The HCSB: with strong baptist influence

Broadman & Holman (B&H) would like to market the Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB) as an interdenominational translation. However, I think it is also accurate to identify the majority of its translation team as having some baptist influence of some sorts. If we want to call it an evangelical translation, that would be fair because baptists are very evangelical in nature. Even if the translators are not officially members of a baptist church, many are, or have been, involved with some circles of baptist influence—either through seminary or some other organization. Upon a closer look at the HCSB translation team, many are indeed from, or came from, institutions with some Baptist influence. For marketing purposes, it is understandable that Holman would like to distinguish its translation as an evangelical translation. The Broadman & Holman website states the HCSB’s translation team is an: “international, interdenominational team of 100 scholars, editors, stylists, and proofreaders”.

What other translations in the past have had a heavy denominational influence? The Authorized Version? Would it be fair to say that the translators of the King James Version had mostly an Anglican influence? And likewise, the NJB and NAB, a Roman Catholic influence? These are undeniable facts.

Today, who else more strongly identifies with the KJV as “their own translation” than evangelicals, pentecostals and baptists? So then, why should LifeWay and B&H shy away from the true ethos of its translation team? If the ethos of the translation team is mainly baptists, then why not be proud of it? Even if it is not as varied in denominational influence as the TNIV or ESV, that is okay. Throughout history, baptists have made a major and lasting impact upon the overall evangelical landscape so why not stake its claim as an original baptist translation? Perhaps one day in the future, the HCSB will become almost as popular as the KJV. If this happens, baptists can proudly claim its involvement and influence in the making of the Holman CSB.

8 thoughts on “The HCSB: with strong baptist influence

  1. Iyov, thanks for your information about King James. With John Knox preaching at his coronation, he’s truly Protestant.


  2. James was brought up as a Protestant. After the murder of the his father and the arrest of his mother, he was appointed King of Scotland at the age of 13 months — and John Knox preached the sermon at his coronation ceremony.


  3. @TC, based on unit sales in the last ranking by CBA for July, ESV is outselling the HCSB. But it’s probably pretty close though. In dollar sales, the HCSB is just one higher than ESV.

    @Peter, then it would more accurate to call the KJV Church of England. I don’t know when the bible was dedicated to King James—before or after he left the RC Church?


  4. Kevin, surely it is anachronistic to call KJV Anglican, since it dates from a time before Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Methodists and various others were forced out of the Church of England.


  5. Ok, mainline was an oversell. You’re correct. But it seems like more and more people are going for the ESV over the HCSB.


  6. @Stan, I agree. It’s not a cultural ideology although it might seem related to an emancipation of the female gender. If people can look at it from a more objective point-of-view that the writers intended to write to both male and female, then this idea of “cultural ideology” wouldn’t even be a factor.

    @TC, I would suggest to not even talk about mainline because I don’t think that would ever happen. But interdenominational as in an “evangelical” translation, will be more of a realistic challenge or goal of the HCSB. If HCSB can break into the broader evangelical market, that would be more realistic and tangible.


  7. The General editor is Presbyterian, Edwin Blum. Several of the translators are not baptists. But I know it still has that baptist feel.

    I agree with Stan on this one. It will never become mainline.

    The ESV is becoming known as the Reformed/Calvinist Bible.


  8. I don’t think the CSB will ever experience great success as an interdenominational translation.

    In the CSB’s gender language policy it states The goal of the translators has not been to promote a cultural ideology but to faithfully translate the Bible.

    I was in a bookstore trying to select which CSB I wanted to purchase. Upon reading the preface I ended my search, deciding I wasn’t going to purchase one.

    Why do they feel it necessary to charge with promot(ing) a cultural ideology those translators who disagree with their translation philosophy regarding gender?

    I’m not at all comfortable with that.


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