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
May 12, 2017
September 17, 2016
Almost everyone in the last few Bible study groups I’ve led or attended has needed reading glasses, but with the small fonts many Bible publishers now use as standard, a lot of squinting is going on!
Thankfully, Holman Bible Publishers has just released a giant print edition of the New King James Version (NKJV) in a very readable 14-point font on good quality paper. Even better, Holman kindly sent me a copy for review.
In addition to offering one of my favorite translations, this Bible includes color maps, a concise concordance, and one-year Bible reading plan.
You’ll also find a couple of unique features: Instead of the usual thumbnail-shaped index tabs, this edition has squared out corners, which I suspect will keep their shape longer. This does make the book names a bit harder to see, but if you hold the Bible in your hand and let the pages drape down, you can read the tabs readily.
This edition drapes nicely in the hand – as genuine leather is apt to do. But when I first took the Bible from its sturdy box, I wrinkled my nose at the slight chemical odor that overcame the expected smell of genuine leather.
The cover feels as though it has a light coating. And yet, that feature, stitched edging, flexible leather, and a sewn spine make me think this well-made edition is meant to last for years.
Mary Harwell Sayler, poet-writer, reviewer
Holman NKJV Giant Print Reference Bible, Leather, indexed
January 2, 2016
Christians from almost every church denomination have loved the King James Version of the Bible (KJV) for centuries. Our hearts beat to its iambic rhythms. Our breath holds its pentameter when we read the words aloud, and when we memorize a favorite verse or passage of scripture, the KJV is the default setting we often seek for familiarity and a lift of poetic beauty.
The vocabulary in the KJV inevitably lifts us too! Translated in the time of Shakespeare, one can readily speculate on the identities of the members of the translation committee, but regardless of who helped, the English language itself was still in the making, which contributed to the KJV as surely as the KJV has influenced poetry and the English vocabulary ever since. Thus, hence, and therefore, every English-speaking poet, writer, and all-around Christian doth well to hath a KJV.
The vital next step, though, is reading it! And here’s where many have fallen away, thinking they’ll never get what it says. True, you will find most contemporary versions to be an easier read. Without the fullness of vocabulary, though, readers may miss the deeper meanings subtly packed into a Bible verse or story.
So, what’s the solution? If you want it all, the Holman KJV Study Bible has it.
The full-page color illustrations, photographs, and maps ground you in Bible times, places, and original intent, while a “King’s English” glossary defines words that might otherwise be unclear.
With the same outstanding features found in the award-winning Holman Christian Study Bible that I previously reviewed, this edition is one to turn to for in-depth study, Bible research, and the pure joy of reading God’s Word, silently or aloud.
As the only full-color KJV study Bible out there, you can expect to use this edition for many years, so a genuine leather cover makes a wise choice. But, since Holman Bible Publishers kindly sent me a free copy to review, I didn’t have that option. In case that’s your preference, too, I’ll include a link below to the leather, indexed option I normally consider the ideal. However, my review copy of the Holman’s LeatherTouch™ far exceeded my poor expectations for imitation leather. In other words, I like it!
The LeatherTouch™ feels sturdy yet silken to the fingertips. More importantly, unlike every other “fake leather” cover I’ve received, this one lays wide open on my desk or one my lap – the place this excellent edition is very likely to be.
©2016, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer, is a poet, writer, and lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the Church in all its parts.
Holman KJV Study Bible, leathertouch
Holman KJV Study Bible, genuine leather, indexed
December 15, 2014
This post comes later than intended and, very likely, I accidentally omitted some of my favorites or yours. Nevertheless, this will give you a quick list of highly recommended editions of the Bible to check for your Christmas giving and your own Christmas list.
Catholic Study Bible
Catholic Women’s Bible
Little Rock Catholic Study Bible
New Catholic Answer Bible
New Jerusalem Bible
Saint Mary’s Press College Study Bible
The Saints Devotional Bible
Adventure Bible for Early Readers,
Bible storybooks for children
Bibles for children
Catholic Children’s Bible
Catholic Teen Bible
Catholic Youth Bible
ESV Children’s Bible
NIV Teen Study Bible
ESV Study Bible
Gospel Transformation Bible,
Holman Study Bible
Life Application Study Bible
MacArthur Study Bible,
New American Standard Bible, wide-margin, goatskin
African Heritage Study Bible
Anselm Academic Study Bible
Complete Parallel Bible
Common English Study Bible
The Lutheran Study Bible,
New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha
The Message with deuterocanonical aka apocryphal books
NIV Study Bible
Oxford Study Bible, Revised English Bible with Apocrypha
Thompson Chain Reference
©2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, poet, writer, and reviewer, is a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church in all its parts.