I’m Jeremy Sarber, a disciple of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Reformed Baptist, funeral home chaplain, member of Grace Fellowship Church, host of Sunday Tapes, and creator of KJV Scripture Journals.

From the KJV to the ESV to the CSB

I grew up using the King James Version of the Bible. I preached from the KJV exclusively until 2016. Though I often used other translations during my study, the KJV was my primary Bible for most of my life.

When I finally switched to a modern translation, the English Standard Bible was a natural step. It maintained much of the form and cadence of the KJV text. It sounds, if you will, as the Bible is supposed to sound, which I believe has certain benefits when one is trying to memorize Scripture. Plus, I will admit it had a tribal advantage as well. Most of my Reformed brethren had already widely accepted it.

Two years later, I received a complimentary copy of the Christian Standard Bible from its publisher. I read it cover to cover and was thoroughly impressed. I was stunned by the translators’ ability to form such smooth, eloquent text without losing clarity. In fact, I often came across passages in the CSB that seemed to communicate the meaning of the verse better than the ESV.

I know people have strong opinions about which translation is best. Some argue for a functional translation that tends to be more literal. Others argue for a dynamic translation that tends to be more readable. If you ask me, both sides have merit. Frankly, most popular English translations are close enough on the scale to make the argument almost silly.

When Dr. Andi Wu of the Global Bible Initiative evaluated popular versions of the Bible, he gave them the following literalness” scores:

Dr. Wu gave the various versions the following readability” scores:

Assuming literalness and readability are equally important in a Bible translation, the combined scores are as follows:

You will notice all but one are within ten points of each other. Again, they may be close enough together to make any argument over which is best a little silly.

Regardless, I believe both literalness and readability are important, and I’m not surprised to see the CSB at the top of this list. If a readable” Bible is best for reading and a literal” Bible is best for study and expository preaching, the CSB is perhaps best suited for both uses.

While I still grab my ESV first when studying, and I still use it when preaching, the CSB has become my family’s default translation. Furthermore, I come closer and closer to making it my standard translation period.