Since writing my brief review of the HCSB, something has been playing on my mind. I read on their own website that one of their boasts is that on occasion in the NT they use the word “Messiah” instead of “Christ” in order to retain links with the OT.
I had my suspicions about this which I’ve just confirm…
Here’s the problem: Greek has a word for “Christ” and a word for “Messiah”. The word for Christ (χριστος) is, as you would expect, exceptionally common in the NT and is one of the most standard ways to refer to Jesus. Greek also has a word for Messiah (μεσσιας). This word is much less frequent and occurs only in John 1:41 and 4:25. Χριστος is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word מָשִׁיחַ. Μεσσιας is the Greek transliteration of the same word.
My point is that if a NT writer is trying to make a specific connection with the OT word Messiah, they have the option of transliterating it. Usually, however, they are happy to simply use χριστος. So why, then translating would you translate a passage as though the writer had used μεσσιας when actually he had used χριστος?