Found a problem with the Holman Christian Standard Bible

Discussion in 'Translations and Manuscripts' started by Osage Bluestem, Apr 21, 2011.

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  1. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    I am not pleased with the translation.

    Malachi 3:6 HCSB
    6 "Because I, Yahweh, have not changed, you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed

    The HCSB has ruined this passage that has traditionally taught God's immutability by leaving the possibiliy of change open and taking the traditionally definitive passage out of the definitive catagory.

    I'm quite dissapointed in it really.

    Translations of Malachi 3:6 for comparison.

    KJB: 6For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

    ESV: 6"For I the LORD do not change;therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

    NKJV: 6 “ For I am the LORD, I do not change;
    Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.

    NASB: 6"For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.

    NIV: 6 “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2011
  2. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Sorry, David. Every Bible renditions from the original languages has its share of drawbacks. These newcomers keep wanting to throw something "fresh" at us. Just keep Holman on your reference-shelf, and it may come in handy sometime.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2011
  3. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    The HCSB is truly an interesting translation. Lifeway first thought of doing a new translation because so many Baptists and other conservative evangelicals were unhappy with the NIV. It was originally supposed to be done under the direction of Arthur Farstad, who oversaw the NKJV, and it was supposed to use the TR or the Majority text for its textual base. Farstad died before it was started, and the translation commitee then decided to go with the Critical Text instead, except that some of the members of the translation team has some issues with the CT. What ended up resulting is a translation that is mostly based on the CT, but occassionally will give a reading based on either the TR or the MT. It is truly an eclectic version and I don't neccesarily mean that in a positive way.
  4. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I enjoy reading the Psalms in the HCSB. They may be bad Hebrew translations (I would have no clue), but I like the way it reads. I have noticed that other passages did seem quite odd in its wording.
  5. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    Well, you do have to appreciate the HCSB's translation of John 3:16...

    "For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life."
  6. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I can't appreciate the imprecision of it. Also, where is the "only begotten Son?" I will adhere to the translations made by "men of our profession."
  7. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I think Rev. Buchanan summed it up -- novelty. The reader is right to lose faith in a translation which is made by men who have failed to show good faith towards the Bible-believer.
  8. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    According to many conservative, godly men, "only begotten Son" shouldn't be there.
  9. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    The Greek word translated "only begotten"in the KJV is monogenes. It is properly translated as unique or special. While begotten is certainly not a perfect translation, it is alot better than "one and only" which is how most modern versions render it. This word is also used in Hebrews to describe Isaac, so the meaning certainly can't be one and only. Abraham had other sons, but Isaac was his unique son, just as all men are the sons of God, but Jesus is His unique son.
  10. torstar

    torstar Puritan Board Sophomore

    Isn't it great how new translations make everyone think they are a higher critic and think their version is holier because they like a turn of phrase better than other versions?
  11. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    HCSB fan?
  12. baron

    baron Puritan Board Graduate

    I do not understand what you are saying. I think I understand, but when I read the whole book it in context, I do not come to the same conclusion you do. Is this not proving that God is immutable? It could be that I'm mistaken. Is not Malachi writing because the people are saying God has changed? In 1:2 But you ask: How have You loved us? So a simple statement from God saying: Because I, Yahweh, have not changed, you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed.

    As I said I see no problem in the passage. These people are looking at God as He has changed. But God say's He did not change.

    I guess what I'm asking is should not this verse be taken in context with the whole book of Malachi and not just by itself?

    Even the note for 3:6 reads: In reply to charges that He had been unfaithful, God declared that if He were not the immutable God who did not lie, was not capricious, and whose purposes and promises were irrevocable [Num 23:19: Ps 89:33-34: Is 46:3-4, Rm11:26-29: Heb 6:17-18], Israel's rebellion would have destroyed them long ago like Edom's in Mal 1:2-5: cp Ps 124: Hs11:9. From HCSB page 1594.
  13. jpfrench81

    jpfrench81 Puritan Board Sophomore

    A quick question David. Is the passage incorrectly translated from the Hebrew or do you simply not like the way they rendered the passage? John 3:16 has been rendered (and consequently misunderstood) for generations now, (i.e., God loved the world SO MUCH that he sent his only begotton Son . . .). The HCSB is actually the best mainstream Bible on the market regarding accurate translation of this passage, but you might dislike the rendering of that passage also.
  14. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    Malachi 3:6 has traditionally been the one verse definitive that shows conclusively that God does not change. When he says "I do not change" he is addressing his immutability. That is the way it has always been understood. There are many books on the sovereignty of God and many commentaries that would have made no sense if the verse read. "I have not changed" I have not changed does not communicate will not change. I do not change does communicate that.

    ---------- Post added at 09:37 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:25 AM ----------

    I think that the Hebrew has been incorrectly represented, unless Strong's is wrong. I highly doubt it is.

    Mal 3:6 KJV ForH3588 IH589 am the LORD,H3068 I changeH8138 not;H3808 therefore yeH859 sonsH1121 of JacobH3290 are notH3808 consumed.H3615

    A primitive root; to fold, that is, duplicate (literally or figuratively (); by implication to transmute (transitively or intransitively): - do (speak, strike) again, alter, double, (be given to) change, disguise, (be) diverse, pervert, prefer, repeat, return, do the second time.

    לה לוא לא
    lô' lô' lôh
    lo, lo, lo
    lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles: - X before, + or else, ere, + except, ig [-norant], much, less, nay, neither, never, no ([-ne], -r, [-thing]), (X as though . . . , [can-], for) not (out of), of nought, otherwise, out of, + surely, + as truly as, + of a truth, + verily, for want, + whether, without.

    Regarding John 3:16. I do not like the way it is worded in the HCSB. It is awkward and strange. But I can accept only or one and only used instead of begotten.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2011
  15. Joseph Scibbe

    Joseph Scibbe Puritan Board Junior

    HCSB translated John 3:16 better than just about everyone else.
  16. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Freshman

    Disclaimer #1: I think the best translation of this passage is "I the Lord do not change..."

    Disclaimer #2: I'm not an entirely neutral party on this: I did the initial translation of Ezekiel 26-48 for the HCSV, as well as the notes on Judges and Ruth in the HCSV Study Bible. I happen to think it's a pretty good translation, having used it in my Hebrew classes for the past few years. But I don't think it's certainly not perfect, not even the part I worked on (especially after the English style editors finished!).

    Having said that, it's perfectly possible to defend the translation "I have not changed.." as a good translation of the Hebrew; in fact, the Hebrew of the verse is an exactly parallel construction between the two halves of the verse: "I have not changed...therefore you have not been destroyed". If the definite perfect is an allowable translation of the second part, it cannot be impossible for the first part. This is how the Jewish Tanakh translation of the Old Testament renders it, and Douglas Stuart argues for this translation in the commentary edited by McComiskey (see his substantial argumentation there). I don't know who translated Malachi for the HCSV, but it is possible that it was Stuart, since he was a contributor to the HCSV.

    Either way, Sturat does not deny divine immutability, nor can it rest simply on a verb form that clearly can legitimately be translated in more than one way. If you want a one verse summary, Num. 23:19 would be a better place to go, since it predicates God's not changing on the difference between God and man. Malachi 3 simply illustrates that truth by the fact that God has not (as a matter of fact) changed in his faithful love in spite of Israel's long history of rebellion. Now since that fact flows out of his character (see Num 23:19), it is perfectly appropriate to translate the Hebrew perfect here with a gnomic present ("I do not change") as most English translations do, and I did in my commentary. But it is not a marker of orthodoxy or heresy.

    This is one reason why I encourage students to learn Hebrew: to discover how hard the task of a translator is, and to be able to evaluate the text for themselves rather than being dependent upon their favorite translations! Translators don't get to write half a page justifying why you chose a particular translation, and it is easy to find verses in any translation that you don't like. That will be true for every single translation (anyone care to defend the KJV of Prov. 29:18, for example?).

  17. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    Great post! It's nice to have a Hebrew translator who actually worked on the unit chime in.

    Thank you for clarifying that it is an option to translate it that way. So, now we know that it's not simply a mistake.

    However, it is such a high profile passage. Many reformed books and articles and footnotes dealing with God's sovereignty and immutability have pointed to Malachi 3:6. The Reformation Study Bible note on Malachi 3:6 uses it as a proof text for immutability even.

    With such a constant as the translation of Malachi 3:6 why would anyone want to change it? The rendering I have not changed doesn't communicate the same thing.
  18. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Because they felt their translation was more faithful to the meaning of the text?

    There are many who are going to ask the same question about the HCSB's John 3:16. They have always seen "so" as an intensifier vs. "in this manner." There is no doubt that the Greek gives the latter translation. Should we keep the "so" because that it what we grew up on? I don't think so. Familiarity is not the purpose of translations, rather faithfulness to the text is.
  19. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    I think you are absolutely right that faithfulness to the text is the most important thing. I also think that sometimes people make their own interpretation of a text regardless of how it is rendered. The word "so" in John 3:16 does not neccesarily have to be an intensifier. It could be used in the sense of asking a question and someone responding "like so" as opposed to the way it is generally misinterpreted as "so much." No matter how you translate John 3:16, Arminians will still cling to it as the Holy Grail of free will salvation. What we need to do is teach people to interpret verses in context. If someone reads the entire third chapter of John, as opposed to just verse 16, they will get a much fuller picture of the true nature of salvation.
  20. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    I've heard this claim multiple times, but haven't understood it. Why is the HCSB superior here?
  21. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    But he just said that Malachi 3:6 is better translated as "I do not change" as opposed to "I have not changed" So, since we have a translator that worked on that bible here saying that the traditional translation is better, why would the translator of Malachi pick the other? It doesn't make any sense to me. It literally undermines many works such as Boettner, Pink, Hodge, Sproul...all of these guys have referenced Malachi 3:6 as a proof text for immutability, with this new traslation in the HCSB it simply doesn't communicate what all of these guys referenced it as communicating so the HCSB makes their work irrelevant if it is indeed a "standard" text. It really bothers me.
  22. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    So, David, Bible translations are now judged based on their fidelity to preferred theological works? That's backwards. No translator should base his considerations on how R. C. Sproul uses a passage. The HCSB translation doesn't lose anything, because anyone who believes in immutability still has ample reasons to believe in it, whereas someone who doesn't believe in immutability could still point to the ambiguity in the Hebrew. In other words, the fact that it could be translated either way means that this verse can't single-handedly carry the argument.

    By the way, the Septuagint translates the verb as a perfect (ουκ ηλλοιωμαι), as does the German Elberfelder Bibel (ich habe mich nicht geändert). So, the HCSB isn't a unilateral departure.

    Unreasonable is a person who, ignorant of the original languages, decides that he is qualified to make snap judgments, not only of translation choices, but also of the translators' competency. Unreasonable is condemning an entire translation on the basis of a single translational preference.
  23. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Iain felt "I do not change" was the best translation, but he was not the one doing the translating of this passage. Whoever translated Malachi felt for whatever reasons that "have not changed" was more in line with the context.

    The NET has : Since, I, the Lord, do not go back on my promises, you, sons of Jacob, have not perished. This seems to be more in line with what is going on in the passage.
  24. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    No bible translators aren't judged on their fidelity to documents. They are judged to their fidelity to scripture and in this case all other major translations agree with the writers of those particular documents we all love. So who is the odd man out here? The HCSB. Are you saying the HCSB is superior in this decision to the NASB, ESV, and NKJV? I don't see it. I'm no expert of the original languages but I'm not exactly "ignorant" either.

    Regarding the passage, it is indeed an important one. It is one many have and I currently do use to defend immutability often against synergists and open theists. I simply feel like a change there does indeed destroy the credibility of the whole translation. It certainly makes it one I won't be using for "apologetics"
  25. athanatos

    athanatos Puritan Board Freshman

    This is how I would read/interpret the HCSB's rendering...
  26. Bethel

    Bethel Puritan Board Freshman

    So you don't like the HCSB because the translation is no longer practical for you? Really?

    The verb phrase "have changed" is in the present perfect tense. It can refer to an act completed at any time before the present OR it can refer to an act begun in the past and continued in the present. I think the latter applies to Malachi 3:6. I (God) have not changed (and I still am not changing).

    In our Latin studies, I find verb tense to be the most difficult aspect of translation. My boys have the same struggle in Greek. I can only venture to guess it's not an exact science in Hebrew either. On top of that, Americans are not known for their grammar knowledge (especially when it comes to verb tense). That's why we do an intense study of English grammar along with Latin and Greek in our homeschool.
  27. Michael

    Michael Puritan Board Senior

  28. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    "Conservative" men do not follow academic fads.
  29. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    It is on the basis that "so" might suggest the degree (how much) whereas the original only intends the manner (in what way) God loved. Compare John 3:8, 14. "So" is the perfectly natural English translation. Holman is going out of its way to make a theological point and stilts the translation in the process.
  30. athanatos

    athanatos Puritan Board Freshman

    What Rev Winzer said, but also the use of "everyone who believes" (which implies a definite group) rather than "anyone" (an indefinite group, depending on the individual), as time and time again I hear Arminians say "but it says, that 'WHOSOEVER' believes they shall not perish, not that if the 'ELECT' believes they shall not perish" ... which is absolutely petty to me. And a misunderstanding of what Calvinists get at.
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