February 23, 2018
Shortly after I’d featured the CSB Giant Print Reference Bible I bought to read during Lent, B/H Lifeway Bloggers kindly sent me a free review copy of the new Kids Bible edition of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB.)
This accurate and readable text not only invigorates my straight-through reading, it’s ideal for children ready to read and/or for parents to buy beyond Bible storybooks. With its clear language, large print, and a sturdy colorful cover, this edition will appeal to children from grade school on, especially since it includes a variety of features they can grow into such as study helps, maps, and a “Bible skills checklist.” Also, the CSB text corresponds well enough to other translations that it makes a good choice for encouraging memorization.
Scattered throughout the book, colored inserts provide important suggestions kids might not otherwise know such “How Do I Have Quiet Time With God?” or “The Names Of God” with biblical references to various characteristics Bible people used to describe and/or call upon God.
Another page features “The Ten Commandments” and, yet another, “The Books of Poetry” in the Bible. On the flip-side of the latter, “Psalms For All Times” lets children know to turn to “Psalm 8 & Psalm 19 (to) help you praise God for His creation,” whereas “Psalm 37:3-8 can help you trust in God.”
The New Testament has similar inserts such as “The Names Of Jesus” (Immanuel, Holy One, Chief Cornerstone, King of Kings), “The Miracles Of Jesus,” and also a double-page spread on the apostles. If some of these features are new to you, remember, you’re one of God’s kids too, so there’s no reason you can’t enjoy your own copy! Otherwise, I highly recommend this as an excellent Easter gift for children of all ages.
Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2018
Kids Bible, Christian Standard Bible, hardback
February 15, 2018
The CSB Giant Print Reference Bible from Holman comes in a genuine brown leather cover with sewn-in pages that present the text in a very large 13-point font. This edition also has thumb-indexing (for easily finding each book of the Bible), scriptural references (for easily finding relevant verses), and clear maps (for easily finding biblical locales.) However, I bought this reader edition to read for Lent because of its clear, accurate translation.
Last year Holman Bible Publishers introduced me to their new Christian Standard Bible translation when they sent me a review copy of the CSB Study Bible, which I keep on my desk for study and research. No way, though, could I use that edition to read the whole Bible cover to cover during Lent!
To prepare for my Bible study groups each week, I rely on the hefty CSB study edition (and others, too) to get a better understanding of the scriptures we’ll read and discuss together. But the heft of a study Bible and the wealth of footnotes and sidebars become very distracting when you just want to sit down and read the Bible straight through as you would any book.
Conversely, this nicely sized Bible fits comfortably on my lap, and the goatskin leather feels comforting to the touch. Although the cover might feel slightly dry at first, the natural oils in our hands will soften and silken the leather in time. Since I didn’t want to wait for that pleasure (which serves the lovely purpose of enticing me to hold on and keep on reading!) I rubbed a little mineral oil onto my hands then rubbed the entire surface of the leather. Not only does this soften the cover immediately, it helps to protect the leather without going rancid as vegetable or animal oil will eventually do.
The important aspect of this particular Bible, though, is that it speaks to me!
As occurs with every text translated from one language into another, countless choices of synonyms present themselves - each of which must stay in keeping with the context of the overall thought and the surrounding verses. In addition, word usage changes over time, making it even more complicated to translate Hebrew and Greek biblical texts into English we can relate to and understand. The CSB does this exceptionally well, which encourages me to keep reading as I aim to take in the sweeping view of God’s Word during these 40 days of preparing for Easter.
Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2018, poet-writer, reviewer
CSB Giant Print Reference Bible, genuine leather, thumb-indexed
March 6, 2015
When I need a literal translation known for accuracy, I often turn to the New American Standard Bible (NASB), which AMG Publishers wisely chose for the Hebrew–Greek Key Word Study Bible. Besides giving us an updated version of the NASB, this unique edition, which the publisher kindly sent me for review, offers prolific references to precise meanings of words in the original Hebrew and Greek languages.
Consider, for example, Genesis 22 where God tested Abraham’s faith. The superscription beside the English word “tested” refers us to the back of the book where we find “AMG’s Annotated Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary Of the Old Testament.” When we look up the reference number 5254, we find the original Hebrew word followed by the English rendering, a pronunciation guide, description, synonyms, and this definition: “A verb meaning to test, to try, to prove. Appearing nearly forty times in the OT, this term often refers to God testing the faith and faithfulness of human beings.”
A number of examples help to illustrate the principle before ending the entry with this word: “Finally, this term can refer to the testing of equipment such as swords or armour (1 Sa 17:39).” Interesting – especially in light of New Testament exhortations given to put on the full armor of God! So whenever we’re feeling “tested,” we might recheck our armor to see if we pass inspection according to Ephesians 6:10-18.
Since I’d never thought of that before seeing these study notes, I mentioned it to my husband, who then said God provided armor for us in the first place. Therefore, it cannot possibly be faulty. Good point! So apparently our job is to make sure we put on the armor correctly with Ephesians 6 (also provided by God) as our instruction manual.
Since I’m writing this during Lent, that thought seems especially timely. Reading a reader’s edition of the Bible, cover to cover, during Lent is timely too, but when it comes to in-depth study, I highly recommend this study Bible to dig deeply into the full meaning of key biblical concepts any time of the year.
In addition to the OT and NT dictionaries in the back matter of the book, helpful footnotes occur throughout the text. For example, part of a note on Passover in Exodus 12:46 says, “In this verse and in Num. 9:12, the breaking of the lamb’s bones is forbidden, and in Jn. 19:36 the fact that Jesus’ legs were not broken on the cross is regarded by John as a fulfillment of this very verse.” Slain on Good Friday, Christ our Passover Lamb becomes the final, whole and holy sacrifice needed to remove our sin, restore our relationship with God, and heal our brokenness.
©2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, poet, writer, and reviewer, is a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church in all its parts.
Hebrew–Greek Key Word Study Bible, hardback
February 27, 2012
If you want a new Bible to read during Lent or you plan to give someone a special Easter gift, the number of choices may first seem overwhelming! Lord willing, we’ll talk about the many study Bibles and English translations in weeks to come, but instead of starting with the mental assurance of biblical accuracy or the spiritual lift that elevates some translations over others, let’s start by getting physical.
Why? Like any book, your response to The Book begins with first impressions involving your senses.
Do you want a Bible to drape in your hand and lay flat on a table?
Do you want a binding that will last for many years?
Do you want The Book to smell good, feel silken to the touch, and not jab you in the stomach as you read?
If you answered “yes,” you probably won’t bond well with bonded leather! While that type of cover or a hardback work fine for thick, heavy study Bibles kept on a shelf, a Bible you really, really want to pick up, hold, smell, stroke, hug, and read will most likely be a reader’s edition with a good quality leather cover such as French Morocco leather, calfskin, or goatskin.
To briefly cover those covers:
Goatskin is wonderfully soft and worthily expensive since it provides the top quality for a thin-line Bible or a reader edition with no study articles and notes to distract your cover-to-cover reading. My personal favorite is a wide-margin Bible with space for penciling my thoughts in the margins as I read, and goatskin encourages this by lying nice and flat. As I physically interact with God’s word in this way, the Bible becomes even more personal to me with its soft, responsive cover especially huggable on a bad day!
French Morocco, the next highest high quality leather, also lays flat and drapes nicely in the hand. Instead of goatskin though, this cover comes from calfskin that’s split to make it slightly thinner and soft, yet durable enough to last for many years.
Calfskin leather, often labeled “genuine leather,” gives your favorite reading Bible a durable binding too. Typically this cover feels thicker than the above choices and not quite as soft but may lay flat – or not! This depends somewhat on size with larger Bibles more apt to stay open. However, the method of binding also makes a discernible difference in overall quality, including the physical ability to stay flat.
Smythe sewn bindings are considered the best since the pages are sewn together prior to being glued to the inner spine. These Bibles stand up to wear-and-tear far better than glued-in pages, which are apt to get unglued as you walk along, giving new meaning to a paper trail.
If paperback is the only cover you can afford right now, the Bible can be inserted into a leather cover later, of course. However, the glued-in pages will not provide long-lasting durability. Consider, too, that the price of a paperback plus the price of a leather cover can easily add up to the cost of The Book you really, really want to read and read and read.
For blogs on a variety of Bible topics, see Blogs by Mary.