The new CSB Study Bible, which Holman kindly sent me to review, has many of the features found in the previously reviewed award-winning Holman Study Bible. The most notable difference, of course, is its use of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) text – the newly published revision of the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) translation, which came out in 2004.
As an “optimal equivalence” translation, the CSB provides a word-for-word rendering of scripture unless the meaning might be obscure to most readers, in which case a thought-for-thought translation takes precedence.
To give you an idea of how those options compare, read the HCSB translation of Psalm 1:1 below, followed by the revised text in CSB:
“How happy is the man
who does not follow the advice of the wicked
or take the path of sinners
or join a group of mockers!” (HCSB)
“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!” (CSB)
Besides the implication that women and children may also be “the one” struggling with a choice of peers, the CSB retained the parallelism of walk/ stand/ sit found in most translations.
That same page in the CSB Study Bible includes a sidebar on the Hebrew word “’ashrey” [pronounced ash-RAY] and gives the number of occurrences in the Psalms, along with a definition, shown in part here:
“’Ashrey, an interjection especially frequent in Psalms, means happy (Ps. 1:1) and implies blessed (Ec. 10:17) and happy (DN. 12:12.) It is similar to baruk (“blessed”) but probably more secular. ‘Ashrey is never used of or by God.”
Such sidebars on key words can be found throughout the book. In addition to those word studies, this edition also uses bold type to highlight quotations from scripture found elsewhere. For example, in the third chapter of his gospel, Luke includes a quote from Isaiah 40. The CSB Study Bible then uses a boldface font to call our attention to this as we read, “A voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord.”
Both the original and present study editions from Holman provide such excellent features as cross references, introductions to the individual books, helpful footnotes, photos, charts, maps, timelines, and essays on major biblical and theological issues. However, the CSB Study Bible has even more articles, such as “Reading the Bible for Transformation,” “Faith and Works,” and introductions to the Pentateuch, historical books, wisdom books, prophetic books, and the gospels.
Instead of one bookmark, the new edition has two, which I appreciate because of Sunday School discussions on the Old Testament and Wednesday studies on the new. However, both of these Bibles have sewn-in pages, which lay flat on a desk – the most likely place for reading and studying the impressive aids found in both of these highly recommended Holman study editions.
Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2017, poet-writer, reviewer
CSB Study Bible, hardcover
CSB Study Bible, genuine leather