Why I am changing Bible translations
(UPDATE: In 2017, the HCSB, reviewed below, underwent a radical revision and name change to CSB. Read my review of that revision here: https://bobrogers.me/2017/05/21/the-hcsb-is-now-the-csb-whats-the-difference/.)
The New International Version (NIV) of the Bible was published in 1979, the same year that I became pastor of my first church. Immediately, I liked how it was easy to read, yet more accurate than other popular, easy-to-read Bibles of the time, like The Living Bible and the Good News Bible. The NIV went through a minor revision in 1984, and I have been preaching primarily from the NIV ever since then, although I often quote other translations. However, beginning in the summer of 2012, I will change to the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). Why the change, after all these years? The answer is simple: I’m changing, because the NIV changed.
In 2011, the NIV went through a major revision, and the 1984 edition will no longer be sold in stores. The 1984 edition is not even available in digital form any longer for e-books like Kindle or Bible apps like YouVersion for your smartphone. If you buy a new NIV Bible or download the NIV, it will be the 2011 edition. The revision is more accurate in many places, correcting some translation errors of the old edition. However, the 2011 revision also chose to use gender-neutral language when referring to people, following the model of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), a translation that is owned by the liberal National Council of Churches. In some cases, the gender-neutral language is justified, as when the word “man” refers to all of humanity or when Paul addresses the “brothers” but clearly means all believers, “brothers and sisters.” But the 2011 revision of the NIV goes much farther than this, consistently using gender-neutral language even when the context does not necessarily call for it.
I spent about a year carefully studying the 2011 revision, and although I liked some of the improvements in accuracy, the extremes of gender-neutral language outweighed the other improvements. Thus, I began to prayerfully look for another translation to use in my preaching.
There were two main options I considered, because both are accurate translations, readable, and they avoid gender-neutral language unless the context clearly calls for it: the English Standard Version (ESV) and the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). The ESV is a great translation. It is a conservative response to the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). The NRSV uses gender-neutral language, while the ESV does not. The ESV is very close to the New American Standard Bible (NASB) in accuracy, and it flows better than the NASB.
However, I chose the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) over the ESV, because the HCSB uses more contemporary language than the ESV. For example, while the ESV uses “behold,” the HCSB says “look!” and while the ESV says “made manifest” the HCSB says “made evident.” The HCSB is as readable as the NIV, while it is more accurate than the NIV. The HCSB translates the name of Yahweh in the Old Testament in places where the context implies God’s name (rather than the all capital “LORD” used in other translations). It translates “Christ” as “Messiah” in the New Testament when the context is referring to Jesus’ title as Messiah. It shows respect for deity by capitalizing pronouns when referring to God. That is why I have been using the HCSB in Wednesday night prayer meeting for several years, and beginning in the summer of 2012, the HCSB will become my primary Bible when preaching on Sundays.
Am I saying that I expect my congregation to go out and buy a Holman Christian Standard Bible? No, I am not. This decision is for my own preaching, as I feel a responsibility to preach from a Bible that best communicates God’s Word with clarity and faithfulness to the original languages. Everybody is welcome to bring to our church whatever translation of the Bible you prefer. If you want to continue using your NIV Bible or other favorite translation, you are welcome to do so. It is useful to compare various Bible translations, and although I will primarily preach from the HCSB, I will continue to quote other translations of the Bible in my sermons whenever it sheds light on the meaning of God’s Word.
If you wish to sample the HCSB, you can download it for free on the Kindle at amazon.com and the Nook at BarnesandNoble.com, and the application “You Version” has the HCSB available for free on smart phones and iPads, available at http://www.youversion.com. The website http://www.mystudybible.com is a free website using the text of the HCSB, including excellent Bible study notes in the margin. The HCSB translation is used in Sunday School literature printed by LifeWay. Our church will also place HCSB pew Bibles in the worship center for the convenience of those who wish to follow the same translation as the pastor.
Here are some sample comparisons of the 1984 NIV, 2011 NIV, and the HCSB.
Genesis 4:26 (The context refers to all people.)
1984 NIV: “At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.”
2011 NIV: “At that time people began to call on the name of the LORD.”
HCSB: “At that time people began to call on the name of Yahweh.”
Esther 3:6 (The context is explaining why Haman wanted to kill all the Jewish people.)
1984 NIV: “Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai.”
2011 NIV: “Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai.”
HCSB: “And when he learned of Mordecai’s ethnic identity, Haman decided not to do away with Mordecai alone.”
Psalm 1:1 (It is debatable whether the context refers to people in general.)
1984 NIV: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.”
2011 NIV: “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked.”
HCSB: “How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked.”
Psalm 23:4 (“valley of the shadow of death” was a Hebrew idiom for a dark valley)
1984 NIV: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
2011 NIV: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
HCSB: “Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me.”
1984 NIV “… from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
2011 NIV “… from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
HCSB: “… from eternity to eternity, You are God.”
Proverbs 27:17 (It is debatable whether the context refers to people in general.)
1984 NIV: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
2011 NIV: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
HCSB: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
Malachi 4:6 (The Hebrew word here is “fathers.”)
1984 NIV: “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children…”
2011 NIV: “He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children…”
HCSB: “And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children…”
Matthew 5:19 (The context refers to all people.)
1984 NIV: “’Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’”
2011 NIV: “’Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’”
HCSB: “Follow Me,’ He told them, ‘and I will make you fish for people!’”
1984 NIV: “’Yes, Lord,’ she told him, ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.’”
2011 NIV: “’Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’”
HCSB: “’Yes, Lord,’ she told Him, ‘I believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who comes into the world.’”
1984 NIV: “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea.”
2011 NIV: “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae.”
HCSB: “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church in Cenchreae.”
Romans 16:14 (All of the names listed are male names in Greek.)
1984 NIV: “Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brothers with them.”
2011 NIV: “Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the other brothers and sisters with them.”
HCSB: “Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them.”
1984 NIV: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
2011 NIV: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
HCSB: “And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit.”
Hebrews 12:7 (After Hebrews 12:5 comments that Proverbs 3:11-12 addresses us as “sons” when referring to God’s discipline.)
1984 NIV: “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.”
2011 NIV: “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.”
HCSB: “Endure suffering as discipline; God is dealing with you as sons.”
I John 3:16 (The context is referring to all Christians.)
1984 NIV: “… And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”
2011 NIV: “… And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
HCSB: “We should also lay down our lives for our brothers.”
NOTE: If you would like to continue keeping up with the HCSB, there is a Facebook Group for HCSB fans here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/289605548301539.
Posted on April 17, 2012, in Books, Books and tagged Bible, ESV, faith, HCSB, Holman Christian Standard Bible, New International Version, NIV, NRSV, religion. Bookmark the permalink. 43 Comments.
The HCSB is also available for free download on the Nook at BarnesandNobles.com.
Reva, thanks for pointing that out. I added that information into the blog.
Bob, thank you for your kind blog post. We are pointing readers here on our blog. Thanks again.
Thanks, Devin! I’m planning to make the official switch to HCSB this Sunday, June 3!
Pastor Bob, I also am considering the HCSB. Right now I am using the NIV 84. I have been reading the NIV 11 for some time and, like you, I am disappointed in the gender-neutral aspacts of the NIV 11. I have found the HCSB to be generally readable for both private devotions and for public reading (ie preaching). However, I have struggled in reading
Ephesians chapter 2 out loud in the HCSB. I feel that one area of weakness with the HCSB is the fact that the words “Christ” and “Messiah” are used interchangably in one sentence (see Ephesians 2:11-13, for example). I understand the translator’s reason(s) for doing this, but it doesn’t really help the “flow” of public reading in my opinion. But, generally speaking, I love the HCSB (especially the Psalms/Proverbs!). I just haven’t made the switch from NIV 84 to the HCSB, yet. But, the more I read the HCSB, the better I like it. Maybe I’ll just have to get used to it? May God bless you and your church and may God enrich your understanding of Scripture as you begin preaching from the HCSB!
Jeff, of course there is no perfect translation, and there will be times when you will prefer to quote a different translation, no matter what your primary translation is.
Regarding Ephesians 2:11-13, the HCSB translates christos as “the Messiah” when it is used as an office, but translates it as “Christ” when it is used as a name. In Ephesians 4:13, it says “Christ Jesus” because the combination with Jesus clearly implies it is used as a name, but in the rest of the verse it says “Messiah.”
Many people will also be dissatisfied with the HCSB translation of Psalm 46:10 “Stop your fighting– and know that I am God,” instead of “Be still, and know that I am God,” although the HCSB translation takes the whole psalm into context and uses the Hebrew word, which literally is “enough,” in the same way as it is used in Habakkuk 2:20 and in 1 Samuel 15:16. So the objection people may have to this translation in the HCSB is because it is not traditional, rather than that it is not correct.
Pastor Bob, I agree with you. I think it will just take me some time to get used to the HCSB 🙂 Thanks for explaining the rationale behind HCSB use/translation of christos! Very helpful!
Thanks for your review.
I preached from the HSBC translation for the first time this past Sunday. I am rather enjoying the the style and quality of this translation. In the past I have floated back and forth between the NASB and the NIV (1984). I feel I am almost ready to make the switch to an HCSB as my main translation. Now it’s just a matter of deciding which type of HCSB to buy. I really want a reference one, but also want a single column Bible.
What’s your opinion on why the church threw the book of Enoch out of the bible? I have always thought the King James version was a corrupt translation since I did research !
The church did not throw it out of the Bible. The Book of Enoch was a Jewish book that was never a part of the Bible. Jews never recognized it as inspired, and so Christians have never included it in the Old Testament. At the time that the Jews decided on the list of inspired books (canon), they excluded this book, probably because they felt it had fanciful visions of fallen angels and heaven that were not consistent with the rest of scripture.
Regarding the KJV, it would be harsh to call it a corrupt translation, as the word “corrupt” implies deliberate distortion. The KJV was a masterpiece in its day, but since then, more ancient manuscripts have been discovered and we have more information about the original text. Despite this, the KJV is still an excellent translation and very literal. The biggest problem with the KJV is that the English language has changed in the past 400 years, making the KJV difficult for modern people to understand.
I’ve been preaching and teaching out of the HCSB for the last several years (although in my study, I always compare it with other translations, specifically the ESV, KJV and NASB (with Strong’s), and the 1984 NIV. You’re right; it’s not perfect. Sometimes it is a little too “modern” to help the flow at the expense of accuracy, but not on any of the major tenets of the faith. I really like it, and a number of folks from my little flock have gone out and purchased their own copies (with no prodding from me), and they like it, too. It is a solid translation that does not sacrifice accuracy for readability, as many modern translations are wont to do. The latter place the reader’s interests above the author’s, which is a great idea if you want a bestselling novel, but not so much for the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God!
“Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.” ~ 2 Timothy 4:2, HCSB
Scott, thanks for sharing your insights!
That’s a good article — especially with the side-by-side comparisons. Thanks!
(I am still using the good old NASB — though I do not like the newer NAS revision, and I think it is very important to translate God’s name as YHWH instead of “LORD.” Several passages lose their power and meaning by not actually using His name. That is one of HCSB’s strong points in my view.)
I am strongly weighing a switch to the Holman as my preaching Bible. I felt it best for the congregation when I accepted the pastoral call to retain the NKJV in the short term (desiring not to change too much too soon upon arrival–plus I actually like the NKJ more than the ESV I was teaching from prior), but have really enjoyed the readability/fidelity balance of the Holman since it came out.
From what I can discern it seems as though you are a year into preaching from it, any further evals you would offer? I appreciate the thoughts you have offered already.
Kipp, yes, I’m more than a year into preaching from the HCSB, and the transition has gone very smoothly. Occasionally there is a passage that I prefer to quote another translation such as ESV, but very rarely. Many of my members have bought the HCSB, and they say they find it easy to read. Many continue to use the 1984 NIV, which is fine with me, but almost none have bought the 2011 NIV, for which I am grateful.
Thanks for the reply, brother. I am going to pray and examine further. You thoughts on this site are very helpful.
Hello Dr. Rogers. I was looking for something else when I stumbled onto your site via Google. I’ve been using the HCSB off and on since got the New Testament in 2001. I liked reading it so much, I even endorsed it! I ended up getting the full Bible in 2004.
If you are interested, B&H published a small book recently entitled “HCSB: Navigating the Horizons in Bible Translations”. It’s an interesting read on how the version compares to others. It is on Amazon and other places. As for the NIV, I abandoned it years ago. Zondervan and Biblica/IBS’ attitude over it in recent years has turned me off even more.
I have a question: since you have switched your church to the HCSB, is there a way to tell the difference between the 2004 and 2009 HCSBs in print? May God bless your ministry.
Joshua, thank you for your comments. As you noted, the HCSB was revised in 2009, and there are a few differences. The main difference that I have noted is the 2009 edition makes even more frequent use of “Yahweh.” The way to tell which edition you have is to look on the copyright page. It will list the years of copyright, and if it includes the last year of 2009, then you have the latest edition. If the last year listed is 2003, then you have the older edition. Also, the newest edition changed the “shield and sword” logo a bit, so that the sword looks more clearly like a sword, and the latest edition usually uses the label “HCSB” while the older editions usually say “Holman CSB” or “Holman Christian Standard Bible.”
Hi there! I just wanted to make sure your readers know they can, in fact, still purchase the NIV 1984 version. I am considering buying two from ChristianBook.com . I am uncomfortable with the way the NIV 2011 reads. As a teenager, I would love to read my Dad’s bible and he had a 1984 NIV Life Application Study Bible. It was fun for me to read it and study the Word of God, and now that I have two small children myself, I want to teach them straight from the same Bible I loved so much. Thanks for the info!
Rhiannon, it is true that you can still purchase the 1984 NIV in some places, but only because the publishers have not completely cleared out their old copies. When they finish selling those out, the 1984 NIV will no longer be available, and they do not plan to continue printing it. I was at a book store in an outlet mall this week, and they had several editions of the 1984 NIV on clearance. So if you prefer the 1984 NIV, get ’em while they last!
Good article Bob. I had changed to the HCSB about two years ago. I especially like the translation of the Lord’s name and slave.
Hi Bob from Australia
Thanks so much for your helpful comments. I too am considering the change.
Here in Oz the NIV is a very popular translation and often used. I used the NIV11 when it came out but am concerned about some of the loss of meaning when gender neutral language is applied too rigorously.
You may be shocked to know that many of my colleagues as well as myself now use our iPads for preaching and reading the Scripture. I use Accordance which is the best software out there in my opinion. Accordance still sells the 84 edition of the NIV as well as the 2011 edition which you can get as a free upgrade if you wish. You can use both editions side by side. I was interested in your article because Accordance have just released the HCSB Study Bible in digital form but without the translation and was wondering if it would be a good idea to purchase the HCSB translation from Accordance as well. They also offer the HCSB with strongs linking if you want it. Your article has convinced me that the HCSB deserves a prominent place in my digital library.
Rev Richard Banham,
Tea Tree Gully Uniting Church
I’m not surprised that many of you use iPads for preaching and scripture. It is becoming quite common in the USA, as well. However, I’m not familiar with “Accordance.” Is that a website or app? I found a copy of the 84 NIV by downloading an old NIV Study Bible from Amazon. Many people here use YouVersion’s Bible app on mobile phones and tablets to read scripture, but only the 2011 NIV is available.
The transition to HCSB as my preferred pulpit translation has gone smoothly. I still refer to other translations often, and people are welcome to bring whatever versions they wish to church. I also make frequent use of the ESV. God bless your ministry in the Land of Oz!
Bro. Rogers, I had to reply to this one even though it is an older post. Guess you pick a post that is pertinent to your subject and add to it. I am enjoying your posts a lot and they give me some added info at times, and such as this one. I use only the KJV for my use for I find it uses the scrolls language and has served me well for many years. I saw an example I believe is just a typo in your typing(or if someone else does it for you, then them.) and if a typo i am surprised no one else has called it to your attention.
EX. Psalm 1:1- 1984 NIV- “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked”.
EX. Psalm 1:1- 2011 NIV- “Blessed is the one ‘WHO DOES WALK’ in step with the wicked”.
I put the words in caps that I am wondering if it is really a typo; for why would David say that one is blessed to walk in the steps of the wicked? Of course everything I don’t think is perfect translations, not even the Bible…
Thanks for catching the typographical error in Psalm 1:1. The 2011 NIV does have the word, “not,” which I erroneously omitted. It is corrected in this post now.
Hi Bob. Thanks for your post it helped me a lot.
I have come across a translation issue that caused me to dump NIV11 and return to a combination of NIV 84 and Holmans. Here is the problem below…
NIV11 – God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth
NIV84 – God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.
Holman – God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
The NIV11 capitalises the word spirit and puts a definite article (“the”) in front of it. I can see no justification in the original greek to allow this interpretation which does give a very different understanding on the meaning of Jesus’ words. This really shocked me as no commentary I have read suggests that “in spirit” should be translated as “the Spirit”.
Thank you for pointing out the change in John 4:24 in the 2011 NIV. You are absolutely correct, there is no definite article (the word “the”) in the Greek text before the word translated “spirit.” As you probably know, there is no difference in capitalization or smaller-case letters in Greek, unlike English.
I like how the HCSB on john 7:8 tells that Jesus does not YET go up to the feast. The NASB, ESV and others in the CT tradition do not have “YET” in the text. Documentary evidence, including the oldest manuscripts and the number of manuscripts support “YET” in the text. This is one place where nestle and the UBS critical texts got it wrong and the HCSB got it right !!! This is important when talking to people of other faiths, they might think that the Lord was lying and could cause them to lose faith in Him.
Good observation, Kevin.
Over the past year, the HCSB has become one of my “go to” translations. However, I typically stick with the NET for teaching and preaching. Due to the license, I never have to sorry about how much I copy, quote, etc. It is very readable…and those awesome translation notes! The economy copies are also quite a bit more readable than the HCSB’s. (font)
That being said, there is currently an HCSB on my night stand and on my desk at work. 😉
Larry, I did the same thing for a while (used the NET), but then I just sent an email to Holman asking for permission to use the HCSB for Powerpoint, bulletins, and our website, and they quickly granted permission with no problems.
Nice blog. I also enjoy the HCSB. Here are some of my remarks to the HCSB translators:
The HCSB is a very good translation, with a need for some defined revision. Here are my main concerns:
1. The inconsistent use of Yahweh creates more confusion than clarity. Your explanation in the Introduction seems to me indefensible. Since God called YHWH his name to be used for all generations forever (Ex.3:15), it doesn’t make sense to me that translators arbitrarily choose when and where to use it. Your ad says “His name is Yahweh.” True, it is His name (YHWH or Yahweh), not a title (LORD). The philosophy that the name cannot be uttered is a human one, not a divine order. If I were you, I’d put the consonants (YHWH) in the text in every occurrence, with a comment in the Introduction of a proposed pronunciation (Yahweh). Or at least use Yahweh uniformly.
2. Romans 6:5 is translated over-literally, ie. “we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection.” What does the “be” refer to? Your comment in the footnote is needed because your rendering is obscure. Why not just include the footnote in the text, even bracketed, just so the verse makes sense. The RSV rendering is just fine and clear.
3. In the Introduction, under the four rationales you give for a new translation, the first two reasons deal with our “rapidly changing” language. If that is your rationale, why do you retain the very archaic “LORD of Hosts”? The term Hosts has been archaic for over a century; you couldn’t find one in five church members at random who could sensibly define the word, much less someone on the street. You give a bullet note, acknowledging the difficulty, but it is better to include a useful translation in the text: LORD of the Heavenly Armies. No confusion there! Are you trying to downplay the fact that our God is a God of War/Violence? “LORD of Hosts” should be in a footnote.
4. I need to clarify my remarks to you in another e-mail concerning the subjunctive “might.” Since you acknowledge that language changes, it is important that you use words the way that they are used in current language. Most translations use the word “might” in many passages- eg. Gal.2:16, Eph. 1:12, 2:15-16, 4:10, Heb.2:17. It is my contention that in almost every case the word is used incorrectly and can mislead the reader. (My dad, a sceptic, used the “might” passages to say that God is not obligated to save a believer, but he might.) In the real world of word usage, the word “might” means “maybe or maybe not.” A few decades ago, one might say “I was hoping you might go with me to the movies.” Today, we would say “would”. In the Webster Comprehensive Dictionary, Encyclopedic Edition, it says [Would does] ”do duty to express the vestigial and fast vanishing subjunctive mood.” Under “might” it says “[The word] “may” implies a greater probability then “might”, the latter indicating possibility but less likelihood.” Yet Bibles are replete with references to certain deeds of God by using the unclear and misleading “might.” In many passages, such as John 3:16ff, the HCSB removes the obscure subjunctives. So your team clearly sees the problem, yet doesn’t fix it universally. On this point, the Common English Bible is overall better and clearer than the HCSB. The Voice translation also does a good job of modernizing the verses listed above.
For a translation to call itself “fresh,” it needs to actually be fresh. I guess part of the problem is the committee aspect and the comfort of familiarity (ex. LORD of Hosts). I hope the HCSB survives; I like it and for the most part it reads well. The vast majority of your word choices are great! God bless your efforts!
5. Just one more comment about the HCSB. It seems to me that Romans 3:25 is too busy, probably a run-on. This is an intense doctrinal section, one that shouldn’t be muddled with awkward sentences. I think the sentence should be broken up, with a period after “blood”. This completes one detailed thought. Then, start the next sentence with, “He did this to demonstate His…”. I have edited my personal Bible to reflect the above to make the thought pattern clearer.
In Christ, Ken Diercouff
I ϲould not refrain frߋm commenting. Perfectly written!
I don’t understand the fascination of changing the Greek “xristos” to the English “Messiah”. What is the modern fascination?
Brian, the reason that not only the HCSB, but the revision of the NIV preferred to translate Xristos as “Messiah” rather than Christ is because it communicates the meaning better. Although “Christ” and “Messiah” mean the same thing (Greek and Hebrew for “Anointed One”), the average reader does not always understand this. They have heard the name “Jesus Christ” so often that many readers take “Christ” as a surname rather than a title. The average reader does understand, however, that “Messiah” is a title, so “Jesus the Messiah” and “You are the Messiah” better translates the meaning to the modern reader.
One thing that doesn’t get enough attention are the HCSB footnotes. They are awesome. They really help me.
Also — there are just some real oddities that a casual reader could gloss over, but a more serious student (with OCD) just can’t let go! For example, 1 John 3:4, the translator introduced the idea of “breaking the law” when translating ‘anomia’. This would be MUCH better as ‘lawlessness’. Lawlessness works much better with those who “say they have no sin” who do not “have the truth” and “walk in darkness”. If one says he has no sin, he is denying the law, but not necessarily breaking it. I would agree, that the problem of ‘hate’ (Like Diotrephes, a leader in the church, who hated Christians by kicking them out of the church, in 3 John) here is a breaking of the ‘commandment’ (of Christ), but to use the phrase “breaking the law” shows a theological influence that just isn’t in the text. It’s a BIG problem.
Secondly, look at Philippians 3:7-8. The HCSB translates ‘hatina’ and ‘panta’ both as ‘everything’. Other translations do a great job with first, ‘whatever’ followed by ‘everything’. Read the verse a few times and try to make sense of it in the HCSB:
“But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ”
(Philippians 3:7–8 HCSB)
I want to love this translation and use it as a go-to bible for teaching and devotional reading. But it is just a little too sloppy in places. I really hope the team does another revision soon.
On a more positive note: The HCSB’s translation of Romans 8 is fantastic. I especially like that they picked up on the “Debtors we are not to the flesh” and translated it as “we are not obligated to the flesh”. Other translations seem to introduce an obligation that Paul never had in mind — he never completed his thought if he wanted to express that we we under an obligation. And “the mind-set of the flesh” is much better than NASB’s “the mind set on the flesh”. I feel the HCSB gets it right in a big way here. ‘Mind-set’ conveys the Greek better – it’s about a ‘way of thinking’. This makes it much easier to see the contrast between believer and unbeliever in this section of Romans.
Hopefully, this problem will motivate all of us to be true students of the Word, asking Holy Spirit to reveal to us His True meaning and make it alive; to, and in us. His Version, written in our thoughts, our intent, our deeds, our gestures, all that we are. Lord God, thank You for Your Word! You wrote this Your Word, Help us! SHALOM, SHALOM, SHALOM!!!
A revision is coming in March 2017. You can ask for a Pastors Pack from the HCSB website and they will mail it to you. I was asked to not comment on the coming changes.
Ken, I have bee studying the revision, which is called the Christian Standard Bible, and I plan to review it soon.
The Holy Spirit is our Teacher (if we are Believers) and will illuminate the scriptures. Those who prefer an easy to read bible are mostly likely leaning on their own understanding. Therein lies the difference: spiritual discernment. Not reading the Bible like its any other book.
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