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Introducing the Holman Christian Standard Bible

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By Micah Carter

When it comes to the translation of God’s Word, we live in an unprecedented time in human history. In the last 40 years, English-speaking Bible readers have benefitted from both the continuance of translations in the KJV tradition (like the ESV) and new, original translations for contemporary readers (like the NIV).

The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) is part of this incredible history of Bible translation in the English language. Released in 2004, the aim of this new translation was simple: to blend an accurate, trustworthy translation of the original languages with the way we speak in contemporary English. More than 100 scholars from 17 denominations came together for this project and produced a Bible translation that could be trusted by scholars and pastors, and enjoyably read by everyday people.

The HCSB employs a translation philosophy known as “optimal equivalence,” which seeks to achieve an optimal balance of linguistic precision with contemporary clarity. In the majority of places throughout Scripture where a word-for-word rendering is clearly understandable, a “formal” translation is used. In places where a word-for-word rendering might obscure the meaning for a modern audience, a more “dynamic” translation is applied.

With these commitments in view, the HCSB seeks to achieve the following goals:

  • To equip serious Bible students with an accurate, trustworthy translation for study, devotion, and memorization
  • To inspire English-speaking people across the world with a clear, faithful, and easily comprehensible translation
  • To affirm Scripture as the inerrant Word of God and to champion its authority over cultural influences that may compromise its truth

Most translations have scholars and pastors who function in some way as an “oversight committee” that helps identify future opportunities to make the translation stronger and clearer, as language changes occur and biblical scholarship advances. The HCSB has its own translation oversight committee as well, including the following distinguished members:

  • Dr. David Allen, co-chair
  • Dr. Dorian Coover-Cox
  • Dr. Andrew Das
  • Dr. Iain Duguid
  • Dr. Darian Lockett
  • Dr. Brian Rosner
  • Dr. Tom Schreiner, co-chair
  • Dr. Andrew Steinmann

Over the next several weeks, we at B&H Publishing Group have the privilege to be here at challies.com to provide a deeper engagement with the Holman Christian Standard Bible. It’s our joy to commend it to you and to see God’s Word transform lives around the world.

Dr. Micah Carter is the HCSB Translation Spokesperson for B&H Publishing Group in Nashville, TN. Follow us on Twitter @HCSB and visit www.hcsb.org for more information.


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