Is the CSB Suitable for Expository Preaching?

"The sheer number of fine-grained decisions that goes into the making of any Bible translation says to me that people are in special danger of committing the 'insufficient sampling' fallacy when evaluating them." - Mark Ward

695 reads

There are 10 Comments

TylerR's picture

Editor

Why wouldn't it be suitable!? 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

M. Osborne's picture

Back in 2010 I took a Hebrew class to stay fresh. The professor had an uncanny ability to translate exactly as the HCSB would, without knowing for sure how the HCSB had looked at it. He'd offer his translation, check it against the HCSB, and wow...it lined up very often.

And I just now learned that the CSB is actually a significant revision to the HCSB. And I had been under the impression it was just a rebranding.

It's just a version I consult when I'm really interested in comparing translation choices among several versions. Usually I just work from the original languages + the ESV.

@Tyler: looks like someone was asking about suitability; I liked Mark's answer. With these modern transaltions, it's not like the translators are unknown quantities. Trusting a translation isn't merely trusting an abstraction; it's trusting a person / persons.

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

Mark_Smith's picture

I preach every Sunday evening, and I use the CSB... so I wouldn't use it if the answer was no.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I've found that more paraphrastic translations make exposition harder, because the more "dynamic" the translation, the more interpretive decisions the translators have made. (Yes, I know, all translators make interpretive decisions. Many try to avoid that as much as possible... Others do it quite freely.)  Where that creates a bit more work is when you have to then communicate to your audience why the translation is wrong. With any translation you're going to have to do that sometimes. With KJV you have to do it quite frequently, not so much because it's "wrong" (it sometimes is), but because modern readers misunderstand it... so you're explaining why it doesn't mean what it sounds like it means. With the looser translations, the English is great, but you're more often taking a different position than the translators on what the Greek or Hebrew actually means.

For these reasons, I prefer a more "ambiguity-preserved" translation for preaching. 

But the reality is that folks in the pews are going to have a variety of English Bibles in their hands, so you're probably going to have to do address what's in NIV and other popular translations anyway, sometimes. If you can get a large majority using the same translation, that can certainly streamline things.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Aaron Blumer wrote:

If you can get a large majority using the same translation, that can certainly streamline things.

That will be tough at best.  Most people don't just have one translation any more, since a majority of those 50's and under are using tablets and phones with multiple translations at their fingertips during any one sermon.  About the best you can do is to have an official church position on which translation to use, use it from the pulpit, and realize others will be reading pretty much whichever one they want.

I have to admit, this even applies to me.  Our church is ESV.  I most often use the KJV in the pew (I'm KJVP, or maybe more accurately "Byzantine priority"), but also switch to Luther or even sometimes critical text versions like Elberfelder, or sometimes even NIV when I'm trying to get the actual sense of the passage and I can't just turn to the Greek and Hebrew since I can't read those.  I do realize that the freer translations make more of the interpretive (interpretative?) decisions.  Sometimes that's a help even if it isn't always.

Dave Barnhart

TylerR's picture

Editor

I've said it before, but the RSV is my favorite translation. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

TylerR wrote:

I've said it before, but the RSV is my favorite translation. 

I think you're going to be mostly on your own there, just like Ron Bean with his Geneva!

Dave Barnhart

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

dcbii wrote:

 ... people don't just have one translation any more, since a majority of those 50's and under are using tablets and phones with multiple translations at their fingertips during any one sermon.... 

Yeah, it's probably fair to say that one-trans is a thing of the past. Wherever I am, I usually use a different translation from whatever the speaker is using, just for comparison ... Often looking also at Greek or Hebrew. It's all on my phone.

I still use NET alot during preaching because the notes are so illuminating. 

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

RSV might be useful for me for study now and then, but I can't really recommend it to anyone, because of what they decided to do here...

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanu-el. (Is 7:14)

and here...

to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen. (Ro 9:5)

So why not just use ESV?

Jay's picture

At the risk of sounding like a complete heretic - while I don't like the way the RSV handled this verse, I can accept it and live with it. Matthew and Luke both make it abundantly clear that Mary was a virgin.  Here's Matthew 1:

20 But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; 
21 she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." 
22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 
23 "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us). 
24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, 
25 but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.

and here's Luke 1 in the RSV:

30 And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 
33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." 
34 And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?"
35 And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. 
36 And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 
37 For with God nothing will be impossible." 
38 And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. 

I really dislike the way that they translated Luke 1 - it seems like they were trying to avoid the virgin birth to me - but Matthew 1 is quite clear. 

In any case, there are plenty of translations I'd recommend over the RSV, so this isn't really something I'd worry much about.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells