I sit corrected. When I first heard about the Holman Christian Standard Bible, I assumed that it would be a denominationally-niched Bible with little or no distinctive contribution to make. But it turns out that the HCSB, and in particular the new HCSB Study Bible, is a faithful and elegant translation which should have more than a little cross-denominational appeal.
As the publisher notes, the HCSB has at least five noteworthy distinctives as a translation. It uses the personal name of God when appropriate (Is 42:8: “I am Yahweh, that is My name.”); it highlights Jewish Messianic expectations (Mk 8:29: “Peter answered Him, “You are the Messiah!”); it identifies the radical nature of Jesus’ call (Col 4:12: “Epaphras, who is one of you, a slave of Christ Jesus, greets you.”); it clarifies the original meaning of John 3:16 (“For God loved the world in this way…”); and it employs 21st century speech patterns (Jn 1:36: “When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look! The Lamb of God!”).
On the whole, I think these distinctives are appropriate and helpful. Take the Jewish Messianic expectations, for example. The HCSB translates the Greek word Christos differently, based upon its use in context. Whenever the biblical author emphasizes Christos in a Gentile context or as a name for our Lord, HCSB renders the word as Christ. Whenever the biblical author emphasizes Christos in a Jewish context, the title “Messiah” is used. This is particularly helpful in instances such as Matthew 16:16 and Mark 8:29, when Peter declares, “You are the Messiah!”
For the apparatus of study notes, HCSB Study Bible resources a strong group of reputable conservative evangelical authors, including Walter Kaiser, Tremper Longman III, Andreas Kostenberger, Mark Rooker, Eugene Merrill, Duane Garrett, Kenneth Mathews, and David Dockery. The layout is standard, with text on top and notes on the bottom. The notes include word studies that appear in sidebar format and include the Greek pronunciation, the HCSB translation, the number of uses in the NT, and an explanation of the word’s use in context. Finally, the HCSB uses a number of maps, charts, illustrations, and photos that appear to be, on the whole, attractive and helpful.
In a nutshell: if you are not settled on a particular translation, or if you are willing to give another translation a “try,” the HCSB is a fantastic place to start. To view the HCSB Study Bible website or to order a HCSB Study Bible, click here.