EXCEPTIONAL BIBLICAL SCHOLARSHIP
Over 20 years ago, a team of more than 100 top conservative scholars from 17 denominations came together with one common vision: to create an original English translation meticulously faithful to the ancient Scriptures and exceptionally clear to understand. With the benefit of up-to-date manuscript discoveries and significant advances in research, these translators, reviewers, and stylists exhaustively scrutinized ancient source texts—including the critical Greek text favoured by scholars—to determine every nuance of original meaning and intent. The result was a Bible that not only shines by academic standards, but is also remarkably enjoyable to read: The Holman Christian Standard Bible.
REVISED AND IMPROVED
To ensure the very best balance of fidelity and clarity, top biblical scholars have reviewed the full text of the Holman Christian Standard Bible, based on feedback from pastors, seminaries, and other conservative denominations. Providing Bible readers with a translation that’s even stronger, this revision, called the Christian Standard Bible, is available in a wide variety of editions. Learn more about the translation changes from the HCSB to the CSB.
The conservative, evangelical scholars of the Christian Standard Bible affirm the authority of Scripture as the inerrant Word of God. Seeking the highest level of faithfulness to the original texts and accuracy in their translation, these scholars and LifeWay, the non-profit ministry that stewards the CSB, also champion the Bible against cultural trends that would compromise its truths.
Changes from the HCSB to the CSB
With the goals of increased fidelity to the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts and increased clarity for today’s readers, the Translation Oversight Committee has updated the text of the Holman Christian Standard Bible. This translation, renamed the Christian Standard Bible, incorporates advances in biblical scholarship and input from Bible scholars, pastors, and readers to sharpen both accuracy and readability. In addition to a verse-by-verse review, the translation team also made changes to the HCSB text in the following areas:
Capitalization of Pronouns Referring to God
The original text of Scripture does not distinguish pronouns referring to God by capitalization. Most Bible translations (including the King James Version) have followed this example and do not capitalize pronouns that refer to God. The Christian Standard Bible (CSB) adopts the traditional approach of not capitalizing pronouns and referents for two primary reasons. First, the original text of Scripture is not always clear about to whom a particular pronoun may be referring; translations that capitalize any reference to a divine person are often forced into making unnecessary judgment calls in passages where the interpretation is debatable. Second, since Scripture sometimes includes prophecies that have double fulfillment, the choice to capitalize a pronoun can have the unintended outcome of erasing the additional, non-divine meaning. Read more.
Use of “Tongues” Instead of “Languages” in Some Texts
The HCSB rendered the lalein + glossa construction as “languages” rather than the traditional “tongues” because the translators saw “tongues” as an archaic way of referring to verbal communication. The translators, representing a variety of denominations, did not intend by the use of “languages” to exclude charismatic views of ecstatic speech. Because “tongues” is an appropriate translation and is the word used in every other major English Bible translation, the CSB Translation Oversight Committee elected to adopt the traditional rendering and avoid any appearance of theological bias. Read more.
Use of “Yahweh” as God’s Personal Name
Traditionally, English Bible translations have chosen not to supply vowels in order make the name of God (YHWH) pronounceable; they simply render this name as a title (LORD). The CSB Translation Oversight Committee chose to come into alignment with other English translations, departing from the HCSB practice of utilizing “Yahweh” in the text. The HCSB was inconsistent, rendering YHWH as “Yahweh” in only 656 of 6,000+ occurrences of YHWH, because full consistency would be overwhelming to the reader. Yet feedback from readers also showed that the unfamiliarity of “Yahweh” was an obstacle to reading the HCSB. In addition, when quoting Old Testament texts that include an occurrence of YHWH, the New Testament renders YHWH with the word kurios, which is a title (Lord) rather than a personal name. This supports the direction of bringing the CSB is in line with most English translations, rendering YHWH as LORD. Read more.
Rendering Doulos as “Servant” Instead of “Slave”
In our context, the word “slave” primarily brings to mind our history of race-based slavery. The theologically appropriate connotation of the word is lost on most readers. In light of this obstacle, it seemed best to the Translation Oversight Committee to choose a word that is less apt to cause distraction and misunderstanding. Furthermore, the choice to render doulos as “servant” rather than “slave” aligns with the Old Testament’s use of ‘eved in reference to followers of God, and the New Testament’s use of a Greek word specifically meaning “servant” rather than “slave” when quoting from the Old Testament. The CSB retains the use of “slave” in contexts where slavery or a slave are clearly in view, but for references to Christian discipleship, “servant” is used. Read more.
Translating Gender Language into English
The Christian Standard Bible retains a traditional approach to translating gender language into English. Masculine terms (Father, Son, King, etc.) and pronouns (he, him, his) are retained whenever they refer to God. To improve accuracy, the Translation Oversight Committee chose to avoid being unnecessarily specific in passages where the original context did not exclude females. When Scripture presents principles or generic examples that are not restricted to males, the CSB does not use “man,” “he,” or other masculine terms. At the same time, the translators did not make third person masculine pronouns inclusive by rendering them as plurals (they, them), because they believed it was important to retain the individual and personal sense of these expressions.