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
December 2, 2015
My Bible study group at church has been studying the Psalms – the prayer book of God’s people from pre-Temple days through the early church. Not only do these prayer-poems connect us with Jewish and Christian worshipers throughout the ages and today, the Psalms also comprise the prayers and poetry read, memorized, recited, and prayed by Jesus and His disciples.
Think, for example, of Psalm 22, which Jesus spoke from the cross. Although He didn’t recite the whole psalm, the opening verses reminded His followers to consider each line as they wept. Most likely, this reminder of the full psalm brought hope. And, now, once we have heard the 22nd Psalm, the 23rd Psalm gains even more significance and offers even more comfort.
After reading the latter in our study group today, we had a fresh and insightful discussion as we compared various translations and talked about word choices, metaphors, and what we learned about God from the poem.
For example, the psalm begins with the reminder that, with God as our Shepherd, we have everything we need – physically, mentally, and spiritually. We have nothing to fear with God providing for us, protecting us, caring for us, and giving lavish gifts – a banquet where the Lord God treats us – you and me – as honored guests!
Wow! We should be honoring God with every part of our lives, but Psalm 23 reminds us that God honors us, welcomes us, and takes care of every need.
Many of these joys in fellowship with God had occurred to us at one time or another, but with our commitment to read, pray, and study the Psalms, we saw amazing details we’d never noticed. For instance, verse 6 tells us:
“Surely goodness and mercy shall
all the days of my life.”
In the previous verse, we’re in the presence of enemies – people who want to do us harm! And yet this psalm and others assure us that we’ve nothing to fear. Not only can we totally count on God’s presence to be with us, we can count on the Lord's goodness and mercy to follow us around!
Can you picture it? Goodness and mercy follow us. Goodness and mercy pursue us. Goodness and mercy stalk us!
Even if we’re surrounded by ill will, enemies, and evil, Goodness and Mercy WILL follow us all the days and nights of our lives.
Well, I hope this gives you an idea of why I wanted a separate book of Psalms to read, study, and use as my prayer book – maybe an edition with room in the margins to write “Claimed” and the day's date beside promises or space to make a note, such as writing “stalks” or “pursues” beside verse 6.
You might have heard by now that I also appreciate quality paper with pages sewn into a supple top-grain leather cover that feels great to the touch and should last for generations.
Searching the Internet, I found one such edition of Psalms that fits all of the above – and fits nicely into my hand! So I bought the Psalms in ESV (English Standard Version) published by Crossway for myself, but oh, what a great Christmas gift this would also make for other lovers of prayer and God’s Word. Praise God!
©2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer, is a poet, writer, and lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the Church in all its parts.
Psalms, ESV, bound in top grain leather