Posted on May 7, 1999 | by John Perry
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Broadman & Holman Publishers is producing a new Bible translation expected to be on bookshelves by 2004.
Named the Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB), the translation will combine commitment to accuracy in communicating the original text and modern-day readability, said Kenneth H. Stephens, president of Broadman & Holman, the trade publishing arm of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
"Up until now, every English translation of the Bible has been a tradeoff between accuracy and readability," Stephens said. "The more accurate it was, the harder it was to read, and the more reader-friendly it was, the more it drifted from a precise translation of the original text. With our Bible, we've eliminated the tradeoff."
The Holman Christian Standard Bible will be a fresh, precise translation of the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek of the Old and New Testaments, using the latest research in textual criticism along with sophisticated computer technology to check the accuracy of meaning in each word, B&H officials stated.
The Gospel of John has been completed, with all four gospels and the Book of Revelation set to be finished by the end of 1999. The New Testament is targeted for completion by the end of 2000, with the entire Bible to be released by 2004.
Holman CSB general editor Edwin Blum of Dallas is working with a 78-person team of translators, lexicologists, stylists and other scholars around the world. A smaller six-person team is headquartered in Dallas. Team members represent 20 denominations, including Southern Baptists, Plymouth Brethren, Presbyterians (PCA), Congregationalists, Church of England, Church of God, Evangelical Free Church, Methodists, Evangelical Mennonites and Episcopalians.
Work on the new translation began in 1984 as an independent project of Arthur Farstad, who served as general editor for the New King James Version. Broadman & Holman joined forces with Farstad in 1998. Only months after beginning his collaboration with B&H, Farstad died. Leadership of the editorial team then passed to Blum, a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary who had been an integral part of the team.
To reach people effectively, Blum said he believes a Bible translation should be accurate to the original text, but conversational.
"A conscientious translator has to render the meaning exactly, but present it in a form his readers find inviting and naturally expressive. We work using a word-for-word translation philosophy, but we always keep our contemporary American English reader in mind."
The new translation will maintain use of traditional, theologically significant words such as "grace" and "justification" and it will offer word studies to help readers grasp their full meaning, Blum said. Additionally, it will provide footnotes to show alternate translations and alternate textual readings, cross references and explanatory material.
In trying to make the Bible more reader-friendly, more relevant and more politically correct, many contemporary translators have sacrificed accuracy and precision of the original text, said David R. Shepherd, vice president of Bible publishing for B&H.
"Some recent translations have reinterpreted the Bible to make it consistent with current trends and their own way of thinking," Shepherd said. "Current trends in Bible translation have been a real wake-up call for everybody who's concerned about preserving the integrity of Scripture. The Holman Christian Standard will be under the stewardship of Christians who believe we should conform our lives and culture to the Bible -- not the other way around."
LifeWay President James T. Draper Jr. said he sees a "serious need for a 21st-century Bible translation in American English that combines accuracy and readability."
"The Holman Christian Standard Bible is an accurate, literal rendering with a smoothness and readability that invites memorization, reading aloud and dedicated study," Draper said.
Broadman & Holman Publishers is the trade publishing division of LifeWay Christian Resources based in Nashville, Tenn. Holman, America's oldest Bible publisher, is B&H's Bible imprint. Messengers attending the Southern Baptist Convention in Atlanta in June are invited to pick up a free copy of the Book of John at the LifeWay exhibit.
Lawson is director of the communications department at LifeWay Christian Resources; Perry is a freelance writer in Nashville.