Holman Christian Standard Bible New Testament now available

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Although selected Bible books from the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) have been released in various forms since 1999, the newest translation made its debut recently with the release of the complete New Testament featuring devotional notes by Henry Blackaby.

Part of a seven-year, $10 million project, the entire HCSB translation (Old and New Testaments) will be completed in 2003, said David Shepherd, senior vice president and publisher for Broadman & Holman Publishers, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Despite hundreds of translations on the market, Shepherd said the HCSB bridges the gap between a literal translation and modern English versions tailored for lower-level reading skills.

"This is a fresh, modern English translation," he said. "Most work done lately has been on ease of reading, like the New Living Translation. That has a place and is helpful. But this is a new work on the other end of the spectrum, where accuracy is supreme."

Portions of the new translation were first released through such books as "The Christ We Knew," with commentary by Calvin Miller; and "Experiencing The Word Through The Gospels," featuring devotional notes by Blackaby.

The "Experiencing the Word New Testament" with Blackaby notes was released in June.

Earlier this year, a new Here's Hope edition, a low-priced paperback designed for evangelistic outreach, and an Ultra Trim New Testament that can be slipped into a pocket or purse were released.

While many different LifeWay products will use the HCSB translation, Experiencing the Word's extended study format plays an important role in the New Testament release, said Ken Stephens, president of Broadman & Holman.

In addition to Blackaby's notes, the New Testament includes Greek word studies, topical subheadings and a Scripture reference list for the seven realities of God as outlined in the Experiencing God study course.

"We're giving them a lot of new features and benefits," Stephens said. "The word studies alone are worth the price of the New Testament, and we have a lot of other notes and thoughts by Henry. We're giving people a reason to buy it, and as they use it, they will interact with the translation."

While the products are fairly new, the reaction thus far has been very favorable, said Shepherd.

"This is aimed at those who want serious Bible study but in a version that is more readable than others on the market," he said.

Another product linked to the HCSB and released in June was The Words of Christ with commentary by Calvin Miller. "Share Jesus Without Fear," a popular discipleship course, will be released in 2002 in a new edition using the HCSB.

The Holman Christian Standard Bible translation originated with Arthur Farstad, formerly general editor of the New King James Version. He began pursuing a new translation in 1984, long before signing a contract with LifeWay.

After Farstad's death in 1998, a colleague, Edwin Blum of Dallas, took over Farstad's position as general editor of the HCSB. The team has 90 scholars from more than 20 Protestant denominations. One-third are Southern Baptists. All affirm a belief in biblical inerrancy.

Stephens points to Broadman & Holman's reason for pursuing a Bible translation project in the first place: a "drift" in modern-language translations.

"Some translations we thought to be reliable for a long time are slowly being changed," Stephens said. "Our goal is to have a Bible that simply, accurately and reliably expresses in good, understandable English what the original manuscript said."


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