HCSB: Messiah vs Christ
In the Introduction to the HCSB, we read this note:
The HCSB translates the Greek word Christos (“anointed one”) as either “Christ” or “Messiah” based on its use in different NT contexts. The first use of “Messiah” in each chapter is also marked with a bullet referring readers to the Bullet Note at the back of most editions. (p. viii)
Then in the back about that bullet point, we read:
Messiah Or the Christ, the Greek word is Christos and means the anointed one. Where the NT emphasizes Christos as a name of our Lord or has a Gentile context, “Christ” is used. Where the NT Christos has a Jewish context, the title “Messiah” is used.
That sounds good, and generally I can accept such a position. However, this last Sunday our Epistle reading was Ephesians 2:11-22. Here, specifically vv. 12-13, is where the inconsistency of such an approach does not help the reader/hearer, nor does it maintain the desired separation indicated above.
12 At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.
Note that in v. 12 there is already confusion, since Paul is writing about the Gentile believers (“excluded from citizenship of Israel”), yet the translation offers a Jewish understanding of the word, namely Messiah. Then in v. 13 the Gentile term is used (is it a title or name?), namely Christ. And at the end of v. 13, the Gentiles (“who were far away”) receive the benefits of the Jewish term, Messiah. Again, a contradiction of the stated objectives.
It seems that a better approach is to use “Messiah” (or “Christ”) in the entire section, but not switch back and forth, especially since these two verses seem to violate the guidelines given by the HCSB Introduction. I would favor “Messiah” throughout the NT, because the dividing line is too ambiguous in passages like the above.