Choosing a modern Bible translation, part 3

Posted: 17th July 2007 by ElShaddai Edwards in Translation

The process of trying to evaluate the bumper crop of modern Bible translations we have available to us today has been very instructional and my own views about what type of Bible might work for me have been refined and come into sharper focus from when I started this journey. I’m coming from 20+ years of using the NASB in various formats and had never seriously challenged it as my primary Bible translation, despite flirting with a diverse selection of alternatives, including the NEB, REB, NJB, TNIV, HCSB, NLTse, ESV, Amplified and probably one or two others.

This blog was started, in part, to document my selection process of a new, modern translation and so far I’ve made a number of comparisons of OT verses using the HCSB, TNIV, NLTse and REB, representing a range of Bible styles. The TNIV and NLTse emerged as preferred versions in those early comparisons, though each translation considered had commendable and regrettable points. However, I’ve not been able to shake the years of ingrained preference for the more literal approach of the NASB. So despite previously expressing a preference for the TNIV, I’ve begun to take another serious look at the HCSB.

Between the two, the HCSB is more literal/formal and more likely to use masculine generics, while the TNIV has smoother, more natural English, is more compatible with the NIV found in many churches and accommodates gender-accurate sensitivities. Sounds a lot like the ESV vs. TNIV comparisons… how does the HCSB compare to the ESV?I recently posted a comparison from Romans 7 between the HCSB and ESV. For this passage at least, I found that the HCSB and ESV share quite a bit in terms of key phrases and words, but that the HCSB has made an entirely new translation of the grammatical structures so that it reads more easily using “modern English”. In fact, the only benefit I see to the ESV over the HCSB is if you really wanted the (traditional) archaisms of the KJV-RSV language. For anyone else, the HCSB is seemingly a fine hybrid of modern grammar and traditional, formal Bible language.

As I continue to read the OT and NT texts in the HCSB translation, I feel comfortable. The HCSB “speaks” a language that I am familiar with and alleviates the doubt and hesitation that even slightly more dynamic translations would have introduced. That said, I will continue to refer to the NLTse and TNIV as there are many enjoyable aspects to those, just as I love reading my compact REB New Testament on the bus every morning.

But for now, the HCSB is my choice for a new modern Bible translation.

  1. […] a quick glance as I have taken may be unfair, (for someone who like it, see here) but browsing, neither OT nor NT samples I examined made me feel I would seek it out again. More […]

  2. […] ordinarily I would be very interested to read and comment on in light of my recent endorsement of the HCSB. But a recent discussion with Gary has cast clouds of doubt over the whole translation […]

  3. […] you: Interview with Dr. Ed Blum, General Editor for the HCSB HCSB links HCSB at Better Bibles Blog Choosing a modern Bible translation, part 3 – He Is Sufficient Wretched translations! ESV vs. HCSB: Romans 7:13-25 – He Is Sufficient HCSB at […]