HCSB and/or ESV Translation

Discussion in 'The Literary Forum' started by Wynteriii, Nov 23, 2012.

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  1. Wynteriii

    Wynteriii Puritan Board Freshman

    I saw a Reformed Baptist church planter teach a lesson with HCSB translation. It looks like there is a divide with this translation but isn't that with all translations? I prefer, in my study and occasionally for a lesson, to use multiple translations. However, I normally use the ESV as my main translation because of the people I listen to use it and I just like. I would probably read the ESV along with HCSB and not the other way around.

    What are your thoughts on the HCSB translation and would you preach/give a lesson from it or just use it for a different wording of a verse? Perhaps you dislike it all together?

    I know there are a couple of threads already, sorry if I'm suppose to read those before posting.
  2. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    I have a slue of translations and the HCSB is not yet one of them. My pastor's wife uses it and he says he likes it. He uses the NKJV and/or the ESV. What I do when I'm curious about a translation is go to Bible Gateway here and read verses I know well along with a parallel translation of the one I am curious about. I did that with the HCSB up against the AV in the first and second chapters of Ephesians and I decided to forgo a purchase. I've seen it compared favorably to the ESV in accuracy of translation but not as literal as the NASB.
  3. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    The ESV is going to be more literal, while the HCSB is more dynamic equivalance. I would suggest checking each one out thoroughly before making a decision.
  4. JohnGill

    JohnGill Puritan Board Senior

    I've always thought the Baptists who worked on it should have listened to the Baptists of the 19th century who when asked to make a Baptist translation emphatically said, NO!
  5. Wynteriii

    Wynteriii Puritan Board Freshman

    I use ESV the most out of my collection of translations and if I was going to get a Schuyler or R.L Allan Bible, ESV would be my choice. I'm curious if it is a good translation to read for a more modern rendition of the verse.

    Peopl complain about archaic words in ESV, but I have to say that I love it sometimes.
  6. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, I was mistaken when I said it compared favorably with the ESV in being a literal translation. Here is a comprehensive review of the HCSB by Michael Marlowe of 'Bible Research.'
  7. Wynteriii

    Wynteriii Puritan Board Freshman

    I also don't like how the ESV was updated in 2007 and again in 2011, shouldn't there be a wider gap?
  8. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    I like the HCSB. I use it as my primary text.
  9. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Sophomore

    Full disclosure: I was part of the translation team for the HCSV and am part of the oversight committee. So please send me any verses where you think the HCSV obviously got it wrong, especially in the OT.

    In my judgment, the HCSV and ESV are very similar on the dynamic vs literal scale. Both aim to be more literal than the NIV, which as a preacher I appreciate (I preached from the NIV from 1992 - 2006). I now preach from the ESV, largely because far more Reformed people have it than the HCSV. I consider it an excellent translation, though I find the deliberate archaisms in pursuit of a more poetic style unfortunate. For example, in regluar conversation I never refer to young women as "maidens" and have not been known to say to my wife, "I was at the grocery store today and behold, lemons were on sale." There are places in the OT that are poetic, such as the Psalms (duh!), and there I find the ESV vastly superior to the NIV. However, most of the OT is regular everyday Biblical Hebrew, and so I prefer a translation that aims at regular everyday English to translate such passages.

    Every translation contains infelicities, which is why reading the original languages well is desirable. Equally, there are contexts that make it a blessing to have a wide variety of translations available. When I preached to people in Africa who were just learning English I used a paraphrase with an 850 word vocabulary. It was far from ideal (it would have been much better if I had been fluent enough to use a Bible and preach in their language - which however, they were unable to read). I would rather have a paraphrase that they could read though than give them a more accurate Bible that they couldn't understand.

    The ESV has achieved much greater acceptance in the Reformed community, in part because Crossway produces far more Reformed resources than Broadman & Holman (not least the ESV Study Bible). I'd like to see more Reformed resources from Broadman and Holman, but given its SBC connections, it is remarkable that there is as much Reformed influence as there is.

    As I say, I'm collecting a list of places where the HCSV could be improved and I would welcome your suggestions.
  10. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I used the HCSB for about a year as my morning reader. It wasn't choppy or wooden, and didn't use a lot of words that I needed to go to the dictionary to look up. I replaced it with a NKJV for only one reason: giant print. It's a keeper in my collection. In our congregation, I keep a NASB in hand because that is the translation Pastor John reads from. If he used a HCSB, I'd keep that in hand. On occasion he comments about a word or phrase in the NASB and refers to another translation, or the original language, to clarify or emphasize a point that he believes needs a little help. I suspect that he would do the same if the HCSB, or any other translation was used. I'll read from the ESV on line, or in my Kindle reader, but do not yet possess a hardcopy.
  11. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    I refer to the HCSV from time to time. They have published interlinears for the Old and New Testaments and access to the Bible is available here:

    The site is very useful and provides many tools not normally available elsewhere for free.

    The HCSB is one of the best formatted study bibles I have encountered. Good use of colorization to find one's way around. If only they would publish the study Bible in a verse-by-verse format. Sigh.

    Sample pages, excerpts available here:
    Christianbook.com: HCSB Study Bible, Black Genuine Leather, Thumb-Indexed: 9781586405076
  12. Wynteriii

    Wynteriii Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for the help, I talked to the the Reformed Baptist Elder who uses HCSB and he convinced me even more to use it.

    As of right now I still primarily use ESV since I have invested some into it with the Concordance and Reverse Greek Linear. This brings up another question, do they have sources like I mentioned for the HCSB?
  13. Jackie Kaulitz

    Jackie Kaulitz Puritan Board Freshman

    I normally use the ESV and NIV and have lightly compared the HCSB to these two versions. In every comparison, I felt the HCSB was an extremely weak translation. The ESV always reads better in its choice of words. And when you want something a little more "paraphrased" or in "common layman's English" the NIV always does a better job. I truly don't see any need for the HCSB. It always seems to translate weakly (so is always inferior to the ESV) and then makes a plan reading oddly complicated compared to the NIV.
  14. Wynteriii

    Wynteriii Puritan Board Freshman

    I feel the ESV does have a place.

    However, the last couple of days I found out (please correct me if I'm wrong) that the "English Standard Version" is a revision of the "Revised Standard Version" which is a revision on the "American Standard Version" which was derived from the "English Revised Version" which was a revision of "The Authorized King James Version" which is an English translation of Textus Receptus and some Vulgate for NT and Masoretic Text with Septuagint influence for the OT.

    The Holman Christian Standard Version is an English translation of the Novum Testamentum Graece 27th edition for NT and Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia with some Septuagint influence for OT.

    It seems like the HCSB went to the source to make a modern translation while the ESV took a longer path to make not a translation I would say, but a revision.
  15. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    With regard to the HCSB being a "Baptist version," I think Dr. Duguid would beg to differ! But that perception is perhaps one reason why it hasn't caught on a little more. Be that as it may, it hasn't really caught on in the SBC either beyond people seeing it printed alongside the KJV in their S.S. quarterly. Some of that is probably because it would appear that comparatively few Southern Baptist preachers preach from it, with the NKJV, NASB, ESV, KJV (and perhaps the NIV) continuing to be more common.

    Also, despite the Calvinist stereotype, there are non-Calvinist pastors who preach from the ESV.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  16. KaphLamedh

    KaphLamedh Puritan Board Freshman

    I had HCSB, I gave it away. It's new translation, while ESV is more revision of revision of revision. HCSB is somehow similar to NET-bible as both are mixture of dynamic and formal equivalence.
  17. JP Wallace

    JP Wallace Puritan Board Sophomore

    I did what Jimmy suggested and compared HCSB, ESV and NKJV and I have to say while HCSB was a fair enough translation in Ephesians 1, I didn't particularly like it. For example it takes an adjective, the first word of verse 3, and makes it into an imperative (or at least exhortative); HCSB 3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. ....ESV 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

    Even worse, in my opinion, it for some reason removes a lot of the rhetorcial power of Ephesians 1 by not following the Greek word order. Now, I don't believe word order, can be, or should be slavishly followed, but if it appears the author is using word order for emphasis, then where possible the translater should. One of the major themes in Ephesians 1 is union with Christ, expressed repeatedly as 'in Him', the HCSB has the phrase but frequently moves it to the end of sections when in reality, as reflected, in the ESV etc. Paul begins these sections with the 'in Him" (actually in whom).

    ESV Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

    11 In him we have obtained an inheritance,

    13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him

    HCSB 7 We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace .......

    11 We have also received an inheritance in Him, ......

    13 When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.

    Now in every one of those cases Paul begins the verse (I know the divisions are added later)...each statement with 'in Him' it does not come at the end or middle, and in my opinion he does so to emphasise that we really do have every spiritual blessing in him, uniquely so, and nowhere else. In my opinion HCSB gets this wrong.

    7 εν ω εχομεν την απολυτρωσιν δια του αιματος αυτου την αφεσιν των παραπτωματων κατα το πλουτος της χαριτος αυτου

    11 εν ω και εκληρωθημεν προορισθεντες κατα προθεσιν του τα παντα ενεργουντος κατα την βουλην του θεληματος αυτου

    13 13 εν ω και υμεις ακουσαντες τον λογον της αληθειας το ευαγγελιον της σωτηριας υμων εν ω και πιστευσαντες εσφραγισθητε τω πνευματι της επαγγελιας τω αγιω

    I stress the translation seems fine, but it looses the rhetorical emphasis which I believe out to be there, and without any really good reason - all the translations are very comprehensible in these verses, indeed if this is Paul's emphasis much more so than HCSB which looses something of his meaning.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  18. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

  19. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    The ESV is indeed a revision most directly of the RSV. The RSV in the eyes of many was a great translation, and it was a translation of choice for a lot of popular Reformed theologians before the ESV was released (for example, older books by the likes of R. C. Sproul and John Piper I have tended to quote from the RSV as the primary text), however it was produced by an ecumenical council and had a lot of bad choices theologically, such as Isaiah 7:14. The ESV basically took the RSV and fixed it theologically, made it a bit more literal, and updated some language. However, I read from the RSV before I found the ESV and one can find a lot of verses that are identical.

    However, you are going to find that it pretty much only refers to NA27 and a mix of the Masoretic text with references to translations like the LXX. There is not anything left of the TR/MT except in the footnotes, and certainly not Vulgate influences any more. Even though it came from the Authorised Version's tradition, the textual basis is not at all the same. This was changed with the RV/ASV. This is a problem for many, but you seem to be suspicious in the opposite direction.
  20. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    To Bill Perkins, I would say that the HCSB is NOT a dynamic equivalence translation. If you read the preface to the HCSB, you will see their translation philosophy in a much clearer way. They call their approach the "optimal equivalence" method, which is an attempt to say that there are valid points to both the dynamic and formal equivalent methods, and that there is no need to choose: individual words mean something, and yet they occur in contexts which are also a huge factor in determining meaning. There is, of course, a continuum of translations ranging from extreme paraphrase to wooden literalness. What is so intriguing to me about the HCSB is its explicit recognition that meaning exists on many levels of the text: word-level, phrase-level, sentence-level, paragraph-level, and so on. All of these levels need to be taken into account. Now, many of the older translations did this more or less unconsciously. However, it is salutary to see this recognition being made a foundation for translation philosophy. I agree with it whole-heartedly, and I believe the HCSB is a remarkable success as a translation.

    I like it more than the ESV, because the ESV has a habit of translating into poor English. As an example, consider the ESV's ridiculous way of translating Hebrew "vav" and Greek "de" and "kai" as "and" in the majority of cases (for the most ludicrous examples, see the ESV translation of the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5, which is horrible English!). The English word "and" is not formally equivalent either to Hebrew "vav" or to Greek "de" and "kai." The Hebrew "vav," when used in a vayyiqtol, simply marks a continuation of the narrative. The English "and" indicates a very close connection in thought between clauses. In other words, the English conjunction is a "tighter" word than the Hebrew "vav" or Greek "de" and "kai." A perfectly adequate translation of narrative "vav" would be to print the English text in paragraphs. This won't work for all instances, of course (what is one going to do with the vav that begins Exodus, for instance?). However, this will work worlds better than the blockheadedness of defaulting on translating Hebrew vav by "and" ad nauseum. Furthermore, it is poor English style to start multiple sentences with a conjunction. It is not an absolutely rule that sentences must never start with conjunctions. But (!), if you are going to make a point, you use it for special effect. It is ludicrously bad English style to start 5 sentences in a row with "and."

    I have found a very few places in the HCSB, where I scratched my head (sorry, Iain, I can't remember exactly where they were!). By and large, however, I found it to be a superior translation to the NIV and even to the ESV.
  21. CuriousNdenver

    CuriousNdenver Puritan Board Sophomore

    I read a copy of the HCSB from cover to cover just over a year ago. I grew up reading and memorizing from the KVJ, and had a hard time digesting the language used in the HCSB at first. I kept reading, and after time, it didn't bother me as much.

    I did notice that some verses seemed "weaker" that those used in the KJV, but I am not a Greek or Hebrew scholar, so can't speak to the textual accuracy of the translation.

    I explored this option (reading through the HCSB) to decide if I wanted to memorize future verses out of a more modern translation - for use in sharing with people I talk to while doing street evangelism.
  22. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    I would agree that the HCSB is a good translation, and I did not say that it was a dynamic equivalance, just more so than the ESV. I personally prefer the NKJV, partially because it has the best footnotes of any Bible and always highlights verses that begin a new pericope. I actually prefer the HCSB over the ESV, which I consider little more than microwaved RSV.
  23. Wynteriii

    Wynteriii Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm curious with the use of "weaker" in past posts in the thread. Do you mean that a verse in HCSB did not impact you as much as the KJV,ESV, or ASV does?

    I agree, the ESV and the long line behind it has a certain "archaic" sound that people (including me) find to be great and allows us to connect to our Bible. But, why do we need "maidens", "beseech", etc. to get closer to the meaning of a text? Wouldn't we be able to connect (but still connect to our reformed minds) with a Bible written in modern English?
  24. CuriousNdenver

    CuriousNdenver Puritan Board Sophomore

    Yes, this was my take on it overall. Some of the language used in the KJV that I grew up with has greater impact for me.

    Pastor Wallace noted the differences in Ephesians 1, as compared to the ESV. I would draw a similar comparison between the HCSB and the KJV in those passages.

    I would not say that I did NOT like the HCSB. It uses more modern language that is likely to be better understood by a larger audience today. Personally, I found the greater readability came at a cost. Perhaps part of it is the phraseology, as Pastor Wallace alluded to. In many instances, the HCSB has altered sentence structures, when compared to the KJV, and even the NKJV.

    My guess is part of this is due to copyright law - to copyright a work, it needs to be notably different from previously copyrighted works. This is a whole different can of worms, I know.

    I read the editors notes at the beginning of my copy of the HCSB. They indicated the work was started as a modernization of the "Textus Receptus." However, if I recall correctly, the man spearheading the project passed away prior to its completion. The work was taken over by others, and then deviated from the "Textus Receptus," to include other manuscripts.

    I have not decided yet about switching translations to memorize scripture from.
  25. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I think this is essentially correct. But even the ESV sounds "weak" at times to me. But that's probably because I cut my teeth on the NKJV and KJV and the NASB to a lesser extent. It's also because it's still so similar to the liberal RSV even though most if not all of the problems have been fixed. Thus, I'm really not a big fan of the ESV and haven't used it with any regularity since about 2005. But I may be forced to use it as more and more jump on the bandwagon.

    Even though I haven't been using it regularly that long, I feel like saying "They can have my KJV when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers!"
  26. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    I am not sure the ESV even has that much archaic vocabulary. It suffers more from phraseology problems than vocabulary in my experience, although it does keep around "behold." The two examples you gave, maidens occurs once and has a footnote explaining what the word means; beseech does not appear at all. I've noticed more archaic vocabulary in the HCSB than the ESV.
  27. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    The ESV is not chock full of archaisms. But it seems to me that the ESV has a bit more archaic words than the NASB, particularly the '95 Update. But that helps it "sound more like the Bible" of course.
  28. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    "My brothers have acted deceitfully like a wadi, Like the torrents of wadis which vanish," -Job 6:15 (NASB95)

    "Then the LORD said to me, "Take for yourself a large tablet and write on it in ordinary letters: Swift is the booty, speedy is the prey." -Isaiah 8:1 (NASB95)

    Those two have jumped out at me as memorable when reading the old testament. One because I could not figure out what a wadi was and the other because it sounded odd to my modern ears. But, picking verses is never helpful. A comprehensive analysis would be much better, which I am not fit to give. So I'll refrain from any more such anecdotes.
  29. Wynteriii

    Wynteriii Puritan Board Freshman

    Does anybody know if the Allan HCSB Bibles no include the 2009-10 revisions?
  30. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    Going to Evangelical Bible's Facebook HCSB page, and reading the comments here, would indicate that the Allan is the 2004 text block. Scroll down page, past the photos, and click on 'read all comments' for the details.
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