 138.2). That means His Word is greater than His actual Name, so how great is His Word! Rev 22:18-19 should cause all the so-called “evangelical” scholars behind this translation and everyone else who approves of such perversions, to lose a lot of sleep.

The ESV is not the product of God but of him who hates God and whispers in the ears of skeptics, “Yea, hath God said?” (Gen 3:1). People must fear God and consider His weighty and fearful declaration in Revelation concerning those who will add to or take away from His Word:

“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Rev 22:18-19)

This is you if you support perversions of Scripture such as the ESV, especially if you have been clearly told the truth of the matter, as you have been right here. You have no excuse.


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