Growing up in the church and reading the Bible for myself as an adult, I have used several Bible translations. I have used the good ol’ King James Version (KJV), New International Version (NIV), New King James Version (NKJV), New American Standard Bible (NASB), the English Standard Version (ESV), among a myriad of others on an occasional basis. To say I’m familiar with the multitude of Bibles on the market is an understatement. My career in the Bible software industry has only increased that exposure.
For the past few years I have spent the majority of my time reading through the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). It was not a translation I was fond of when it first came out. I had some not so fond memories of its predecessor, the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). Yet, once I gave the translation a chance, it became my translation of choice and soon replaced the ESV as my default Bible.
As Bible Study Tips prepares to move into doing more Bible studies, I want to share five reasons why we will be using the Christian Standard Bible as our default Bible for all studies going forward.
The Five Reasons
The CSB is Faithful
There are several factors that go into my selection of a Bible translation. My first criteria is how faithful it is to the original languages. When it comes to the Christian Standard Bible, it does a great job of being faithful to the original languages while giving us a translation that fits with the modern use of the English language. The technical term for how the team of scholars created this translation is “optimal equivalence,” meaning they pursued both linguistic precision and readability in contemporary English.
In preparing this translation, the committee consisted of 100 scholars from across 17 different denominations. This helped to create a translation that was as free from denominational and doctrinal bias as possible. When reading the CSB, you can rest assured that there is fidelity in the author’s intended meaning when translating the text into English.
Having read through the CSB several times in the past few years, I can attest to the truthfulness of this and have found it to be a translation that achieves this goal very well.
The CSB is Approachable
Closely tied to the faithfulness of the translation is how approachable it is. The Christian Standard Bible is an approachable text. What do I mean by this? When I say approachable, I mean it is an easy and smooth translation to read.
The translation team’s philosophy of optimal equivalence plays a large role in achieving this end. You see, there are some translations, such as the New American Standard Bible (NASB), that are so concern with an “accurate” translation of the text that they are less concerned with readability. If you are someone who is actively translating the Greek and Hebrew texts into English as part of your own study, the NASB is a great translation because your personal translation will align with the NASB. Yet, it is quite stiff and lacks nuance. Then, on the other hand you have translations on the other end of the spectrum that are pure paraphrase like The Message that favor readability over staying true to the text.
There are other issues, as well, such as gender pronouns, capitalizing pronouns referring to God, how you translate the Greek word doulos (slave), and the Greek word Christos (Christ or Messiah). These are all issues that need to be adequately addressed in any translation.
The Christian Standard Bible finds the right balance between all the above, making for a very easy read. You could pick up a Reader’s Edition and read it like a novel because it is so smooth in its translation. In terms of the reading difficulty, the CSB is scored as a 7th grade reading level.
Each time I read through the CSB, I am pleased and blown away with how smooth it reads.
The CSB is Perfect for Discipleship
When you take into account both the faithfulness and approachability of the CSB, it makes it the perfect Bible for discipleship. Entering into a discipleship relationship is nothing to be done lightly, but it is the command of every believer. Yet, when you walk alongside a younger believer, you want to use a Bible they can trust for a long time. The CSB is that translation.
The choices made in creating an optimal equivalence translation pay off when using this translation in a discipleship setting. No matter the age of your disciple, they can approach the text without issue and understand it. The Bible is hard enough to understand on its own. It doesn’t make sense to have a translation that uses difficult language or out of date English.
Because it is a literal translation from the Greek & Hebrew manuscripts, it is a great text for Bible study. It really shines when used alongside software like Logos or Accordance that align the English text to the Greek & Hebrew.
If you look at all the boxes that need to be ticked for discipleship, the CSB checks them off flawlessly. Not to mention, there is the CSB Disciple’s Study Bible that is perfectly designed for the task at hand. It’s also the Bible that got me hooked on the CSB.
The CSB is Endorsed by People I Respect
It’s easy to get on board with a Bible translation when it is used and endorsed by people you respect. This is particularly true for me, when it is endorsed by people who look like me (black/African-American). Some names I respect who have endorsed the CSB include:
- Tony Evans
- Eric Mason
- Derwin Gray
- Dhati Lewis
- Robby Gallaty
- Alistair Begg
- David Platt
- Jared Wilson
These are names in ministry I trust, and some I have trusted for decades. So, for them to put their seal of approval on a translation is not an endorsement I take lightly. Even if these men of God didn’t endorse this translation, I would still use it for the above reasons; but, the fact that they did is icing on the cake.
You can see a full list of the endorsers for the CSB here.
The Tony Evans Study Bible
This final reason is a good bit more personal, and I have no problem admitting that.
One of the names mentioned above that endorses the CSB is pastor Tony Evans. He has been in ministry longer than I have been alive and is a faithful expositor of God’s Word. He preaches both powerfully and clearly and his ministry has impacted thousands of lives across the globe, especially in black communities. And not too long ago, Tony Evans released a study Bible bearing his name and it uses the CSB translation as its base text.
Why is this important? When you look at the theological landscape in publishing, it is very white. When you look at people whose names get affiliated with study Bibles they all fit that mold: John MacArthur, David Jeremiah, Charles Ryrie, Charles Stanley, to name a few. So, when the publishers behind the Christian Standard Bible produce the first study Bible that bears the name of a black theologian, I’m all for that and they get my support.
The Tony Evans Study Bible is a great resource and I am glad it uses a translation I enjoy and can get behind.
The CSB is Perfect for Bible Study Tips
All in all, the Christian Standard Bible is the perfect fit for a ministry like Bible Study Tips. We are a ministry focused on discipleship and helping believers grow in their faith, and we firmly believe the CSB helps us achieve that aim. The CSB is faithful, approachable, and the perfect Bible for disciplemaking.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the CSB, click here to go read it for yourself. Then pick up a copy and add it to your Bible study library.
It’s the Bible translation I use every single day and one I stand behind proudly.