I know people who have one Bible, and that is the only Bible they have used and will use for most of their life. I am not that person. I may have more Bibles than I have shoes, especially after reading The More of Less by Joshua Becker. When I had a chance to review the new CSB Reader’s Bible, I jumped on it!
The Christian Standard Bible (CSB) is being presented as an “optimal translation”, the combination of a formal or word for word translation and a dynamic, thought based translation. Think of it as a blend of a NKJV and an NLT version, both accurate and highly readable. I haven’t spent much time using a CSB prior to now.
I also, in my vast collection of Bible types, do not have a Reader’s edition. A Reader’s Bible is a version that is formatted without section titles, verse numbers, textual notes or annotations. This leaves just the Bible text, as the publisher puts it, “in its original and simplified form…this unique Bible reading experience invites the reader to encounter God’s Word as a grand narrative and have a fresh experience with the Bible.” And, I’ve discovered, it is just that.
With wide margins and a 10 point font, the page layout is clean and calm. The bottom of each page carries both the page number, and in a pleasing blue color, the book title and chapter or chapters on that page. I liked discovering that I had read multiple chapters at a sitting without being conscious of much of the book I had read. This made for a nice flow to my devotional reading, easier to let a thought or topic play out naturally rather than the verse, section or bold chapter headings dictating what I was reading. I never thought they did, until they didn’t by virtue of their absence. Words of Jesus are not in red, which I know some readers will struggle with, but it is important to the intent of this version to maintain the simplicity of style and the sense of the original writing-those papyrus’ of Jesus’s time did not have His words in red either!
This version is also a hardback or as the industry calls it a cloth binding, a trend I’m seeing a lot of in all the Bible versions, especially journaling Bibles. Having a hardback in my hand, I can see the value in this trend, it’s much easier to take notes in the margin with a smyth sewn binding that lays flat in a hardback that a leather or other soft cover Bible. Cloth-over-board covers are also more durable, I may just be a convert to the cloth binding after this.
As to the CSB text, I’m enjoying it. Comparing text to my first Bible language of the NKJV, it often reads exactly or very nearly the same, and where it doesn’t, I find it to be, hmmm…less simplistic than the dynamics often are. I’m not yet convinced that I would use the CSB in place of a NKJV or ESV as my primary study text, but it is definitely something useful for devotional and text comparison reading. I do know that some solid Bible teaching churches have adopted it as their teaching text, so its accuracy shouldn’t be in doubt.
Every year I thoughtfully choose a reading plan for my devotional time in the word, and 2018 may very well be the CSB Reader’s Bible. I love the undistracted format, the version that is just different enough from my first Bible language to slow me down and make me contemplate, and the feel of this cloth binding. Room to write is a bonus to a note-taker like me, and all in all, I’m glad I’ve had the chance to experience the CSB Reader’s Bible.
Read well, friends!
***I received a complimentary copy from B&H publishing for the purpose of review, but as always, my opinions are my own. Amazon affiliate links included in this post***