Update on HCSB

Over the past 5 years I have reviewed, studied, and made recommendations to the HCSB translation team. WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) had formed their own committee and review team for suggestions to the same translation team. And soon HCSB will change… for the better. Earlier this summer B&H Publishing announced the changes.

March 2017 CSB launch

That is the scheduled time for the latest updates. Here are a few notes about this update (combining B&H and WELS items):

Name is changed to: Christian Standard Bible

Major revision of text, plus two confessional Lutheran scholars were added to the translation oversight committee

Adopted many of the recommendations submitted by WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)

Removed Yahweh from the Old Testament, using LORD (as almost all other English translations have done)

All of these are significant improvements for CSB. I can’t wait to receive the new translation. Once it is in hand I will offer more comments about the updates.

Thank you to B&H Publishers for this effort.

Thank you to WELS for offering valuable input on the translation.

Author: exegete77

disciple of Jesus Christ, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, teacher, and theologian

15 thoughts on “Update on HCSB”

  1. Do you know which of the WELS recommendations, specifically, were adopted in the revision? Slave to servant? Concerns about the sacramental verses, etc.? I’m a huge fan of the HCSB in spite of some of its quirkiness, etc. The most recent revision (2009, I think) made some great improvements. I’m hoping this new update will do the same!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Greetings in the Lord. No, I don’t know which ones were made specifically. I know that the sacramental texts were concerns for the WELS committee. My guess is that any of those changes will not be publicized until it is published in March. So even requests from WELS may not yield anything. Yes, I hope that this revision will show significant improvement. Overall, I am encouraged by this change.


    1. Thanks for reading, Bruce. I, too, like it, but HCSB had been inconsistent in its use (even in the same verse), so it caused more confusion than clarification. My hope was that the translation would be consistent, either use Yahweh every where or LORD every where. The translation team decided to go with the second option.


    1. Greetings. I do not know of any. The HCSB translation team has been very supportive of me in these reviews as I note areas of concern. But they have not made any public releases about changes coming March. Sorry, I can’t help you.


      1. The people in “Fans of the HCSB” seems to be upset about changing YAHWEH to Lord as other English translation. How do you feel about adding the famous HCSB bullet before all of God’s titles i.e. *Lord, then says in the back *Lord means YAHWEH etc…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hand’t thought about it. My initial reaction is that it might still cause confusion in a worship setting. Normally if I read in public from any translation (not in worship), I will use Yahweh whenever LORD appears, regardless of the translation. I always explain when I first do that; going through that LORD and Lord are not the same in the Hebrew, but difficult to note in oral reading in English. After a few times, people get used to that use of Yahweh.

    You have given me something else to think about. My guess, though, is that the translation team will not reverse decision especially one 3-4 months from publication.


  3. Why do another revision after one was done not too long ago? I mean I have bought a lot of different Holman, 2004 and 2009. Now I will have three different versions of the same version…lol. It sucks that now Biblegateway will have a different Holman than the one you are reading when you want to post something up using your Bible it will be different from what you read. I’m actually thinking to switch translation, I mean look at the NKJV 1984, still going strong without an update. At least in church or on the internet it will same the same thing like your Bible in your hands.

    Let me ask you a question, is there a translation as good as the Holman that’s easy to read but still good for Bible study without having to much updates?

    Thanks for your time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Computer technology has been a great asset for translation work (not just Bible translation). The down side for Bible translation is exactly what you identify. Continuing changes in translations has been part of the landscape in English for centuries. Even the KJV went through six revisions, but technology wasn’t available to make it rapid (1611 to 1769). NAS went through that process in 1961-1977, then stabilized until the 1995 edition. ESV has been in flux since it was first published (2001, 2007, 2011, 2016). If I remember correctly, the HCSB translation noted that there would be revisions. I think this 2017 revision will take a while for refinement, but it is a substantial change.

      I am working on another post relative to this very issue: I think the biggest problem with a continuously changing translation involves two aspects: worship and memorization. In this congregation we have used ESV (not ideal), GW (many good, some not so good) HCSB (good and bad), NKJV (mostly good), NAS (mostly good).

      I am not a fan of ESV for several reasons; first hearing of ESV in worship was Advent 2001. I thought surely the reader read it incorrectly: Luke 1:53b “and the rich he has sent empty away.” Good thing they revised that.

      GW is refreshing and in many cases offers an excellent translation. But it fails in the worship/memorization areas, it doesn’t match any previous translations for consistency. HCSB offers some good work, but still not ideal for worship/memorization (check out the beatitudes. NKJV has a familiar feel and cadence, and the text has only been altered in minor parts since 1982.

      NKJV and NAS have the same issues (as does ESV). Both translations identify with English translation history, which is good. But both are difficult orally in places like Ephesians 1:3-14, 3:14-19, etc.

      Right now, if I had only one translation for all uses, I would choose NAS. But a close second would be NKJV. Both because they have a familiar cadence in critical places (Psalm 23, etc.)

      Do I have all the answers? Obviously not. Watch for another post in the next couple days.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for your reply. I like the NASB and NKJV but to be honest they cannot compare with the readability of the Holman. I was looking for a Bible that is as solid as the NASB and NKJV but reads like HCSB. I guess I’m wishing for too much…lol

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am not a professional theologian. I am very simple in my approach to the Bible but one of the prerequisites for me is that the personal pronoun references to God are capitalized. The HCSB meets that requirement while the CSB update does not. I feel that capitalization just shows the respect to the Deity that we should have in our daily reading

    When I asked a representative of Holman why the capitalization was not carried forward, the reply was that the NIV and NLT do not capitalize as well. To me that does not make sense.


    1. Thanks for your comment, Kevin. The issue about capitalization of pronouns referring to God has been a particular challenge in English. In Greek (and Hebrew) there is no distinction whether the pronouns (he, they, you, your, etc.) refer to God or not.Thus, the syntax (how the sentence fits together) and context has to determine whether the referent of the pronoun is referring to God or a human.In some contexts we ultimately are left hanging.

      I have gone back and forth on this topic for years, having used NAS (which does capitalize) as my primary English translation since 1978, later using NIV/ESV/GW in congregations, none of which capitalize pronouns. I finally have arrived at the point that it is not a deal breaker. At times I have compared each of these translations to see how they handle capitalization and whether they are consistent with each other. The only three current major translations that capitalize divine pronouns are NAS, NKJV, and MEV. I use all three plus CSB, NET, GW, NLT, NAB, AAT (Beck).


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