2017 is a year of transformation for the Holman Christian Standard Bible. With a name change and some major revisions comes the need to renovate the entire lineup of Bibles. Migrating from the term Holman Christian Standard Bible to simply Christian Standard Bible, the translation team released an updated version of the text that utilizes what they call an optimal equivalence method of translation. Out of this update comes revisions to Holman’s entire class of Bible that utilize the (Holman) Christian Standard text (like the popular Apologetics Study Bible, set to be updated and released in August) and additions of new Bibles (such as The Spurgeon Study Bible edited by Alisair Begg which is expected to be released in October). The first releases of this transformation include the remaking of Ultrathin Reference Bible.
The release of the Ultrathin Reference Bible is a Bible designed for portability because of its small size and of course reflects the updated text revisions. Complete with a concordance utilizing the Christian Standard Bible words, the main feature of this two-column Bible is the extensive cross-reference system to easily find and navigate to verses intimately related to the text being read. The nature of this Bible demands an evaluation of the following three pertinent aspects:
- Portability: The major point of the ultrathin Bible is a Bible that can be easily transported in a variety of situations. At only 1” thick, approximately 8” x 5.5”, and and slightly over 1 lb. the Bible can easily be concealed in one’s bag or purse with little impact upon the other contents one’s trying to carry.
- Durability: The cover type is variable based upon your own preferences, but the materials are typical of most Bibles (leather, leather-like, hardback, etc.) and so durability will be typical of your other Bibles of the same material. The Smythe-Sewn binding does create extra durability and a lie-flat experience for readers. Designed for portability, owners would hope that it would withstand that portability and apart from those extra-rough moments, it will last far beyond what you spent on it.
- Readability: Finally, readability is important on two levels. First, in the physical reading experience. The font is small (8.25) which is what makes it so portable. It’s not out of line though for a Bible of this size (or for even slightly bigger Bibles). So unless you’re a large print reader, the size will not be something to note. The second area of readability is the flow/translation of the text. Personally, I have long been a fan of the Holman Christian Standard Bible and use it regularly for my own personal study. While I understand the necessity for some of their updates (like translating Yahweh as Lord since they were previously inconsistent on this point), I preferred the original translation. I also find it disappointing that they chose to revert to the use of ‘servant’ instead of ‘slave.’ What made this translation special was that it set itself apart from all the others, yet it seems like many of the changes make the CSB much like all of the other translations. Personally, I still enjoy it and would recommend it, but I prefer the previous version more. With that said, the translation is solid and a good one to use regardless of whether or not you utilize the newer or older version.
The CSB Ultrathin Reference Bible is a worthwhile Bible for use. One will not find features of the Bible so spectacular that necessitates a rush to the store to pick up a copy. What it comes down to is preference. If you’re in the market for a new Bible, or would like to keep a copy on hand to compare translations, I would recommend considering the latest from Holman Bible Publishers. The decision of which Bible to use is yours as long as you know some of the advantages and disadvantages of the varying translations available to you.
- To purchase a copy of the CSB Ultrathin Reference Bible, click here (there is a wide variety of covers, colors, and materials to browse through).
- You can find out more about the Christian Standard Bible at their official website by clicking here.
- To see my previous thoughts on the new translation, click here.
Disclaimer: I received an edition of this Bible free of charge from the publisher for the purposes of review. However, the review is the result of my own reading experience and was not influenced in any way by the publisher.