He Reads Truth Bible

He Reads Truth Bible

 

A Bible that I have been asked about several times, recently, is the CSB He Reads Truth Study Bible. Having not seen one, I was not really sure if I had an opinion. Thankfully, my wife got me one for my birthday and, having spent a few days with it, I am offering this review.

Note: This was a birthday gift. Neither Christian Standard Bible nor Holman Bibles had any part in my decision to review this Bible. My opinions are my own.

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The Translation

The He Reads Truth Study Bible is offered in the Christian Standard Bible translation, which is owned by Holman Bibles. It is one of the two major mediating translations currently available. CSB is literal where it needs to be and meaning based where it needs to be. It is very well suited for study and devotional reading.

 

The Paper Issue

There is one big challenge with the CSB He Reads Truth Study Bible and I want to address it right away- Holman Bible made a very poor choice on the paper. Yes it does need to be thin so the Bible is not unwieldy but in this case, the paper is so thin that you get terrible see through, commonly called ghosting. It is possible to use a thin paper without having so much ghosting. (See Cambridge’s Concord Reference Bible for an example. I would not be comfortable writing in this Bible with any instrument; I am almost certain it will show through to the other side.

In some lighting situations, the ghosting is not all bad and in others it is beyond obvious. I have to say I am rather surprised. I do not expect something like this from Holman.

 

Cover and Binding

I am reviewing the black leather-touch edition. Holman Bibles really shines here. The imitation leather is very  convincing and should hold up well for quite a few years. The Binding is Sewn to ensure that it holds up to rigorous everyday life.

Features:

66 hand-lettered key verses

66 verses you should memorize are offered in stenciled lettering, each on its own page. Not only do these add visual appeal, they also serve as memorization aids.

These key verses are designed to show the arc of redemption in the Bible.

 

17 full-color timelines

The timelines cover essential dates for understanding the Bible. They are fairly detailed for maximum reference

21 maps

These are rather different from most maps you will encounter in a Bible. Instead of being inundated with geographic information, these are whittled down to include only the information that is germaine to what you are currently reading.

122 charts,  infographics, and lists

As with other study Bibles, the charts, infographics, and lists are provided to help visual learners to acclimate to the Bible and to internalize it more. They are actually fairly detailed, I think they actually rival those found in the NIV Study Bible. The information presented is somewhat technical. (Go figure. Most men enjoy technical things.)

Illustrations

There are 3 illustrations. Each one is a line drawing (almost a pencil sketch) and detailed information about the illustration.

Reading plans for every book of the Bible

So many well-meaning Christians get bogged down in a one year reading plan and the He Reads Truth Study Bible provides the perfect remedy to that problem. Each book of the Bible includes its own reading plan. Now, instead of getting bogged down around Leviticus, you can check off one book at a time. I, personally, recommend reading one OT book and then one NT book so that by alternating back and forth, you are able to traverse the whole of Scripture without getting bogged down.

One-year Bible reading plan

For those who prefer the more traditional approach, a “normal” one year reading plan is included.

Book introductions

There are 66”detailed” book introductions that actually aren’t. The outlines have a good amount of wasted space although they are very easy to follow. Each introduction contains the curated reading plan for the book in a section called read and understand. There is also a section with abbreviated background along with the message and purpose of the book.

The introductions are not inadequate, they are just fairly basic.

Two colored ribbon markers

There are two ribbon markers provided to help you traverse your Old Testament and New Testament readings.

Wide margins

Ideally, these are for adding your own notes to the Bible as you go along. However, I do not recommend writing in the  He Reads Truth Study Bible given the amount of ghosting.

How to Read the Bible

It might seem obvious to include a section on how to read the Bible but you would be surprised at just how many Christians do not understand how to read and interpret the Bible. Again, this is a very basic presentation but, in truth, it is probably intermediate to advanced level for many Christians.

What is the Gospel

This section provides a basic outline of redemption history. It features teaching on creation, the fall, our need for a savior, the savior’s coming, and in invitation to yield your life to Christ. All in all, I am pleased with this section. At times, we can overcomplicate the message of the Gospel but the He Reads Truth Bible offers a very succinct presentation of the Gospel. This presentation could even be used in a group Bible study situation.

The Languages of the Bible

This section gives a brief overview of the languages that the original autographs were written in. It makes them feel a little less foreign and whets the appetite so to speak to dig deeper.

 

Is this really a study Bible?

Yes but not the way you think. As I mentioned earlier, there is not commentary or exegetical notes. Instead, the study  material is designed to help  you create your own exegetical notes and place them in the margins. You won’t get overwhelmed by notes and yet there is still enough material to challenge you and stimulate your growth.

In Practice

Despite the paper issue, the He Reads Truth Study Bible is pretty useful. We are not overloaded with commentary and opinion. Neither, for that matter, are we inundated with thousands of cross-references and exegetical notes. The study material is very well curated, just enough to make you want to dig more.

As I mentioned, the paper situation can be overcome by tweaking the light a little. If you will write in it, I would advise using a pencil, not just any pencil though. The only pencil I would recommend is a Papermate Sharpwriter. A Sharpwriter will be dark enough for you to see your notes but light enough to avoid show through.

 

As a Carry Bible

Let’s be real, here. This Bible weighs in at 3 ½ pounds in the leather-touch and possibly more in a hard cover so it will not be practical to use as an everyday carry Bible for a good many Christians. It can be done, but realize that this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a small Bible.

Overall Thoughts

I would rate the He Reads Truth Bible 8.5 out of 10. The concept is terrific but the execution leaves a little to be desired. A few minor tweaks from the publisher (more opaque paper, more detail in the introductions) and you would have an outstanding Bible. I do not want to come across as not liking this Bible. It suits its purpose, getting men into the Word of God every day, very well.

I think it is a Bible worth owning. As an impartial reviewer, I have to point out shortcomings not just sing the praises of the Book.

Do I recommend it for men?

Without hesitation. Niggling little details aside, I think this is a Bible many men will enjoy. It does not pander to any particular image of what a man should be other than to drive home the fact that manhood and Christlikeness are sysnonymous.

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