The textual base for the New Testament is the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th edition, and the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament, 5th corrected edition. The text for the Old Testament is the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 5th edition. Where there are significant differences among Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek manuscripts, the translators follow what they believe is the original reading and indicate the main alternative(s) in footnotes.
The Christian Standard Bible retains a traditional approach to translating gender language into English. Masculine terms (Father, Son, King, etc.) and pronouns (he, him, his) are retained whenever they refer to God. To improve accuracy, the Translation Oversight Committee chose to avoid being unnecessarily specific in passages where the original context did not exclude females. When Scripture presents principles or generic examples that are not restricted to males, the CSB does not use “man,” “he,” or other masculine terms. At the same time, the translators did not make third person masculine pronouns inclusive by rendering them as plurals (they, them), because they believed it was important to retain the individual and personal sense of these expressions. Learn more.
The CSB is a highly accurate preaching text, translated directly from the best available Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic source texts into English by biblical scholars who affirm the authority of Scripture as the inerrant Word of God; its source texts are the standard used by scholars and seminaries today. The text is not only highly accurate, it’s also remarkably clear; the CSB has been proven to optimize both accuracy and readability, making it accessible for your church members to also read on their own and to share with others. Learn more about the translation philosophy.
The original text of Scripture does not distinguish pronouns referring to God by capitalization. Most Bible translations (including the King James Version) have followed this example and do not capitalize pronouns that refer to God. The Christian Standard Bible (CSB) adopts the traditional approach of not capitalizing pronouns and referents for two primary reasons. First, the original text of Scripture is not always clear about to whom a particular pronoun may be referring; translations that capitalize any reference to a divine person are often forced into making unnecessary judgment calls in passages where the interpretation is debatable. Second, since Scripture sometimes includes prophecies that have double fulfillment, the choice to capitalize a pronoun can have the unintended outcome of erasing the additional, non-divine meaning. Learn more.
Traditionally, English Bible translations have chosen not to supply vowels in order make the name of God (YHWH) pronounceable; they simply render this name as a title (Lord). The CSB Translation Oversight Committee chose to come into alignment with other English translations, departing from the HCSB practice of utilizing “Yahweh” in the text. The HCSB was inconsistent, rendering YHWH as “Yahweh” in only 656 of 6,000+ occurrences of YHWH, because full consistency would be overwhelming to the reader. Yet feedback from readers also showed that the unfamiliarity of “Yahweh” was an obstacle to reading the HCSB. In addition, when quoting Old Testament texts that include an occurrence of YHWH, the New Testament renders YHWH with the word kurios, which is a title (Lord) rather than a personal name. This supports the direction of bringing the CSB is in line with most English translations, rendering YHWH as Lord. Learn more.
In our context, the word “slave” primarily brings to mind our history of race-based slavery. The theologically appropriate connotation of the word is lost on most readers. In light of this obstacle, it seemed best to the Translation Oversight Committee to choose a word that is less apt to cause distraction and misunderstanding. Furthermore, the choice to render doulos as “servant” rather than “slave” aligns with the Old Testament’s use of ‘eved in reference to followers of God, and the New Testament’s use of a Greek word specifically meaning “servant” rather than “slave” when quoting from the Old Testament. The CSB retains the use of “slave” in contexts where slavery or a slave are clearly in view, but for references to Christian discipleship, “servant” is used. Learn more.
In the New Testament, how did the translation oversight committee decide whether to translate Greek Christos as “Messiah” or “Christ”?
New Testament scholars have debated over the years whether the Greek Christos is a proper name or a messianic title. Recently, a third option has presented itself: an honorific (e.g., “Augustus” for Augustus Caesar). The messianic import of an honorific will come to the surface in some texts and not necessarily in others, where it can effectively function as a proper name. The committee has therefore used “Christ” as the default translation wherever there is scholarly debate. When scholars are unanimous that Israel’s messianic heritage is in view, the committee uses “Messiah.”
The HCSB rendered the lalein + glossa construction as “languages” rather than the traditional “tongues” because the translators saw “tongues” as an archaic way of referring to verbal communication. The translators, representing a variety of denominations, did not intend by the use of “languages” to exclude charismatic views of ecstatic speech. Because “tongues” is an appropriate translation and is the word used in every other major English Bible translation, the CSB Translation Oversight Committee elected to adopt the traditional rendering and avoid any appearance of theological bias. Learn more.
Bible translators have access to more scholarship about the ancient manuscripts than was available at the time of older English translations (for example, the King James Version, published in 1611). The CSB (like NIV, ESV, NLT, and others) draws on the best manuscripts available as recognized by top biblical scholars. At points these older (closest-to-the-original) manuscripts do not include some phrases that were translated in earlier English translations.
The Christian Standard Bible uses textual footnotes to show important differences among Hebrew manuscripts and other texts such as the Septuagint and the Vulgate for the Old Testament and between various Greek manuscripts for the New Testament. The footnotes also show literal or alternate English translations of the same Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek text, providing an excellent resource for serious study of God’s Word.
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