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Holman Bible translation team meets to pray, discuss progress

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Bible scholars from around the country met Oct. 22-24 in Nashville, Tenn., for a retreat to pray for and analyze progress on the Holman Christian Standard Bible, a new Bible translation to be completed in 2004.
The translation is being undertaken by Holman Bible Publishers of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The translators and editors from Texas, Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Maryland and Massachusetts gathered to pray, discuss format and style matters and encourage camaraderie among the group whose offices are scattered all over the map.
“Even though we communicate with each other every day over the phone or the computer, we’re making it a priority to get the core team of translators and editors together in person at least once a year,” said David R. Shepherd, director of LifeWay’s Bible and reference books department. “Meeting face-to-face is a healthy way for us to pray together, resolve translation issues and come up with strong ideas for future translation products.”
Issues addressed during the retreat, for example, included:
— the best way to translate certain Hebrew words, including the proper way to use the name of the Lord throughout the biblical text.
— discussing English terms and how they convey biblical meaning (example: Is “shall” too outdated for a modern translation?).
–refining and simplification of the footnotes process.
“If you can grasp how much research and discussion it takes to resolve those kinds of concerns, then it is easier to understand why it will take until 2004 to complete the Holman Christian Standard Bible,” said Greg Webster, Holman’s translation marketing manager.
Although the entire Bible will not be available until 2004, the Holman Christian Standard Bible New Testament is scheduled for release in 2001. Holman also will release other books featuring the new translation such as “Experiencing the Word Through the Gospels” (January 2000), “The Christ We Knew” (March 2000) and “Living with the End in Sight” (meditations on the book of Revelation, July 2000).
“Translation of the New Testament is coming along very nicely, and our meetings during this retreat showed us that the Old Testament work is actually a little ahead of schedule at this time,” Shepherd said. “We were able to discuss some exciting options for individual book releases from the Old Testament that we will announce in the future.”
Work on the Holman Christian Standard Bible started in 1984 when Arthur Farstad, former general editor of the New King James Version, began work on a new translation. Farstad died in 1998, shortly after he had begun working with Holman Bible Publishers.
Today, Ed Blum, new general editor and former Dallas Theological Seminary professor, leads a team of 80 translators from around the world to complete the massive project.

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  • David Schrader