Introduction to the Chinese Standard Bible™ (CSB)

The Bible is God’s revelation to man. It is the only book that gives us accurate information about God, man’s need and God’s provision for that need, guidance for life, and tells us how to receive eternal life. The Bible can do these things because it is God’s inspired Word, inerrant in the original manuscripts.

The Bible describes God’s dealings with the ancient Jewish people and the early Christian church. It tells us about the great gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who fulfilled Jewish prophecies of the Messiah. It tells us about the salvation He accomplished through His death on the cross, His triumph over death in the resurrection, and His promised return to earth. It is the only book that gives us reliable information about the future, about what will happen to us when we die, and about where history is headed.

Bible translation is both a science and an art. It is a bridge that brings God’s Word from the ancient world to the world today. In dependence on God to accomplish this sacred task, Global Bible Initiative and Holman Bible Publishers present the Chinese Standard Bible™, a new Chinese translation of God’s Word, committed to being faithful, expressive, and elegant, serving as the salt and light of this age.

Translation Goals

The goals of this translation are:

  • To provide Chinese-speaking people across the world with an accurate, readable Bible in contemporary Chinese
  • To give those who love God’s Word a text that has numerous reader helps, is visually attractive on the page, and is appealing when heard
  • To equip serious Bible students with an accurate translation for personal study, private devotions, and memorization
  • To affirm the authority of Scripture as God’s Word and to champion its absolute truth against social or cultural agendas that would compromise its accuracy

Textual Base

The textual base for the New Testament is the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th edition, and the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament, 4th corrected edition. The text for the Old Testament is the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 5th edition. At times, however, the translators have followed an alternative manuscript tradition, disagreeing with the editors of these texts about the original reading.

Why is there a need for another Chinese translation for the Bible?

Because there are so many Chinese translations to choose from, many people wonder why Global Bible Initiative and Holman Bible Publishers (or anyone else!) would bother to develop a new translation such as the CSB. A little reflection though makes the reasons quite clear.

1. EACH GENERATION NEEDS A FRESH TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE IN ITS OWN LANGUAGE.
The Bible is the world’s most important book, confronting each individual and each culture with issues that affect life, both now and forever. Since each new generation must be introduced to God’s Word in its own language, there will always be a need for new translations such as the CSB.

2. CHINESE—THE WORLD’S MOST USED LANGUAGE—IS CHANGING RAPIDLY AND BIBLE TRANSLATIONS MUST KEEP PACE WITH THOSE CHANGES.
As the language used by a nation with the largest population in the world, Chinese is becoming a growing global language. More than 1.5 billion people around the world speak or read Chinese as a primary or secondary language. And because of this worldwide usage, Chinese is also a rapidly changing language. On the other hand, in recent years, illiteracy in China shows a continual rise in numbers. The CSB puts understanding God’s Word within reach of the multitude of Chinese speakers, carefully considering both visual attractiveness and listener-friendliness when read aloud. Linguistic and semantic advances have been incorporated into the translation, and it reflects changes in Chinese style through contemporary punctuation, formatting, grammar, and vocabulary. At the same time, the CSB retains meaningful theological terms while avoiding slang, regionalisms, or changes made simply for the sake of “political correctness” and other social agendas.

3. ADVANCES IN BIBLICAL RESEARCH PROVIDE NEW DATA FOR BIBLE TRANSLATORS.
Biblical scholars today have more and better information about ancient biblical texts than scholars did years ago. Ours has been called the “information age” and that is emphatically true in the field of biblical research. Innumerable archaeological discoveries support the reliability of biblical source documents. Analysis of ancient manuscripts has revealed new insights into the transmission of biblical material. And intensive study of individual Bible books—including sophisticated statistical research—has uncovered heretofore unknown facets of Bible knowledge. While translations made even as recently as 10 or 20 years ago do not reflect these advances in research, translators of the CSB have integrated vast amounts of this information into the translation.

4. ADVANCES IN COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY HAVE OPENED A NEW DOOR FOR BIBLE TRANSLATION.
The CSB scholars have likely used computers and telecommunications more than any other Bible translators in history. Daily—and sometimes hourly—electronic mail facilitated the timely exchange of ideas and transmission of manuscripts. A platform was specially setup for collaboration of group efforts and a customized set of software tools was developed to create, revise and manage the translation at each stage. The revisions were aligned to the original language to facilitate cross-checking and consistency during the translation process—something never before done with a Bible translation.