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Win an Advance 2017 CSB Large Print UltraThin Reference Bible

I've acquired a second copy of the 2017 Christian Standard Bible (CSB) Large Print UltraThin Reference Bible that was given away to attendees of the 2016 ETS meeting in San Antonio last month. It is still in the box (taken out only to photograph) and all the pages are still stuck together--it's that new! A commentor on my previous blog post claims the Bible is goatskin, but I can't verify this as the ISBN (9781462743223) does not seem to appear anywhere on the Internet. 

Regardless, you can enter through the Rafflecoptor widget below. Postage is on me, but please, US entries only. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Click on the images below for a larger view:




2017 Christian Standard Bible (CSB): First Look [updated]

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:
  • All HCSB bullet notes have been removed. 
  • All 645 instances of Yahweh in the HCSB have been replaced with the more traditional LORD (all caps).
  • Surprisingly (to me), beer has (correctly) been retained for the Hebrew שֵׁכָר/šēḵār
  • Pronouns referring to deity are no longer capitalized. 
  • Thankfully, other than the changes in capitalization, John 3:16 is still correctly translated as "For God loved the world in this way [οὕτως/houtōs]: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."
  • According to the former HCSB translator I spoke with, the new CSB uses the title Messiah much less often than the HCSB, which used it 116 times in the New Testament for Χριστός/Christos. Note, for instance, the use of Christ in Matt 1:16 of the CSB as opposed to the HCSB's Messiah.
  • Contractions have been retained in spoken dialogue. Whether they have been increased or decreased in frequency is unknown without an electronic text to search. 
  • The textual basis for the CSB is the BHS5 for the Old Testament and the NA28/UBS5 for the New Testament. 
  • The term "Optimal Equivalence" has been retained as a way of describing the HCSB as a median translation between Formal and Dynamic Equivalence. 
  • The introduction makes note that traditional words such as justification, sanctification, and redemption are used "since such terms have no other translation equivalent that adequately communicates their exact meaning." Interestingly, though, I discovered that the HCSB's use of proptiation in Rom 3:25 (ἱλαστήριον/hilastērion); Heb 2:17 (λάσκομαι/hilaskomai); 1 John 2:2 (ἱλασμός/hilasmos); 4:10 (ἱλασμός/hilasmos) has been changed to follow the NIV's lead with the phrase "atoning sacrifice" in all of the instances except Heb 2:17 where it is translated "to make atonement."

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. 








Where We Might Get Our First Glimpse of the New CSB

In yesterday's post, "2017 Christian Standard Bible (CSB): Everything We Know So Far," I mentioned that, so far, I've not been able to find any examples of the new text except for Revelation 22:6a that reads identically the same as that in the HCSB.

It may be that we have to wait until January, the stated date for the launch of the new CSB, but there may be a couple of earlier possibilities. The first is simply speculation on my part: the November meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society in San Antonio might be an appropriate opportunity for Lifeway to reveal portions, or perhaps even all, of the new translation.

However, a more likely place we will probably see examples of the new CSB is in Lifeway's own curriculum, which is published quarterly and months in advance. I teach from Lifeway's Explore the Bible curiculum at church, and we are currently in the summer quarter, which runs through the end of this month. The Fall quarter begins in September, and the Winter quarter begins in December. However, all of this literature is released months in advance. In fact, much of the Winter material--at least some of the digital content--is already available. However, I determined yesterday that the current HCSB is used through the Winter quarter.

On Lifeway's Explore the Bible Facebook page, I asked if we would see a switch over to the new CSB in the Spring 2017 quarter material. Since the reply was public, I am repeating it here:

"Yes, at this point, we plan to introduce CSB content into our materials beginning with spring 2017. We are a part of the CSB soft launch."

Since churches have to order cubiculum months in advance, and the digital versions are made available first, I would not be surprised to see samples of the new CSB in this content sometime in the next few weeks. If this does happen, and if I find any examples of note, I'll post them here.


2017 Christian Standard Bible (CSB): Everything We Know So Far

The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) has been my primary public use translation for most of the last decade. I teach from it every Sunday at church. My default workspace in Accordance features the HCSB in parallel with a combined Hebrew and Greek text. It's not perfect, and I always reserve the right to correct it (or any translation) on the fly, but--as I've explained elsewhere--I value it for its readability as well as willingness to break with traditional wording (such as in John 3:16) for sake of accuracy. 

There's not been a whole lot of information released about the upcoming update to the HCSB other than the fact that Lifeway is dropping the "H" in favor of simply calling it the CSB, Christian Standard Bible. If memory serves, this was the original plan back in the early days when the late Arthur Farstad was still in charge of the project, but I could be mistaken. 

As I've indicated, we don't know too much about the CSB, but I thought that I might use this space to lay out as much as we do know up to this point. 

Official website and not-so-secure, retailer-only section of the website:

Press release

Launch date

Announcement in January 2017 with printed editions following in March. This allows stores to clear out print inventory of the HCSB over the Christmas buying season. 

Forthcoming print editions

Nearly 100 coming from Lifeway with more from Baker in 2018. Besides multiple text editions, there is a new CSB Study Bible, Essential Teen Study Bible, evangelistic editions, and more than one edition aimed at children. 

I'm surprised that I don't see a Minister's edition yet among the pre-pub listings. I teach from the current HCSB Minister's Bible at church.

Forthcoming Bible software editions

No word yet on electronic editions, but presumably the usual bunch: Accordance, Logos, OliveTree, and Wordearch. Lifeway owns WordSearch, so I'm sure they will have it, but I hope the CSB is licensed to other platforms, too. 

Reason for dropping "Holman" from the name

Official reason:

"We are proud of the heritage of Holman Bible Publishers, which dates back to 1743, making us the oldest North American Bible publisher. While we are retaining that name for our publishing entity, the Holman name in the Bible translation name often created more questions than answers (who was Mr. Holman?). 'Christian Standard Bible' removes some of those questions and increases appeal to the broad audience that the CSB is designed to serve."

Probable reason: "Holman" is associated with Southern Baptists. Dropping "Holman" fits better with the diversity of translators who produced the H/CSB and will hopefully open the door for more greater use among a diverse representation of churches and denominations. 

Reason for update

Official reason:

"We are committed to improving our translation based on advances in biblical scholarship, and input from Bible scholars, pastors, and readers. Taking all of these items into consideration, the CSB has improved on the HCSB’s faithfulness to the original text and clarity for a modern audience."

Translation method

As with the HCSB, Lifeway continues to use the designation Optimal Equivalence as a description of the CSB:

"In the many places throughout Scripture where a word-for-word rendering is clearly understandable, a literal translation is used. When a word-for-word rendering might obscure the meaning for a modern audience, a more dynamic translation is used."

This means it is a median translation (the best kind in my opinion) balancing between formal and dynamic equivalence. This is similar to the method used for the NIV, NET Bible, and many other modern translations. 

Significant changes between the HCSB and CSB

Not publicly known yet. The only verse quoted on the official website is part of Revelation 22:6, which reads the same in both versions: “Then he said to me, ‘These words are faithful and true.’”

I would hope they choose to translate ἀδελφοί as the more accurate "brothers and sisters" when the context warrants it, and I hope they stick to their guns and keep שֵׁכָר and σίκερα correctly translated as "beer" in Lev 10:9; Num 6:3; 28:7; Deut 14:26; 29:6; Judg 13:4, 7, 14; 1 Sam 1:15; Prov 20:1; 31:4, 6; Isa 1:22; 5:11, 22; 24:9; 28:7; 29:9; 56:12; Mic 2:11; and Luke 1:15 as the HCSB does now. This still surprises me for a translation owned by a Baptist publishing firm, but I respect their commitment to accuracy. 

Identity of translators

No one has publicly been named, but the translators have been described as "100 scholars from 17 denominations."

I will continue to post updates as I find out new information. If I have left anything significant out, please let me know in the comments.