Before I go there, though, let me just say that this is not an attack on any other version of the Bible. I regularly read from multiple versions. For instance, in my daily devotional time I'm reading through The Message this year. I also consult the NIV, TNIV, NKJV, NASB, NLT, and CEV versions regularly. They are all excellent translations that I would recommend to anyone. I believe the key to finding a good reading Bible is finding one that is readable. This is the reason I never recommend the King James Version. Not that the KJV is a bad translation - on the contrary, it's a very good one. The problem is that it is a very outdated translation. The language is one that we simply don't use anymore. Even though it's English, the reader must translate 17th century English into 21st century English. That said, here are my primary reasons for preaching from the ESV.
1. The ESV is an "essentially literal" translation.
My Greek professor used to say that "all translation is, at best, approximation". When we translate from one language to another (in our case, from Greek and Hebrew to English). There are some things that will not literally translate. One language may use words or phrases that we just don't have an exact equivalent to. It's the job of the translator to come as close to the writer's intent as possible. This is why we say the ESV is "essentially literal" - it's as literal as possible. Why is a literal translation important? Because we believe that the Scriptures are the very words of God, not just the thoughts or ideas of God. He chose the words He chose for a reason. So as best as we are able, we need to know what those words were. For example, the NIV is a "dynamic equivalent" translation. It focuses on the overall thought of a passage, rather than the individual words used. Generally this is not a big deal. But when a translator is trying to translate the thoughts and intentions of a writer, rather than the words the writer wrote, the result is often the translator's personal commentary on the passage. If we are studying or receiving preaching from a passage, we need to know what it actually says before we can get to what it means.
2. The ESV maintains the theological language of the Scriptures.
Many modern translations have removed theological terms like atonement, justification, propitiation, and even sin. These words have meaning and are used for a reason. Substitutionary words don't convey all the layers of meaning that these words, when explained properly, convey. My job as pastor/teacher is not to dumb down the message, but rather to unpack it and convey all the intended meaning in a clear, but accurate, way. The ESV also maintains the gender language of the Scriptures. When God is referred to as He or Father, it is for a reason. When the Bible speaks to man or woman, it is for a reason. It should not be the job of the translator to make the Bible politically correct.
3. The ESV did not sacrifice readability in an effort to be "essentially literal".
Before the ESV was released in 2001, it was widely held that the New American Standard Bible was the most literal modern translation. While it was quite literal, it was also a bit of a mess in some areas. In an effort to be literal, much of the beauty of the language of Scripture was lost. The poetry was, well, not very poetic. The translators of the ESV (who are by the way the most widely respected scholars today in the fields of language study and theology) did a fantastic job of maintaining the beauty of the Scripture. I've always found paraphrases, like The Message, enjoyable because of their readability - I could sit and read long passages like I would a modern novel. I get some of that same sense from the ESV. It is quite readable.
These are just a few of the reasons I choose to preach from the ESV. If you attend Living Hope Church, do you need to rush out and purchase another Bible? Absolutely not. Keep reading the Bible you love. But if you're interested in checking out something new, I'd recommend giving the ESV a look. All the versions mentioned above are perfectly fine for devotional reading. But for the purpose of preaching/teaching, I believe this is the best choice. Many other churches across the nation are making the switch as well. For a more detailed explanation of the benefits of the ESV check out Pastor Mark Driscoll's article at http://www.marshillchurch.org/content/esv. Mark is the pastor of the Mars Hill Church in Seattle and one of the best Bible teachers I know of. He does a much better job of writing on this topic than I did here and goes into great detail on how we got the Scripture and differences in the various translations. Hope this helps answer some questions.