Holman Christian Standard Bible

It’d be such an incredibly translation if it would be willing to use “brothers and sisters” every once in a while!

So many things I like otherwise…

Translate ἀδελφοι as “brothers and sisters” when the context would necessitate it. Why? Because when you translate lexis rather than reference you remove the text from it’s historical setting. Last time I checked, Christians believe they had a historical faith, a faith grounded in history.

So why doesn’t that history matter for the HCSB?

19 thoughts on “Holman Christian Standard Bible

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  1. The problem is with “when the context would necessitate it”. No one can agree on that. Consider James 3:1: the context demands “brothers and sisters” here unless you presuppose (as Bill Mounce does – see his comments on this verse in TNIV) that women are already disqualified as teachers. Better to have no sisters at all than a team of translators spreading their prejudices about what sisters are allowed to do.

    1. Excellent point, Peter. What is so hard about simply teaching that “brothers” can mean “those of the faith, brothers and sisters” in many contexts. And while we are at it, that man can mean mankind.

      I don’t see that using “brothers” is exclusive. Of course, I am one of 4 people who like NASB. 🙂

      1. The thing is: Your not seeing brothers as exclusive is something that would have to be intentionally taught to you (unless, perhaps you’re in your 60s and from the South [US]).

        An inclusive reading of the English “brothers” is extremely far from a natural understanding of the English word.

        If it were the case that “brothers” could easily be understood by every English speaker as inclusive, then I’d have no problem with it.

        1. I was never taught that “brothers” was inclusive, but I have always read it that way. I believe it is more common that some people think.

          It’s like “guys” in English. You could say to a husband and wife, “When are you guys coming over?” But you could also say, “Just the guys sing this part.”

          Everyone’s preferences on Bible translation are different, but personally, I prefer a translation that sticks to the Greek wording as much as possible. It should be up to me to discover what the text *means*. So, I prefer a translation that is essentially literal and transparent to the original texts. Guess that tells you my favorite. 🙂

        2. The words, “essentially literal” and “transparent” don’t really have too much meaning, particularly since all you truly have is a conservative-ized RSV. Translation is far, far more complicated than those two words could ever express.

  2. Do you know how inclusive phrases work in other languages? Are there some where just “brothers” is ok or do all languages now need some kind of inclusiveness?

    1. All languages would tend to differ on this one. The lexicon tends to be the most unique & language specific part of a language’s grammar.

      Some languages don’t have word that correspond to “brothers” or “sisters” at all and just have a single word: “siblings.”

    2. Davis, the challenge is that the Greek word ADELPHOS is that it has a second sense that doesn’t correspond to the English brother:

      Sense #2: “a pers. viewed as a brother in terms of a close affinity, brother, fellow member, member, associate”
      F. W. Danker, W.F. Arndt, F.W. Gingrich, and Bauer, W. A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature. (3rd ed.; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 18.

      This sense of the word is used with reference both males & females.

      There are some places that have similar usage for the English “brother” in small fundamentalist, Mennonite, semi-fundamentalist, & some various other independent baptist churches that have adopted the Greek meaning to the English. But changing a language is a difficult thing to force and the sense they use it (e.g. “Brother Kent”) marked not inclusive like the NT Greek often is. So even here it isn’t an exact correspondence.

        1. I’ve thought about that too, but with Doug, have really not been sure of what a good equivalence for sense two would be — exactly because of the fictive kinship question.

  3. Mike,

    A very helpful post. You are right to point out that it is not so easy to know what to do on these matters.

    In some ways, I like the literal and somewhat misleading translation “brothers.” It reminds me, when I preach or even just when I’m thinking through the passage, to be inclusive in the exposition if the context suggests that that is appropriate.

    As far as other languages go, many European languages are under the same pressure as English is to articulate gender inclusiveness. Whereas “fratelli” in Italian was once used in a variety of inclusive ways – inclusive of gender, inclusive of cousins – according to specific usage, it has become less usual to do so, at least among the better educated.

  4. Give me some of the things you actually like from the HSCB? Personally, I’m a big fan of “slackers,” which it uses pretty consistently, but I had a hard time with the frequent use of “[this is] the declaration of the Lord GOD” as a badly placed interjection in the major prophets

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