Praise God for the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible weekend launch in Manila last May 17-18, 2019. Dr. Dane C. Ortlund, senior vice president at Crossway Publishing, led the presentation before a hundred or more church leaders, officials, and Bible scholars in the two-day back-to-back event at Manila Hotel.
In partnership with the Philippine Bible Society, the launch took a year into fruition but was worth the wait. According to Dr. Ortlund, the ESV was created by a team of over “100 leading evangelical scholars and pastors.” It is an “essentially literal” Bible translation, written in contemporary English. Since its publication 18 years ago, the ESV has been used by millions of Bible lovers and church leaders from various denominations and organizations worldwide for daily Bible reading, Bible studying, Scripture memorization, and public worship.
Derek Hill, director of Enterprise at the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS), was one of the much-awaited guests who introduced Dr. Ortlund in all of the four launch events. Mr. Hill’s presence in Manila was very much anticipated. This visit from BFBS, which was once a governing body for Bible work in the Philippines in the 1900s, further strengthens their partnership with PBS today. Meanwhile, Mr. Anthony Gosling, executive vice president for Business Operations at Crossway with wife, Lorraine, also inspired the participants with a touching closing prayer at the end of one of the launch events.
He prayed, “Lord, may we be transformed by Your Word through Your Holy Spirit. May we be light in this world—to teach and to share Your Word with others so that they may be changed by it. Without You, we can do nothing. With You, all things are possible.”
In addition to his Manila Hotel presentations, Dr. Ortlund was also the main speaker for two Bible-based talks in the morning. The Friday talk revolved around the topic “How the Whole Bible Fits Together,” which was held at the Central United Methodist Church (UMC) in Kalaw Avenue. Meanwhile, the Saturday talk focused on the topic, “Jesus as the Center of the Whole Bible,” which was held at the 3F Worship Hall at the PBS Ministry Center in UN Avenue. In both occasions, Dr. Ortlund emphasized that “Jesus is the key that unlocks the Bible. He is the light that illumines the whole Bible. He is the organizing principle.”
Without fail, Dr. Ortlund would always begin his speeches with, “It is a privilege to be here with you today.” The PBS team felt the same sense of gratitude for being given the opportunity to make the Bible known through these ESV Launch events. According to PBS Associate General Secretary Perry Cartera, PBS and Crossway share the same heartbeat. She shared, “That’s why we partnered with Crossway. We are also non-profit. We want to serve you and the churches. We want to give you the best formal translation of our time—the ESV!”
Finally, the participants noted how pleased they were about the depth of the content, the availability of pre-made handouts, and the engaging Q & A sessions. They posed questions on theological biases, translation principles, interpretation and study principles, and text credibility.
That weekend of back-to-back ESV-related events is a continuous reminder for us that with the Lord, all things are possible. By His grace, the ESV Bible launching events ran smoothly and blessed many people.
To God be all the glory!