New Bible translation benefits from input of WELS Bible scholars

A revised version of the Holman Christian Standard Bible is now available and has been influenced by input from WELS pastors. The new version, known simply as the Christian Standard Bible, was released electronically in January and will be available in print in March.

The Holman Christian Standard Bible is one of three translations WELS considered adopting for use in publishing in 2013. The other two are the New International Version and the English Standard Version.

After a thorough review of the three translations, the 2013 synod in convention chose not to adopt a single translation for WELS publications. Instead, writers were encouraged to use the best translation for each context. Simultaneously, the convention created the Translation Liaison Committee to evaluate major Bible translations, communicate with Bible translation editors and publishers, and offer suggestions to improve Bible translations.

The Translation Liaison Committee began its work in November 2013. Shortly thereafter, the committee discovered that the Holman Christian Standard Bible was in the process of being revised and that the publishers would welcome input from WELS Bible scholars. The committee put together and submitted 56 pages of “global recommendations” dealing with issues not limited to one passage or context and 1,031 recommendations on individual passages. In May 2014, three members of the Translation Liaison Committee met with the publishers of the Holman Christian Standard Bible for five hours to discuss the suggested recommendations.

Prof. Thomas Nass, chairman of the Translation Liaison Committee and a Martin Luther College professor, received an advance copy of the new Christian Standard Bible (CSB) and notes, “It is fair to say that all of the ‘global recommendations’ of the Translation Liaison Committee have been incorporated in the revised text as well as a high percentage of our recommendations on individual passages.”

In accordance with a 2015 synod convention resolution, the Conference of Presidents appointed a committee to review the CSB that includes Rev. Samuel Degner, Rev. Adam Mueller, Rev. Raymond Schumacher, Rev. John Vieths, and Rev. Mark Voss. That group is planning a comprehensive review of the revised text that will involve a large number of WELS pastors.

“We hope to have a substantial report ready for the synod convention this summer,” says Vieths, chairman of the Christian Standard Bible Review Committee and pastor at Grace, Norman, Okla.

According to publishers of the CSB, about five percent of the text has been changed in this revision. Vieths reports that key changes involve going back to the use of “Lord” for “Yahweh;” going back to “servant” in many places rather than “slave;” dropping the capitalization of pronouns that refer to God; and a wider use of the phrase “brothers and sisters” or the word “person” where the words “brothers” or “man” could refer to groups containing both men and women.

Nass notes that the Plan of Salvation page has also been removed in the Christian Standard Bible. This page concerned many WELS pastors who reviewed the Holman Christian Standard Bible for the 2013 convention because it is not in accord with WELS’ beliefs about God’s plan for salvation.

When the print version is released in March, Northwestern Publishing House will begin offering the CSB.