Today a Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) arrived on my doorstep via courier. Why is this important to note you may ask? Not a bad question dear reader, not a bad question at all.
There is a tension at Crystal Park Baptist Church. Let me explain lest you fear church split. Half of our congregation is second/third language English speaking black folk; quarter of the congregation second language English speaking white folk; the remainder first language English speaking white folk like me. A quarter of our congregation on any given Sunday is under the age of twelve. And the paster is a student, trying hard to crack the Biblical languages.
The variety in last paragraph sounds so encouraging doesn’t? So why’s there tension? Great question!
Well, being a student of God’s Word, I favour a literal interpretation (King Jimmy, the New King Jimmy, English Standard Version ect). I preach from a New American Standard Version.
The kids, under twelve, who’s parents don’t come to church, and who are second language English speakers are encouraged to use a Good News Bible as it’s really easy to read and simple to understand.
The first language English speakers are recommend to get a literal translation for themselves.
And to the rest, the adult second/third language speakers, we encouraged the use of the New International Version.
Now variety is the spice of life (did you notice the variety excluded the Message, the Amplified, the Voice, Today’s New International Version?). I’d not have a problem with this as the status-qua, except things change.
Firstly, my bible is falling apart. I bought a Thomas Nelson bonded leather John MacArthur Study Bible back in the day. Well, I read my Bible, so if there was a fault in the manufacturer it’d always come to the fall. Because I now need to replace my Bible I am thinking of changing the interpretation I use.
Secondly, the NIV is falling apart. Oh, OK, that might not be fair. I had read through the 1984 NIV translation a number of times and I was happy enough with the translation. But it’s no longer in print :(. That means I must now adopt a new standard for half my congregation.
And so I’m out shopping. Where will we settle? I don’t know right now. I do know that I’m excited after reading the HCSB’s translation philosophy as it might serve the needs of my church. I’m also delighted after reading the gender language policy they’ve employed. As I’ve gone through the Bible I’ve been sent I’ve also been impressed by the great features in the edition I’ve been sent.
On Sunday evening, Monday evening and Wednesday I’ll be reading from this translation, hopefully I’ll be able to cover a fair portion of the Pentateuch and History up to the Psalms. Then I’ll be able to say if I’m excited about the translation itself. Nothing beats readings God’s Word. I’m looking do forward to my week ahead.
Have you read the HCSB? What did you like about it? What did you dislike? What cautions might you give? I’d love to hear from you.