March 02, 2006

Wayne Leman on ESV and HCSB

A while ago I posted some preliminary thoughts on evaluating the Holman Christian Standard Bible. At the time I was only able to look at a few NT verses, and I compared it to the NKJV and the Greek. Recently, Wayne Leman at Better Bibles Blog has posted a comparison of the HCSB with the ESV. Wayne's conclusion is that the two translations are very similar in terms of their degre of literalness and consistency, but the ESV retains the stylistic conventions of the Tyndale-KJV tradition, whereas the HCSB substantially departs from it. This departure is one of my favorite features of the HCSB in the verses I've seen so far (I haven't actually bought one yet, I've just been looking at various passages online, so I haven't used it for study or devotional reading). On the other hand, the ESV has put great emphasis on its suitability for liturgical use, the ability to follow along in the ESV during a reading of the RSV or KJV, and so forth. These may indeed be useful features, but it is my view that they lead mostly to "Bible English" that is quite unnatural and is misleading as to what the Biblical text really looks like in the original language (there's no such thing as "Bible Greek"! It's the same plain old Hellenistic/Koine Greek spoken by everyone else). I also think that reading a translation that is less closely connected with this tradition can make the text fresh again when we've been reading it for years already. Still, I do believe the ESV's claim to be more suitable for liturgical use (in churches that have true liturgy, rather than less "religious" public reading of Scripture or preaching) than the HCSB. Of course it's not clear how much this means to me, since my church, Calvary Chapel, doesn't have anything even vaguely resembling a liturgy.

Posted by Kenny at March 2, 2006 12:12 PM
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I myself switched from the nkj to the hscb. I have been using it (hcsb) exclusively since its release and little before. One of my good friends is on the LifeWay board and so I got an early release. But all that to say, my vote is for the Holman, I hope that you will find one that fits so perfectly with your Doctrine, style and convictions as I have.

Posted by: josh at May 9, 2006 04:47 AM

Of course it would be better for me to make my doctrine and convictions to fit the Bible then for me to find a Bible to fit my doctrine and convictions :)

Posted by: Kenny at May 9, 2006 03:44 PM
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