If you’re like me, you already have a handful of Bibles with different translations on your desk or shelf or at the office. We’ve all got a KJV laying around somewhere, but we also have our ESV’s, NIV’s, NASB’s, and not to mention the dozens more translations available on our Bible apps.
So, why another translation? Haven’t we seemed to saturate the market already with English interpretations of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic text? And what sets apart the Christian Standard Bible from some of the other translations that are available to us?
The Christian Standard Bible, first and foremost, is not a brand-new translation, but a revision to the older Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). It is not a drastic revision (I’ve overheard about 5-10% of changes), but it is a significant one. The translation committee of the CSB used an “Optimal Equivalence” methodology in their translation to provide a translation that nicely captures both formal and a dynamic reading; word-for-word and thought-for-thought.
The Translation Oversight Committee, co-chaired by Thomas Schreiner and David L. Allen, is composed of over one hundred top biblical scholars spanning seventeen denominations. You may recognize names such as Craig Blomberg, George H. Guthrie, Paul House, Andreas Köstenberger, Trevin Wax, and many more who helped with this project. In the CSB, one will find clarity without compromise. Endorsed by pastors such as Danny Akin, Tony Evans, David Platt, and Jared Wilson, the CSB is faithful to the original languages while also serving as one of the more readable Bibles of its kind (an average reading level of the CSB is 7th grade).
I’ll be honest. I was supportive of this new translation and knew a lot of solid people were putting it together, but when I first heard about it, I was not that amped up about it. Of course, I thought it would be a good resource. But I had my ESV, and other translations. I didn’t feel like the CSB would compete for my time in devotionals, sermon prep, small groups, and memorization. After getting my copy, I realized I was wrong. Lately, it has to my surprise been my go-to, and I have heard dozens of others say the same thing of it. What the CSB offers is faithful translation with modern readability, and that, especially as a pastor, is crucial to have.
Check out some of the differences in the text from the CSB to the ESV and NIV for some context:
“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!'” (ESV)
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphim were standing above him; they each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Armies; his glory fills the whole earth.'” (CSB)
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’” (NIV)
“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (ESV)
“Can any of you add one moment to his life-span by worrying?” (CSB)
“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (NIV)
“For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.” (ESV)
“For in bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was entirely appropriate that God – for whom and through whom all things exist – should make the source of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (CSB)
“In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.” (NIV)
Will I still use my ESV and other translations? Of course. No one should live on an island in Bible translation. But the CSB is, in my estimation, a legitimate, new standard for Bible translation, one that I have seemed to use and consult daily ever since I purchased it. I know my preaching will be greatly helped by this translation. I have already seen how my Bible reading has been helped. I am also encouraged to see how hard those behind the scenes have worked to produce a translation with excellence. This Bible won’t be collecting dust on my shelf.
For more information about the Christian Standard Bible, check out these links: