Thursday, April 3, 2014

Why the NASB and HCSB just go together

I have written pretty extensively already on the subject of Bible translation, and if you are curious about my full thoughts on the matter, I suggest checking those posts out.

I wanted to mention some things that make both the NASB and the HCSB unique, and also how they share some things in common.

I like the HCSB, I check it often and I sometimes use it for devotional reading and the HCSB Study Bible is a great resource. I feel that the HCSB and the NASB complement each other perfectly in a three key ways, these are things that made me really like both of these translations and I wanted to highlight those in this post. Oddly enough, they aren't even really related to translation, but primarily the areas of text format, and I will also mention a fourth feature that is unique to the HCSB.

I'll start with the feature unique to the HCSB, the Bullet notes. This one feature is why I love recommending the HCSB to new believers. Sure, it's a reliable, accurate word for word translation in modern English, but these bullet notes are unique to the HCSB and they are marked with a bold "bullet" in the Biblical text. In the back of the Bible, there is a dictionary with all of these words that were marked with a bullet. This is awesome, especially for new believers who may not know what certain words mean while those who grew up in the Church may be familiar with them (propitiation is a prime example).

Now, that we have that out of the way, I want to mention a few things that the NASB and HCSB have in common that make me really love them both.
  • They both capitalize divine pronouns. Although many see it as a sign of respect (and I do too), I also think it helps in some complicated passages to keep track of which he is He or which him is Him.
  • They both place text from less reliable manuscripts, inline with the Biblical text, in square brackets rather than in footnotes. I may not always chase a footnote, and I like to know when I'm reading a passage to those who are following along in a KJV or NKJV that I won't skip verses or parts of verses. It's a small thing, but very important to me. The Lord's Prayer is a prime example of this for me. 
  • They both point out Old Testament quotes in the New Testament. They each do it, however in slightly different ways. The NASB uses All smallcaps and the HCSB uses Bold. Either way, I like the visual cue. A prime example: Any of Paul's letters.
As a bonus point a little praise for the HCSB Study Bible. I have to mention just how much I love the format and layout of the HCSB Study Bible. It's the most visually pleasing text block of any Bible I own. I especially love the blue verse numbers, which are handy for a Bible that is set in paragraph rather than verse format. I love the thorough and balanced notes, the word study blocks and I love the additional articles and essays. I'm very thankful for both translations, but I really REALLY wish that Holman would produce an NASB Study Bible in the same format as they have done with the KJV and NKJV  (not to mention, Holman binds a really nice quality Bible as well!).


  1. you should try the Lexham english bible and the Faithlife study notes

    1. Hi Wim,
      Thanks for the comment. Although the NASB is my primary Bible for study, I read many translations devotionally, and I always reference different translations when I'm writing. I have used both the LEB and the Faithlife study notes, and they are great as well.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. while digging into the Textus Receptus / Nestle-Alland debate
    I discovered

    this website has a lot of translation notes on the NET bible translation

    still wondering... most articles I read until know say that the Nestle-Alland / UBS New Testament did not significantly improve the Textus Receptus. Yet 95% of the english translations do NOT choose the TR as the greek basis voor their translation