I spend a lot of time in my car and I get tired of listening to music and talk radio. I wanted to use this time to be more productive, so the Bible on mp3 has proven to be the solution.
First, let me discuss the ESV. I have a hard time relating to the KJV, even though I was weaned on it; ditto the NKJV. I prefer the NIV, but couldn't find a suitable reading. The ESV has been widely accepted and is a solid, scholarly version of the Scripture which is also easily understandable by English-speaking individuals who were not born in the 1600's (don't get me started).
Secondly, I wanted a reading of the Scripture without the annoying and distracting background music or sound effects.
Thirdly, I wanted a reading that didn't sound like an off-off-off-off-off-Broadway rendition of "Richard III".
Bottom line......this interpretation by David Heath is a perfect fit for me. No music....no sound effects.....no pompous inflections or accents. Just a solid reading of the Word. The pace is perfect.....not too fast and not too slow.
I was able to listen to numerous versions online prior to making my purchase. I will very briefly comment on a few of those below:
1) "The Word of Promise" ---- has music and sound effects, which make for a very slow "performance". The actors inflect and stress passages that don't necessarily need stressing. Since it is THEIR interpretation of how the passage should be read, many people may disagree with that interpretation.....myself included. In addition, every time I hear a particular actor's voice, I flash back to the movies that I've seen them in. I mean.....Mary Magdalene in "My Cousin Vinny" doesn't seem to invoke a particularly spiritual response while listening to the Scripture. And Michael York emotes as though he's reading to a kindergarten audience.....very aggravating.
2) "The Listener's Bible" - Max McLean reads this version. I almost bought this version, but couldn't get past the background music. I kept wanting to say "Hush....I'm trying to listen to the Scripture". It became VERY annoying after only a few minutes of listening. And Max gets a bit over-dramatic at times, which is also distracting and annoying.
3) Alexander Scourby - I haven't heard this version in many years. It was the first, and arguably the best version, according to many sources. But, the availability of KJV-only ruled this one out for me.
4) Stephen Johnston - I found his reading to be too rushed. It felt like he was being paid by the job and not by the hour, if you know what I mean. Or maybe the passages I listened to were recorded just before breaking for lunch. Otherwise, a fairly good rendition, if not a bit over-dramatic. One strong point about this version is...NO MUSIC !!!!
5) Marquis Laughlin - Nice reading with NO MUSIC, but too dramatic for my tastes.
So...I hope this review helps you sift through some of the offerings that are available out there. It's wonderful to have such a wide range of choices, isn't it?
One caveat......I was discussing the various versions with some other Christian friends of mine and every one preferred a different reading. I advise you to listen to as many as you can before making your purchase.....there are several sources on the internet where you can try before you buy.