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What is the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)?

Holman Christian Standard Bible, HCSB

Question: "What is the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)?"

Holman Christian Standard Bible – History
The motive for the Holman Christian Standard Bible translators to produce yet another English translation stemmed from the need for each new generation of English speakers to have a translation that reflected changes in the English language. Because English is the first truly global language, the publishers sought to produce a version that served a large cross section of English-speaking people throughout the world. After several years of preliminary development, Holman Bible Publishers, the oldest Bible publisher in America, assembled an international, interdenominational team of 90 scholars, all of whom were committed to biblical inerrancy. Smaller teams of editors, stylists, and proofreaders then corrected and polished the translation. Outside consultants contributed valuable suggestions from their areas of expertise. An executive team then reviewed the final manuscripts. The HCSB® was first published in 1999.

Holman Christian Standard Bible – Translation Method
Using original Greek and Hebrew texts, the Holman Christian Standard Bible used the optimal equivalence approach to translation which seeks to combine the best features of formal equivalence (word-for-word) and dynamic equivalence (thought-for-thought). In places where a literal rendering might be unclear, 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. At the same time, in keeping with a long line of Bible publications, the Holman Christian Standard Bible has retained a number of features found in traditional Bibles, including traditional theological vocabulary, traditional name and place name spellings, and capitalization of deity pronouns and words referring to the members of the Trinity. The HCSB® is noted for extensive use of footnotes to help the reader understand the original biblical language or how it is translated.

Holman Christian Standard Bible – Pro’s and Con’s
Some claim the Holman Christian Standard Bible is too literal (formal equivalence) and some say it is too free (dynamic equivalence). This likely means that, for the most part, the translators of the HCSB® succeeded in their goal of optimal equivalence. Many feel that a translation of the Bible should not be named after a company, organization, or person. Perhaps "Christian Standard Bible" would have been a more appropriate title.

Holman Christian Standard Bible – Sample Verses
John 1:1, 14 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 3:16 – “"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 8:58 – “Jesus said to them, ‘I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am.’"

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift—not from works, so that no one can boast.”

Titus 2:13 – “while we wait for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Recommended Resources: How to Choose a Translation for All Its Worth: A Guide to Understanding and Using Bible Versions by Gordon D. Fee & Mark L. Strauss and Logos Bible Software.

While he is not the author of every article on GotQuestions.org, for citation purposes, you may reference our CEO, S. Michael Houdmann.


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What is the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)?