2017 Christian Standard Bible (CSB): First Look [updated]
Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 11:04PM
R. Mansfield in CSB, Faith & Reason, HCSB
Earlier this week at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in San Antonio, attendees were presented with a free advance copy of the upcoming 2017 Christian Standard Bible (CSB). The edition given out, designated "CSB Large Print UltraThin Reference Bible," is a soft black imitation goatskin leather with two ribbon markers. 
The original Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) was first released in full in 2004 and revised in 2010. Interestingly, there is no reference to previous copyright dates on the copyright page of the CSB. I read from this that the CSB is being positioned not as an update to the HCSB, but a full replacement. 
I had an "off-the-record" conversation with one of the original HCSB translators. I don't feel comfortable communicating everything I was told, but he informed me that except for a stylist or two, the entire translation committee of the HCSB was replaced with an entirely new team. The edition of the new CSB handed out earlier this week does not list the translation team, but a cardstock page in the box referred to Dr. Thom Schreiner as "Co-Chairman, Translation Oversight Committee." Schreiner is a premier Evangelical scholar for whom I have great respect, and I will be interested to learn who else was on the committee. 
An employee of Lifeway told me that the text in the copy of the CSB given to attendees is very close to final form, but there may still be a "grammatical correction or two" before print copies go on sale in 2017. 
A few notes of interest:

I have not had time to give a close look at the CSB, but from what I can see it is not a minor revision of the HCSB. Rather, as Lifeway seems to be positioning it, the CSB is new translation where every verse of its predecessor seems to have been up for change if necessary. Think NEB to REB, RSV to NRSV--or perhaps more appropriate in this case, RSV to ESV. 

And the ESV may be the actual catalyst in all this. The ESV has continued to gain in popularity and use in conservative American Protestant churches, so it's no surprise that the new CSB would be more traditional in a significant number of places than the HCSB (such as the Beattitudes in Matthew 5 reverting to the traditional "Blessed are..." formula of older translations). 

No doubt the HCSB has always used more natural English than the ESV, but perhaps the CSB is an effort to sound natural and retain a sense of the familiar at the same time, thus possibly allowing for more widespread use than it has received to date. 

My main quibble with the changes is the loss of Yahweh for the Divine Name (יְהוִה/YHWH). Yes, I know the arguments: we don't know the exact pronunciation, and use of the name is offensive to some with Jewish backgrounds. For the latter issue, a speaker needs to be sensitive to his or her audience. Neverthless, I have a problem with the use of the word Lord/LORD because (1) it is a title, not a name; and (2) it is a not a word in use outside religious circles in our culture and loses nearly all original meaning when used for God. 

Having taught from the HCSB at church for the last decade, I will give the CSB the benefit of the doubt and begin using this advance copy immediately in that setting in an attempt to really give it a fair shake. I especially look forward to an electronic version in Accordance so that I can more easily compare the CSB with the HCSB, which I somehow feel had too short of a lifespan in the big picture. 







Update on Sunday, November 20, 2016 at 11:13PM by Registered CommenterR. Mansfield

I left off one note of interest.

Use of slave for δοῦλος/doulos has been changed to servant in most passages such as Romans 1:1. 

Update on Thursday, November 24, 2016 at 11:30AM by Registered CommenterR. Mansfield

Another note of interest:

I can't believe I missed this (truth be told, I didn't even check), but in a number of places, the CSB more accurately translates ἀδελφοί/adelphoi as "brothers and sisters" where the context warrants it. I'm very glad to see this. No one would stand in front of a congregation of men and women and only say, "Brothers." The plural word ἀδελφοί/adelphoi usually means "brothers and sisters" when Paul is addressing an entire congregation in general terms; and thus, this rendering in these instances should be seen as more accurate and even more literal. 


According to commenter "Bible Geek," the CSB Bible given away at ETS is actually goatskin leather. I would not have dreamed that such a nice binding would be given away for free, especially considering the amazing things being done with imitation leather materials these days. Therefore, I assumed the Bible I received was imitation leather as the box did not actually say. 

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