If we aren’t careful living in the Information Age, the sheer amount of knowledge available to us can make us well-informed, but unable to think for ourselves. In no area is that a greater danger than in Bible reading.
Study Bibles, commentaries, internet resources, and Bible software packages literally give us so much information that people from even a generation ago would be astounded. Resources are incalculable gifts from God but are out of place when they take our focus off of the most important question in Bible study: What is the Bible actually saying?
That is one huge reason why I love the trend in Christian publishing toward Reader’s Bibles—that is, Bibles that remove everything except the text of Scripture. God gave the Bible to us one book at a time without verse/chapter numbers or study notes. Why not read the Bible in line with the way God originally gave it, without all the useful, but distracting clutter?
But enough about Reader’s Bibles in general, and more about the new CSB Reader’s Bible.
This is a beautiful Reader’s Bible featuring a translation I’m growing to love (more on that later). I chose a one-volume Reader’s Bible over one of the larger sets due to price and shelf-space. (Also, I wanted a new CSB Bible and didn’t think they had the larger set.)
This volume itself is a pleasure to read and hold. I could share a lot of boring details about binding, font size, and other stuff, but I’ll succinctly say this is a beautiful Bible and it keeps me focused on digesting the actual words of Scripture—which is ultimately the most beautiful part. (The only bad thing is that I hate to mark it up!)
Why the CSB translation?
The CSB translation is a new update to the HCSB. Thanks to linguistic advances and improved translation decisions, the CSB does what many Bible translations cannot: balance a literal reading of Scripture that is also readable. Many translations like the ESV or NASB fall more on the literal side (see the chart or sample verses below), while others fall on the readable side, but sacrifice how close it is to the original languages (I’m thinking of you, NLT and NIV).
While I will still use multiple translations in sermon prep, the CSB is now my go-to translation for more casual reading in English. See a few sample verses for comparison with the ESV (another favorite English translation):
- Ephesians 4:1 (ESV): I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
- Ephesians 4:1 (CSB): Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to live worthy of the calling you have received.
- Psalm 1:1 (ESV): Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.
- Psalm 1:1 (CSB): How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked or stand in the pathway with sinners or sit in the company of mockers!
- 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV): Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
- 1 Peter 5:8 (CSB): Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.
There have been several moments in my Christian journey where a new Bible (for whatever reason) gave me a fresh desire to dig in the Word and discover its riches. This new CSB Reader’s Bible did that for me. The combination of a fresh translation, beautiful aestetics, and simple Reader’s format breathed fresh life into my relationship with God and His Word. If you are looking for a good Reader’s Bible, I can’t help but give this edition two thumbs up.