Pros and Cons of Holman Christian Standard Bible

If you want to seek guidance and follow the true path of God, the Bible is the way to understand what God desires us to do. Hence, as a reader, you should look for a Bible translation that might help you in your journey.

In this article, we will explain the main features of the Holman Christian Standard Bible and go over its positive aspects and negative aspects. We recommend our readers to read until the end and make up their minds if they want to read the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Creation of Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Holman Christian Standard Bible is a modern English bible published by Broadman & Holman Publishing. The HCSB was published in several phases:  the New Testament of the Holman Christian Standard Bible was completed in 1999, while the Old Testament was finished in 2003. The full version of HCSB was later published in 2004.

In 1984, Arthur Farstad, the major editor of the New King James Version, started the translation project. Farstad partnered with the extension of the Southern Baptist Convention known as LifeWay Christian Resources to translate and publish the Holman Christian Standard Bible. Likewise, they agreed to fund and publish the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Unfortunately, Arthur Farstad died shortly after the agreement was settled upon. After the death of Farstad, the leadership of the translation team fell upon Dr. Edwin Blum. Farstad wanted to base the Holman Christian Standard Bible on the same texts as the King James Version and New King James Version. He followed the Greek majority text for the translation that he did. However, the new editorial team changed the base text to Koine Greek source text for HCSB. 

Translation Methodology

The most important thing that we should look for when we are considering a Bible translation is the translation methodology. The Holman Christian Standard Bible follows the Dynamic and formal equivalence translation method.

The translators’ goal of HSCB was to offer clarity without altering the original sense of the text. This goal is easier said than done. We observe every translation of the Bible written with the same intent. The Holman Christian Standard Bible assembled a team of 100 scholars and proofreaders to prepare this version of the Bible.

The translation methodology used by the translators of the Holman Christian Standard Bible was an attempt to achieve a balance between;

  • Formal equivalence
  • Dynamic equivalence 

The translators termed this mode of translation as “optimal translation.” It would have been a perfect attempt to translate the Bible into an ideal world. However, any version of the Bible that attempts to translate the Bible more easily without losing the sense of originality has struggled massively. 

Difference between the Holman Christian Standard Bible and other versions of the Bible

The differences between HCSB and CSB are minor. Since the CSB is an updated version of the HCSB, it has some differences from the other versions of the Bible. The HCSB uses simpler terms and words and does not follow the literal form of original texts. The idiosyncratic and quirky nature of HCSB is evident, which is not bad. The HCSB showcases that standard and simpler translations can also convey the right message, and you don’t have to be “literal” to be accurate.

Here are some examples that clarify the key differences between the HSBC and some other famous translations.

New International VersionHolman Christian Standard Bible Christian Standard Bible 
Genesis 39:9bHow then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?So how could I do such a great evil and sin against God?So how could I do this immense evil, and how could I sin against God?
2 Samuel 15:22David said to Ittai, “Go ahead, march on.” So Ittai the Gittite marched on with all his men and the families that were with him.“March on,” David replied to Ittai. So Ittai the Gittite marched past with all his men and the children who were with him.“March on,” David replied to Ittai. So Ittai of Gath marched past with all his men and the dependents who were with him.
Romans 3:25God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed.God presented him as the mercy seat of his blood, through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his restraint God passed over the sins previously committed.
Revelation 3:20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.See! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Pros and Cons of the Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Holman Christian Standard Bible is a good attempt at making an easier translation of the Bible. However, there are still several flaws in this translation. 

Pros of the HCSB

  • Detailed notes offer several points of view
  • Full color throughout the book
  • A great attempt at achieving optimal translation
  • Gender neutral wording

Cons of the HSCB

  • The book is very large and heavy
  • Often lacks the balance between the dynamic and formal translation
  • Several readers do not like the gender-neutral translation

Conclusion

The Holman Christian Standard Bible was published in 2004. The man behind this project, Arthur Farstad, wanted to base this book on the Greek majority text. However, later the translation was based on Koine Greek source Text. The HCSB translation seeks to gain a balance between dynamic and formal translation. The “optimal” translation of HCSB is not the best. However, it does a good job conveying the message and provides clarity to the readers.