Holman Christian Standard

What is the Holman Christian Standard Bible?

The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) is an English-language translation of Bible produced by Holman Bible Publishers. The New Testament was first published in 1999 and the translation was completed with the Old Testament in 2004. The originator of the HCSB translation was Arthur Farstad who was the general editor of the New King James Bible translation. (Learn more about the New King James Bible translation here.)

The HCSB's journey to publication was rerouted when Farstad died. Lifeway Christian Resources, part of the Southern Baptist Convention, permitted Edwin Blum to lead a new ediotorial team. Farstad wanted the HCSB New Testament based on the same Greek text as the King James Version and New King James translation. This Greek text was replaced with texts thought to be more reliable. (See the King James Version here.)

Translation philosophy

The translation team for the HCSB were all committed to the doctrine of inerrancy, which states that there are no errors in the original manuscripts of the Bible. The team sought to strike a balance between the two prevailing philosophies of Bible translation: formal equivalence (literal, "word-for-word") and dynamic or functional equivalence ("thought-for-thought"). The translators called this balance "optimal equivalence." The primary goal of an optimal equivalence translation is "to convey a sense of the original text with as much clarity as possible".

To that end, the ancient source texts were exhaustively scrutinized at every level (word, phrase, clause, sentence, discourse) to determine its original meaning and intention. Afterwards, using the best language tools available, the semantic and linguistic equivalents were translated into as readable a text as possible.

Making use of the most recent scholarly traditions, the translators worked from the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th edition, and the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament, 4th corrected edition (for the New Testament), and the 5th edition of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (for the Old Testament).

In the case of differences among Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts of the OT or among Greek manuscripts of the NT, the translators followed what they believed was the original reading and indicated the main alternative(s) in footnotes. There are a few places in the NT that the translation team and most biblical scholars today believe were not part of the original text. However, these texts were retained (and indicated in large square brackets) because of their undeniable antiquity and their value for tradition and the history of NT interpretation in the church.

HCSB update

The new update to the HCSB is available now in electronic form for WORDsearch and Bible Explorer software. Though largely a minor update, one significant change is that the tetragrammaton is transliterated "Yahweh" in 495 places. In the first edition, the transliteration is only found in 78 places. (The tetragrammaton appears in over 6,800 places in the Hebrew Bible.) Text editions began rolling out in 2010, including the HCSB Study Bible in October 2010. The HCSB is available online and is also being marketed in Christian publications as an Apologetics Bible and as a version specifically for the Microsoft Xbox 360 called Bible Navigator X.


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