The Christian Standard Bible and Reformed Circles

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T. J. Switzer

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello!

So I am currently attending a 1689 confessional church that uses the New American Standard Bible 95 (NASB95) as their main teaching and pew Bible, yet I struggle with the text. I've been told its because I need to embrace the struggle and plow though it, but I find that the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) has been a breath of fresh air.

I grew up with the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) and have a majority of my Bible memory from that translation. I love the update, but I feel guilty for using it instead of the NASB95 as my main since its what the church uses.

I know many of you might think this is a childish issue, and that using mutiple translations is wise, and I do. I just want a home base for reading, teaching, and memorizing. What are your thoughts on the CSB and is it trustworthy for Reformed teaching?

Thank you!
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Welcome to the Puritanboard. I didn't know there was a 1689 Church in the area. I do know of many Calvinistic Baptist Churches. I went to one on the Northside for many years.

When you have time click on Signature Requirements in my signature and make one for your posts please.

On topic, I agree with you about sticking with one translation as you memorize scripture. It is less confusing for me to recall passages the older I get. My good buddy and Elder uses many translations in his memorization. It doesn't hinder him in any way. In fact I see the benefit of it as certain passages become clearer and more applicable to life than other translations render them.

The American Standard is a good translation because it does try to stick closer to the manuscript as a translation. It is what is called a Formal Equivalence translation. It tries to be word for word. The other philosophy of translation is called Dynamic Equivalence. It is more a thought for thought translation instead of sticking as tightly to the manuscript as it can.

I would advise you to try to embrace using as many translations that are beneficial in helping yourself and others to know what the scriptures say. I mainly read and memorize from the KJV but I use the ESV, ASV, a few literal translations, and some translations that other individuals have done. I find benefit from all of them.
 

B.L.

Puritan Board Sophomore
So I am currently attending a 1689 confessional church that uses the New American Standard Bible 95 (NASB95) as their main teaching and pew Bible, yet I struggle with the text. I've been told its because I need to embrace the struggle and plow though it, but I find that the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) has been a breath of fresh air.

I don't have any familiarity with the CSB to address your question, but I've been in similar shoes as you. I was once in a church that preached and taught exclusively from the KJV and many who struggled with the language were advised to endure and work harder to comprehend it. Though the KJV is one of my two primary translations I read from in private study, I found this advice added an unhelpful burden to many who found reading and listening from the KJV to be a struggle instead of a joy. This particular church actually went through a sort of silent war when the ESV came out. Many lobbied to transition the church from the KJV to the ESV, which caused some unfortunate tension among some.

There is something to be said about an entire congregation using the same translation for preaching and teaching though. I'm currently in a church that uses the NASB95; however, I've never used it and use other translations. I suppose I could whip out my phone and follow along in the NASB, but I like having a printed Bible in hand to carry with me. Many others in the congregation also use something other than the NASB and it becomes a bit of a distraction when going around the room reading out loud during Bible Study. Lol. Small issue I suppose.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
Plenty of people struggle with the NASB, mainly because it is full of awkward English. It has been said that the KJV was written in the English of Victorian times, the NIV was written in the English of modern times, and the NASB was written in the English of no time.

I would recommend using the translation you feel comfortable with.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
I find translations like the NASB and N/KJV very good to use for study, but I find well-done dynamic equivalence translations to be good for long sections of reading (and not necessarily deep study). I say keep using the CSB. Others in this vein are the NIV (I prefer the 1984 version) and the MEV.

The worst thing you can do is spend so much time struggling with the language of a translation that it limits how much Scripture you can or do read. I made this mistake in the past in trying to embrace the KJV that I realized I was spending less time in Scripture and enjoying it less. I still pull out the KJV sometimes (especially for the Psalms), but in many places it makes it more difficult for me to get through, even when I was in a church that used it from the pulpit. There's a saying I've heard "the best Bible version is the one you read," and while there are some bad ones, I think the saying is true when comparing generally sound translations.
 

TheBruisedReed

Puritan Board Freshman
I personally enjoy the CSB, though it is not my number one preference. I also believe that it probably wasn't a necessary translation since the market is already bountifully flooded with contemporary English versions. However, I do believe it hits a certain "sweet-spot" between the ESV and NIV, concerning flow and readability.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I have a CSB, but I am not a big fan, to be honest. Okay, I have not read that much of it and maybe I need to persevere. For the time being, I will continue to use the one that Moses translated into Hebrew (the NIV 1978). ;)
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
The CSB is a solid translation. There's much to like about it. If you want to use it for personal memory and study, I think it's a fine choice. Plenty trustworthy enough.

If you want to be using the same translation as the rest of the wider Reformed crowd, ESV is probably the one these days, especially within the YRR set, with smatterings of KJV, NKJV, and NASB especially among folks who are more old-school, and the NIV still holding onto ground among many who grew up with it and some who lean a bit progressive. The CSB has been more limited to Southern Baptists, and it's hard to know whether or not it will gain broader appeal. It's a good enough translation that it deserves broader appeal, but that doesn't mean it will happen.

There may be some advantages to using the same translation your church uses, but those advantages are small ones and potentially short-lived. Who's to say, providence may put you in a different church a few years from now, or your church may decide to switch translations (my church recently switched from using the NASB to the ESV when we got a new pastor). So picking a translation for a lifetime of memory should probably be more of a personal choice than one that follows your church's current practice.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Plenty of people struggle with the NASB, mainly because it is full of awkward English. It has been said that the KJV was written in the English of Victorian times, the NIV was written in the English of modern times, and the NASB was written in the English of no time.

I would recommend using the translation you feel comfortable with.
Nas version would be indeed old school preferred, while the Esv fits the bill for now.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
with smatterings of KJV, NKJV
I don’t want to go down a rabbit trail so please don’t, anyone, and do start a new thread if you wish to discuss, but did want to say that I see what seems to be a growing number of Reformed young men, including pastors, and women holding to a received text or at least to the Masoretic text and thus to the use of a common Bible, the KJV or NKJV. Perhaps, comparatively, it is a smattering but it does seem a significant movement may be underway.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
I don’t want to go down a rabbit trail so please don’t, anyone, and do start a new thread if you wish to discuss, but did want to say that I see what seems to be a growing number of Reformed young men, including pastors, and women holding to a received text or at least to the Masoretic text and thus to the use of a common Bible, the KJV or NKJV. Perhaps, comparatively, it is a smattering but it does seem a significant movement may be underway.
the standard Reformed scriptures to be used would be translations based upon those Greek texts, correct? Looking forward to a thread on this issue!
 

Connor Longaphie

Puritan Board Freshman
Normatively, I would say it is best to use your churches unified translation (if it has one e.g; pew bibles and preaching and teaching bible are the same) except in situations where you have a conscience issue, let's say, a textual issue from CT to TR, or for those who believe that the bible MUST be formal equivalency and the church uses dynamic. But or difficulty of reading well. I think it's important to have a high reading comprehension level. We learn Shakespeare in highschool so we should surely be able to read the NASB if we put the work into it. but you cant just turn on a reading comprehension switch. If you are able, I would say use the NASB. if you dont plan on sticking around there then dont worry about it, or if you absolutely cannot understand it then dont worry about it. My church's pew Bibles are NIV but the teaching and preaching Bible is ESV, and many members including myself read the KJV. There's no fast and hard rule for these things. But there definitely is wisdom in a church having a unified Bible translation
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
the standard Reformed scriptures to be used would be translations based upon those Greek texts, correct? Looking forward to a thread on this issue!
David, it’s a complex issue that has been discussed and debated a good bit in the past on the PB. Do you know how to search past threads? There is a search bar at the top of the page, or on your phone maybe a little magnifying glass. Open that up and type in “received text” and you’ll have lots of reading before you. My only point in mentioning it is that the OP asked about a translation used in Reformed circles (and my own comment is actually a divergence from the OP so probably my bad).
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Bingo! - so long as one recognizes that unfortunately there are a few versions, most notably The Message, that are in effect pseudo-translations.
And those done like the 2011 niv that went way into gender inclusive, much more so then Csb did.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I love the update, but I feel guilty for using it instead of the NASB95 as my main since its what the church uses.

No need to feel guilty. Use the translation that you understand the best and reads well for you. After all, the purpose of Bible-reading is to understand it. My pastor preaches from the NASB and the pew Bibles are NASB, but I use the ESV both in church and in my personal reading. No guilt necessary.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I was once in a church that preached and taught exclusively from the KJV and many who struggled with the language were advised to endure and work harder to comprehend it. . .I found this advice added an unhelpful burden to many who found reading and listening from the KJV to be a struggle instead of a joy. This particular church actually went through a sort of silent war when the ESV came out. Many lobbied to transition the church from the KJV to the ESV, which caused some unfortunate tension among some.

A struggle that can be completely avoided with the several excellent modern translations around these days.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Plenty of people struggle with the NASB, mainly because it is full of awkward English. It has been said that the KJV was written in the English of Victorian times, the NIV was written in the English of modern times, and the NASB was written in the English of no time.

I would recommend using the translation you feel comfortable with.

When I was first saved (1980), I started out on the NASB because that happened to be the translation the church was using. Later, I switched to the NIV to get away from the woodenness of the NASB. Then, I started using the ESV to escape the increasing liberal-ness of the NIV. And I've been very happy with the ESV for low these (nearly) 20 years.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I don’t want to go down a rabbit trail so please don’t, anyone, and do start a new thread if you wish to discuss, but did want to say that I see what seems to be a growing number of Reformed young men, including pastors, and women holding to a received text or at least to the Masoretic text and thus to the use of a common Bible, the KJV or NKJV. Perhaps, comparatively, it is a smattering but it does seem a significant movement may be underway.

The NASB, the ESV, and the CSB all hold to the Masoretic text for the Old Testament. In that regard, there's no need to go back to the KJV.
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
The NASB, the ESV, and the CSB all hold to the Masoretic text for the Old Testament. In that regard, there's no need to go back to the KJV.
It's not quite that simple. The KJV holds rather closely to (a particular strand) of the Masoretic Text, that found in the Second Rabbinic Bible, published in 1525 by Jacob Bomberg. But this volume omitted some verses from the Hebrew text found in the First Rabbinic Bible, which the KJV picked up from there; the KJV also made a few emendations on the basis of the LXX, notably Ps 22:16. They had access to a number of other medieval Hebrew manuscripts, but not the Leningrad Codex, which is now recognized as the oldest complete MT text. Modern translations (such as the NKJV, ESV, NASB and CSB) follow the MT closely, but are a little more likely to follow Kethib/qere readings (vocalic variations in the MT), and occasionally the LXX over the MT, especially where attested also in the Qumran scrolls. But they are all pretty close to the MT in contrast to the RSV, which was much more likely to follow the Septuagint.

The issues of text criticism aren't as pronounced as in the NT, but the OT has its own issues to deal with.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
It's not quite that simple. The KJV holds rather closely to (a particular strand) of the Masoretic Text, that found in the Second Rabbinic Bible, published in 1525 by Jacob Bomberg. But this volume omitted some verses from the Hebrew text found in the First Rabbinic Bible, which the KJV picked up from there; the KJV also made a few emendations on the basis of the LXX, notably Ps 22:16. They had access to a number of other medieval Hebrew manuscripts, but not the Leningrad Codex, which is now recognized as the oldest complete MT text. Modern translations (such as the NKJV, ESV, NASB and CSB) follow the MT closely, but are a little more likely to follow Kethib/qere readings (vocalic variations in the MT), and occasionally the LXX over the MT, especially where attested also in the Qumran scrolls. But they are all pretty close to the MT in contrast to the RSV, which was much more likely to follow the Septuagint.

The issues of text criticism aren't as pronounced as in the NT, but the OT has its own issues to deal with.

Thanks, Dr. Duiguid. I guess things are never quite as simple and straightforward as we would like them to be. Very interesting post.

Of course, most English translations don't go into all that detail in their introductory sections. They usually just say they follow the MT in the Old Testament (if they do) and leave it at that, which is good enough, as far as most lay people are concerned.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Thanks, Dr. Duiguid. I guess things are never quite as simple and straightforward as we would like them to be. Very interesting post.

Of course, most English translations don't go into all that detail in their introductory sections. They usually just say they follow the MT in the Old Testament (if they do) and leave it at that, which is good enough, as far as most lay people are concerned.
I have been using the Csb, and think far superior to Niv 2011 version.
 

T. J. Switzer

Puritan Board Freshman
Would you mind telling us how old you are?
I am 26, and sorry if this caused a stink. I know people my age should have a better reading level and can handle these kind of translations, but I find myself not reading scripture because its just a distraction. I am making it my goal to "reform" the CSB and have it gain traction in my local reformed group.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
I am 26, and sorry if this caused a stink. I know people my age should have a better reading level and can handle these kind of translations, but I find myself not reading scripture because its just a distraction. I am making it my goal to "reform" the CSB and have it gain traction in my local reformed group.

I think it's also that the HCSB didn't come out until the mid-2000s and you said you were raised on it. I'm around your age and I remember the HCSB coming out and debates about whether to use it in my Southern Baptist church at the time.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I am 26, and sorry if this caused a stink. I know people my age should have a better reading level and can handle these kind of translations, but I find myself not reading scripture because its just a distraction. I am making it my goal to "reform" the CSB and have it gain traction in my local reformed group.

Yes, his post made me feel very old. :(
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
Quick update:

After careful considering and pray on the matter, I've decided to go and stick with the NASB95 as my main translation so long as it continues. The CSB will be a good resource to utilize if something is to awkward or I'm just not getting it.

This is funny because the Church I attend is thinking about going down the ESV route now lol.

Keep in mind that the NASB is receiving a major revision in 2020.
 
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