I think it is an awesome translation, I really do, but some of the things I love most about it also bug me the most. I think, it is one of the most accurate dynamic equivalence translations, and it reads very smoothly, but there are simply some very odd renderings in places.
If you read my post from back in September you'll remember that the HCSB rendering of John 3:16 was one of the things that attracted me to it:
"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." (John 3:16, HCSB)What makes it so unique there is it emphasizes that Οὕτως means "In this way" when other translations translate this word as "so", and that passages is often interpreted as "God loved the world SO MUCH...", which isn't necessarily accurate since it means something like "I'm going to place this thing here on the table like so..." - same word, slightly different meaning.
My latest finding was that in Luke 2, in the story of the birth of Jesus, in the HCSB, Jesus wasn't placed in a Manger...He was placed in a feeding trough. Really? That would make a great Christmas Carol:
"Away in a feeding trough, no crib for a bed..."See! That has a nice ring to it! Okay, maybe not, but you get the point.
Sure, a manger is a feeding trough, and yes, that is an accurate translation...but it's one of the many little oddities I've found that would prevent the HCSB from ever being my primary Bible, especially for scripture memorization, and that is strictly a personal preference!
Although I regularly read from several translations, the ESV have become my primary choice. I do read different translations and check the notes in various Study Bibles. Sometimes even some more paraphrase type translations like the NLT or The Message are helpful...they have their place as well. I also have hard copies of three translations that are hard to find electronically: the original 1977 NASB, the RSV and the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) (which, although it's considered a "Catholic" translation, I think it is very valuable for Protestant readers as well!).
In short, there is nothing I love better than diving into the word, and I've finally found my comfort areas - it took a little trial and error, and good chunks of reading from different translations to settle on what I felt the most comfortable with.
I will say this, if you'd told me, even 6 months ago I'd be spending my workouts listening to podcasts of sermons, and lectures on Biblical hermeneutics, Exegesis, Apologetics and other Theological topics, I'd have called you crazy!