I’m currently reading the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). I’ve nearly always studied using the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, but when deciding to read the Bible through during 2013 I chose to read the Holman. The reason I decided on the Holman wasn’t so much that I wanted to read a different version of the Bible. I actually picked up a copy on sale at Mardel’s before Christmas while I was searching for a new study Bible for my mother. I flipped through the HCSB and found the pages to be really refreshing, with great introductions and notes for each book. At the markdown price it was a no-brainer to buy it, even if I just used it as a reference while studying the KJV. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the HCSB has been one of the translations used in the LifeWay study guides used in Sunday School.
I always noticed the differences in the KJV and HCSB versions while reading and studying my Sunday School lessons, but I really didn’t pay that much attention to them. The Holman version was always much easier to understand and reading it and the KJV next to each other seemed to make the entire lesson more understandable. But now that I’m concentrating more on the HCSB I tend to notice the differences much more glaringly. Reading the HCSB just isn’t the same as reading the KJV. Something seems to be missing. It’s difficult to explain. I know there are people out there who can tell you the differences between every version of the Bible on the market. And in some cases those differences are very marked. While I was attending college I took a course in Old Testament history. We could use whichever version of the Bible we wanted, so I chose The Living Bible. It was relatively new at the time and seemed to speak to my age group. While I still have that Bible, I don’t read it very often. I guess it’s the same thing today with the HCSB. I’ll continue to read it throughout the year, and hopefully gain some new knowledge that I didn’t have before, but once I’ve finished reading I probably won’t go back to it other than as a reference to studying the KJV.
As a side note, the HCSB translation was commissioned by LifeWay Christian Resources (mentioned previously) of the Southern Baptist Convention: On The Holman Christian Standard Bible. Many churches and pastors have embraced this Bible and have chosen it to be their pew Bible. The Southern Baptist church to which I previously belonged was one of those churches. I currently attend a church with a more fundamental lean which relies solely on the KJV (and I didn’t leave my previous church because the HCSB was its pew Bible). I don’t necessarily believe that the KJV is the only Bible a person should read or study. That’s not the point of Christianity. A person should be encouraged to read the Bible, in as many versions as possible, in order to learn and understand the tenets of Christianity. I will continue to rely on the KJV and the NKJV for the majority of my own personal study, but will also take time to seek out other Bible versions for reference and insight. My only hope is that the KJV isn’t pushed out of churches altogether.