Translating, studying, and sharing the Bible has never been easier thanks to the technology that is available to us today. There are plenty of innovations out there but in this series of posts I want to share with you some of the tools I’m using and why. Welcome to the 21st century of studying the Bible!
The first part of this series will highlight the translation I use and why I believe modern advancements in linguistics, technology, archaeology, research and collaboration make it the best English translation available.
The Holman Christian Standard Bible is the most balanced version of the Bible that exists today thanks to contemporary scholarship, technology, and archaeology.
21st Century Translation – The HCSB is a contemporary, readable, English translation that is based on the earliest manuscripts. Other popular translations are actually revisions of previous translations (such as the NKJV and the ESV).
21st Century Discoveries – The HCSB is based on the most recent archaeological discoveries of manuscripts and improved statistical research and analysis.
21st Century Technology – The HCSB is the most high tech translation we’ve ever had available to us. No other translators have had this much access to computers, customized translation software, and communications to facilitate and cross-check the translation process.
21st Century Translation Philosophy – The two traditional translation philosophies are the “thought-for-thought” philosophy of the NIV or NLT and the “word-for-word” philosophy of the ESV and the NASB. The HCSB reflects the “optimal equivalence” model of translation. “That is, we began with a word-for-word translation and then styled the language to communicate clearly to modern English readers.” This makes the HCSB the most accurate AND most readable translation in English-speaking history!
21st Century Collaboration – The HCSB was translated by a global team of nearly 100 scholars from Europe, North America, and Asia and from more than 20 Protestant denominations and several non-denominational churches. All of these scholars are committed to the inerrancy of Scripture. Additionally, this collaboration from a wide spectrum of scholars has led to the least theological bias of any translation I’ve used.
A Final Note about the HCSB – Have you ever heard a preacher say, “You’ll notice in your English translation it uses the word ______? Actually, it means _________.” It has been my experience a majority of the times that I’ve heard this that the HCSB “gets it”. In other words, the word the preacher thinks should be used based on their current English usage actually is the very word being used by the HCSB. In fact, when I was a seminary student studying Greek and Hebrew the HCSB usually “got it”. Finally, as a pastor who often works through the original language to prepare for a sermon I’m always amazed at how accurate the HCSB is and how it translates a verse into the English we would naturally use.
After 2,000 years of church history we have never been more advanced technologically nor have we ever had more ancient manuscripts and a better understanding of the ancient world than we do now. My view is that the Holman Christian Standard Bible does the best job (not perfect job) of utilizing all of these new innovations and ancient manuscripts to give us the most trustworthy English translation yet.
Note: Some of the info for this post came from the Introduction found in most HCSB Bibles and from the FAQ page on the B&H Publishing Group website. Please check out my resource page for my top recommendations for ministry and productivity.
Have a different view? Or do you agree that the HCSB is setting a standard for English translations for years to come? Let me know your thoughts!