With an updated translation, a new name, and new Bible editions, the Christian Standard Bible has remarked itself with a great impact this year. While perhaps this is good for business, their updated releases do much for the sake of the kingdom by encouraging the believer in the Bible Study. Certainly, it was the marketing of Crossway and the abundance of formats in which they have made the English Standard Version available that has had the largest impact on Bible publishing in recent years. From that, we find Holman Bible publishers following suit with their own text, the Christian Standard Bible (previously referred to as the Holman Christian Standard Bible). The latest in their 2017 releases is the CSB Reader’s Bible.
If you are not familiar with the reader’s Bible format, the premise is pretty straightforward. The idea is to remove many of the man-inserted pieces, get rid of distractions (study notes, cross-references, chapter headings and numbers, and even verse numbers) so that readers can simply read the text. We can be thankful for many of those additional pieces because they provide some help and guidance, yet, sometimes they can cause us to neglect the need to lend proper attention to the Biblical text as well. As a result, the Reader’s Bibles provide an open experience to take in the text and meditate upon it. For myself, I find the notion of merely picking up the Bible and reading through it as I would any other book, helpful and a worthy investment of time. Therefore, the Reader’s Bible is something that is advantageous for any Bible reader.
The initial release from Holman Bible Publishers includes a hardback version that features gray cloth over board. The simplistic look is refined and is indicative of the Reader’s Bible experience. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of the font type, as it is a bit more blocky than I would prefer and seems to detract instead of enhance the experience, but this is a personal preference and perhaps for others, it makes no difference. As any good Bible should have, the publishers have employed the Smyth-sewn binding (which aids in keeping the book flat). While the publishers have included one ribbon maker, at least two would be preferable. In some ways, there are some intriguing aspects to this Bible design, but seriously, this is where Crossway outshines any competitors (aside from innovation) because they have taken great care in their editions and it shows. That doesn’t make the Bible unusable though. It’s easy to pick up like you would any other book and read with great intensity and focus. At 3 pounds, it’s not the easiest to carry around in your bag or purse wherever you go, yet, the dimensions (5.4: x 1.2” x 8”) make it smaller than many other Bibles.
So why choose the CSB Reader’s Bible over any other? Quite simply, the text. The Holman Christian Standard Bible has been my preferred text for a long time (although rarely do I preach from it because many are more familiar with the NKJV, NASB, or ESV and many pastors prefer that in their churches). This year the translation committee released an updated version full of many changes. I have previously discussed my thoughts on those earlier in the year and you can read that article by clicking here. In short, while I understand the decisions that have been made and appreciate their reasoning behind those changes (like the need for consistency), there are some aspects of the previous translation that I appreciated that were taken away (like the previous edition’s use of the word slave over servant). Even still, the translation is quite good and I highly recommend it.
There are certainly things I prefer about other editions and areas in which Holman can improve on. However, the most important factor to consider is the translation and while I would not have reservations recommending others, my first recommendation is the CBS Reader’s Bible.
To learn more about the Christian Standard Bible, you can visit their website with information, questions, and available Bibles by clicking here.
To purchase a copy of the CSB Reader’s Bible click here. If you would prefer to take a look at the ESV Reader’s Bible, click here.
I received a copy of this Bible from the publisher at no cost to me for the purposes of review. However, this review is a result and response of my reading of the book and was not influenced in any way by those associated with the publication of it.