The Holman Christian Standard Bible
Text: II Peter 1:16-21
I. Publishers are producing more translations of the Bible, in part because a popular translation can lead to a good amount of profit from royalties.
A. This means a drive to present the text of the Bible in modern terms for readability.
B. In 2012 the most popular translations based on numbers sold are:
1. New Living Translation
2. New International Version
3. King James Version
4. New King James Version
5. English Standard Version
6. Holman Christian Standard Bible
7. Reina Valera 1960
8. Common English Bible
9. New International Readers Version
10. New American Standard
II. What makes a good translation?
A. The first thing to do is look at the preface to the translation.
B. What style of translation was selected
1. Literal - Here the text is translated word-for-word to the nearest English word or phrase. The original word order of the original text is kept, which makes it very difficult to read since different languages have varying grammar rules.
a. You usually find these in Hebrew and Greek Lexicons where the text is given in the original language and the equivalent English words are printed underneath.
2. Essentially Literal (also called Formal Equivalence) - Once again, the text is translated word-for-word to the nearest English word or phrase, but the order of words is modified to match the grammar of English.
a. Examples are the King James Version, the American Standard Version, the New American Standard Bible, the Revised Standard Version, the New King James Version, and the English Standard Version.
3. Dynamic Equivalence (also called Functional Equivalence) - Here the text is translated phrase-by-phrase. The original wording is generally followed, but where phrasing is different between cultures, such as through the use of idioms, the dynamic equivalent translation is substitute a more modern way of phrasing the idea.
a. It is sometimes called thought-for-thought.
b. For example, the New International Version translates “the Lord of hosts” as “the Lord Almighty” because they felt this conveys the sense of the Hebrew expression.
c. Examples of dynamic equivalence are: The New International Version, the Amplified Bible, and the Holman Christian Standard Bible (the HSCB is less Dynamic than the NIV).
4. Gender-Neutral - Like the Dynamic Equivalence version in rendering the phrasing thought-for-thought, but the translators take this a step further to remove what they believe to be culturally unacceptable ideas from the past. Thus, phrases like “son of man” is changed to “mortal” because using masculine phrases to represent men and women is considered to be politically incorrect.
a. Examples of gender neutral are: the New Revised Standard Version, the Contemporary English Version, the Today’s New International Version, the New Century Version
5. Paraphrase (or free) - These are not truly translations. Rather what you have is a running commentary on the text. Many paraphrases are based off of other English translations. A few go back to the original languages, but no attempt is made to say precisely what was said, only what the translators thought was meant. The interpretation is generally done sentence-by-sentence.
a. Examples: The New Living Translation, the Today’s English Version, and Good News for Modern Man, and the Message.
6. When considering the style of translation, many people like the more natural flow of the dynamical equivalent or paraphrases, but we must keep in mind that inspiration means that God gave the prophets and apostles the very words to write - I Corinthians 2:10-13; John 17:8
a. Substituting words or phrases means the translators believe the words selected can be altered – as long as they are close enough.
b. Substitution also allows the translator’s personal bias or beliefs to be interjected into the text because what is being written is what the translator thinks the writers meant and not necessarily what they wrote.
C. What Greek text was used?
1. We have the Bible preserved for us in well over 5,000 manuscripts and fragments. But because scribes will make mistakes at time, there are wording variances in these texts.
a. People have taken the various manuscripts and created a composite text where every word and sometimes even letter is scrutinized to attempt to root out copy flaws and determine what the original text stated.
b. The Bible manuscripts themselves are grouped into classifications depending on their history of copying.
(1) Byzantine texts by far have the most copies (about 95%).
(2) Alexandrian, though few, are some of the oldest.
(3) Another group is known as the Western texts which appears to be the basis of the old Latin translations.
(4) The smallest group is the Caesarean texts that some believe is the foundation of the Byzantine texts.
2. In 1516 Erasmus made one of the earliest composite texts. It was based on three Greek texts, the earliest that he had dated back to the twelfth century. In a few places he didn’t have access to a Greek text and took some Latin text and translated them back into Greek for his base text.
a. From this Stephen made several revisions. The third, dating 1550 was called the “received text” or Textus Receptus
b. It was from this text that the King James Version was translated.
c. It is also known as the Majority Text because it closely follows Byzantine texts
3. The Wescott-Hort text was heavily influenced by the Alexandrian texts under the philosophy older is always more accurate. The result was a text radically different in many places from the Textus Receptus..
4. The Nestle-Aland text started in the late 1800's and is one of the more frequently used texts.
a. The New American Standard Bible is based on this text.
b. It tends to take the middle ground between the Textus Receptus and the Wescott-Hort text. It is also considered to be the better documented text, showing the alternatives and where those alternatives came from.
c. It used strict rules to determine which reading was to be preferred. Not favoring a particular text, but because of the logic behind which reading is probably more accurate
d. It came out in the late 1800's. It has under gone frequent updates – it is now in its 27th edition.
5. The United Bible Societies text.
a. Currently in its fourth edition, it is very similar to the Nestle-Aland text. In fact the two texts are now being managed by the same parent organization.
b. It is popular because it documents why certain readings are considered more accurate. It rates the scholar’s opinions on the certainty of their preferred reading.
6. While the text used as the base varies only a bit, textual composites which are heavily biased toward only one family of text have proven to be less accurate.
a. Wescott-Hort’s text has eliminated passages that later finds have proven ought to have been included. But the text is heavily weighed toward the Alexandrian manuscripts which show evidence of being edited.
b. The Textus Receptus shows evidence that some marginal commentary was crept into text.
c. The Nestle-Aland and United Bible Societies’ texts still give too much weighting to the Alexandrian texts, but recent editions have been moving away from the extreme.
7. The Holman Christian Standard Bible used the Nestle-Aland 27th edition as its base text.
D. How many translators?
1. As much as a person might want to think he is unbiased, personal beliefs will creep into a translation.
2. When multiple translators work together, they can balance out each other’s bias.
3. For the same reason, you don’t want translators all from the same denomination.
4. Preferably you want to know who were the translators so that you can examine (in theory) their other writings and to see what their personal biases might be.
a. We especially want to know their attitude toward the Bible’s inspiration because that will influence their zeal to retain the accuracy of their translation
5. The Holman Christian Standard Bible was done by a team of about 100 scholars.
a. Used all Southern Baptists on its New Testament
b. Used a mix of Presbyterian and Southern Baptists on its Old Testament.
c. The publishing company, Broadman and Holman, is strongly associated with the Southern Baptists.
d. As a result we have to watch for bias toward Southern Baptist beliefs
E. Reason for the translation
1. Broadman and Holman wanted a translation to compete with Zondervan who owns the New International Version
a. The licensing structure cut into profits
2. There was concerns because the NIV has been changing over the years, drifting toward political correctness and gender neutrality.
III. The result
A. It uses contractions, especially in text referring to speech, which is the way English speakers talk.
B. It uses some gender neutral terms. “While the HCSB avoids using “man” or “he” unnecessarily, the translation does not restructure sentences to avoid them when they are in the text. For example, the translators have not changed “him” to “you” or to “them,” neither have they avoided other masculine words such as “father” or “son” by translating them in generic terms such as “parent” or “child.”“ [Preface]
1. It looks like the struck a good even mix.
C. First edition marked the translators’ inserted words with brackets, but the complaint was that they went overboard. The second edition removed all the brackets and relies solely on footnotes, but those notes are not complete.
1. Phillipians 2:13
a. "for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (NKJV).
b. "for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (NASB).
c. “His” is an inserted word that is critical to understand that it is for God’s good pleasure and not man’s pleasure.
d. "For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose" (HCSB).
(1) Adding “enabling you” is not the same. There is no support for the words, nor are they needed to understand the text. Nor is there a footnote indicating these words were added.
(2) Yet it alters the meaning. Baptists believe that man can do nothing good on his own without God first directly choosing the person for righteousness.
2. Acts 22:16
a. "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (NKJV).
b. "Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name" (NASB).
c. "And now, why delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins by calling on His name" (HCSB).
d. The word “by” is inserted without comment or marking, yet it alters the meaning. It makes the statement mean that sins are washed away by calling on Jesus name instead of through baptism as the text actually states.
e. Baptists deny that baptism is essential to salvation.
1. Psalms 51:5
a. "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me" (NKJV).
b. "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me" (NASB).
c. "Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me" (HCSB).
d. The translation shift from the environment being sinful to the author as a child being sinful.
e. Baptists follow Calvin's teaching that people are born sinful, contrary to Ezekiel 18:20 and Romans 5:12
2. Ephesians 1:13
a. "In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise" (NKJV).
b. "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise" (NASB).
c. "When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit" (HSCB).
d. By shifting “in Him” salvation no longer comes when you are in him, after hearing and believing, but stated to be at the point of believing.
e. Baptist believe that only faith is needed for salvation.
3. John 3:16
a. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (NKJV).
b. "For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life" (HCSB).
c. I’ve seen people excited about the “in this way” as being more exact. Some get upset by the “One and Only Son,” but the real problem is more subtle. It says “will not perish” instead of “should not perish.”
d. The Greek word apoletai means "perish" and is in the subjunctive mood, which "is the mood not of reality but of possibility (or probablility)." [William Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek].
e. But Baptists teach that once a person is saved, he is always saved, no matter what he does.
1. The HCSB claims to be more accurate by translating the Hebrew yhwh as Yahweh.
a. But out of the 6800 occurrences, it only does so 500 times. It was fewer in the first edition.
b. Psalms 116:3-5
(1) "The pains of death surrounded me, And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the LORD: "O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!" Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful" (NKJV).
(2) "The ropes of death were wrapped around me, and the torments of Sheol overcame me; I encountered trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of Yahweh: “Yahweh, save me!” The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is compassionate" (HCSB).
(3) One is left with the impression that a different word appears in verse 5 than in verse 4 when they are the same word.
(4) The use of "Lord" for yhwh is not arbitrary. The writers of the New Testament, inspired by the Holy Spirit translated yhwh as the Greek word for Lord. The English translations for the most part have respected the Spirit's guidance in this matter of translation.
2. "Messiah" is a transliterated Hebrew word that means "annointed." "Christ" is a transliterated Greek word that means the same thing.
a. For some odd reason, the translators decided to translate some occurrences of Christ in the New Testament as Messiah (112 out of the 597 occurrences), giving the appearance that the New Testament is written in Hebrew.
b. The word “Messiah” does appear in the Greek text twice, in John 1:41; 4:25.
c. John 1:41
(1) "He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah!”[a] (which means “Anointed One”)," (HCSB) Footnote (a) "John 1:41 In the NT, the word Messiah translates the Gk word Christos (“Anointed One”), except here and in Jn 4:25 where it translates Messias."
d. It would have made more sense to consistent translate both the Hebrew and Greek to "Annointed One" than to substitute one transliterated word for another.
e. Both the text and the translators’ titles show the same inconsistent flip-flop between Messiah and Christ.
3. Capitalized pronouns have been added by translators in many versions to indicate when the translator thought deity was being referred to. It isn't in the original text but neither is it a bad practice. However, it gets confusing if the capitalization is not done consistently.
a. Psalms 45:6-7
(1) "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions" (NKJV).
(2) "Your throne, God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of joy more than your companions" (HCSB).
(3) Because of the use of capital pronouns in verse 6 and not in verse 7, the HCSB leaves the impression that the subject referred to by "you" has changed when it has not.
F. Bad Translations
1. Matthew 16:18
a. "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces[c] of Hades will not overpower it" (HCSB). (c) Lit gates
b. The footnote reflects the correct reading. By changing "gates" into "forces" it changes Hades from being in a defensive position, trying to keep the church out, to a offensive position, trying to destroy the church.
2. Ezekiel 9:5
a. "To the others He said in my hearing, "Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity"" (NKJV).
b. "He spoke as I listened to the others, “Pass through the city after him and start killing; do not show pity or spare them!"" (HCSB).
c. The HCSB makes it sound as if Ezekiel was listening to the people instead of listening in as God spoke to the people.
IV. I have more examples, but not more time
A. No translation is perfect.
B. The Holman Christian Standard Bible has some interesting features and readings, but overall I can't say it is accurate enough to be a good study Bible.
C. It is far too biased toward Baptist doctrine and deceptively alters readings.
D. The NASB95 and the NKJV remain better translations.