Considering CSB as my Main Translation

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1689theologychick

Puritan Board Freshman
Historically, I have been a NASB95 devotee through and through. However, the recent 2020 update, followed by the news of MacArthur getting rights to the '73('77? - can't remember the year), has made me question my loyalty to the NASB. I understand that the 95 is going to continue to be published by Zondervan, but I have concerns that they will eventually pollute it with a revision at some point or discontinue it to make their own new translation (probably more likely). I'm concerned my beloved NASB is not going to be a longterm option and I want something I can continue to use until I'm old and gray(er). (I'm currently mid-forties)

I have been using the CSB since it came out for my daily reading, but not for deeper study. I very much enjoy it as well but have always understood formal equivalence to be better for deep study when it comes to word studies and such. I am an English-only student. I have no knowledge of original languages, other than to look up transliterations, and I have an entry-level lay-person's understanding of Greek tenses/moods/voices.

I'm looking to get one of my Bibles re-bound over the summer to a more sturdy and upgraded leather and more long-lasting binding. My current NASB95 is about 13 years old and I love my crinkly pages and the time I've spent marking it up and taking notes. But I also want a translation I can recommend to others as I teach and write most of the Bible studies our ladies do at my church. ESV has not been a winner for me. I just can't love it no matter how hard I try.

So, to my questions:
1. Am I making too much of an issue of formal equivalence for deeper Bible study?
2. Do you think the CSB has more potential longevity than NASB95?
3. Which one of these two would you get re-bound if you were teaching and looking for a translation you could confidently recommend to your students?

Thanks in advance! I've already poured through all the forum discussions on the CSB and benefitted greatly from your wisdom - especially that of Dr. Duiguid. I know many of you will suggest ESV as an alternate, but I would rather go down with the NASB95 ship than use that translation. I've already been down the ESV road enough to know it's a no-go for me.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
I personally am fine using multiple translations for where they fit best instead of making a big deal about a change. Just mix in some reading of the CSB to your daily reading and see how you like it and how it fits with other translations. You can of course read on-line if you don't want to buy the Bible first.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Kim, the CSB is my favorite as well. Formal equivalence as a principle can be applied too rigidly. I believe that actually happened with the NASB. There can be no doubt that the NASB is an excellent resource for those who, like yourself, don't know the original languages. It can be a window to the original. I wouldn't get rid of your NASB for Bible study. There is no reason to limit yourself to just one translation for study. In fact, for anyone who doesn't know Hebrew and Greek, I recommend using more than one translation for Bible study. Noticing differences in translation can alert you to potential issues to be resolved in Bible study. As formal equivalence goes, the KJV used it more flexibly.

As a translation philosophy, however, I find the formal equivalence principle incomplete. It has a very important element of truth, that we use words to mean things. The dynamic equivalence principle has an equally strong element of truth to it, that context determines what words mean. However, each principle is also missing something. The formal equivalence philosophy misses some of the more contextual aspects of translation, and that meaning does not reside only at the word level. The dynamic equivalence philosophy downplays the word level too much, in my estimation. That is one of the reasons the CSB is my favorite translation. It has the best articulated translation philosophy of any Bible translation. Optimal equivalence is the idea that meaning is present on every level: word level, phrase level, clause level, sentence level, paragraph level, chapter level, book level, canon level. All of these need to be taken into account and weighed in order to come up with a translation.

As to whether the CSB will last longer than the NASB95, I am not sure anyone can answer that question with any degree of certainty. I, too, have reservations about the ESV. Its translation of Hebrew vav and Greek de and kai is absolutely deplorable (a problem shared by the NASB in places, and the KJV; the NKJV is far better on this score).

I would recommend both the NASB and the CSB. I think there are five dependable translations that people can confidently use: KJV, NKJV, NASB, CSB, and ESV.
 

Jonathco

Puritan Board Freshman
I would recommend both the NASB and the CSB. I think there are five dependable translations that people can confidently use: KJV, NKJV, NASB, CSB, and ESV.

Well said Lane. I've come to enjoy the CSB over the last few years as a cross-reference to my normal studies (ESV).

Kim, to answer your questions regarding the longevity of the CSB, that's hard to say. I was a die hard fan of the HCSB (published in 2004), which was the pre-cursor to the CSB. In 2017, the CSB hit the shelves as a major revision and replacement to the HCSB. With that said, the CSB is really only 3 years old, so I guess time will tell.

Folks who stood by the 77' and 95' NASB over the years would probably never have guessed that it would be revisioned into what The Lockman Foundation is releasing with the 2020 edition. Similarly, the 1985 NIV was a decent translation, but was destroyed with the 2011 revision that tied in major pieces of the TNIV. The NKJV has retained a solid following due to it's literalness and unchanging text (no revisions since the early 1980's).
I say that to say this: I think the CSB's longevity will be directly tied to it's commitment to staying true to it's translation philosophy of "optimal equivalence", assuming there are future updates. For now, it's not my favorite translation, but definitely one I cross-reference often, due to it's readability.
 

1689theologychick

Puritan Board Freshman
I wouldn't get rid of your NASB for Bible study.
I definitely wasn't planning to get rid of it. I have too much of my blood, sweat, and tears staining the pages. (Okay, maybe not blood and sweat, but definitely tears). Just trying to decide if I should take the leap and change my "home base" translation. I agree with you on the word studies.

In addition, I have Accordance's English Discoverer package, so I do have several translations to consult, plus scads of resource materials to do original language studies, in transliterations, of course.


Kim, to answer your questions regarding the longevity of the CSB, that's hard to say. I was a die hard fan of the HCSB (published in 2004), which was the pre-cursor to the CSB. In 2017, the CSB hit the shelves as a major revision and replacement to the HCSB. With that said, the CSB is really only 3 years old, so I guess time will tell.
Alas, I realize that none of us can see the future. I actually hated the HCSB, but was a huge fan of the CSB, so there are a few of us who actually enjoyed the change. I'm not as open to change on the NASB95, though. ;-)

I wish there was a way to design your own Bible with all the custom elements you want. Translation from any era, paper style, leather, margins, font size...I know that's a publishing impossibility. And even if it were possible, I can't imagine what the cost would be for something like that. I certainly don't have such disposable income.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
I went down a similar decision trail recently while getting carry Bibles for my youngest boys. They now have NASB. I share your antipathy for the ESV. Except for a bit of modernizing in '95, the NASB has been unchanged since I started with it in the early '80s. Its footprint has grown smaller in the faithful churches, so it took me some time to decide.
 

B.L.

Puritan Board Sophomore
I went down a similar decision trail recently while getting carry Bibles for my youngest boys. They now have NASB. I share your antipathy for the ESV. Except for a bit of modernizing in '95, the NASB has been unchanged since I started with it in the early '80s. Its footprint has grown smaller in the faithful churches, so it took me some time to decide.

Not to distract too much from the OP, but what other translations were you considering for your boys?

I too recently went down this route with my kids and settled on the NKJV after considering the KJV, ESV, and even the NIV.
 

1689theologychick

Puritan Board Freshman
I share your antipathy for the ESV.
It's nice to have someone commiserating in my misery :cheers2:

I'm in a "reforming" church that was KJVO until about 5 years ago when the pastor who had been with them for 10 years up to that point moved them to the ESV. It is my understanding that some left the church over that. The ones that remain are generally gracious about translations, but many are still a little hesitant to trust anything "new." When I came in with my NASB, the hesitant ones were initially suspicious, but they've come to enjoy it. Lots still use their KJVs. Most use the ESV to follow the pastor. I have referenced the CSB in class when teaching and most are open to it, but they prefer not to have to change anymore. I understand. I feel the same way about my NASB95. As long as I don't mention the NIV, I don't think I'll have a mutiny. ;-)
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
As for staying power, I suspect the CSB will do okay and stick around, for two reasons: (1) it is a good translation and the "experts" tend to speak well of it, and (2) it is supported by one of the largest and most influential evangelical publishers, with strong ties to the largest evangelical denomination. I would think it should especially continue to attract some ESV readers who find the ESV too wooden or have other specific concerns, and some NIV readers who worry about whether Zondervan is still evangelical enough. That's my guess, for what that's worth.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
Kim, the CSB is my favorite as well.

I admit I didn't give the CSB a fair shake, but it seemed so different to me than the rest of the versions in your list that I put it down soon after I began. But hearing someone I respect, like you Lane, I will give it a once through, which means a cover to cover reading. I don't much like the ESV (I mean aesthetically--not critically) but I'm on my third time through it for the corrections I get here and there. I wish the KJV were all I needed, though I know I need more--at least for now.

I mentioned it once before, but your smiling face always makes me smile too.
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
Hi, I went back to NASB myself after valiantly trying to like the ESV but not succeeding.

One thing I would add is that if you have children with a Christian school curriculum or work with them in Sunday school, you probably need to use whatever curriculum bible they use at least while they are young. Mine were in Christian school in the late 80s and 90s and first half of 2000s, and the school materials were NIV. All bible memory was NIV. So we used NIV in family devotions. My current church has ESV as the pew bible and if there is any bible memory going on I think it helps to do the church pew bible translation if your kid stays in the service for the sermon.

My brother went to a two year bible/missionary school in the late 70s, and had to memorize tons of scripture in KJV for the reason that a lot of bible translations at that time on foreign fields were based on the KJV, as opposed to original languages or even latin. They found it was easier to learn the bible in another language if you had memorized it in KJV. They were not the KJV only types at all, it was a simple concession to the syntax and flow of foreign translations. I don't know if that is the case now but it is something to consider for some people.

I remember going to church maybe 78-79 and we all had the big orange NASB. When the text was being read hundreds of people all turned the page at the same time. I think maybe I love it the best because it was what I started with as a true believer.
 

1689theologychick

Puritan Board Freshman
One thing I would add is that if you have children with a Christian school curriculum or work with them in Sunday school, you probably need to use whatever curriculum bible they use at least while they are young.
That's a good point to bring up! My children are older (18 and 12) and have been using the CSB since it came out. But I am the person at the church responsible for ordering and maintaining the children's Sunday School curriculum, so that's an important thing for me to keep in mind. We switched to The Gospel Project last year and they have the memory verses printed out in 4 different translations for the room posters. KJV, ESV, CSB, and NIV. I just let each classroom decide which to use within their classes. I may need to check with our pastors and see if they'd prefer we be more unified. I think I asked when we first received the materials, but I can't remember at this point.

I would think the CSB would be best for the kids, especially since we have a pretty large bus ministry and those children aren't generally being discipled at home with parents who can lead them through understanding the more advanced reading levels of the other translations.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
Kim, the CSB is my favorite as well. Formal equivalence as a principle can be applied too rigidly. I believe that actually happened with the NASB. There can be no doubt that the NASB is an excellent resource for those who, like yourself, don't know the original languages. It can be a window to the original. I wouldn't get rid of your NASB for Bible study. There is no reason to limit yourself to just one translation for study. In fact, for anyone who doesn't know Hebrew and Greek, I recommend using more than one translation for Bible study. Noticing differences in translation can alert you to potential issues to be resolved in Bible study. As formal equivalence goes, the KJV used it more flexibly.

As a translation philosophy, however, I find the formal equivalence principle incomplete. It has a very important element of truth, that we use words to mean things. The dynamic equivalence principle has an equally strong element of truth to it, that context determines what words mean. However, each principle is also missing something. The formal equivalence philosophy misses some of the more contextual aspects of translation, and that meaning does not reside only at the word level. The dynamic equivalence philosophy downplays the word level too much, in my estimation. That is one of the reasons the CSB is my favorite translation. It has the best articulated translation philosophy of any Bible translation. Optimal equivalence is the idea that meaning is present on every level: word level, phrase level, clause level, sentence level, paragraph level, chapter level, book level, canon level. All of these need to be taken into account and weighed in order to come up with a translation.

As to whether the CSB will last longer than the NASB95, I am not sure anyone can answer that question with any degree of certainty. I, too, have reservations about the ESV. Its translation of Hebrew vav and Greek de and kai is absolutely deplorable (a problem shared by the NASB in places, and the KJV; the NKJV is far better on this score).

I would recommend both the NASB and the CSB. I think there are five dependable translations that people can confidently use: KJV, NKJV, NASB, CSB, and ESV.

Lane - I concur. The only thing keeping me from advocating strongly to my Session that we switch to the CSB as our church Bible is that it is not readily available in curricula and other resources outside of those produced by Lifeway. (And I happen to believe there is value to use having a standard version we use in our church.)
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
As for staying power, I suspect the CSB will do okay and stick around, for two reasons: (1) it is a good translation and the "experts" tend to speak well of it, and (2) it is supported by one of the largest and most influential evangelical publishers, with strong ties to the largest evangelical denomination. I would think it should especially continue to attract some ESV readers who find the ESV too wooden or have other specific concerns, and some NIV readers who worry about whether Zondervan is still evangelical enough. That's my guess, for what that's worth.

"Too wooden"! I've never seen that term applied to the ESV, a translation I've been reading since shortly after it was published. "Too wooden" is NASB territory.
 

BRK

Puritan Board Freshman
I think there are five dependable translations that people can confidently use: KJV, NKJV, NASB, CSB, and ESV.

This is pretty much how I see things. The CSB is new to me and I have not looked at it much, but I have my Cambridge Clarion, single column, paragraph style NASB '95 as well as an ESV Study Bible from which I do my devotional readings. In Logos I have the five translations you mentioned which I will reference in parallel when I come across hard texts. The NASB, ESV, and CSB serve as strong critical text translations and the KJV and NKJV as strong majority text translations that are less dynamic in their philosophy as others. This way I have covered nearly all bases, excepting knowledge of the original languages, when it comes to textual and translational variation.

I should add that we English speakers are blessed to have so many resources available to study the Word of God. It is easy to forget the privilege that we have in this regard compared to other peoples. I pray that the Lord would continue to bless the nations in bringing his Word into their native tongues so they too can receive knowledge of the glory of God.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I've been reading the CSB lately - taking it out for a spin, so to speak. I think it's OK, generally speaking, although I don't like the way it, in my opinion, "flattens out" the poetry in the psalms. As a rule, the CSB seems quite prosaic to me. The translation doesn't have a lot of "color" to it, that is, it doesn't seem very expressive to me. I'm still reading it, though, although I know I'll eventually go back to my beloved ESV.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
I don't like the way it, in my opinion, "flattens out" the poetry in the psalms. As a rule, the CSB seems quite prosaic to me.

This has been my main complaint with the CSB, as well. I have no doubt it is probably the best translation available in terms of the combination of accuracy and readability. However, I find that when I read the Psalms in it, I am left largely unaffected by it. On the other hand, when I read the KJV's rendering of the Psalms, I am awestruck by the majesty and grandeur contained therein. Even if I don't quite understand some of the vocabulary and word order on a first read, the text actually moves me.
 

1689theologychick

Puritan Board Freshman
although I don't like the way it, in my opinion, "flattens out" the poetry in the psalms. As a rule, the CSB seems quite prosaic to me. The translation doesn't have a lot of "color" to it, that is, it doesn't seem very expressive to me.
I don't even notice the Psalms being flattened out. One of the first things I studied when I got mine was Psalm 119 (my favorite one). I tend to lean a little analytical in my reading preferences, though (which is probably why I don't find the NASB95 "wooden" as I've often heard it accused to be). I have always hated poetry, so the less "flowery" something is, the more I can engage with it. I can certainly see what you're saying, but I think for a brain like mine, it's actually a benefit for it to be flattened out.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
"Too wooden"! I've never seen that term applied to the ESV, a translation I've been reading since shortly after it was published. "Too wooden" is NASB territory.

Well, now you have. Certainly, NASB is even more awkward. But if I put the ESV (which is still what I use primarily) beside the CSB, most often the CSB will flow more smoothly. Its natural, everyday English is one of its biggest advantages.
 

Hamalas

whippersnapper
Kim, the CSB is my favorite as well. Formal equivalence as a principle can be applied too rigidly. I believe that actually happened with the NASB. There can be no doubt that the NASB is an excellent resource for those who, like yourself, don't know the original languages. It can be a window to the original. I wouldn't get rid of your NASB for Bible study. There is no reason to limit yourself to just one translation for study. In fact, for anyone who doesn't know Hebrew and Greek, I recommend using more than one translation for Bible study. Noticing differences in translation can alert you to potential issues to be resolved in Bible study. As formal equivalence goes, the KJV used it more flexibly.

As a translation philosophy, however, I find the formal equivalence principle incomplete. It has a very important element of truth, that we use words to mean things. The dynamic equivalence principle has an equally strong element of truth to it, that context determines what words mean. However, each principle is also missing something. The formal equivalence philosophy misses some of the more contextual aspects of translation, and that meaning does not reside only at the word level. The dynamic equivalence philosophy downplays the word level too much, in my estimation. That is one of the reasons the CSB is my favorite translation. It has the best articulated translation philosophy of any Bible translation. Optimal equivalence is the idea that meaning is present on every level: word level, phrase level, clause level, sentence level, paragraph level, chapter level, book level, canon level. All of these need to be taken into account and weighed in order to come up with a translation.

As to whether the CSB will last longer than the NASB95, I am not sure anyone can answer that question with any degree of certainty. I, too, have reservations about the ESV. Its translation of Hebrew vav and Greek de and kai is absolutely deplorable (a problem shared by the NASB in places, and the KJV; the NKJV is far better on this score).

I would recommend both the NASB and the CSB. I think there are five dependable translations that people can confidently use: KJV, NKJV, NASB, CSB, and ESV.

Do y'all use the CSB at your church?
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
On the other hand, when I read the KJV's rendering of the Psalms, I am awestruck by the majesty and grandeur contained therein. Even if I don't quite understand some of the vocabulary and word order on a first read, the text actually moves me.

That's the problem with the KJV - after 409 years, the language is far too archaic to be useful. With an English Bible translation, you should be able to understand the vocabulary and word order on a first read.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
That's the problem with the KJV - after 409 years, the language is far too archaic to be useful. With an English Bible translation, you should be able to understand the vocabulary and word order on a first read.

I certainly agree. I'm just saying that with the 95% of the KJV Psalms I can understand on a first read, I am left quite moved by it.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
That is one of the reasons the CSB is my favorite translation. It has the best articulated translation philosophy of any Bible translation. Optimal equivalence is the idea that meaning is present on every level: word level, phrase level, clause level, sentence level, paragraph level, chapter level, book level, canon level. All of these need to be taken into account and weighed in order to come up with a translation.
Lane, I agree a good case can be made for Optimal Equivalence. The only caution I would add is that when it comes to context and readability, there is a danger when Bible translations are used in multiple countries. Each cultural context is different. New Zealanders sometimes grumble about the "American English" used in most translations, and that weights and measures are not metric. I say this because a good translation should aim to be culturally neutral as much as practical.

I have found some places though where the CSB is less than Optimal. Eg, I cringe at the translation at 2 Tim 3:16 "All scripture is inspired by God" Is not the word *in*spired theologically problematic? It seems to me the ESV captures this more precisely and incorporates BB Warfield's insights regarding the Inspiration of the scriptures "All scripture is breathed *out* by God".
I, too, have reservations about the ESV. Its translation of Hebrew vav and Greek de and kai is absolutely deplorable (a problem shared by the NASB in places, and the KJV; the NKJV is far better on this score).
Lane, can you please expand on this? The NKJV is broadly similar to the ESV in style and translation philosophy so I am curious.
I think there are five dependable translations that people can confidently use: KJV, NKJV, NASB, CSB, and ESV.
I appreciate the good choice. I am not a fan of the NIV. I try to tell NIV advocates to switch to the CSB :) It has the strengths of a readable translation as well as being more accurate than the NIV.

Personally I prefer translations in the Tyndale tradition, hence I use the ESV. I like the CSB in the book of Proverbs. But I think the ESV is more poetical in the Psalms (I groan at the CSB translation of Psalm 23).

All in all I agree with Lane. If one makes use of the KJV, NKJV, NASB, CSB, and ESV they are using solid and reliable Bible translations.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
That's the problem with the KJV - after 409 years, the language is far too archaic to be useful. With an English Bible translation, you should be able to understand the vocabulary and word order on a first read.
I certainly agree. I'm just saying that with the 95% of the KJV Psalms I can understand on a first read, I am left quite moved by it.
Use the NKJV. You get much of the poetic richness of the KJV in more modern English.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
Lane, can you please expand on this? The NKJV is broadly similar to the ESV in style and translation philosophy so I am curious.

He is saying that the NKJV often chooses not to render the Hebrew vav and the Greek kai at the beginning of many sentences and clauses as "and." Not only is it many times a bad translation (the vav in Hebrew narrative is most of the time a vav consecutive, indicating narrative progression rather than a conjunction; this is mirrored in Greek by the writers who were Hebrews), it's just generally poor English to begin every sentence with "and."
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
He is saying that the NKJV often chooses not to render the Hebrew vav and the Greek kai at the beginning of many sentences and clauses as "and." Not only is it many times a bad translation (the vav in Hebrew narrative is most of the time a vav consecutive, indicating narrative progression rather than a conjunction; this is mirrored in Greek by the writers who were Hebrews), it's just generally poor English to begin every sentence with "and."
Taylor, one reason I asked for clarification is because I do not have formal training in the Biblical languages. So I don't know much about a 'vav consecutive' or a 'conjunction' :)
it's just generally poor English to begin every sentence with "and."
I understand this and can see your point in this respect :)
 

Josh Williamson

Puritan Board Freshman
That is a good question, as a church and family we use the NKJV, but if we were going to change I'd probably lean towards the CSB. That being said, the CSB is about to be updated, and I'm not overly happy with some of the changes which are being made.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
That is a good question, as a church and family we use the NKJV, but if we were going to change I'd probably lean towards the CSB. That being said, the CSB is about to be updated, and I'm not overly happy with some of the changes which are being made.

The CSB actually just went through a fairly hefty revision, which has already been released in the electronic versions. Are you talking about that? Which changes didn’t you like? I have a master list of every single edit made to the text, and I haven’t found a single one that I thought wasn’t a good or necessary improvement.
 

1689theologychick

Puritan Board Freshman
The CSB actually just went through a fairly hefty revision, which has already been released in the electronic versions.
Really? Already? It just came out in 2017! Are they more subtle and nuanced sort of changes that wouldn't be noticeable to the average reader? Do you know the reason they felt changes were needed again so soon? (Thanks in advance. I know that was a lot of questions all at once)
 

Adam Olive

Puritan Board Freshman
Really? Already? It just came out in 2017! Are they more subtle and nuanced sort of changes that wouldn't be noticeable to the average reader? Do you know the reason they felt changes were needed again so soon? (Thanks in advance. I know that was a lot of questions all at once)
 
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