A Random Verse That Destroys Calvinism (And "Is The ESV a Calvinist Bible?")

In my normal Bible reading today, I came across a verse about "singleness vs. marriage" that destroys Calvinism in a few short words:

"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."

Interesting!

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".) 

Calvinists would say that people's desires are controlled by the nature that God gave us.  And the nature God gives us comes with certain desires that you have to obey, and you cannot choose anything different.

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:

Regarding verses from the ESV:  “Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

And regarding verses from the NIV: "Scripture verses taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House."]  



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.):

#1:  Out of curiosity, I looked up another verse that's commonly used against Calvinism.  Here is the NIV translation of it: "... He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" 2 Peter 3:9.  (Just because I quote the NIV doesn't mean I think it's the best one.  The NIV is somewhat Calvinistic too.  I am just using it for reference because many people know this one and because of its very different wording from the ESV.)

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 difference!

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?

No!

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."


[Along similar lines is Galatians 3:26.  Most versions say something like the KJV (King James Version, also called KJB, King James Bible): "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."  But the ESV flips it and adds a comma: "for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith."  The KJV (and most others) uses the phrase "faith in Christ Jesus," saying that we become children of God by putting our faith in Jesus, which implies that anyone and everyone can put their faith in Jesus and that all who do will become children of God.  

But the ESV changes the order.  In the ESV, it's not "faith in Jesus" that makes them a child of God (that saves them); it's "[being] in Christ Jesus" that makes them a child of God (that saves them).  And in Calvinism, those who are "in Christ" - those chosen to be in Christ before time began - are the elect, and so the elect (and only the elect) can and will become children of God, when God gives them the faith to believe.  

Listen to the difference here: "You win the race by crossing the finish line in first place" versus "You in first place win the race, when you cross the finish line."  One opens the option of winning up to everyone, and the other is simply saying that the one who took first place and won the race did it when they crossed the finish line.  The second one is not a message for everyone and anyone, telling them how they can win the race, but it's a message to and about the one who already won the race and how they got there.  And all it took was a little flip of the wording.]      



#4:  John 7:17 (NIV): "Anyone who chooses to do the will of God ..."

(KJV): "If any man will do his will ..."

(Berean Study Bible): "If any man desires to do his will ..."

(CSB): "If anyone wants to do his will ..."

What do all these have in common: "chooses ... will do ... desires to ... wants to ..."?

They are verbs, something we do.  They all show that the man himself is choosing to do God's Will, wanting to do His Will.  It puts the "choosing/wanting" in man's hands, as though it is his choice to do it.  And rightly so.

But here it is in the ESV"If anyone's will is to do God's will ..."

While this seems insignificant, it's not.  This is huge, making it totally and completely Calvinistic.  Because in this translation (and only in this translation), it changes it from a verb to a noun, from man doing what he wills to man's Will controlling him.  So in the ESV, it's not that the man is choosing/wanting to do God's Will, but it's that man's Will is what determines if he wants to do and will do God's Will.

And why is this more Calvinistic?

Because according to Calvinism, God gives us the Will (the nature) that He wants us to have.  And whatever Will/nature He gives us comes with certain desires that we have to follow, that determine what we want to do and choose to do.  And we cannot change our Will/nature.  And so we cannot do anything or want to do anything outside of the desires of the Will/nature that God gives us.  

So if God gave you the "unregenerated-sinner nature" that He gives to all the non-elect, it comes only with the desire to sin.  And so your Will (given to you by God and unchangeable) will cause you to only want to sin and only choose to sin.  

But if God gave you the "regenerated nature" which He gives only to the elect, then your nature (your Will) will cause you to want to obey Him.  

Essentially, in Calvinism, you don't decide what you want to do.  Your nature (given to you by God) determines what your Will will be, which determines what you will want to do and choose to do.  And you cannot change it.  

Think of it like a "magic potion."  God gives the elected people a "love potion" that makes them "want" to love Him and obey Him, and so they can only choose to love Him and obey Him.  But God gives the non-elected people a "hate potion" which makes them want to hate God and to sin, and ONLY want to hate God and to sin.  And so they can only choose to hate Him and to sin because God didn't give them the desires to do anything else.  

You can only make the "choices" that go with the desires of the potion (the nature/Will) God gave you.  

(How in the world can they call that a "choice"!?!)

So in the ESV, and contrary to other translations, this verse is not saying that you desire/want/choose to do God's Will (which would mean that you can choose between options, change your mind, etc.), but that your Will (which you have no control over, which comes with pre-determined desires, and which you can't change) determines if you will do God's Will.  And only the elect will be given the Will/nature that wants to do God's Will.  

Basically, the ESV is saying "If you got the regenerated nature/Will (that the elect get) then you will want to do God's Will..."

So this verse, in the ESV, is a verse only for the elect, for those who got the "regenerated nature/Will" that causes them to want to do God's Will.  The unregenerated non-elect people can never want to do God's Will because they were given the nature/Will that can only want to and choose to sin. 

Do you see the difference?  Because it's a big one.

(You know how we can know for sure the ESV is WRONG?  The Greek word for "desires" in the phrase "if any man desires/chooses/wants/will do" is a verb.  But the ESV shamelessly changes it to a noun, the "will" of a person.)



#5:  And the ESV's Galatians 5:17 is along similar lines, worded in a way that supports the Calvinist's view that our desires are pre-set for us, according to whatever nature God gave us:  "For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh..."

All other versions word it something like this: "The flesh desires what's against the Spirit..."  But the ESV changes it to "the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit."  

In all other versions, and according to the concordance, "desire" is a verb, something you do.  It's that you - your fleshly-side - desire to do the things that are opposite what the Spirit desires, which would mean that you can choose to overcome the fleshly desires, that you can choose to obey the Spirit instead.  

But once again, the Calvinist ESV inexcusably changes it to a noun, saying that "the desires of your flesh" control you.  (If you read the ESV, know that you are being lied to.)  And in Calvinism, the "desires of your flesh" are predetermined for you by God, based on the nature He gives you.  And if you get the "unregenerated nature," your desire will be to sin, to always be against the Spirit.  You will be a slave to the "desires of your flesh," unable to choose anything that the Spirit wants you to choose.  Unable to choose to change your nature, the "desires of your flesh."  And this goes along with Calvinism's idea that God has to first regenerate the elected ones with the Holy Spirit before they can want to do good, seek God, obey God, etc.  

If you control your desires, then you can change your desires and pick what you want.  But if your God-given "desires" control you, then He causes you to desire what you want, and you can only do what God causes you to desire to do.

(When you see a version that bends over backwards to alter a verse, ask yourself "Why?")



#6:  Titus 3:5 (NIV): "He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done ..."

Titus 3:5 (KJV): "Not by works of righteousness which we had done ..."

But the ESV says"He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness ..."

Why does this little change make a difference?  

Because in the first two translations, the "works" are what is "righteous."  The first two translations are saying that we aren't saved because we did righteous things.  We can't earn or work our way to heaven.  This is a warning for all people.  No one can be saved by the righteous actions they do.  We can never "earn" salvation, but we can only be saved because God chose to have mercy on us, to pour out His grace on us (which is available for "all men," Titus 2:11), by providing us with a way to be saved (through faith in Jesus, which leads us to our "rebirth" and renewal by the Holy Spirit, Titus 3:5-6).  That's what this verse means.  And if it's a warning for all people that we can't be saved through our "righteous works," then it implies that we can all be saved another way, just not by doing righteous things.  And of course, that way is by faith in Jesus. 

But the ESV says that we are not saved by "works done by us in righteousness."  This switches the "righteousness" from describing the "works" to describing "us."  It's not about us doing righteous works; it's about us doing works from a place of righteousness.  

In Calvinism, the "elect" are those God predestined to heaven from the beginning of time.  And so therefore, they have been credited with a righteousness from God from the beginning.  This means that, in God's eyes, they are always seen eternally as being "in righteousness."  This makes them different from the non-elect who can never be and will never be "in righteousness" in God's eyes.  Therefore, worded the ESV way, this verse is meant only for those whose works are done "in righteousness": the elect!

In the ESV, it's not a warning to all people that they can't earn their way to heaven with good works or a statement that our salvation can only come through faith in Jesus.  If this verse applies to everyone then it would mean that everyone could be saved through faith in Jesus.  But of course, in Calvinism, the non-elect can never get to heaven.  So of course, Calvinists would not want this verse applying to the non-elect.

And so the ESV words it in a way that makes it only apply to those who are "in righteousness," the elect.  It's essentially saying that God saved "us" - those who are "in righteousness" only - just not by any works we do as His elect people, but that the salvation of the "elect" comes by the regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.

Big difference!



#7:  Romans 5:2 in the KJV reads: "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand..."  But the ESV (along with quite a lot of others) says "Through him we have also obtained access by faith ..."  

And I know you're wondering right now, "So what?  What's the difference?"  Well, what's the difference between "I have candy" and "I have to obtain candy"?  What's the difference between "I have lungs" and "I obtained lungs"?  One is about having something; the other is about having to get something.  

In the KJV, we have access to grace by faith.  The access is there, available to all.  It's ours to accept or reject.  But in the ESV, we have to obtain access, to be granted access to grace by faith.  In Calvinism (in the ESV), access to grace by faith is not available to all; the elect only are given access to grace by the faith that Calvi-god gives them.  

If you were in a locked room in a dungeon, would you rather "have access to the key" or need to "obtain access" to the key?  In the first one, the key is available, right in front of you, yours for the taking, and all you have to do is reach out and grab it.  But in the second, you don't have the key yet or have the ability to acquire the key, not until and unless you are granted access to it.  And in Calvinism, the guard will only grant access to those he has predestined to set free.  No one else will be granted access to the key or have the option/ability to be freed.  

One little word - "obtained" - subtly but surely changes the whole meaning.

So which is right?  The KJV or the ESV?

Well, if you look up the Greek for this verse (click here), I see nothing of the word "obtained."  In this link, you can see that out of all the uses of the Greek word for "we have," it's written (in the NASB translation) as "obtain/obtained" only 3 times, but it's "has/have/had" 497 times.  It's "have" or "obtained," not "have obtained."  For it to be that, like in the ESV, that word would have to be written twice, once for "have" and once for "obtained."  (Also, it says "have" is a primary verb, not a helping verb, and so it can't be used as "have obtained" anyway.)  Therefore, only one use of that word is most appropriate.  And according to Strong's concordance and the KJV, it's "have," which Strong's says is "to have, to hold, to possess," not to have to acquire or obtain.  And so I have to go with the KJV here.  "Access to grace by faith" is not something we have to go through another step to get, waiting for God to make it available to us or to grant us the ability to have it (which, in Calvinism, He only does for the elect).  "Access to grace by faith" - because of what Jesus did on the cross for all sins of all people - is something we already have.  It's already available to us all, right in front of us, there for the taking, and all we have to do is reach out and grab it.  

(So do you still think the ESV isn't a Calvinist Bible?)



#8:  In James 1:12, most versions put the responsibility in man's hands to "endure temptation," such as ...

"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).]



#11: Since we are on Romans 6, let's look at Romans 6:17.  Several versions say something like the King James does: "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered to you."  

But the ESV, among others, says "... have become obedient from the heart ..."

Why does this matter or make a difference?  

Because in the King James, "obeyed" is a verb, and it's clear that the people are doing the obeying.  They are responsible for obeying.  But in the ESV, "obedient" is an adjective that simply describes the people (as in "they have become obedient people"), but it doesn't say how or what caused them to be obedient.  So it's not necessarily that the people chose to obey, but that they somehow became obedient but are not necessarily responsible for it.  This opens the door to the Calvinist idea that the Holy Spirit causes the elect to become obedient, that our actions of obedience are God's choices and God's doing, and we have no control or influence over it.  It's like the difference between saying "I curled my hair" and "My hair became curly."  In the first, I curled it.  But in the second, it became curly but not necessarily by me or because of me.  Big difference!

The thing is, the concordance says that this Greek word is a verb.  And so therefore the King James is the correct translation.  The people did the obeying.  They were responsible for their choice to obey the Gospel.  It doesn't just happen to us, as Calvinism says.  

Notice even in the list of cross-reference verses on the right side of this page that it's always used in a way to show that the people themselves obeyed.  That they were responsible for their choice to obey.  Except in the ESV (and other similar translations) for two of the verses that talk about being obedient to the Gospel (Romans 6:17, as we already saw) and to the faith (Acts 6:7).  Similar to what happened with Romans 6:17, in Acts 6:7 the King James says "the priests were obedient to the faith".  But the ESV says "the priests became obedient to the faith."  

Why would the ESV change the usage of this word to "became obedient" only in passages that talk about our obedience to the faith (I looked up, in the ESV, the other verses that contain this Greek word), but it didn't make this change in the other uses of this word?  That's suspicious.

And you know why they did this?  Because Calvinists don't think we are ultimately responsible for our choice to obey.  In Calvinism, obedience happens to the elect when God regenerates their hearts to make them believe.  Whether we are obedient or not is not under our control.  So it's no wonder they would change "they obeyed" (which shows more personal responsibility) to "they became obedient" (which shows less responsibility, making it more about obedience happening to them instead of by them).



#12:  1 Peter 1:1-2 (NIV): "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God's elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood ..."

Let's see that in the KJV: "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.  Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ ..."

And now in the ESV"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood ..."

(This will be a little confusing, so hang in there with me.)

Calvinists use this passage to prove their idea that God elects/predestines certain people to heaven and the rest to hell.  But there are lots of factors at play in these verses - "elect/exiles, elect/chosen, God's foreknowledge, the work of the Spirit, obedience, etc."  And it's critical to tie the right things with the right things, to know what goes with what.  I'm gonna do my best to tell you how I think this passage should be understood.  

Notice how the NIV, with the use of the comma, indicates that "elect" simply means "exiles."  And these "exiles" were chosen (according to God's foreknowledge) for obedience to Jesus, and this obedience happens with the help of the Spirit.  To me, this sounds like God foreknew who would believe in Him, and He has chosen to help believers be obedient to Him with the help of the Holy Spirit.  It's about God choosing to help believers grow in Him, not about God choosing certain sinners to be saved, as Calvinists would say.

And the KJV doesn't say Peter is writing to the "elect," but to "strangers."  And it clarifies that the verb "elect" ("chosen" in the NIV) is about being elected/chosen for "obedience."  It ties "elect/chosen" with the actions of a person.  Those foreknown by God (believers, the "strangers/exiles" in this case) are elected/chosen for obedience.  If you are a true Spirit-filled believer, you are on a path that is destined to "obedience," where you will grow more and more obedient to God because the Holy Spirit helps you on your journey.  Once again this is not about God "electing" certain sinners unto "salvation," but about God electing those whom He foreknows (as His children, as true believers) to be obedient to Jesus, through the help of the Spirit.

But the ESV ties "elect" with the people, mashing "elect" with "exiles" into "the elect exiles."  This makes it sound like these exiles are part of "the elect group," those predestined for heaven.  This fits with Calvinism's idea that God elects certain people for salvation.  So instead of it being that believers are chosen to be obedient with the help of the Spirit, the ESV makes it that the people were elected (for salvation) through the work of the Spirit.  Big difference!

And the ESV sounds like it's tying "God's foreknowledge" simply to the fact that they would be exiles.  So it's not saying (like the other versions) that whomever God foreknows as believers are elected to obedience, but it's saying that God foreknew they would be exiles ... and that they are "elected exiles" ... and that it's the sanctification of the Holy Spirit that causes them to be obedient, which fits with their idea that people can only be obedient to God if the Holy Spirit regenerates them first.  And this only happens to those God "elected," predestined to heaven.

So according to the ESV (going right along with Calvinism), God simply foreknew they would be exiles, and they are "elect" exiles, meaning they were "chosen for salvation" and saved through the work of the Holy Spirit who regenerates them so that they can believe in Him.

But biblically, predestination isn't about whether we were chosen for heaven or hell.  It's about the path of a believer being "predestined."  If you choose to put your faith in Jesus, you will receive the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will help you walk the path that is marked out for all believers, a path that is destined to lead us to be more like Christ, to be more obedient, to bring God glory, and to reach eternal glory in the end.

As I said, the KJV calls them "strangers," not "elect exiles."  And according to Strong's concordance (with Vine's Expository Dictionary), this word "strangers" refers to those who are sojourning in a foreign land, away from their own people.  And in this verse, it's referring, metaphorically, to those who are residents of heaven but who are sojourning on earth.

The ESV's use of "elect exiles" is deceptive because "elect" in this verse has nothing to do with being chosen or predestined for salvation.  It's simply about them being "exiles," strangers wandering a strange land.  And in the other translations, "elect" has to do with being elected/chosen to obedience, not to salvation.

Calvinists make so much of the word "elect," but it's not what they think it is.  And this isn't a "predestined to heaven" passage at all. 



#13:  (updated)  Ephesians 1:13 (NIV):  "In him you were also included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation.  When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,"

Notice the order in this translation: They were "also" included in Christ after they heard the gospel and believed it, and then they were sealed with the Holy Spirit.  They hear, then believe, then are included in Christ/sealed with Holy Spirit.  This means they were not "included in Christ" and did not get the Spirit until after they heard and believed.  Salvation comes as a result of their belief.  I think this is the biblical order of things.

Here it is in the ESV"In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,"

The ESV leaves out the "also included in Christ" part.  Because in Calvinism, the "elect" people are essentially "in Christ" from before time began, sealed for salvation.  So there can be no "also included in Christ" at a later time, after believing.  However, this isn't too concerning because the verse itself, even in the ESV without the "also included in Christ" part, still shows that they weren't sealed in Jesus with the Holy Spirit until after they believed.  And this contradicts Calvinism's idea that the elect are prechosen/sealed from before time began and that the elect get the Holy Spirit before they believe, to cause them to believe.

In Calvinism, being saved and getting the Holy Spirit comes before believing, leading to belief.  But in the Bible, being saved and getting the Holy Spirit comes as a result of believing (John 7:39, Ephesians 1:13).

The NKJV puts it this way: "In him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,"

And the KJV also says "Holy Spirit of promise."  But the ESV (and even the NIV) switches "the Holy Spirit of promise" to "the promised Holy Spirit."  I don't necessarily have a problem with this too much just because God does promise to give the Holy Spirit to anyone who believes, but Calvinists could use "the promised Holy Spirit" to say that the Spirit was promised to these particular individuals because they were "predestined for salvation."  But since the concordance says that it's the noun "promise" (not an adjective "promised") then "the Holy Spirit of promise" is the correct translation.  

[Also of note, the ESV makes the same switch in Galatians 3:14.  The KJV says "that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith," but the ESV says "so that we might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith."  And in Calvinism, that's only for the elect.  But once again, "promise" is a noun, not an adjective, so the KJV is right and the ESV is wrong.]   

And what is the promise that the Spirit brings with Him?  

To redeem our bodies in the end, as seen in the next verse, Ephesians 1:14: "who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession..."  And in Ephesians 4:30: "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."  So it's not that some people are promised to be given the Holy Spirit; it's that God promises to redeem everyone who puts their faith in Jesus, with the Holy Spirit being the seal, the guarantee that it will happen.

For a little more on Ephesians:  Calvinists use Ephesians 1:4-5 to say that God predestined who will believe and who won't: "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will..."  

But, as we saw, Ephesians 1:13 shows that we aren't included "in Him" until after we believe, that believing is what gets us included "in Him" (whereas Calvinism incorrectly teaches that being prechosen to be "in Him" causes us to believe).  

And notice what Ephesians 1:4 says that we are chosen for?  

Those "in Him" (believers) are chosen to be holy and blameless.  (This is far different than Calvinism's belief that certain people are prechosen to be believers.)  And as we already know, we don't get included "in Him" until after we believe, as a result of our belief.  

Also Calvinists would say "predestined to be adopted as sons" means "prechosen to be believers."  But Romans 8:23 tells us what "adopted as sons" means, "the redemption of our bodies."  There's that promise of the Spirit, as confirmed in Ephesians 1:14"[the Holy Spirit] is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession..."

And so putting it all together:  After we choose to believe in Him, we get included in the "in Him" group, a group which is destined to be holy and blameless in God's sight (because we accepted Jesus's sacrifice on our behalf, letting His blood pay for our sins).  And after believing, we get the Holy Spirit, a promise that we (those who choose to believe) are destined to be redeemed.  

These are not verses about certain people being chosen to be believers; it's about believers (whoever chooses to believe in Jesus) being predestined to have their bodies redeemed and to be holy and blameless in God's sight.  

Big difference!

Calvinists think Ephesians supports their idea of predestination when it actually doesn't.  Tony Evans, in his study Bible for this verse, points out that Ephesians is a book about the corporate Church, church as a whole, not about individual Christian salvation.  The "choosing and electing" in this book doesn't refer to individual people, but to God's plan to establish a body of people "in Jesus" who will be part of His family and reflect Him to the world.  God predestined what happens to those "in Him," those who become part of His family, but He didn't predetermine who will be part of that family and who won't.  He leaves that choice up to us.  

The ultimate path a believer takes after they choose to be "in Him" is what is predetermined, not whether we become believers or not.  

You see, a God who offers salvation to all people but who determined that only those who accept His offer to be saved, to be "in Christ," will get the benefits of those "in Christ" can still be considered loving, good, holy, just, and trustworthy.  Because He offers the same opportunity to everyone to be saved but lets us make our own choice to accept it or reject it.  And so if we end up in hell, it's because we chose to reject His free gifts of grace, forgiveness, salvation, etc.

But a god who predetermined who goes to heaven and who doesn't, a god who only truly loved a few people enough to save them but who created the rest so that he could hate them and get glory for sending them to hell, a god who controls our choices and causes our sins but who punishes us for them, a god who never gave the non-elect the ability to believe in him (because Calvi-Jesus never died for their sins anyway) but who then punishes the non-elect in hell for all of eternity for their unbelief cannot truly be considered loving, good, holy, just, or trustworthy.  No matter how much Calvinists insist to the contrary.

If that's the kind of god Calvinists want to serve then I feel deeply sorry for them.  And I can't imagine what it will be like for them when they stand before the God of the Bible one day and He asks them, "Why would you teach people that that's the kind of God I am!?!  Oh, the damage you've done to My character and My gospel!"



#14:  Romans 1:5-6 (KJV):  "By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name; among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ."

What is Paul saying he (they) are called for?  

To be obedient, to be apostles (people who share the Gospel with others).  Being "called" is about believers being commanded to be obedient to the Gospel in front of all people and to share the Gospel with others like an apostle.  (Actually, the concordance says "called" is along the lines of "invited.")  Being "called" is not about being chosen for salvation but about believers being called (invited) to do a job, to represent Jesus to the people.  (Also see 1 Corinthians 1:1: "called to be an apostle," not to be saved.  And Romans 1:7 says "called to be saints."  In the concordance, "saints" is about how you conduct yourself, setting yourself apart from sin, being obedient to God, cleansing yourself from sin, living a holy life, etc.  It's about your behavior, your choices, about how God expects believers to live, not about God choosing certain people to be believers.)

Now watch it get off-track here, in the NIV: "Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name's sake.  And you are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ."

First off, in the KJV, Paul is saying that they themselves are called to be obedient apostles (obedient to the faith, spreading the Gospel), and that the Gentile believers he's writing to are part of that group, called to be obedient apostles.  But in the NIV, Paul is telling them that they have to call other Gentiles to obedience.  In the KJV, it's a statement about their own call/responsibilities, but in the NIV it's a statement about what they are to tell others to do.  

Secondly, in the NIV, Paul says the Gentiles he is writing to have been "called to belong to Jesus" (instead of called to be "obedient apostles," as the KJV teaches).  This is starting to get a bit more Calvinistic (as I said earlier, the NIV is also quite Calvinistic in some places), because it sounds like they were "chosen for salvation" and like Paul is saying that they need to call other "chosen ones" to obedience too.  But as we saw in the KJV, it's not that those Gentiles were called to belong to Jesus; it's that they, being believers, are called to be obedient to Jesus and to be apostles, spreading the Gospel.  

And thirdly, it says that obedience comes from faith (which could be used to support Calvinism's idea that God gives the elect the faith to believe, and that the faith makes them be obedient).  But the KJV says that they are to be obedient to the faith, that it's part of our responsibility as Christians.  

But even with these problems, the good thing about the NIV is that it says that we are to call "all Gentiles" to obedience, to Jesus, essentially opening the door of salvation up to all people.  (However, Calvinism would agree that we are to call all people to salvation, but they would say that only the elect can respond to that call.)

But now let's see the ESV"through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ."

Now I believe we have full-on Calvinism.  Not only does this version get rid of the idea of "calling all Gentiles to be obedient," but it also changes the message from believers being called to be obedient apostles, in front of all people, for Jesus's sake ... to them having to "bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations."   

Let's break this phrase down:

In the ESV here, it's not that believers are called to be obedient apostles, but it's that their job is to "bring about the obedience of faith."  

And who, in Calvinism, are the only ones who can be and will be obedient because of faith?  

That's right ... the elect, those predestined for faith/salvation, the only ones Calvi-god gives faith to.

The KJV attaches "obedience to the faith" to Paul and the Gentile believers he's writing to.  They (and all believers) are commanded to be obedient to the faith.  It's what they are to do, how they are to live, the choices they should make.  

But to "bring about the obedience of faith" is a completely different thing.  "To bring about the ..." implies bringing about something that is already determined, already planned.  And in the Calvinist ESV, it's bringing about an obedience that comes from faith, a faith that leads to obedience.  

In Calvinism, God has predestined the "elect" for salvation, and He gives them  - and only them - the kind of faith (saving faith) that leads to obedience.  And they can only be obedient after the Holy Spirit "wakes them up inside," changes their natures, and causes them to believe when He instills in them the saving faith God predestined them to get.  I believe that's what this ESV's "bringing about the obedience of faith" is about.  It's about Paul simply "activating" the predestined faith of the elect, which will cause them to be "obedient."  

So in the KJV, obedience is what believers are called to do.  But in the ESV, it's just "brought about" by evangelizing to the elect to make them realize their predestined election.  

And so the ESV, through the lens of Calvinism, is saying that Paul and the believers he's writing to were "called to belong to Jesus" (elected/predestined for faith/salvation/apostleship/to receive grace) and that this is what brings about their "obedience of faith" (when the elect get their predestined faith, it changes their natures and causes them to become obedient), and that it's their job to be apostles to other people to help "bring about the obedience of faith" in other elected people too.

Also of note: "Called" in the Greek, in Romans 1:6, is an adjective, but the ESV changes it to a verb, using it as "God called the people to belong to Jesus," as if that's how they became saved, which in Calvinism describes only the elect.  But since it's an adjective, it should be more like the KJV, which is "you are the called [people/saints] of Jesus."  It's not a statement about how they became saved, but it's describing them, that they are "called people" of Jesus, which according to the definition of the Greek word would basically mean "invited people."  And in this case, in the KJV, we saw it's about being invited to grace and apostleship and obedience to faith.  It's not about being "called to belong to Jesus, being predestined for salvation," as Calvinism would say.  Notice also that in the Greek sentences, there are no words for the ESV's "to belong to" or "to bring about."  These are additions that are not in the original Greek, further proof that the ESV is wrong and the King James is right. 

And notice that the KJV attaches "for [Jesus's] name" to the behavior of Paul and the Gentile believers, to their obedience and apostleship among the people, meaning that Jesus is glorified when believers live as obedient apostles in front of other people.  But the ESV attaches "the sake of his name among all the nations" to the bringing about of the "obedience of faith," meaning that Jesus is glorified in front of all people when the elect become saved as they were predestined to be.  

Do you see the difference?

You'll notice, in the link to this verse, that the translations all word this verse slightly different, giving many different meanings to it.  What were they called for?  Is obedience what we do or is it just "brought about"?  What happens "for the sake of his name"?  Are all Gentiles called or not?  Are we the "called of Jesus" (called to be obedient apostles of Jesus) or "called to belong to Jesus"?

Be careful what translation you use.  Always compare one against another, and use a concordance to help you understand words.  

[When you do this, you see that "receive" in this verse isn't a passive thing, as though they passively received grace and apostleship by sitting there and letting the Spirit instill it in them.  "Receive" basically means to seize, to claim, to take possession of, to reach out and grab ahold of something that is offered to you.  Grace and salvation is offered to all of us, but only those who actively reach out and grab it, who accept it, will get it.  It's available to everyone - "For the grace of God that bringing salvation hath appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11) - but it's up to us to grab ahold of it for ourselves.  Yet Calvinism would have us believe that we can do nothing to get salvation, not even choose to believe in Jesus on our own, that it's God's choice who gets saved and that it's the Spirit's job to "bring it about," to instill saving faith in the elect.  But the Bible, all throughout, says "believe and receive," which according to the concordance means that we are to be persuaded by the Truth and to choose to commit to it, to actively grab ahold of the grace and salvation that is offered to us all.  But Calvinism says we can't decide to do these things, that God has to cause it to happen in the elect.  And so I wonder ... How many people can really be saved the Calvinist way when it teaches that we can't do the one thing God tells us to do to be saved?  I think Calvinists will be surprised when they stand before God and He says, "I said that you have to choose to believe.  And I meant what I said!"]

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.

But the ESV gives a very different message and Gospel, a very Calvinist one, that God has already decided who will belong to Him and who won't, and that (since we have no control over our choices) all we can do is help "bring about" the predestined faith of the elect.   

And the little changes in this introduction to Romans makes it a book not for everyone (not everyone can choose to receive the grace God offers or to become obedient apostles), but only for those who were "called to belong to Jesus," those who were predestined by God to be given the "obedience of faith," the elect!



#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!



#16:  Another small (or big) thing is Titus 3:4.  Most versions, including the KJV, word is something like this: “the kindness and love of God our Savior to man/mankind appeared.”

But the ESV leaves out the “man/mankind” part, making it sound like God’s love was only for the believers Paul was writing to.

Titus 3:4-7 (King James): “But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works which we had done in righteousness, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Christ Jesus our Savior; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs to the hope of eternal life.”

The King James Version makes it sound like God’s love is for all mankind, and that because of His love for mankind, God offers salvation to us, through His mercy and Jesus’s death and the work of the Spirit.  All of this is shed abundantly (on mankind) so that we might have eternal life.  Of course, only those who choose to accept God’s offer of eternal life – by believing in Jesus - will get it.  But since God’s love for all mankind is what caused Him to offer salvation in the first place, then the offer of salvation is for all mankind.

But here it is in the ESV: “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Notice how by eliminating God’s love for “mankind,” the ESV limits all of this - God’s love, mercy, Jesus’s sacrifice, the offer of the Holy Spirit, the hope of eternal life – only to the believers Paul is writing to.  In the ESV, God’s love appeared, but not to all mankind.  Instead, it appeared for “us,” to save “us.”  Because God loves “us,” He had mercy on us and saved us (and only us) by richly pouring out “on us” the Holy Spirit, through Jesus’s death, so that we (and we alone) could have eternal life.

The KJV starts with God loving “mankind.”  And because of His love for mankind, He has mercy on and offers eternal life to mankind, to all men.  This fits neatly with the rest of Scripture as a whole, that God loves all, wants all to be saved, that Jesus died for all sins, all men, and that we are responsible for our decision about Jesus.

But the ESV doesn't include “mankind,” limiting it all to “us,” the believers.  The “elect.”  This fits neatly with their Calvinist TULIP theology, that God only truly loves the elect and that He gives only the elect the Holy Spirit to cause them to be believers, but that the non-elect never had a chance because God didn’t love them, Jesus didn’t die for them, and the Holy Spirit was never available to them because God created them for hell.

The thing is, I looked this up in the Greek, in Strong’s concordance, and the word “mankind” is part of the word lovingkindness.  It’s included in the definition, that God’s lovingkindness is for all of mankind.  It’s a generalized love, for all men, not a specific love for just a few.  So even if the ESV leaves out “mankind” to limit it only to believers, the original word itself includes “mankind,” proving that God’s love is for all.  And if His offer of eternal life stems from His love, then the offer of eternal life is for all mankind too.

One other small note to confirm this is Titus 3:8 (KJV): “This is a faithful saying … that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.”

Paul notes that there are those who believe (and, therefore, there are those who don’t believe).  But nowhere do we get the sense, as Calvinists would say, that God causes the believers to believe, that God predestined what we think and do and believe, that we have no control over it.

Instead (contrary to the Calvinist belief that God preplans, causes, and controls all we do), this verse clearly implies that we believers are responsible for how we behave, for the good works we do.  We have major influence/control over our behavior, our choices.  And if we have major influence/control over our behavior - if we are responsible for what we do – then we also have control over and are responsible for what we think and believe.  We cannot have no control over our beliefs while, at the same time, having control over our actions.  That wouldn’t make sense.

I point this out to show that if Paul says we have control over our actions, then we have control over our beliefs too, which means that Titus 3:4-7 cannot be interpreted in a Calvinist way.  It cannot be that God controls who believes and who doesn’t, that the “elect” have no influence/control over their decision to believe in Jesus, or that the Holy Spirit “forces” them to believe and be saved.

Calvinism doesn’t make sense, doesn’t fit with the whole of Scripture, and can’t truly harmonize verses about our responsibilities to manage our behavior and choose whom we will serve with their view that God preplans, causes, controls all we think and do, and that we can’t do anything about it.

And if the Bible says one thing but Calvinism says another, then Calvinism is wrong!  (Little changes add up to BIG differences!)



#17: 1 Peter 1:3 in most versions says either that God “gave us new birth into a living hope” or that He “begotten us again into a lively hope.”  But the ESV is one of the only ones to say “caused us to be born again to a living hope.”  It’s one thing to “give” someone something but it’s another to “cause” them to do something.  And to “cause” someone to “be born again” is very much a Calvinist concept.  (However, this verse is about God regenerating believers, about believers – those who choose to put their faith in Jesus - being born into a “living hope.”  It’s not about God regenerating non-believers, forcing them to be born again, or about Him causing certain pre-selected people to be born into eternal life.  It’s about the promise of hope for believers, not about salvation being forced on pre-selected unbelievers.)



#18:  Romans 10:10 (I found this one in this post) is worded this way in the KJV: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  This is basically saying that believing leads to righteousness, confession leads to salvation.  Believe in order to be saved.  But the ESV says “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”  This seems like a small distinction, but it’s not.  Worded this way makes it sounds not like believing leads to salvation, but that they happen simultaneously, as if believing is the same as being justified and as if confessing is the same as being saved.  This would fit the Calvinist idea that belief does not precede salvation.  In Calvinism, you are “chosen for salvation” first, then the Holy Spirit wakes up (enters) the chosen ones, then they believe.  In Calvinism, belief does not lead to salvation, but believing happens because the elect are already saved (chosen for salvation by God from before time began).  But the KJV words it in such a way that belief comes before being saved, belief leads to being saved.  Big difference!



#19:  Romans 13:2: Most versions say that the person who rebels against authority will bring judgment “to/upon themselves,” clearly emphasizing that the person is responsible for their actions and for inviting the consequences.  However, the ESV is one of the few that leaves off “to/upon themselves,” simply saying that they will “incur judgment.”  This falls in line with Calvinism, that the person will be judged for their behavior even though they didn’t (had no ability to) bring it on themselves.  Because in Calvinism, God is the one who controls what we do and so, therefore, no person can really be said to bring anything on themselves.



#20: Psalm 54:6:  Most versions emphasize that David willingly/freely offered sacrifices to God, such as the KJV “I will freely sacrifice unto thee.”  The action of sacrificing is what David is doing freely, voluntarily.  But the ESV says “With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you.”  This makes it sound like it's the title of the offering, a "freewill offering," but does not necessarily emphasize the fact the David gave it voluntarily, freely.  This word "freely" is a noun in the original language, but it's meant to emphasize the voluntariness of what's being done, of the offering, which the ESV fails to do compared to the KJV.  Calvinists do not like the idea of people “choosing” to do anything voluntarily, as if we have real choice, which they don’t think we do.  (Their idea of “freely choosing what we want to do” is that God causes us to desire to do certain things and then we “decide” to do them.  However, in Calvinism, we have no ability to resist, to not do what Calvi-god causes us to want to do.  And that’s not a choice at all!)



#21: Genesis 2:16:  In almost every version, it says that Adam and Eve can “freely” eat from the trees in the garden, all but the forbidden one.  But the ESV is the only one to say “surely.”  Why?  (We know why!)



#22:  In the KJV, Philippians 3:9 reads “… the righteousness which is of God by faith.”  This clearly implies that “righteousness” comes by faith, through our faith in Him.  In the original Greek, the “by” in this verse is actually “on the basis of, on account of, etc.”  (Find the meaning for this particular verse, "on account of," in B.2.a under the heading "Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Strongs NT 1909.")  Our righteousness is on account of, because of, a result of, our faith.  And most other versions echo this, saying “based on” or “on the basis of.”

However, the ESV is one of the very few translations that changes it to “the righteousness of God that depends on faith.”

First off, is “by faith” or “on the basis of faith” so confusing that they had to change it to “depends on faith,” which is actually less clear in meaning?

Secondly, “depends on” changes the causal relationship between faith and righteousness.  “Depends on” is simply about something resting/relying on something else, but it has nothing to do with being the result of it, whereas “by/on the basis of” means that righteousness comes to us because of our faith.

Why does this matter?  In Calvinism, God prechose, from the beginning of time, who will be righteous (saved) and who won’t.  Therefore, essentially, righteousness actually precedes faith.  The elect get faith because they were prechosen, predestined, for righteousness.  Faith comes second.

But in the KJV (and other versions), it’s clear that faith comes first, that righteousness is because of, the result of, having faith.  Altering the causal relationship (the fact that faith comes before righteousness) allows for the Calvinist idea that faith comes after being chosen for righteousness.

No wonder Calvinists would downplay this, because if faith comes first then that would contradict the Calvinist view of predestination - that God prechose, predestined, who would believe, that He saved them before they ever had faith.  And if God doesn’t predestine who believes in Him then that means we choose whether or not we believe in Him.  And Calvinists can't have people running around thinking that faith is a choice we make, that it's up to us whether we believe and are saved or not.



#23-24:  Here are two from Deuteronomy.  In Deut. 30:10, almost all of the older translations say something like the KJV does: "If you obey God and keep His commands and if you turn to the Lord ..." (paraphrased), but the ESV is one of the very few translations that says "when you" instead of "if you."  Why?  I'm guessing because "if" implies choice.  It implies that they could choose to not do these things.  And Calvinists don't think we have a choice about whether or not we obey God.  And so saying "when" takes away free-will and choice (personal responsibility and decision), and it allows them to incorporate their idea that God causes the obedient to be obedient, in His timing.

And then there's Deut. 30:16.  Here it is in the KJV: "In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that though mayest live and multiply; and the Lord thy God will bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it."  Notice that in the translation (as well as in almost all the others), it basically says "I command you to love God, to walk in obedience, and to keep his commandments."  Moses is commanding the people to do these things.  And commands are meant to be obeyed.  The people have to make the choice whether or not to obey these commands.  

But here it is in the ESV: "If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments ..."  This is very different.  

In the other translations, loving God and keeping His commandments are commands meant to be obeyed.  But in the ESV, they are the result of, evidence of, if they obey the commandments or not.  They are characteristics of obedient people.  In Calvinism, this verse could be understood more like this: "If you're obeying the commandments I give you today, as evidenced by loving Him, walking in His ways, and keeping His commandments, then you will live and multiply."  

Yes, I know I just said "if" implies choice (and you may think this is nit-picking), but my concern here is this: Why would the ESV (and practically only the ESV) take away the "I command you to ..." from the "love God and keep his commandments"?  Why would they essentially change "love God and keep His commandments" from commands meant to be obeyed to simply being evidence of whether they are obedient people or not?  

The thing is - as I have seen time and time again in Calvinism - they have actually reversed the biblical order of things.  It's a very subtle tactic of Satan's to take a biblical idea and invert it, using biblical words and ideas to sound accurate, but in reverse, so no one notices the deception.  They do this with the biblical truth that if we believe in Jesus then we will get the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).  They reverse it to say that if we get the Holy Spirit then we will believe (which, in Calvinism, happens only to the elect).  Two biblical ideas, just inverted.  And it totally changes truth into lies.  

And in the Deuteronomy verse here, they invert loving God and obedience.  Biblically, if we love God, we will obey Him.  Our obedience is evidence of our love for Him (John 14:15,21,23, 1 John 5:3, 2 John 1:6).  And loving Him is the choice we need to make.  (Love that is forced is not love anymore.  It has to be voluntary.)  But in this verse, the ESV has inverted it, saying that if we obey God, we will show love for Him.  In the ESV, love is the evidence that we are obeying Him.  Same concepts, just inverted, leading to a different message.  (When a theology is so full of nits, you have to nit-pick to get them all out.  Any nits that are left will just reproduce.)

They have taken away the command to love God, a very "salvation" thing, a choice, and basically turned "love God" into evidence of obedient people ... which, in Calvinism, is determined by God and proves you are elect.  If you take away the command to "love God," then you take away our ability/responsibility to make a choice about loving God.
             


#25-33:  I found the following verses in this post (be careful, though, b3ecause “Presbyterian” is generally code for "Calvinist," which makes me even more impressed that they would write so strongly against the ESV).  It’s very long and very in-depth (and I’ll have to read it again more slowly to understand what I couldn’t grasp the first time around), but I am putting this all here for your consideration as you contemplate the validity of the ESV.  (FYI: There are other translations that do the same thing the ESV does with these verses, based on what manuscripts they use for their translations.  And I will leave it up to you to study for yourselves which is the most reliable and faithful to the truth.  But I am only comparing the ESV to the KJV right now.  And these don’t necessarily relate to Calvinism, per se; I just found them intriguing and a bit concerning.):

1 John 4:3 in the KJV: “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not from God.”  And in the ESV: “and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.”  Why take out “Christ” and “is come in the flesh”?  Most people, non-believers, will admit that Jesus lived, that He was real.  But they will deny that Jesus “Christ” lived – that Jesus was the Christ, that He was God in the flesh.  To “not confess Jesus” is far different than “not confessing that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.”

In John 3:16, the KJV says “he gave his only begotten Son,” but the ESV says “he gave his only Son.”  In Greek, “begotten” means “unique, one of a kind, only.”  But keep in mind that there are others in the Bible who are called “sons” of God (Adam in Luke 3:38, angels in Job 1:6, Christians in Philippians 2:15), so it isn’t accurate to call Jesus God’s “only” Son.  And simply saying “only Son” does not emphasize Jesus’s uniqueness among these other “sons.”  But to say “only begotten Son” sets Jesus apart from all these other sons; He is the only “unique, one of a kind” Son.  This emphasizes His divine nature, which makes Him different than any other “son” of God.  If you take out “begotten,” you reduce Jesus’s divinity and contradict the other passages that call other people “sons of God.”

1 John 5:7 (KJV): “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”  And in the ESV: “For there are three that testify” and that’s it, no mention of the Trinity.  Why?

Galatians 3:1 (KJV): “Oh foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth…?”  And in the ESV: “O foolish Galatians!  Who has bewitched you?”  This seems like a pretty significant thing to leave out.  It’s not just that they were “bewitched,” but that it led to them not obeying the truth.

Romans 8:1 (KJV): “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  And in the ESV: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  This also seems like a significant omission, the clarification that there is no condemnation for those in Christ who are walking in the Spirit, not in the flesh.  But to leave this out implies that there is no condemnation at all for anyone who believes, regardless of how you walk.  And while I would say this is right in the eternal sense (which is how I’ve always read it), is it accurate to make this claim for the time we live on earth?  Will we not bring condemnation – bad consequences - on ourselves if we drift from the Lord and walk in the flesh?  So which version is right?  I guess that depends on which source you base your translation on (and that’s a whole other topic and study which I am just now looking into).

Acts 8:37, in response to a eunuch who asked to be baptized (KJV): “And Philip said, ‘If thou believest with all thine heart, though mayest.’  And he [the eunuch] answered and said, “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God.’”  And here it is in the ESV: “…”  There is no Acts 8:37 in the ESV (along with the other translations that use the same manuscripts the ESV does).

Matthew 18:11 (KJV): “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.”  And in the ESV: “…”  There is no Matthew 18:11 in the ESV.

Matthew 5:22 (KJV): “… whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…”  And in the ESV: “… everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.”  Leaving off “without a cause” makes a huge difference in meaning.  (And the person who wrote the post I found this in points out that it makes Jesus liable for judgment because Jesus Himself got angry.)

Luke 9:55-56 (KJV): “But he turned and rebuked them and said, ‘Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.  For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.’  And they went to another village.”  And in the ESV: “But he turned and rebuked them.  And they went on to another village.”  Hmm?



#34:  This one (found in the same post as #24) is quite interesting, baffling, and more than a bit disturbing.  It's not particularly Calvinistic, just disturbing.

Philippians 2:6 in the KJV: “Who [Jesus], being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”  This is saying that Jesus did not think He was wrong to consider Himself equal with God, that He was not robbing God of His glory by claiming He is God because He Himself is God, in the flesh.  
            
But here it is in the ESV: “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.”  This is saying the exact opposite, that Jesus did not consider Himself to be equal with God.  What’s that about!?!  Based on this verse alone, I would say the ESV is wrong to use whatever manuscripts they used for their translating (along with others who use the same ones).  Jesus clearly did not think it wrong to claim divinity, that He was equal with God.  In fact, it would be wrong for Jesus to deny His divinity!  But despite His divinity, He left His heavenly dwelling to come here to earth and put on human flesh so that He could die for us.  But the ESV (among others) says that Jesus did not consider Himself able to be equal with God but came to earth as a man.  Big, weird difference!  
            
[To be honest, I always thought "not counting equality with God something to be grasped" was just a way to stress Jesus's humility, that He was being super humble to not demand to stay in heaven but that He decided to give up heaven for awhile to come down here in a human body, for our sakes.  I always just figured it was teaching that if Jesus, who is God, is that humble, then we should be humble too.  And I would be okay with that interpretation of it.  But once I saw that the KJV had a completely different message, now I'm not okay with it, with the changes they made to the meaning of that verse.  And now I don't see it as being a verse about "super humility," but a verse about Jesus denying His divinity.  And this is disturbing to me and makes me totally question the reliability of any translation that uses the manuscripts that say this.  If I have to choose which one is more right, I am going with the KJV over all these newer ones.  Because Jesus could never deny His divinity.] 

   

#35:  Now I found this one a bit interesting because I think the ESV and KJV both get it wrong (the ESV more so).  In 1 Corinthians 1:2, the KJV says "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord..."  This "called to be saints" could sound like Calvinism's idea of election.  But the ESV is even more Calvinistic because it strategically removes a comma and words it this way: "To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..."

The ESV ties "called to be saints" together with "all those who call on Jesus," making it sound like all who call on Jesus do so because they were were called (in Calvinism: prechosen, elected, predestined) to be believers.  At least the KJV has a comma between the two, making it more about 1 Corinthians being a letter to the church of Corinth (the sanctified saints there), as well as to all others everywhere who have called on Christ and been sanctified in Christ.  In the ESV, it's that they've all been "called to be saints" together, but in the KJV, it's that they've all been "sanctified" together because they all call on Jesus. 

However, even though "called to be saints" would make Calvinists very happy because it makes it sound like they were elected to be saved, chosen to be believers, when you look up the Greek for this sentence, you see the word is not "saints" but "holy."  And it's not a noun, but an adjective, meaning to be different, set apart, sacred.  But since both the ESV and KJV seem to use it as a noun, saying that they were called to be saints, they are both wrong (the ESV more so).  It should be more like "called to be holy people," which is what "saints" implies and stands for - "holy people," not "(predestined) believers in Christ" as Calvinists would use it.  So it's not that we are called to be something (a believer, noun); it's that believers are called to be a certain kind of people (holy, adjective).  This verse does not support Calvinist "election," but it's about how all believers should act and live.  We are all called to be holy because we all call on Jesus as Lord and are sanctified by Him.  And this is who Paul is writing to.



#36:  1 Thessalonians 1:4 in the KJV: "Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God."

Now in the ESV: "For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you."

In the KJV, they know of their "election," but the ESV changes the wording to make it sound much more Calvinistic, as if God deliberately and specifically chose them, which Calvinists would interpret as choosing them to be believers, to be saved.  

According to the concordance, "election" is about God choosing to bless certain people, but there is no mention of Him choosing to save certain people.  And if you look up some other verses where this word is used, you'll see that Paul was chosen for the job of being an apostle to the Gentiles (not to be saved, but to be an apostle, Acts 9:15), that Jacob was chosen to be the bloodline that brought Jesus into the world (Romans 9:11), that God chose a remnant of Jews by grace (Romans 11:5, but see in 11:4 the example of how He chooses, by letting the people choose first whom they will worship and then He chooses those who did not worship other gods, so it's not an arbitrary "choosing" but that God chooses to bless those who choose Him, who don't reject Him... and, to be accurate, if you go back to 1 Kings 19:14-18, you see that it's about God choosing Israelites not to be believers but to be spared from death so they can be prophets alongside Elijah), that it's specifically about the favored role God gave Israel (Romans 11:28), etc. 

It's not about "God has chosen you [for salvation]", as Calvinists would interpret it.  It's about being given certain roles/jobs by God.  It's not about God choosing who will be a believer, but about God choosing to give believers certain roles or blessings.  

And according to the Greek, "election" is a noun, but the ESV has strategically changed it to a verb.  And so once again, the KJV is right and the ESV is wrong.  



#37:  Another small (but not so small) change is in 1 Thessalonians 2:13.  The KJV ends it like this: "... the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."  But the ESV says "... in you believers."  

This may seem like mincing words, but ... in "you that believe," the person is doing the action of believing (verb), putting the responsibility to believe, the choice to believe, in the people's hands, which opens up the option of believing to all.  But the ESV changes it to "you believers" (noun), making it more about being a kind of person.  And in Calvinism, you are either an unbelieving non-elect person (predestined for hell) or a believing elect person (predestined for heaven), and no one gets a choice about it because God has already predetermined our "choice" for us.  So it's no wonder the ESV would remove the idea that the people do the action of believing (have the responsibility to believe) and make it more about being (or not being) a "believer," as if we have no control over it and it's already predetermined.

And so who's right here?  The ESV or the KJV?  As the Greek shows, the word "believe" is a verb, not a noun.  So once again, the ESV is wrong and the KJV is right.  It's that the people do the believing (the door to believe is open to all), not that we either are or are not believers based on what we were predestined for.  

[The ESV also makes the same change - verb to noun - in (at least) 1 Thessalonians 2:10, Acts 5:14 (unfortunately even the KJV changes it to a noun here), 1 Peter 1:21 and Acts 19:18.  Changing it from a verb to a noun ultimately changes it from what you choose to do to who you are, which in Calvinism is "who God made/predestined you to be".]



#38:  A similar change is in Philippians 3:19.  The KJV: "Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things."  In the Greek, "mind" is a verb.  In the KJV, the people do the act of minding earthly things.  But the ESV changes it to a noun: "... with minds set on earthly things."  

In the ESV, the people don't mind earthly things; their minds are set on earthly things.  This fits more with Calvinism because, in Calvinism, we don't get to choose or have control over what we set our minds on or think about.  In Calvinism, we don't do the act of minding anything because our minds are set for us, by God, according to what He predestined for us.  The minds of the non-elect are set on sin, and the minds of the elect are set on spiritual things.  And there's nothing we can do to change it.  

Changing it from a verb to a noun takes away our choice, our responsibility, to influence what we think, think about, or pursue.  It makes us slaves to what our minds tell us to think, to whatever God sets our minds on (in Calvinism).  But since the Greek says it's a verb, we know which translation is the right one.

[I wonder how many changes one can make to the word of God before it ceases to be the word of God.]



#39:  Let's mince some more words.  In the KJV, 2 Timothy 1:9 says "Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."  

But the ESV says "who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began."  

Notice that the ESV leaves out the comma that the KJV puts between "saved us" and "called us with a holy calling."  If there's a comma, it separates the two, showing that the "holy calling" is what goes with "not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace."  God has called anyone who believes in Jesus to do holy jobs/tasks, to be faithful workers for His kingdom.  And He doesn't call us to do these things based on us (our own plans and wisdom and power and works), but based on His purposes and grace.   

However, taking out the comma, like the ESV does, bundles the "saved us" together with the "holy calling," making it so that Calvinists can say that "God saved us because of His purposes and grace."  

And even the "because of" stresses Calvinist election, that God saved them because of His purposes and grace, that He had His own mysterious reasons for "electing" them to be saved, from before time began ... instead of what it should be, that "God called them with a holy calling, according to His purposes and grace."  

And I think even the "called to a holy calling" is more Calvinist than "called with a holy calling."  If I called you with a cry for help, I would be asking you to do something for me, telling you what I want you to do.  But if I called you to a cry for help, then I would be summoning you to come to a certain place where someone needs help.  One is about instructions, and the other is about destination.  In the KJV, the call is holy; God calls them with a holy calling, holy invitation/instructions to do Kingdom work.  But in the ESV, the destination is holy; God calls them to come to a certain place, a holy destination.  Calvinist could use this ESV verse to say that the elect are called to be saved, to eternal life, because God purposed it that way and gave them (and only them) His grace.

An all-around different message.



#40:  The end of 2 Peter 2:12 in the KJV reads "... and shall utterly perish in their own corruption," emphasizing that the people brought on their destruction by their own corruption.  

But the ESV says "... will also be destroyed in their destruction," which is just redundant, saying that they'll be destroyed in their destruction (well, duh, of course destruction will destroy you!), taking away the idea of personal responsibility, that they brought their destruction on themselves because of their own corruption.  

Strong's concordance defines the word used for "destruction/corruption" as "corruption, destruction, decay, rottenness, decomposition."  And it says that 2 Peter 2:12 is speaking of moral decay.  So it's not just that they are destroyed because of their destruction (which really makes no sense), but because of their own moral decay.  And this is more in line with free-will than Calvinism. 



#41:  Personal responsibility is also downplayed in 2 Peter 2:14.  The KJV says that the people have a "heart they have exercised with covetous practices."  But the ESV simply says "they have hearts trained in greed."  The KJV is clear that the people trained their hearts, but the ESV simply says they have hearts which are trained.  

But by whom?  

Once again, in Calvinism, God gives you the heart He wants you to have, which comes with the desires He wants you to have, which causes you to choose what you choose.  And this verse, in Calvinism, could simply mean that they were given hearts (from God) trained to be greedy (preset to be greedy) so that they would choose to be greedy.  Whereas in the KJV, it's clear that the people trained their own hearts to be greedy.  Small difference in wording, big difference in implications.



#42:  This one isn't major, but it's a tiny tweak that bolsters their theology.  Romans 3:24 in the KJV is "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."  In the ESV, it reads: "and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."  

While the ESV isn't technically wrong here, there is a different connotation between "freely" and "as a gift."  To be "justified freely" because of God's grace and Jesus's sacrifice means that you - that anyone - can grab onto those things without cost, without having to earn it.  But the ESV turns justification by God's grace it into "a gift," from something you can do to something you have to be given.  This allows Calvinists to use it to support their idea that God gives certain people (the elect) the gift of faith, of salvation, which then allows them to say that this verse is only about the elect.  

Romans 3:23-24 (paraphrased for Calvinism): "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and some are justified by his grace as a gift (which we know is given only to the elect), through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."  

"Freely" suggests it's available to all people, free for the taking.  But "as a gift" (in Calvinism) means God chooses who to give it to, and He only gives it to the elect.  In Calvinism, it's not free for all or available to all; it's a gift given to/forced on a few.   

 

#43:  Another small tweak in Romans is in the next verse, Romans 3:25.  

KJV: "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins..."

ESV: "whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.  This was to show God's righteousness..." 

The KJV sounds more "free/available to all," like it did in Romans 3:24.  It's saying that if we have faith in Jesus's blood, He will be the propitiation for our sins.  But the ESV separates "faith" from "in his blood."  It changes it from "having faith in His blood makes Him our propitiation" to "His blood is the propitiation, and you get it by faith."  So in Calvinism, it's not that you - that anyone - can have "faith in His blood" and be saved; it's that only those who are given the "gift of faith" (by God) are able to receive Jesus's propitiation of blood.



#44:  Another Romans one is Romans 4:11.  The KJV says that Abraham "received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had."  But the ESV says "He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith ..."

In the KJV, he has a righteous faith.  But in the ESV, he has righteousness that he got by faith.  So which is it?  (Once again, I'd say that this isn't a huge difference or that it has majorly different meanings, but it's a small tweak to more strongly support Calvinism.)  

To say that Abraham had a "righteous faith" sounds like he had an impact on the trueness, the genuineness, of his faith.  His faith was up to him, in his hands.  But to change it to "he got righteousness through faith" (paraphrase) takes Abraham's faith out of his hands and puts it in God's hands, supporting the Calvinist idea that God gives the elect the "gift of faith," which leads to them (and only them) being declared righteous.



#45-53:  I pointed out earlier several times when the ESV changed "believe" (verb) to "believers" (noun), making it less about what someone chooses to do and more about who they are (or as Calvinists would say, "who God predestined them to be").

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 and believe," meaning that they rejected a legitimate offer/chance to obey and 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'.



#54-56:  I already looked at this verse earlier, but I want to consider a different part of it: Romans 1:5-6 (KJV):  "By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name; among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ."

And here it is again in the ESV"through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ."

The KJV attaches "obedience to the faith" to "the nations," I believe as a way to say that God wants all nations, all people, to come to faith through the gospel.  But notice that the ESV attaches "for the sake of his name" to "the nations," making it more about God simply wanting His name to be glorified among the nations.  

I bring this up because I noticed the same change in Romans 16:26.  The KJV says "but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith."  God's purpose for the scriptures (the gospel) was to lead all nations to faith (as in "all people everywhere").  

But the ESV again separates "faith" from "the nations," saying instead "but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith."  The ESV seems to say just that the writings have been made known to all nations to bring about faith (once again, in Calvinism, "bringing about" would simply be activating what was predestined, the "obedience of faith" of the elect), but not necessarily that God wrote the scriptures to bring about faith in all nations (as in "all people everywhere").  Maybe this isn't significant, but it stood out to me because it seems like the ESV keeps trying to separate "faith" from "the nations," for some reason.

And to show you this isn't a fluke, The ESV does something similar again in Colossians 1:6.  The KJV says "[the gospel] which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringing forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth".  But the ESV says "[the gospel] which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing - as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth."

According to the KJV, the gospel has come to them and to all the world.  But according to the ESV, the gospel has come to them.  Why leave out that the gospel came to all the world too?

Also note that the KJV says they "knew" the grace of God, while the ESV says they "understood" it.  Calvinism teaches that God causes the elect to understand, to comprehend, the gospel when He regenerates them, and that the gospel will always be nonsense to the non-elect because God won't cause them to understand it.  

But the Greek for this word does not mean "understand," as in to be made to comprehend/make sense of something.  It means to "recognize, perceive, discern, to come to know by directing attention to."  In this verse, it means that the people recognized the truth, perceived that it was true, came to know it by directing their attention to it.  This is much more "free-will," much more "personally responsible for finding/embracing the truth," than God causing you to understand something you previously could not understand.  It's not about gaining understanding, as Calvinists would say; it's about finding, recognizing, knowing, embracing the truth of the gospel that is there for all the world to see.



#57:  In the KJV, Luke 2:14 reads “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men,” proclaiming that Jesus’s entrance into the world is for the good-will of men, of mankind, of all people.  And some versions say something like "peace among men with whom he is pleased," which sounds like a "God is pleased with men in general, with mankind" kind of thing.  

But in the ESV, it reads “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.”  To say "among those" instead of "men" makes a distinction between types of people, sounding like it's separating out a certain kind of person: "those with whom He is pleased."  This would then mean that there are those with whom He is not pleased.  And this would fit with Calvinism: the elect (those who please God) and the non-elect (those who don't).  This then makes Jesus’s entrance into the world only for the benefit of those who please God: the elect.

However, the Greek word in this verse is "men/mankind", not "those," making the KJV more correct and the ESV misleading.

[From what I can tell, the phrase “good pleasure” in Luke 2:14 (“good-will” in the KJV) is not about blessing a particular group of people (such as believers), but it’s about mankind in general, that God is pleased to bless us all through Jesus’s birth.  The blessing is there, poured out on all, but it’s up to us to accept or reject Him.]



#58:  Romans 9:22 in the KJV says “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.”

But the ESV says “… prepared for destruction.”  This makes it sound like they were specifically created to be destroyed, which would totally support Calvinism.

But they weren’t “prepared for destruction”; they were “fitted to destruction”.  And according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary, the Greek word for “fitted” in this verse is in the middle voice, meaning that the people fitted themselves to destruction by how they chose to be.  Big difference!



#59:  A small one, but Revelation 22:17 in the KJV says "... whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."  Whosoever will - anyone and everyone who will - can take the water of life freely.  The invitation and offer is open to all.  

But the ESV (and many others) says "... let the one who desires take the water of life without price."  While this isn't highly significant because many of us would still understand this to mean that anyone can desire the water of life, Calvinists would use this to support their idea that only those who were given (by God) the desire for the water of life have access to the water of life.  In Calvinism, "the ones who desire" are already predetermined by God to want/drink the water of life, and no one else can drink the water or will even want to drink the water because they were given (by God) the sin-nature that only desires to reject the water of life.  This is how Calvinists would work this verse into their theology.                





And as I said, this is just what I found after only a short time of searching.  (Those who say that there's no Calvinist bias in the ESV either aren't looking closely enough, don't know what to look for, or they don't want to see/admit it.)  And I know these may seem like little changes to you.  But a little tweak here, a little tweak there, here a tweak, there a tweak, everywhere a tweak tweak, and before you know it, you have a completely different message.  

After all, remember that the Jehovah's Witnesses, in their New World Translation Bible, altered the whole Gospel with the addition of one tiny, little, one-letter word and by changing one upper-case letter to lower-case: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god."

Two nearly-imperceptible changes, but a totally different Gospel!

(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.) 





* Note:  "Is The ESV a Calvinist Bible?"
The ESV and ESV Study Bible are majorly preferred by Calvinists.  In fact, it's often considered "The Calvinist Bible."  

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."

(I try to find clear indications that someone calls themselves "reformed" or "Calvinist."  But if I can't find that, I look for phrases they use, people they write with, topics they write about, groups they belong to, and the Statements of Faith of the schools or churches they work at to help me determine if they are "most likely Calvinist."  And from what I can tell, most of the main people who worked on the ESV and ESV Study Bible are definitely or most likely Calvinists.)

When you read the ESV Study Bible notes, you are getting information that has been filtered through the theological views of strong Calvinists.  And so you will be getting a large dose of Calvinism. 

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.  

You can't get away from the fact that this Bible is steeped in Calvinism.  

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

The ESV is a Perversion of the Word of God

            [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?

            In the course of researching this issue, and after not knowing for decades what to think of the whole "which translation is most accurate" debate, I now side with the King James.  I mean, I have several other translations, and I think different ones are good for different reasons, such as readability, compare and contrast, to hear God's Word in a fresh way, etc.  But when having to decide which one is more reliable and accurate, especially considering the significant differences like those above, I have to side with the KJV (not the New King James, just the King James).  And I've never been more sure of it than now, after all this research.]  


 
"Why The ESV Translation Changes Matter: Two Things To Consider"  [This is about the implications of the ESV changing Genesis 3:16 from "your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you" to "your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you."  Why such a dramatic change, making it sound like a wife's desires are hardwired to be against her husband but that he will ultimately break her, rule her?  Could this be part of what's behind the pervasive "complementarian" set-up in Calvinist churches?  This article also highlights the audacity of the men who translated the ESV when they declared that it will be the last and permanent version of the ESV, basically saying that there can be and will be no changes made to it from here on out, as if no one could improve on what they did or correct it.  (They have since recanted this decision.  But to me, the damage has been done, as it has exposed the hearts and attitudes of the men who worked on this Bible, many of whom - it not most - are Calvinists.  This should be concerning to all of us in the Church and make us very wary about these men!)]

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