HCSB Revisions

I have been extremely interested in the revisions made to the Holman Christian Standard Bible, which are to be officially released toward the end of this year. I use the HCSB pretty frequently and like the combination of literal renderings with readability. It was my hope that there would be three major changes to the HCSB when the revision came out.

1.  We could finally call it the CSB (Christian Standard Bible) instead of the Holman CSB. We will see if the new marketing and copyrights pull this direction.

2.  “This is the Lord’s declaration” would be replaced with the more common rendering, “declares the Lord.” If you have not seen this, just read the prophetic books in the HCSB and it will begin to drive you crazy. The HCSB took a powerful, active statement (“declares the Lord”) and turned it into a passive afterthought (“this is the Lord’s declaration”). Unfortunately, early reports are that this has not been corrected in the revision.

3.  Stop placing the narration in the middle of someone’s speech. Just one example is Luke 9:50, “Don’t stop him,” Jesus told him, “because whoever is not against you is for you.” I would prefer that the “Jesus told him” would not break up the spoken words. Occasionally would be fine, but this happens frequently throughout the HCSB. This current structure is fine when reading to yourself, but can be confusing when reading before the congregation. This issue does not appear to have been corrected either.

Some bloggers have been gracious enough to report the difference between the current HCSB and the revised HCSB. From what I have seen so far, my feelings are mixed, though I must see more. Some of the changes I like, but some changes I do not like. I found one change fairly surprising in 1 Timothy 5:22.

Current HCSB: Don’t be too quick to lay hands on anyone, and don’t share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

Revised HCSB: Don’t be too quick to appoint, anyone as an elder, and don’t share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

Thanks to Christian Insights for revealing these changes.

Now, is the revised HCSB accurate? I think so. I believe this is the meaning of the text. However, is the HCSB literal? No. Other translations remain literal and go along with the original HCSB.

ESV: Do not be hasty in thelaying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.

TNIV: Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

NASB: Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin.

NKJV: Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.

The NLT is the only major translation (a dynamic translation) that does what the revised HCSB has done.

NLT: Never be in a hurry about appointing a church leader. Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.Â

In my opinion, this change shows that the revisions to the HCSB are not minor. Many of the changes have seemed to be more about word order and the like. But I think we need to be aware that there are changes that are more dramatic and extensive. As more people record the revisions we will be able to make a better determination. Perhaps of greater interest will be how the HCSB will market the changes. Will they try to keep the changes under the radar like the ESV or make a splash and let everyone know it has changed, like the NASB 1995 update did?

I know I will buy a revised HCSB so I have it and can examine it. But will it replace my current HCSB? I am not so sure from what I have seen thus far. Perhaps I will take the chance to write about a couple other places where I think the HCSB has made changes for the worse.