In September, we used HCSB as the Bible readings included in the bulletin. I had announced the first week about the change. And we began the Narrative Lectionary that same Sunday.
So how did it go?
No one said anything negative about the translation. The readers did not seem to have much trouble reading it orally. I email each reader the readings early in the week prior to that Sunday, so they can practice. I listened to the reader rather than following the reading in the bulletin. After all, this is an oral “test” of the translation. Overall, it went very well with HCSB.
I am preaching according to the Narrative Lectionary. That means in the fall (until Christmas Eve), the sermon will always be on the Old Testament reading for each Sunday. Here are three Sunday sets of Old Testament readings
Genesis 15:1-6 2012 09 16 HCSB (09/16/2012)
This text read well, keeping the traditional “credited as righteousness,” in 15:6. The corresponding Epistle reading, Romans 4:14–25, picked up on that phrase. After studying the Hebrew text, the HCSB became a good translation to work with preparing and putting together the sermon.
Genesis 37:3-8, 26-34; 50:15-20 2012 09 23 HCSB (09/23/2012)
The reading includes two separate chapters (beginning and end of Joseph’s “ministry” life). The separated readings can be confusing for some, so the fact that they were printed out to follow, the congregation members did not have to flip through chapters and locate the readings on their own. Again, with preaching preparation, HCSB served me well, and I could direct people to the insert to follow my major thoughts.
Exodus 12:1–13; 13:1–8; Exodus 15:1-8 2012 09 30 HCSB (09/30/2012)
For this Sunday, I used only the first two readings for the Old Testament reading, then used Exodus 15:1-18 as the Introit (in place of the Psalm), since it is a song of victory. Also, I omitted the Epistle reading for the day. In this case, the extended readings meant more focus for me in preaching. However, again, the HCSB presented no problems in preparation or in the actual preaching.
Evaluation of HCSB
Overall, the readers did very well. The sentence structure was not prohibitive for oral reading. The flow of reading was good, mixing appropriate pauses through clause and sentence breaks. Preaching from the HCSB texts posed no problems for me, and it felt comfortable for me. HCSB proved to be a usable translation in public worship.
In the month of October, we will use GW (God’s Word) translation.