A Fresh Look at the HCSB Translation [Video]

I love this new video from the Broadman & Holman Publishing Group about the HCSB. They highlight the primary reasons why the HCSB is the most readable and accurate English translation available.

Some Highlights

  • More than 100 Bible scholars from 17 denominations (What!? Not just a bunch of Southern Baptists?) gave several years of their lives to this translation because they felt the advancements in archaeology, linguistics, and Biblical research were so significant that there needed to be a new translation (not just a revision).
  • Goal was to be the most accurate and readable Bible in the English language.
  • Most translations use the title Lord for God’s personal name. HCSB uses Yahweh over 600 times. Compare Isaiah 42:8 HCSB vs. ESV. (What!? I never knew God had a name!)
  • The Greek word doulos is translated more accurately as “slave” over a hundred times in the HCSB (rather than the more common “servant”). Compare Titus 1:1 HCSB vs. ESV
  • John 3:16, the most beloved verse of the Bible is translated “For God loved the world in this way…” to more accurately display the original Greek meaning that has to do with how God displayed his love, not just how much he loved.
  • Uses “Messiah” when appropriate rather than “Christ” (if context warrants that translation). Compare Matthew 2:4 HCSB vs. ESV.
  • Uses modern day speech patterns (For example, would you say, “Behold, a beautiful sunset!” Or, “Look at that beautiful sunset!”?) Compare Matthew 10:16 HCSB vs. NIV (where did idou go?).
  • Uses contractions to make it easier to read. Compare Ephesians 3:2 HCSB vs. NIV.
  • Provides accuracy and readability through it’s optimal equivalence approach.
  • Satisfies those new to the faith and serious students of God’s Word.
If you want more, I’ve written a couple of posts on the HCSB:

Got any questions about the HCSB? What is your translation of choice? How does it compare to the HCSB? What did you think about the quality of this video?

HT: Stetzer

Nathan is the pastor of City Life Church in Ridgewood, NY. He and his family are committed to making and multiplying disciples in the most diverse county in the US. Read more about Nathan here. Visit the City Life Church website here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I have owned a HCSB NT when the OT was complete yet.  I liked it okay.  Today I use the NLT because I find it easy to read and understand.  I know, some people will call me a liberal for not using a different translation, but it’s what I prefer.  But I like HCSB as well.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t label people based on the version they choose. I like talking about the HCSB because I believe it stands on its own merits. Thanks for chiming in! This is a safe place to “confess” that you read from the NLT 😉

  • grace

    Do the HCSB translators talk about why they choose to spell-out the word “Yahweh,” instead maintaining the same respect for it as other translations do by writing it (and in turn speaking it) as the tetragrammaton? The small caps use of “LORD” in the OT is an indicator that the the tetragrammaton is being used, which I understand most people don’t know. However, simply solving this by translating the Hebrew to “Yahweh” seems to degrade why it’s been translated otherwise for the past few thousand years. Any thoughts on that?

    Also, can you tell me if the most recent translation of the HCSB still translates the word “blessed” as “happy”? That seems a little demeaning of the original Hebrew as well. Don’t worry, I’m aware there’s no perfect translation, just trying to understand these translation decisions by the HCSB translators.

    • Guest

      I
      don’t see a big deal with the “Yahweh” thing. I personally welcome
      it. They would be more accurate to translate every use of it to
      “Yahweh,” but I’m not to torn over whether they leave it the same or
      change it. But again, I welcome it: God said to Moses, “Say this to the
      Israelites: Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of
      Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name
      forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation. Exodus
      3:15

      There are two primary definitions for “blessed” – (1) Hallowed;
      consecrated; worthy of blessing or adoration; heavenly; holy. and
      (2) Enjoying happiness or bliss; favored with blessings; happy;
      highly favored. I don’t know if this is 100% of the time, but I have noticed
      when reading that the HCSB will use “happy” for the latter and sticks
      with “blessed” for the former. You can also see how with definition
      #2 that translations will sometimes say “praise”,
      “praised”, or “praise be”. But yes, for places like Psalm
      1, I would love to go back to “blessed,” but I do recognize that many
      other translations use “happy.”

    • Guest

      I don’t see a big deal with the “Yahweh” thing. I personally welcome
      it. They would be more accurate to translate every use of it to
      “Yahweh,” but I’m not to torn over whether they leave it the same or
      change it. But again, I welcome it: God said to Moses, “Say this to the
      Israelites: Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of
      Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name
      forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation. Exodus
      3:15.

      There are two primary definitions for “blessed” – (1) Hallowed;
      consecrated; worthy of blessing or adoration; heavenly; holy. and
      (2) Enjoying happiness or bliss; favored with blessings; happy;
      highly favored. I don’t know if this is 100% of the time, but I have noticed
      when reading that the HCSB will use “happy” for the latter and sticks
      with “blessed” for the former. You can also see how with definition
      #2 that translations will sometimes say “praise”,
      “praised”, or “praise be”. But yes, for places like Psalm
      1, I would love to go back to “blessed,” but I do recognize that many
      other translations use “happy.”