Considering CSB as my Main Translation

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Josh Williamson

Puritan Board Freshman
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.

I think the changes seem to be accurate, however, I in some cases they are going from accurate translation to another accurate translation. For instance, I really liked how the CSB translated Romans 5:1, but am disappointed that they have reverted to a more traditional rendering in the 2020 update. It seems like the updates were needless, and in some cases take away the uniqueness of the CSB.
 

Josh Williamson

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)

Yes, they are updating the text already. I think some of the changes will be noticed by the average reader. See for a list of some of the changes: https://csbible.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/CSB-Improvements-2020-v5.pdf
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Do y'all use the CSB at your church?

No, we use the old NIV. It's not a change the church is interested in at this time, despite the fact that the old NIV is no longer available.

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".

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 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, as for 2 Tim 3:16, while I agree with Warfield wholeheartedly about the meaning of the passage, theologians still use the word "inspiration" to speak about the Scriptures, and what they mean is "breathed out by God." So the translation is not inaccurate, as long as it is understood in a Warfieldian way. The preacher must make it plain what the word means in its context. The ESV chose a more literalistic way to express the Greek, which is fine. The CSB used a more familiar way of expression. Admittedly, the CSB rendering is more open to misunderstanding. However, we always have to leave room, as it were, for the preacher to make it clear.

As for the Hebrew and Greek, what Taylor said is exactly what I meant. To expand a tiny bit: Hebrew vav (as well as Greek de and kai) has a range of meaning. It can mean something as small as "I am continuing the narrative," in which case printing in paragraph form is perfectly adequate as a translation of the vav. It can also mean "also," "and," "but," "therefore," "then," and several other things. Context determines which of these many meanings the vav has. The ESV defaults to "and" for the vast majority of occurrences. For a particularly hideous example, look at the second table of the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5. There is hardly anything more ugly in English than starting 4 very short sentences in a row with the word "and." It is completely clunky. The NKJV still uses too many "ands" for my comfort, but of the ones which use it regularly, the NKJV is the least intrusive in this regard. The ESV is still one of the five best English translations out there, so my criticism of it should not be taken as a dismissal or even as saying that I don't like it. I do like it in general. When I wind up reading aloud from it, I usually just leave off the "ands."
 

1689theologychick

Puritan Board Freshman
I think the changes seem to be accurate, however, I in some cases they are going from accurate translation to another accurate translation.
I just looked at the pdf. I absolutely LOVE the decision to translate 'atoning sacrifice' as 'mercy seat.' Every time I teach a passage with the word 'propitiation' in the NASB, I always take a minute to discuss the meaning 'mercy seat' and draw the student back to the imagery of the Old Testament ark of the covenant and how the mercy seat foreshadowed Christ. Making that connection to the OT through the translation is really helpful for the average reader.

Some of the others are hit or miss, but that one is really good, in my very humble lay-person/women's Bible study leader opinion.
 

B.L.

Puritan Board Sophomore
The recent 2020 revision of the CSB text that was pointed out is one reason why I've grown a bit weary of modern translations. Even if the changes are minor it seems like it's never ending. It's one reason why I soured to the ESV after multiple revisions trickled out in such a short period of time. Reminds me of a cook in the kitchen who takes a pie out too early and has to keep putting it back in the oven to cook longer. I understand if over time a revision is needed due to developments in the English language, but to unveil a new revision that to the layman appears like a bunch of "happy" to "glad" changes is rather annoying.
 

Hamalas

whippersnapper
The recent 2020 revision of the CSB text that was pointed out is one reason why I've grown a bit weary of modern translations. Even if the changes are minor it seems like it's never ending. It's one reason why I soured to the ESV after multiple revisions trickled out in such a short period of time. Reminds me of a cook in the kitchen who takes a pie out too early and has to keep putting it back in the oven to cook longer. I understand if over time a revision is needed due to developments in the English language, but to unveil a new revision that to the layman appears like a bunch of "happy" to "glad" changes is rather annoying.

It can certainly be frustrating, but I think it's just an inevitable part of a process as monumental and involved as producing a new translation. The exact same thing happened with the KJV back in the day. :)
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
I think the changes seem to be accurate, however, I in some cases they are going from accurate translation to another accurate translation. For instance, I really liked how the CSB translated Romans 5:1, but am disappointed that they have reverted to a more traditional rendering in the 2020 update. It seems like the updates were needless, and in some cases take away the uniqueness of the CSB.

Are you talking about them changing “declared righteous” to “justified”? If so, I think that was a good change. I was actually frustrated with the fact that the 2017 CSB rendered δικαιόω in Romans two different ways, most of the time without a footnote. This gives the impression to the reader who doesn’t know Greek that there are two different words being translated, but there’s not. I actually had an email exchange with Dorian Coover-Cox, who is on the committee, about that very issue in Romans. They ended up receiving that complaint and changing it. Maybe you can blame me for it. ;)

The recent 2020 revision of the CSB text that was pointed out is one reason why I've grown a bit weary of modern translations. Even if the changes are minor it seems like it's never ending. It's one reason why I soured to the ESV after multiple revisions trickled out in such a short period of time. Reminds me of a cook in the kitchen who takes a pie out too early and has to keep putting it back in the oven to cook longer. I understand if over time a revision is needed due to developments in the English language, but to unveil a new revision that to the layman appears like a bunch of "happy" to "glad" changes is rather annoying.

To be fair, they’re not just changing things for the sake of changing them. Many of the edits were errors in the original. Some of the changes are serious improvements. I was very thankful for the revision.

Frankly, I don’t envy these translators. I find so often that they can never do anything right in the eyes of many in the Church. If they keep changing the text, they are scolded for being novel or flippant. But if they, like the ESV tried to do, make the text permanent, they are mercilessly mocked by major Christian media outlets. I feel like for these people who have devoted their lives to Biblical scholarship in the area of Bible translation, they can’t win for losing.
 

B.L.

Puritan Board Sophomore
It can certainly be frustrating, but I think it's just an inevitable part of a process as monumental and involved as producing a new translation. The exact same thing happened with the KJV back in the day. :)

True, the KJV underwent many rounds of editing, etc. but it remained a single translation in the hands of the English speaking church. While I agree the process of producing a new translation is monumental and involves much labor, the question I have is this: how many different Bible translations do we need? Our cups are full my friend.

I've drawn attention away from the OP and am sorry for that. The CSB is certainly the "hot" translation today...time will tell whether it has any staying power.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Frequent translation updates are a scourge to a Christian book editor like me. They mean that every time an author quotes the Bible and has a word wrong, or even a bit of punctuation out of place, I have to check to make sure it's really wrong and not just an older or newer edition of the translation. Happily, texts are available online to make this easier, but it's still a pain.

However, despite this, I can appreciate the desire to get the translation right. That's important when we're talking about the Bible, and it probably outweighs what's easiest for me personally. The CSB is still rather new, so tweaks should be expected.
 

Josh Williamson

Puritan Board Freshman
Are you talking about them changing “declared righteous” to “justified”? If so, I think that was a good change. I was actually frustrated with the fact that the 2017 CSB rendered δικαιόω in Romans two different ways, most of the time without a footnote. This gives the impression to the reader who doesn’t know Greek that there are two different words being translated, but there’s not. I actually had an email exchange with Dorian Coover-Cox, who is on the committee, about that very issue in Romans. They ended up receiving that complaint and changing it. Maybe you can blame me for it. ;)

I liked the translation of "declared righteous", which I must admit was one of my main reasons for considering moving to the CSB. I guess if we don't change now I know who to blame. :p
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
I liked the translation of "declared righteous", which I must admit was one of my main reasons for considering moving to the CSB. I guess if we don't change now I know who to blame. :p

I like both "justify" and "declare righteous." What I don't like is translating δικαιόω two different ways within the same book with no explanation as to why.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
Admittedly, the CSB rendering is more open to misunderstanding.
That is why, in light of BB Warfield's insight, I would have thought an Optimal Equivalent for "inspired" would be "breathed out" - the emphasis being on an outward action, not an inward one.
The ESV defaults to "and" for the vast majority of occurrences. For a particularly hideous example, look at the second table of the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5. There is hardly anything more ugly in English than starting 4 very short sentences in a row with the word "and." It is completely clunky.
Thank you. I looked at the passage and I see your point. The 'and' is rather onerous.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
But I think the ESV is more poetical in the Psalms (I groan at the CSB translation of Psalm 23).

That's a good example of what I'm talking about when I mentioned that the CSB tends to flatten out the poetical sections: Psalm 23.1b - "I have what I need." Really guys? That's the best you could do? That sounds like David just left Stater Brothers with everything on his shopping list checked off. It might be accurate, but it's had all the poetry drained out of it. In my opinion, the ESV does a far better job with Hebrew poetry than does the CSB.
 
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Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
Kim, if you are happy with the CSB go ahead and use it. As Lane said it is one of the very good translations. No translation is perfect so it is good to consult a variety of translations while using your favourite translation as your main one.
 

1689theologychick

Puritan Board Freshman
No translation is perfect so it is good to consult a variety of translations while using your favourite translation as your main one.
Precisely. I’m definitely not throwing out my beloved NASB. I’ve spent 13 years in it studying, marking, praying, crying. We have history.

I have Accordance 13 and study with it, so I have several translations that I consult when I study, both personally and when and preparing to teach. I had a good friend of mine who’s a pastor recommend I just have my Accordance software pulled up with the ESV and NASB paralleled on my computer/tablet when I teach (or print out a copy before class). I thought that was also a brilliant suggestion.
 
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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I was put off the CSB when I tried to pray through its translation of the Psalter a couple of years ago, which I found wholly underwhelming. I see from previous comments that I am not the only person to have this complaint. I should, nevertheless, try to read through the whole thing in order to give it a fair hearing. I instantly liked the NKJV and ESV as soon as I started reading them; the NIV was more of an acquired taste. I never really liked the NASB that much, and have barely touched my copy of it in the last ten years. In fact, I prefer the AV, Geneva, RV, and RSV to the NASB.

Okay, I am about to start Robert Rollock's commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians and so I will use the CSB to begin with and see how it goes.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
The CSB's translation of 1 Thessalonians does read pretty well. One thing that I do not like is its use of verbal contractions such as didn't. We should never employ these in formal writing; in fact, I try to avoid them even in speech. I may try and sit down and read the whole translation at some point, though, at present, I am struggling to see why we needed the CSB when we already have the ESV, NKJV, and NIV.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Daniel, a quick comparison of the style of the Bible and formal writing of the time shows that the Bible communicates, most of the time, in normal everyday speech, not formal style. That is even the meaning of the name "Koine" Greek. There are parts of Scripture written in more formal style (the Psalms and the prophets come to mind as being poetic, which is certainly more formal). However, Paul's letters, while certainly deep in content, are written in normal everyday Greek, not formal style. The histories are written in normal everyday speech. To translate the normal everyday parts of the Bible into today's everyday style of speech seems to me to be quite acceptable, though I think slang generally would go too far, as I don't see much, if any, slang in the Bible.

The thing the CSB does which the ESV, NKJV, and NIV do not do is the optimal equivalence translation philosophy. That is why I think the CSB was a justifiable new translation.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
The thing the CSB does which the ESV, NKJV, and NIV do not do

Surely, you mean don't. ;)

Joking aside, Lane, would you fault other translations for not using verbal contractions? I think that is a bit of a stretch. By "formal" I just meant serious writing. Translating the Bible is not like writing text-messages.

Anyway, it is just my opinion. If you like the CSB and are blessed through using it, by all means, do not allow my pedantry to put you off using it.
 
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hammondjones

Puritan Board Sophomore
Unsolicited personal opinion, but I like including the parataxis (the "and"s) in English, if for no other reason than I think it reflects that we are living in the tents of Shem.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Surely, you mean don't. ;)

Joking aside, Lane, would you fault other translations for not using verbal contractions? I think that is a bit of a stretch. By "formal" I just meant serious writing. Translating the Bible is not like writing text-messages.

Anyway, it is just my opinion. If you like the CSB and are blessed through using it, by all means, do not allow my pedantry to put you off using it.

Contractions, while abundant in English, are rare in other languages. I'm only aware of two in Spanish. I'd, no pun intended, hadn't, still no pun intended, considered this observation about translations. Fascinating discussion.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Contractions, while abundant in English, are rare in other languages. I'm only aware of two in Spanish. I'd, no pun intended, hadn't, still no pun intended, considered this observation about translations. Fascinating discussion.

Don't comment if you can't say anything sensible. Anyway, I didn't ask for your opinion. Haven't you got better things to do? I'm sure you didn't see this reply coming! Isn't it weird what triggers people? ;) :p
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Surely, you mean don't. ;)

Joking aside, Lane, would you fault other translations for not using verbal contractions? I think that is a bit of a stretch. By "formal" I just meant serious writing. Translating the Bible is not like writing text-messages.

Anyway, it is just my opinion. If you like the CSB and are blessed through using it, by all means, do not allow my pedantry to put you off using it.

I wouldn't fault a translation for either practice necessarily. It depends on the effect, and which part of the canon is being translated. I do think, however, that a judicious use of contractions helps a translation to feel like normal everyday English. Not having any contractions whatsoever can make it sound a bit stilted (though the skill of the translation can mitigate this problem).
 
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