About the HCSB

100 scholars and English stylists from 17 denominations, prayerfully, translated what is one of the most significant Bible translations available, the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). Taking into account the significant advancements in scholarship, translation theory, and contemporary English usage, the HCSB will satisfy both those new to the faith and seasoned scholars. While there are many reasons why the HCSB was produced, there are two extremely significant ones below.

1. English is changing rapidly, and Bible translations must keep pace.

More than 1.3 billion people speak or read English as a primary or secondary language, and this widespread usage forces rapid changes. Words and phrases that were commonly used in the recent past are no longer part of contemporary speech, often sounding strange to modern ears. The HCSB reflects linguistic advances in vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and formatting while it retains meaningful theological terms.

2. Advances in biblical research provide new data for Bible translators.

Biblical scholars today actually have better information about ancient texts than scholars did years ago. While translations made even in the last 10 or 20 years do not reflect some of these significant advances in research, the HCSB incorporates vast amounts of this information. This fact led Dr. Peter Flint, dead sea scroll scholar at Trinity Western University, to write, "The Holman Christian Standard Bible is one of the most textually sophisticated English Bibles available anywhere."

What's all this mean? It means in the HCSB you'll find God's personal name (Yahweh), the use of  "Messiah" in the New Testament, the use of "slave" in the New Testament, just to name a few examples. Also, you'll notice the contemporary speech patterns in the HCSB mean that words like "behold" and "shall" are not used. Instead, words or phrases that are common today can be found in their place. The list goes on and on.

Also, it is important to note the HCSB translation philosophy, Optimal Equivalence. It is widely known that the Bible's original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic manuscripts have words and phrases for which there is no English equivalent. Translating these texts into the English language is a painstaking process of rendering the intended meaning with a balance of accuracy and ease of understanding. 

An important distinction between modern Bibles has to do with the translation philosophy chosen by their team of scholars. Traditionally, some have placed a higher value on word-for-word accuracy (Formal Equivalence) and others have emphasized a thought-for-thought approach-striving for a greater level of readability (Dynamic Equivalence). But as the scholars who have worked on Bibles using different approaches have said, no English translation can be fully Formal or fully Dynamic. All translations are a balance of both.   

The HCSB employs a first-of-its kind translation philosophy known as Optimal Equivalence, which seeks to achieve an optimal balance of literary precision and emotive clarity through a comprehensive analysis of the text at every level. This process assures maximum transfer of both words and thoughts contained in the original.