CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible

CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible

 

CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible

 

It is a joy to be able to bring you reviews of various Bibles and in this review, I am looking at the CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible, the Bible that lets you learn alongside the Church Fathers. (Holman Bible Publishers sent me a crimson leather over board {hardcover edition} in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give positive feedback and my opinions are my own.

 

Features/About the Book from Holman

Publisher’s Description (condensed)

This CSB Study Bible for men and women features study notes and commentary from the writings of the church fathers of the second through fifth centuries to help you understand and apply their rich, biblical insights to your life, for preparation to teach or for Bible studies. Also included in the CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible are “Twisted Truth” call-outs describing where some ancient thinkers drifted from orthodoxy, over 25 feature articles highlighting a key selection from one of the early church fathers on an essential Christian truth, and biographies of 25 of the most influential patristic church fathers.

The study Bible’s commentary and writings are from: Irenaeus of Lyons, Origen, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Ambrose of Milan, Augustine of Hippo, Athanasius of Alexandria, John Chrysostom, Jerome, the Cappadocian Fathers, and more. Features of this CSB Bible include: Study notes from the early church, exclusive feature articles, profiles of patristic fathers, “Twisted Truth” call-outs, author index to easily find commentary from individual church fathers, presentation page, book introductions, two-column text, 10.25-point type size, 8-point study notes, black-letter text, smyth-sewn binding, Bible ribbon markers, full-color maps, and more.

Product Information

Title: CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible–soft leather-look, crimson
Format: Imitation Leather
Number of Pages: 2000
Vendor: Holman Bible Publishers
Publication Date: 2019
Dimensions: 9.75 X 7.00 X 2.00 (inches)
Weight: 3 pounds 6 ounces
ISBN: 1535940484
ISBN-13: 9781535940481
Text Color: Black Letter
Text Size: 10 Point
Note Size: 8 Point
Thumb Index: No
Ribbon Marker: Yes
Spine: Sewn
Page Gilding: Gold
Stock No: WW940481

 

As you can see, Holman and the Christian Standard Bible teams have put a great deal of thought and effort into this study Bible and it should bring a wealth of insight to the serious student of the Bible.

 

Initial Thoughts

I am really impressed with the concept as I have often wondered what it would have been like to be taught by the Patristic Fathers, especially Irenaeus and Polycarp though I must confess that I find Origen’s anti-Jewish tendencies bothersome (thankfully those tendencies do not shine through in the study notes). I want to address my only real complaint, here, so that we can get the “negative” out of the way up front. The notes on Revelation tend to have a bent toward Amillennialism. The problem being, that a host of the Church Fathers, Ephraim the Syrian as an example, were chiliasts and held to a literal millennial kingdom and thus a literal reign of Christ on earth. The Chiliastic Fathers would be the ancient forerunners of what we know today as Historical Premillennialists, cousins of sorts with Dispensationalists. Even the great preacher, Spurgeon, was a chiliast and so I am saddened to see the Chiliastic Fathers all but excluded from the notes. That being said, my eschatological disagreement with Holman Bible Publishers is not enough for me to disqualify this Bible from use.

 

Translation

I confess that I have an on again-off again relationship with the Christian Standard Bible but that is a question of habit rather than any problems with the translation, I have taught NKJV and NASB more; the CSB is growing on me. For my anniversary, I was gifted a CSB Pulpit Bible and decided to make a concerted effort to teach from the CSB more often.

 

What I enjoy about the CSB

The CSB is a mediating or optimal equivalence translation and I have to say that this is the biggest attractor for me. I love the fact that I can use this translation and have successful conversations with both new disciples and seasoned believers. It is as literal as possible but without sacrificing the thought. As I recently explained to my wife, I love the CSB because it sounds like a normal modern day person telling a story the way a normal person would talk. It’s familiar without being common and reverent without being stodgy.

 

The Physical Book

I haven’t the faintest idea how, but Holman managed to make it look like an old book. The shading on the cover has a look as though it has been on the shelf of a revered theologian for decades. The paper, though, really knocked me for a loop. It is a beautiful manila/cream color and looks mildly sun faded. I do not know if is psychosomatic or not but the paper even smells like an old book.

 

The Content

The notes are quite interesting. I was impressed with being able to see how the Patristic Fathers interacted with the Old Testament. It is also quite helpful to see some of the differing interpretationns of the Scripture as the Fathers developed orthodoxy.

 

Each book’s introduction includes the usual information on author and circumstance of writing. They also include a paragraph on the book’s contribution to the Bible and a paragraph or two from one of the Fathers about the book. By way of example, the Book of Mark’s Introduction includes comments by Eusebius on the book of mark.

 

There is no outline provided, which makes perfect sense as there were no chapters and verses in the days of the Church Fathers. In all honesty, I am surprised that Holman included chapters and verses in the text block given than it is meant to look ancient. Subject headings are provided and I find their familiarity comforting. The Commentary Notes are in three columns and specify each Father who is commenting on the Scripture.

 

Twisted Truth call-outs are set apart in a solid border and cover deviations from orthodoxy that the Church Fathers dealt with including, as an example, Modalism which was advocated by Sabellius and is a deviation from the Doctrine of the Trinity.

 

The Front Matter includes 3 articles which are best read before starting into the Scripture. They are Reading the Bible with the Church Fathers, Christology of the Ecumenical Councils, and the Participation of the Trinity. The Back Matter provides both the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed.

 

There are approximately 25-30 full page articles contributed by the Church Fathers on essential issues of the Christian Faith. Also, there are biographical sketches on the the Church Fathers who are quoted in the notes. These are quite helpful for realting to men long ago given to the ages.

 

Final Thoughts

Overall, I am rather impressed. IVP makes a commentary set, which these notes are drawn from and whose cost, around $1500, is out of reach of most Christians. It is, then, wonderful to see these notes available to the average Christian. I do think that every pastor should own a copy, at the very least; it will make sermon prep all the more effective as we encourage our congregations to stand on the historic faith.

 

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