In 1999, we were introduced to the New Testament of one of the most interesting English Bible translations that has ever been made; in 2004 the full text joined its New Testament Counterpart and the Holman Christian Standard Bible changed the market forever. The Holman portion of HCSB stems from the AJ Holman publishing company, now part of B&H, which edges out Thomas Nelson as the oldest Bible publisher in America. Going as far back as I can remember, Bibles from Holman and, later, Broadman & Holman (now simply B&H) have been marked by high quality and coupled with affordability which demonstrates a commitment to get the Bible into the hands of as many new people as possible. It is this missionary commitment that is responsible for the Christian Standard Bible, the newest iteration of the HCSB.
I am reviewing the Ultrathin Reference Bible in black leather touch, which was provided free by Holman Bible Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Holman offers the following information about the translation methodology
- The CSB was created using Optimal Equivalence, a translation philosophy that balances linguistic precision to the original languages and readability in contemporary English.
- In the many places throughout Scripture where a word-for-word rendering is clearly understandable, a literal translation is used. When a word-for-word rendering might obscure the meaning for a modern audience, a more dynamic translation is used. This process assures that both the words and thoughts contained in the original text are conveyed as accurately as possible for today’s readers.
- On one hand, the CSB provides a highly accurate text for sermon preparation and serious study, translated from the biblical languages by scholars who love God’s Word. On the other hand, it doesn’t compromise readability and clarity for those who may be less familiar with the traditional (and sometimes difficult) vocabulary retained in some translations.
- Research shows the CSB is both highly literal to the original languages and highly readable, achieving an optimal balance of the two.”
I find the CSB translation to be excellent, so much so that is has become one of my main resources. I have studied in NASB for 21 years and have used HCSB since 2004. Admittedly, it has only been in the last two years that I have made the CSB one of my main translations. That being said, I am quite glad that it has become one of my primary translations.
The CSB Ultrathin Reference Bible is easy-to-carry and easy-to-read, featuring a robust center-column, cross-reference system, 8-point type, and an ultrathin design which slips easily into a purse, briefcase, or backpack. Holman Bible Publishers was a pioneer in the development of Ultrathin Bibles, giving careful attention to breakthroughs in typography and paper manufacturing to produce a Bible that combines readability and portability, as well as durability. Features include: Smyth-sewn binding, Presentation page, Two-column text, Center-column cross references, Topical subheadings, Words of Christ in red, 8.25-point type, Concordance, Full-color maps, and more. The CSB Ultrathin Reference Bible features the highly reliable, highly readable text of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB), which stays as literal as possible to the Bible’s original meaning without sacrificing clarity. The CSB’s optimal blend of accuracy and readability makes Scripture more moving, more memorable, and more motivating to read it today — and share it always.
|Format: Leather Touch/Genuine Leather
Number of Pages: 1328
Vendor: Holman Bible Publishers
Publication Date: 2017
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 X 1.25 (inches)
References: Center Column Cross References
|Text Layout: Double Column
Text Color: Red Letter
Text Size: 8 Point
Thumb Index: No
Ribbon Marker: Yes
Page Gilding: Silver
Physical Form of the Bible
Cover type & Binding
B&H calls this cover type “leather touch” meaning that it should feel like a real leather even though it is not. I really like it; as far as imitation leathers go, Holman and Crossway have some of the most convincing materials you will find and this particular leather touch actually tricked a couple of my friends into believing that it was genuine leather. Given the high quality of materials that Holman is using, I do not think that you will have any issues with this Bible falling apart due to manufacturing issues.
The binding appears to be a sewn binding. To remind you of why you want that, sewn bindings stand up to heavy use better which allows them to last longer. (One of my Bibles is my great great grandmothers Holman KJV Bible that is well over 100 years old.) Because of the paste down liner, it will not lay flat right away but it breaks in quickly and you should be able to get it to lay flat after around a month of daily use.
Font, Readability, and Paper
The paper is bright white and opaque. The center column references are a little small for my eyes but for people with no visual impairment there will not be any issues. The font is 8-point and fairly bold. Normally red letters in a Bible irritate me but the red lettering, here, is very well done. My major test for a Bible is how well I can read it in church. To my surprise, I did not have any problems with reading during the Sunday service.
As A Carry Bible
The size of this particular Bible makes it very easily portable. It easily fits into both my laptop bag and my wife’s purse, so much so that she has decided that it should be hers.
It’s no secret that I like Holman Bibles and it’s no secret that I enjoy the CSB. Overall, I really like the Ultrathin Reference Bible. I commend it to you for your benefit and for your ministry.