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Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB) is an English translation of the Bible, published by Holman Bible Publishers. The first full edition was completed in March 2004, with the New Testament alone having been previously published in 1999.

The Holman Christian Standard Bible version was planned and sponsored by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB) was intended to be a replacement for the New International Version (NIV), which the SBC Sunday School Board had been using in its curriculum materials under a license agreement. The NIV became controversial after the International Bible Society acknowledged in 1997 that it was revising the NIV with "politically correct" gender-neutral language, and so in 1998 the Sunday School Board entered into an agreement with Arthur Farstad (formerly the editor of the New King James Version) for him to oversee the production of a new version that would be under its own control. Soon afterward, Farstad died, and Edwin Blum was appointed general editor in his place.

Although Farstad had envisioned basing the new translation on the same texts used for the original King James Version and New King James Version, after Farstad's death, the editorial team replaced this text with the Greek New Testament as established by modern scholars (Dewey 2004). This is based on the Alexandrian text-type and best represented by the editions of the United Bible Societies and of Nestle-Aland. (See the "Textual basis" section below.)

The version was produced by a large team of translators and stylists, and a smaller editorial team meeting in Dallas, Texas. About a third of the team members were Southern Baptist. Other team members were members of the Plymouth Brethren, Presbyterians (PCA), Congregationalists, Church of England, Church of God, Evangelical Free Church, Methodists, Evangelical Mennonites and Episcopalians.

The textual base for the New Testament is the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th edition, and the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament, 4th corrected edition. The text for the Old Testament is the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 5th edition. But at times, the translators have followed an alternative manuscript tradition, disagreeing with the editors of these texts about the original reading.

Where there are significant differences among Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts of the OT or among Greek manuscripts of the NT, the translators have followed what they believe is the original reading and have indicated the main alternative(s) in footnotes. In a few places in the NT, large square brackets indicate texts that the translation team and most biblical scholars today believe were not part of the original text. However, these texts have been retained in brackets in the Holman CSB because of their undeniable antiquity and their value for tradition and the history of NT interpretation in the church. The Holman CSB uses traditional verse divisions found in most Protestant Bibles.

Bible translations generally follow one of three approaches to translating the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words into English:

  1. Formal Equivalence: Often called "word for word" translation, formal equivalence seeks to represent each word of the original text with a corresponding word in the translation so that the reader can see word for word what the original human author wrote. The merit of this approach is that the Holy Spirit did inspire the very words of Scripture in the original manuscripts. A formal equivalence translation is good to the extent that its words accurately convey the meaning of the original words. However, a literal rendering can result in awkward English or in a misunderstanding of the author's intent.
  2. Dynamic Equivalence: Often called "thought for thought" translation, dynamic equivalence seeks to translate the meaning of biblical words so the text makes the same impact on modern readers that the ancient text made on its original readers. Strengths of this approach include readability and understandability, especially in places where the original is difficult to render word for word. However, some serious questions can be asked about dynamic equivalence: How can a modern translator be certain of the original author's intent? Since meaning is always conveyed by words, why not ensure accuracy by using words that are as close as possible in meaning to the original instead of words that just capture the idea? How can a modern person ever know the impact of the original text on its readers?
  3. Optimal Equivalence: This approach seeks to combine the best features of both formal and dynamic equivalence. In the many places throughout Scripture where a word for word rendering is clearly understandable, a literal translation is used. In places where a literal rendering might be unclear, then a more dynamic translation is given. The HCSB has chosen to use the balance and beauty of optimal equivalence for a fresh translation of God's word that is both faithful to the words God inspired and "user friendly" to modern readers.
  4. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. -- Genesis 1:1

    Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. -- Genesis 1:2

    For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. -- John 3:16





Overview of Bible Study