A Random Verse That Destroys Calvinism (And "Is The ESV a Calvinist Bible?")
"But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but who has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin - this man also does the right thing." (1 Corinthians 7:37, NIV)
When you get past all the layers Calvinism wraps itself in to disguise the bad parts, it ultimately teaches - at the heart of it all - that God causes/controls everything, even controlling our wills and causing our sins. (But He then punishes us for the things He caused us to do, which would make Him unjust, no matter how much Calvinists try to deny it and cover it up. See this post for some links about that.) Calvinism ultimately teaches that everything we do is because God preplanned it, ordained it, and compels us to do it. That we have no ability to make up our own minds about things because God predetermines everything we think, feel, do. There is no such thing as free-will. We have no real control over our wills, actions, desires, etc.
But in this verse, Paul clearly refers to the fact that we can make up our own minds about issues, without being under compulsion to choose what we do. That we are in "control" over our wills.
This clearly goes against Calvinism. It clearly puts the responsibility for our decisions and desires and actions on us, not on God.
However, Calvinists would accuse me of essentially saying that humans are stronger than God, of claiming that we are in control/sovereign and He is not. This is how they manipulate people into agreeing with them, making them feel ashamed and unhumble for sounding like they are taking power away from God and giving it to humans.
But this is not the case.
What I am saying, and what the Bible shows, is that we have control (to a large degree) over our wills, over our decisions, because God made it that way. Because He chose to limit His use of control/power/authority to a degree, so that He could give us the right and responsibility to make real choices. Because He wanted it to be this way, so that those who choose to love Him and obey Him do it willingly and voluntarily. And this is why He can rightly hold us accountable for our choices, for our sins and unbelief. Because He didn't cause us to do them; we chose to do them.
We have control over our wills. God does not control our wills, thoughts, feelings, choices, etc. for us.
However, do you want to know something interesting?
The NIV, Berean Study Bible, NASB, KJV, CSB, HCSB, Aramaic Bible in Plain English, among others, all use the phrase about the man having "control/authority/power over his own will."
But the Bible translation most used by Calvinists, the one translated by many Calvinists and "glorified" by many well-known Calvinists - the English Standard Version, the ESV (*see note at bottom) - changes it to "but having his desire under control."
And very different!
Of all the typical word-for-word translations, that's the only one that words it that way: "having his desire under control."
To me, this is a deliberate attempt to sneak Calvinism in, by putting less "control" in man's hands over his will than what the Bible originally said.
"Having control over his will" is active. The control is done by the person. He has control over his will. But "having his desire under control" doesn't have to mean the man himself is doing the controlling. It's just saying his desire is under control.
But by whom?
It's like the difference between saying "I painted my house" and "I was having my house painted." Big difference! (One thing to know about educated, dogmatic Calvinists is that they are VERY careful in their wording, picking words and phrases that sound "free-will" but that are really the opposite. See these posts for more on that: "Exposing What Calvinists Really Mean" and "Confronting Calvinism's Deceptive Nonsense".)
So if He gave you the "unregenerated nature" which comes only with the desire to sin and reject Him, then you will only always want to sin/reject Him and you can only always choose to sin/reject Him. You are a slave to the desires of the unregenerated nature that God gave you. You can't choose anything different and can't even want to choose anything different because your nature determines that you will desire to sin and only to sin. And so you can only make the choices that go with your desires. And it's all been predestined by God from the beginning.
[So if a Calvinist says you can make "real choices," they only mean you can make the choices that go with the desires of the nature God gave you. And the unregenerated person only has the desire to sin/reject God, and so they can only choose to sin/reject God. But Calvinists will still call this "making the choice you want to make," even though God predestined the desires you have and the choices you make based on those desires, and you had no ability to choose otherwise. And then since you "wanted" to sin and reject God (because of the desires built in to your God-given unregenerated nature), Calvinists will claim that you deserve the punishment and the eternal life in hell that you get. Because you "desired" to do what you did, even though you could only desire/do what God predestined. It's disgusting how shamelessly deceptive Calvinism is!]
But if God has "elected" you for salvation (lucky people!), then He will eventually replace your unregenerated nature with a "regenerated" one (through the work of the Holy Spirit who "wakes you up inside" and causes you to be believe and be saved), which comes with the desire to obey and do good. And then you will be able to choose to obey and do good, because your desires are under the control of the Holy Spirit.
The way the ESV words this verse essentially changes it from "man controls his will/desires" (meaning then that man would have the ability to choose between various options, to decide which desires to follow, to change his mind, etc.) to "man's desires are under control" (meaning, according to Calvinism, that they are under the control of the Holy Spirit, not of man, and so therefore man cannot really make his own decisions or choose between various options/desires).
I would say that instead of faithfully translating the verse as it is, the translators clearly and shamelessly altered it to fit with Calvinism.
("But why would the translators of a Bible do that?" you might wonder. See the note near the bottom.)
[And a little necessary paperwork here:
Moving on to more verses (These are just the ones I found in a short time of looking. And I recently switched the order a little, to put a few of the easier ones near the top. Also, I will add more as I find them.):
But the ESV ends it this way: "... not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." Of the commonly-used "word-for-word" translations, the ESV is the only one that says "reach" instead of "come to." Why is this?
This may seem like a little distinction, but it's not. And I think it's another attempt to make the Bible more Calvinist. And here's why:
Let's say I lived in Kansas, and I posted a note on my blog saying "I hope everyone comes to Kansas." I would be expressing a desire that I want anyone and everyone to visit me in Kansas, no matter where they are or who they are or where they are going. It's an open invitation to anyone who wants to respond.
But if I posted a note saying "I hope everyone reaches Kansas," it would clearly imply that I am talking only to and about those who are already headed to Kansas. You can only "reach" something if you are already headed towards it, if it's the end goal you are striving for. I clearly would not be telling people headed to Alaska or Canada or California that "I hope you reach Kansas." That would be an irreconcilable contradiction. It would be totally unrelated to and irrelevant for them. If they are headed in a different direction, to a different destination, they will never reach Kansas no matter how long they travelled. So obviously I am not talking to them. I am simply saying that I hope those who are purposely headed to Kansas reach their destination.
This little change totally makes the verse more Calvinistic.
2 Peter 3:9, when interpreted accurately, is about God giving an "open invitation" to all people, saying that He wants anyone and everyone - no matter where they are in life or where they are headed or how they are living - to come to repentance and be saved, which would rightly imply that it's possible for anyone and everyone to be saved if they choose to repent.
But the subtle change the ESV gives it (and only the ESV) now makes it a statement only to those who are already headed toward repentance, which, according to Calvinism, are the "elect," those God predestined for repentance/salvation. It's essentially saying "God doesn't want any of His elected people to perish, but He wants everyone who's predestined for repentance (the elect) to reach repentance."
Big, big difference!
(And interestingly enough, in none of the other verses where this Greek word is used do the ESV translators change it to "reach." Only in this verse. But this Greek word doesn't mean "reach." It means "come, contain, go, have place, receive." But it's never used as "reach" - as in "to arrive at a particular destination that you are striving for" - except in the ESV's 2 Peter 3:9, where it changes the verse from being an open invitation to all people to come to the point of repentance, no matter where they currently are ... to God seemingly expressing His desire that people who are headed for repentance "reach" repentance, which, in Calvinism, would only be the elect.)
#2: Revelation 13:8 in the NIV says "All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast - all whose names have not been written in the Lamb's book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world."
But in the ESV it says "and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain."
So which is it? Which one happened from the creation of the world - the Lamb being slain or the names being written in the book?
Of course, Calvinists would say that the names of the elect were written in the book from before the world began, because that's an essential part of their theological views on election and predestination.
But is this the case?
It's not that the names are written in the book of life before the foundation of the world; it's that the Lamb was foreordained, from the creation of the world, to be slain for our sins (1 Peter 1:19-20, Acts 2:23). God knew from the beginning that we would sin, that we would need a Redeemer. And so He planned from the beginning to pay for our sins with Jesus' death on the cross. Jesus was chosen as a sacrifice for our sins from the creation of the world. This is what this verse means. And it contradicts the Calvinistic ESV translation of this verse which flip-flops the grammatical structure of this sentence and turns it into a "predestination" verse where the names of the elect have been written in the book of life from before time began.
[For more on this, watch this video from Kevin at Beyond the Fundamentals: "Why Revelation 13:8 and 17:8 does not support Calvinism." But have a cup of coffee first, in order to keep up with his fast talking. This guy is smart. I mean, really smart! My husband watches him all the time, ever since we left our church in May 2019 because of Calvinism. It has brought my husband and me a lot of comfort to hear truth spoken and to hear Calvinism defeated left and right.]
#3: Most versions state 2 Thessalonians 2:13 like the NIV does: "But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth."
But the ESV is one of the very few translations that adds a comma in a very strategic place: "... because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth."
This is major! It would be like the difference between "I chose you to be the first to see the Grand Canyon from my new helicopter" and "I chose you to be the first to see the Grand Canyon, from my new helicopter."
In the first one, I chose you to be the first to get a ride in my new helicopter to see the Grand Canyon, but not necessarily to be the first to see the Grand Canyon. Just to see it from my new helicopter. But in the second, I chose you to be the first to see the Grand Canyon, and you will see it from my new helicopter.
My husband has a t-shirt which says "Let's eat kids" followed by "Let's eat, kids," and then comes the punchline: "Punctuation saves lives."
That tiny, little comma makes a huge difference, just as it does in 2 Thessalonians 2:13. In the "no comma" version (most translations) it means something like "God chose you to be the first to get salvation through the Spirit and belief in truth." Because before Jesus, they didn't have the option of believing in Jesus or of having the Holy Spirit. They had to maintain their salvation by following the Law. But when Jesus came, He did away with the Law (fulfilling its requirements), and so now we are saved by belief in Him and through the work of the Spirit (which is available to any and all who will choose to repent and believe in Jesus). And that generation, the one Paul is writing to, is the first generation to be able to experience salvation through belief and the Holy Spirit, making them the "firstfruits" of the "age of grace."
But the ESV translation essentially changes it from "God chose you to be saved through the Spirit and belief" to "God chose you to be saved" with the additional tidbit that you'll be saved through the Spirit and belief.
This is far different than the first one.
The first one is about God choosing which method of salvation the generation gets, and the second one is about God choosing who gets saved. Big, big difference! No wonder the Calvinist ESV puts in the comma, turning it into support for their theological view that "God chose who gets saved and who doesn't."
"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial ..." (NIV)
"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation ..." (KJV)
In these translations, the person is the one doing the persevering/enduring. According to the concordance, the word "endures" in this verse means to bear a trial bravely and calmly. This is something the person has to do. It takes effort and wise choices to stay faithful and obedient in the face of trials and temptations.
But here it is in the ESV (and only in the ESV): "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial ..." (When the ESV words a verse differently than any other translation out there, sit up and take notice.)
I can see how we might read that and automatically think it's the same thing as "enduring temptation" and "persevering under trials." But is it really the same thing? Why does this little change make a difference?
Because to "remain steadfast" doesn't necessarily mean the person has any choice about it or responsibility over it. It doesn't necessarily require any effort from them. A person can "remain" in a medically-induced coma with no effort from them at all, no choice on their part, because it happened to them, caused by and determined by the doctors. And besides that, to "remain" means to stay in the same place/condition you were already in, to stay the same as you are.
And so in Calvinism, if someone "remains steadfast" it would be because God caused it to happen to them, not that the person had any control over it, and it would be that they are simply staying the same "steadfast" that they always were, which (in Calvinism) would be because God causes the elect to "remain" in the faith, to persevere (the P in the TULIP acronym). This does not require any effort or choice on man's part. It's up to God. If God predestined you to remain steadfast, you'll remain steadfast because He will cause it to happen. But if He didn't, then you will not remain steadfast. You have no control over it, no real choice or responsibility about it. It happens to you, caused by and predetermined by God.
But to be commanded to "endure temptation" and "persevere under trial" (like the other translations say) requires effort and thought and choice and obedience on our parts. We are not just effortlessly "remaining" in some previous predetermined condition; we are working to bear up under a heavy burden, to stay faithful, to not give in to sin. And this is our responsibility, our choice. Not God's.
Essentially, in the ESV and through the eyes of Calvinism, this verse could be read: "Blessed is the man whom God causes to remain steadfast under trial (which would only be the elect), for when he has stood the test (as God ordained he would do) he shall receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those whom He predestined to love Him, the elect."
[And it's the same thing in James 5:11 where the ESV changes "we count as blessed those who have persevered" (NIV) to "we consider those blessed who remained steadfast" (ESV).
In the NIV (and others), the people themselves did the persevering (making faithful and obedient choices). But in the ESV, they simply remained steadfast, which doesn't necessarily mean it was through their effort or choices. It's just an observation that they "remained." And in Calvinism, it would be because God caused it to happen to them.]
#9: Also notice that, in James 5:11, the ESV is one of the few translations that changes it from something like "You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about [the outcome]" (NIV) ... to "You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord."
This "purpose of the Lord" changes it from a message about God working Job's self-chosen faithfulness into something good ... to a message about God causing Job to be faithful for His particular reasons and purposes. Big difference!
#10: In Titus 3:3, most of the translations (not counting the more recent "conversational-type" translations) say it the way the NIV does: "At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and desires ..." (emphasis added).
KJV: "... deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures ..."
NASB: "... deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures ..."
CSB: "... deceived, enslaved ..."
But the ESV is one of the very few versions that puts it this way: " ... led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures ..."
In the other translations, "deceived and enslaved" are verbs, something that happens to people before they become believers. They were (allowed themselves to be) deceived and enslaved by their former passions and desires.
But the ESV changes it to a noun, not saying that the people were enslaved by their desires but that they were slaves to their desires. (See here that, in the Greek, "deceived" is a verb. And there is no word for "slave.")
How does this fit with Calvinism?
Because, in Calvinism, we are not free to make our own choices among various options ... or to pick which desires we want to satisfy ... or to decide for ourselves whether we want to reject God or believe in Him. In Calvinism, we are "slaves" to the nature God gave us, to the desires that come with that nature. And as slaves, we cannot desire/choose anything other than what our God-given nature forces us to desire/choose. And we cannot choose to change the nature He gave us. It is up to God to change our natures/desires for us.
And He does this when He gives the elect people (those predestined to heaven) the Holy Spirit to "wake them up inside," causing them to believe, changing their nature from "unrepentant sinner" to "repentant believer," which causes them to desire to do good and to obey God.
But those who have the unrepentant nature (either because they haven't been regenerated yet or because they are one of the non-elect, predestined to hell) are "slaves" to the unregenerated nature. And they can never free themselves from this "slave to sin" condition. And so they can only always desire to sin and only always choose to sin ... unless and until God gives them a new nature, which He only gives to the elect. This means that the non-elect will always be slaves to the "sinner nature," unable to ever choose to do anything but sin and reject God all the time.
Changing it from a verb to a noun changes it from what a person does to who a person is. Changing it from "enslaved" to "slave" changes it from a person who is simply caught up in their sinful desires (but who could turn from their sinful desires and choose to seek God instead) to a person who is doomed forever to follow their sinful desires unless God regenerates them, freeing them from their slavery.
[And the Bible tells us how we become slaves to sin, and it's not that God predestines who will be slaves to sin (the non-elect) and who won't (the elect).
Romans 6:16: "when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey" (NIV).
Calvinism would say that we sin because we are slaves to sin. But the Bible says that we are slaves to sin because we offer ourselves to our sinful desires. (If you pay careful attention, you'll see that Calvinism often takes biblical truths and reverses them, flipping the truth on its head, such as by saying the elect get the Spirit before they believe, to cause them to believe, whereas the Bible says that first we believe and then we get the Spirit. Same kind of phrases, just backwards, completely changing the Gospel. But because Calvinism still uses the Bible's words, we don't notice the reversals.)
We choose what we want to be enslaved to - by what we offer ourselves to, the desires we give in to.
Contrary to Calvinism, we don't sin because we are slaves to sin (which means, in Calvinism, that we can't get set free from our sin-nature unless God regenerates us), but we are slaves to sin because we choose our sin over God (which means that we can decide to choose God over our sin and that we have full responsibility for our choices).]
Personally, I think the New Living Translation more clearly says what the KJV is trying to say, that believers have been given the job of telling everyone everywhere what God has done so that they, too, might choose to believe in Him and obey Him, bringing glory to His name. This, I believe, is the truth, supported all throughout the Bible when God commands us to choose whom we will serve, to choose obedience instead of disobedience, to set out minds on Him, etc. We choose whether we will believe in Jesus or not, and we choose whether we will follow God's commands of not. God has not predestined this for us.
#15: This is a small one, but maybe not. In Hebrews 11:16, most versions say something like "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to/approaches/draws near to Him must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him."
But the ESV is the only one that adds the word "would" ... "whoever would draw near to God ..."
To my way of thinking, "anyone who comes to God" is saying that anyone can come to God, that everyone - no matter where they are at or where they are headed - is invited to "come to God."
But the ESV's "whoever would draw near to God" is about only those who are capable of being drawn near to God, those predestined for it, which in Calvinism would be "the elect." Only the elect are predestined to draw near to God, so only the elect can draw near to God, and so the elect are the only ones who ever would draw near to God.
This is no longer about anyone and everyone having the chance to "come to God."
But it's only about those who can, those who "would," those who are predestined to draw near to Him, to seek Him. The elect!
Well, the ESV also makes the same kind of change in Romans 15:31, where it changes it from "them that do not believe" to "unbelievers." This also changes it from people doing some thing, having the responsibility/choice over whether they believe or not, to them being some thing, a non-believer (one of the non-elect, in Calvinism). Since "them that do not believe" is more about people doing the action of not believing - and since Calvinists think we don't really have a choice about if we believe or not - it makes sense that the ESV would prefer instead to say "unbelievers," because the noun "unbelievers" is more about who they were created to be (the non-elect) instead of what they do. It's a teeny, tiny, microscopic step from "unbeliever" to "non-elect."
The interesting part of this is that when I looked up the Greek for this verse, it says that the phrase "do not believe" is actually "refusing to be persuaded." And when I looked it up in the concordance, the definition did indeed show not just that someone doesn't believe or doesn't obey (as if they have no ability to), but that they refuse to believe or obey. This, to me, is a much greater indication of "free-will" than "Calvinist predestination," because we can't refuse something unless it's legitimately offered to us, available to us, possible for us. You can only "refuse" a gift if it was offered to you and possible for you to accept it. You can only refuse to do something if it was possible for you to do it, if you had the chance to do it. If it wasn't truly available to you or possible for you, then it wouldn't be "refusing" it.
In Calvinism, the non-elect are non-believers not because they choose to reject the gospel and the offer of salvation (despite Calvinists who try to make it sound like they believe in free-will), but because salvation was never truly available to them because they were created by Calvi-god for hell. They never truly had the option of believing because they were predestined to (forced to) be unbelievers. Therefore, they are not really "refusing" to believe or refusing the gift of salvation, because it was never really offered to them to begin with. And so it's no wonder we see no reference to "refuse" in this verse in the ESV.
The funny thing is, this word for "refusing to be persuaded" is also in the following verses (among others I'm not listing), but the ESV (and many other translations) leaves out any indication of "refuse." And leaving out the "refused to" downplays personal responsibility and the control we have over our choices, allowing Calvinists to read the verses in a more Calvinist way.
John 3:36 (ESV): "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life ..." (But it's not just that they do not obey, as if they were one of the non-elect, forced/created to "not obey"; it's that they "refused to obey/believe," meaning that they rejected a legitimate offer/chance to obey/believe.)
1 Peter 2:7-8 (ESV): "So this honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, 'The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone,' and 'A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.' They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do." (It would be so much less Calvinistic to say "but for those who refuse to believe" and "because they refuse to obey the word." And yet that's what it should be! Note: While Calvinists might say that this verse means the people were destined to disobey because they were non-elect, I think there are two other, better, more biblical ways to read this. First option: It's not that they were destined to disobey as if they were non-elect; it's that there were destined to stumble because they disobeyed, because they rejected Jesus, the cornerstone. Anyone and everyone who rejects Jesus, who refuses to believe and obey, is destined to stumble. Second option: This verse is a reference specifically to the Jews who rejected Jesus. God foreknew they would reject Jesus, and He allowed them to be destined for that end, working their self-chosen unbelief into His plans. Both of these still support free-will and personal responsibility.)
Acts 14:2 (ESV): "But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers." (More accurately: "But the Jews who refused to believe ...")
1 Peter 3:20 (ESV): "because they formerly did not obey God ..." (No, they "refused to obey God.")
1 Peter 4:17 (ESV): "For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" ("... for those who refuse to obey the gospel of God?")
Hebrews 3:18 (ESV): "And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient?" ("... to those who refused to obey?")
Romans 10:21 (ESV): "But of Israel he says, 'All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.'" (Not just "disobedient," but "those who refused to obey.")
Romans 2:8 (ESV): "but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury." ("... for those who refuse to obey the truth!" In Calvinism, the non-elect do not obey the truth because it was never possible for them to obey the truth. But as the Greek says, it's that they refused to obey the truth, meaning that it was possible for them to obey the truth but that they rejected it. There are no non-elect people who are predestined to hell with no chance of believing or being saved. There are only those who had the chance to believe and be saved but rejected it.)
What a difference "refused to" makes! And no wonder the ESV leaves it out. All those missing "refused to's," all those "who did not believe" (verb) changed to "unbelievers" (noun), all those "who believed" (verb) changed to "believers" (noun) make the ESV a lot more Calvinistic than a Bible translation has any right to be!
I'm just sayin'.
(My whole purpose in writing this blog the way I do, in detail, is not just to tell you that I think Calvinism is bad, but to help you learn to identify for yourself how it goes wrong, where it goes wrong, what the Bible really says, how Calvinism uses manipulation to get you to agree with it, etc. I want to help you to see it for yourself, research it for yourself, evaluate it for yourself, not just tell you what I think about it.)
Why? And why would translators of a Bible make these kinds of Calvinist tweaks to Scripture?
Wayne Grudem and J.I. Packer were editors on the ESV Study Bible (this is for the ESV Global Study Bible). Grudem and Packer are both popular, strong, dogmatic Calvinists. Very Big Names in the world of Calvinism. Grudem in the General Editor and Packer is the Theological Editor. And there were other Calvinist contributors and committee members for this Bible and its study notes, such as and at least Schreiner, Ortlund, and Poythress. And I suspect that Collins and Dennis are Calvinists too, based on the Calvinists they run/write with and the people online who identify their books as "reformed."
Also, regarding the ESV itself (not the Study Bible), several Calvinists worked on the translation oversight committee, at least and from what I can tell, Packer, Grudem, Hughes, Poythress, Ryken (and once again, possibly Collins and Dennis. And I am quite sure that Arnold is too, based on the Statement of Faith of the school he worked at.).
Plus, if you look at the reviews for the ESV, there are many Calvinists who give it a glowing review - at least and from what I can tell, Piper, Sproul, Chandler, Mohler, Platt, Anyabwile, DeYoung, Chappell, Schreiner, Lutzer, etc.
This is telling.
I'm not saying the ESV itself, apart from the Study Bible, is an altogether bad translation, just that many Calvinists worked on it, many sing its praises, many hold it up over all the other translations, and a bunch of verses have been changed to be more Calvinistic. (This, to me, makes it unreliable.) So be discerning.
So there you have it: Calvinists helped translate the ESV Bible ... and then Calvinists added the study notes for the ESV Study Bible ... and then Calvinists hold it up as the best version and only version they will use.
No wonder Calvinists love it so much!
These articles about the ESV Bible might interest you:
ESV Bible Translation Revisions "Potentially Dangerous," Biblical Scholar Warns
[If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty, read these articles about the men who wrote the Greek texts that the ESV is based on: "Westcott and Hort: Translator's Beliefs" and "Westcott and Hort and the Greek Text." The ESV is based on the RSV, which is based on the Greek Texts of these two men (who, it sounds like, rejected the infallibility of Scripture, despised evangelicals, questioned Jesus's divinity and an eternal hell, did not take Genesis or the creation story literally, affirmed Darwin and evolution, etc.), which is based on two corrupted manuscripts which differ from the majority of the more reliable manuscripts that the KJV is based on.
So when something says that the ESV has only made 6% changes, it means "from the RSV," meaning that it's 94% the same as the RSV it was based on, a translation which was based on two corrupted manuscripts that disagree with the majority of the manuscripts available. It would be like if a journalist interviewed 100 people about an event ... and 95 of them said the exact same thing, but 5 told a different story ... and the journalist decided to side with the 5 and print their story as fact. Raises some red flags, doesn't it?
And for more about the "complementarianism" of Calvinist churches, see:
Calvinism and Complementarianism: A Response to Kevin DeYoung
The Actual 4 Dangers of Complementarianism: A Response to the Gospel Coalition
Is there a Calvinist-Complementarian Connection?