What is the Christian Standard Bible (CSB)?Question: "What is the Christian Standard Bible (CSB)?"
Christian Standard Bible – History
The motive for the Christian Standard Bible translators to produce another English translation was two-fold: first, the translators saw the need for each new generation of English speakers to have a translation that reflects changes in the English language; second, the translators wanted a modern translation grounded in theologically conservative ideology without regard to liberal cultural trends. After several years of preliminary development, Holman Bible Publishers assembled an international team of 100 scholars from many denominations, all of whom were committed to biblical inerrancy. Outside consultants contributed valuable suggestions from their areas of expertise. A New Testament was published in 2001, with the whole Bible following in 2004. Originally, the CSB was the Holman Christian Standard Bible, or HCSB. The text was updated and the word Holman was dropped from the name in 2017.
Christian Standard Bible – Translation Method
Using original Greek (Nestle-Aland) and Hebrew texts, the Christian Standard Bible used the optimal equivalence approach to translation; this method 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 CSB 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 Christian Standard Bible has retained a number of features found in traditional Bibles, including traditional theological vocabulary and traditional name and place name spellings. The CSB also features extensive footnotes to help the reader understand the original biblical language or how it was translated.
Christian Standard Bible – Pro’s and Con’s
Some claim the 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 CSB succeeded in their goal of optimal equivalence. In many cases, the CSB translates the tetragrammaton as “Yahweh” instead of the traditional “LORD.” And in a handful of instances, the CSB has opted for a more gender-neutral rendering of some biblical wording (e.g., replacing man with everyone in Romans 3:4).
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 dwelt 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, ‘Truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.’"
Ephesians 2:8–9 – “For you are saved by grace 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, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Recommended Resource: How to Choose a Translation for All Its Worth: A Guide to Understanding and Using Bible Versions by Gordon D. Fee & Mark L. Strauss
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