Some think the HCSB is a Baptist Bible. This idea comes about because the HCSB was commissioned by the Southern Baptist Convention, is published by B&H Publishing Group which is perceived to be a Baptist publisher, and is used in much of the official SBC curriculum. The fact that few other churches besides SBC churches use the HCSB only advances their case.
But what would make it a Baptist Bible? Does it teach that to be saved a person must be baptized by immersion as an adult? No, no more than any other Bible teaches that. Does it teach against infant baptism? No, no more than any other Bible teaches that. So what does it teach that makes it a Baptist Bible?
The truth is, the Holman CSB is no more a Baptist Bible than the new Common English Bible is a Methodist Bible. In other words, it isn’t.
So why isn’t the Holman more accepted in Evangelical circles? I wish I knew. We know why it’s not used in the mainline churches – it’s not the NRSV! It wasn’t put out by the liberal churches, and evangelical scholarship isn’t accepted by liberal scholars. But why don’t evangelicals use the HCSB more?
I think a lot of it is simply the fact that B&H have not promoted it as well as their sister publishers have promoted their translations, like Crossway with their ESV, Tyndale with their NLT, and the granddaddy of them all, Zondervan with the NIV. We simply haven’t been inundated by advertising for the HCSB. And if there’s one weakness the evangelicals have, it’s for glitz; flashy baubles and bangles, in the form of specialized Bibles. Sure, B&H has tried, with lots of military-based editions, and college colors editions, and the like. But it hasn’t worked very well, because they’re simply being outdone, they’re being out-marketed.
And that’s a shame, because the HCSB is worthy of acceptance in many other circles outside of the Southern Baptist Convention. It’s a fine, fresh, new translation, more so than the ESV, the TNIV, maybe even the NLT. It was started and completed as a wholly new translation a few years ago, and unlike the ESV, which was based on the old Revised Standard Version, is still very new and fresh. The TNIV, which is soon to be discontinued, is a revision of the NIV, whose last update was in 1984. The NLT is quite a new translation as well, but it leans heavily towards the dynamic end of the translation spectrum, while the HCSB is closer to being a formal translation. Simply because of that fact, one would think it would be more acceptable in scholarly circles.
Anyway, I think those of us who are actually interested in different translations, no matter what our denomination, should be willing to carry and use the HCSB, and introduce other people to it. It shouldn’t be an unknown Bible in our mainline churches or evangelical churches. It’s too good to be relegated to the dustbins of history.
At any rate, here’s a couple pictures of my HCSB Hand Size Giant Print Reference Bible:
Mine is a “beater” Bible. So I think it’s fitting that I photograph it sitting on my shop desk at work. You may be able to see from this photo that the cover is holding up fairly well for being imitation leather. While it doesn’t feel like leather, it’s still fairly flexible. And I think you can see that the gold printing on the spine end of the cover is also holding up well for a cheap, beater Bible.
From this photo you can also see how nicely this Bible lays flat. The reason is the sewn binding, which I have never seen in such an otherwise cheap Bible. But it not only lays flat when opened to the middle of the Bible, it lays flat almost to either the beginning of Genesis or the end of Revelation. Amazing!
The worst part of this cheap Bible is the gold-stained page edging. I tried to take a picture of it, but I couldn’t get it to turn out very well. But it’s nothing like real gold-gilded edging. It’s not attractive right from the time the Bible is new, and it only gets worse-looking as the weeks and months go by. The manufacturers, not only B&H but others as well, if they use this stuff, should go back to something a little more attractive, like coloring the edges to match, or complement, the color of the Bible’s cover. The black ones could have a red edge. How about red or burgundy on a burgundy Bible? Or blue edging on a blue Bible? I think it could look very nice, and it probably would give the “beater” Bible more of a “workmanlike” appearance.
Anyway, this is my HCSB. I’ll give you a few more insights as I continue to use it over the next few weeks and months.