Some Christians say it doesn’t matter what translation of the bible you choose because it is the original text that is inspired, not the translations. However, if the Bible is not to be revered but read, choosing the right translation is pretty important. It is not easy to read a book regularly (thought its content might be superb) if it is difficult to read. (Do you still read Shakespeare?)
That is why we used to use NLT for our youth group because it was highly readable. For an older audience, I used to use ESV for preaching because its more literal text was conducive to deeper teaching. However, as we are reaching out to more non-Christians, I felt the need to settle with one official translation for preaching, teaching, and reading that could be beneficial for all age and faith background. This hasn’t been an easy process because there are so many translations available.
Fortunately, a new translation came out about a year ago, which is called “CSB” (Christian Standard Bible). Technically it is not brand new because it was first published as “HCSB” but now it is updated and changed its name to “CSB”. I’ve wanted to make this translation official the moment it came out but wasn’t sure if this version would continue to get attention from the publisher. After looking at their thoughtful launch and its adoption by many churches, I’ve made up my mind. From today, we are making an official transition to CSB as a church.
Usually, a translation adopts either of these two translation philosophies: Formal equivalence (word-for-word) or functional equivalence (thought-for-thought). But CSB chose “optimal equivalence” as its translation philosophy. It tried to maintain the literary structure of the original text but if the meaning can be more clear, it opted for thought-for-thought translation. So it is much more readable than KJV/ESV/NASB, but much more true to the original text than NIV/NLT.
I’ve personally read the entire Bible in HCSB once (which is the previous version of CSB). There is no perfect translation but I found this translation very fresh and modern. What I like is that it is not a revision of previous translations (for example, ESV is a revision of RSV) but a fresh new translation from the original text. Scholars and pastors from 17 different denominations, and also singer-songwriter was consulted for the literary beauty of poetry books.
Though we are making it official from today, there wouldn’t be much change. I have already been preaching and teaching from this translation for a while. All Baptism gifts have been this translation since last year.
There is no need to purchase anything unless you want a physical copy of it. Only those who take Life Series in the future will be encouraged to buy one but not mandatory. You can get this translation on your smartphone for free by downloading “Bible” from the app store or Kindle store. For more information, you can go to www.csbible.com.