Q & A with Dr. Dane C. Ortlund
On starting and completing the English Standard Version (ESV)…
“It was a matter of entrusting it to the Lord. We believe that God had called us to do it and so we took one step in faith after another. But never did we imagine that in 2019, we’d be in Manila, working with the Philippine Bible Society, and seeing thousands of ESVs being sold and distributed.”
Q: What are some of the milestones of the ESV?
2005 – Crossway entered into a partnership with the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS).
Dr. Dane: That relationship with BFBS was particularly meaningful for us because it was a way for the Lord to bring a good translation to every corner of the earth.
2008 – The ESV Study Bible was published.
2018 – Crossway launched the ESV Archaeology Study Bible. It received the ECPA Book of the Year Award for Bibles. This project took 6 years to complete.
Dr. Dane: We don’t really aspire to greatness. What we love to do is to quietly and seek faithfully the small things every day. Do that today and then get up tomorrow and do it again. Let the years unfold and let God sort out how fruitful our ministry is. This is a very liberating way to work. Looking back and looking ahead, we just want to be faithful in the small ways.
Q: What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered in publishing the ESV?
Dr. Dane: Operating day by day out of the flesh rather than in the spirit. Trying to accomplish things in our own cleverness, ingenuity, and hardwork rather than working hard and prayerfully trusting the Lord. I think this is our number one challenge. This is an ongoing battle.
On daily Bible reading…
“Read the Bible every day in the same way you’d take a multi-vitamin every day, because our souls get hungry. Physically, you feel the hunger. But you don’t feel the spiritual hunger in the same way. In actuality, our souls are just as needy as our bodies are getting fed. We do want to be regularly taking in God’s delicious Word so that we’re built up, nourished, healthy, calm, happy, and enjoying life. It’s miserable to go through life and constantly feel exhausted, depleted, discouraged, and of course, we all face that. The Bible is like oxygen.”
Q: How has the Bible personally changed your life?
Dr. Dane: It has given me a lifelong friend. I feel as if there’s a major element of my life which is me walking ever more deeply into knowledge of this faithful friend called “Scripture.” A friend that never lets me down, that always understands me and gets me, that helps me understand myself, that fuels me and gives me joy. I would be a much shallower person if I didn’t have a Bible. Because I would not understand myself, the world, human history, salvation, and my sin. You need Scripture to get any kind of clarity about the world, life, where things started, where things are going, why I’m so ruined, and how to get rescued. [God] comes to us only through this book—the Spirit working with the Word, in tandem. We revere and spend a lifetime wading ever more deeply into Scripture.
His closing remarks to encourage you to read the Bible…
“Life for all of us is like one big never-ending storm. Wind and rain and dark. Spending a few unhurried minutes with Scripture is stepping out of the storm of life. I’m not saying ‘read the Bible’ because I want to give you one more duty to execute in your life or one more thing on your to-do list. But I’m saying, don’t you want to come out of the storm every once in a while? Re-center? In a sense, to become human again. Don’t impoverish your life by neglecting the Scripture.”