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

Introducing A New HCSB Audio Bible [Review]

[Update 9.2.11: The audio version of the HCSB New Testament is now available on youversion.com for free.]

There is a new voice only recording of the Holman Christian Standard Bible New Testament read by Dale McConachie. Dale kindly gave me a free download for review and I have to say, I really like it. Ever since YouVersion added access to audio Bibles, I’ve found myself listening to the Bible a lot. Since they have yet to include an HCSB audio Bible, I was excited about this new audio Bible since it is my translation of choice.

To begin, let me say that there is already an official audio recording of the HCSB read by actor David Payne that can be bought on Amazon for $63. The product description says, “Audio edition of the complete HCSB translation on 64 compact discs, dramatically and dynamically read by actor David Payne.” This virtually ensures that I will never use this audio version. I can’t imagine paying $63 and uploading 66 books of the Bible to my computer from 64 cds. I’m also turned off by “dramatically and dynamically read”. I’m further turned off that there is background music.

So, again, I’m excited to announce the voice only audio version that Dale is working on. Before I go into some of the reasons why I like Dale’s version, I should say that I primarily use the NLT audio Bible and have enjoyed it to some extent but this new HCSB version is fast becoming my favorite.

Does the Holy Spirit Speak Through My NIV?

I recently had an interesting conversation with someone named Dan about the value of exegesis and the role of the Holy Spirit in helping us understand God’s Word. I made the argument that faithfully studying the context, author, purpose, audience, and even the languages can help us to more fully understand a text. This doesn’t negate the role of the Holy Spirit in illuminating the words on the page but I think these language and contextual tools are helpful.

Dan said,

I agree that there is certainly value in studying the original language and historical aspects of a text, but I would lean toward those being nonessential, because ultimately The Bible is nothing but words without God’s Spirit working in the heart of the reader/hearer.”

I wouldn’t say they are nonessential. I would even say that they are essential because without them we wouldn’t even have an English translation. Further, I would say that the more questions we ask of a text and the more we can use cultural and contextual and linguistic tools to help us answer them, the more faithful we are as students of the Word.

When we get a letter in the mail it’s helpful to know the author, the recipient(s), the subject, the purpose, etc. Why wouldn’t we also employ what we know about a biblical text to help us more fully understand the message? Especially since that text is from a culture years removed from ours today. There is a lot of insight that can be gleaned just from doing 5 minutes of research from a commentary or with a word study. Again, no seminary education necessary just a healthy desire to meditate on and study God’s Word.