Tag: Bible Teacher

Why Standard Lesson?

Why Standard Lesson?

I recommend resources from Standard Lesson on, at the very least, a monthly basis and I am, often asked why. The question goes like this “Matt, I’m seminary trained, why should I use Standard Lesson?” or “Matt, Standard Lesson isn’t from your denomination, why do you recommend something that isn’t Baptist?”

I would like to offer some answers to those questions:

 

  1. The material is very easy to understand and is accessible to most audience members. I am not seminary trained and neither is most of your audience. (I have acquired a seminary grade understanding of Scripture via self-study of a host of resources plus I am mentored by several men, two of whom are seminary professors.) When we amass great learning we can miss the forest because of the trees. Standard Lesson’s resources remind me to keep it simple when I teach.

 

  1. It is very theologically conservative and broadly evangelical. When you read the commentary notes, the study Bible notes or other resources, you can see that the writers take Scripture seriously. Equally important, they take the command to make disciples seriously. Integral to making disciples is teaching and these resources will be most valuable in lesson prep.

 

  1. Resources are available in KJV and NIV. Standard lesson offers resources in KJV for the most staunchly conservative and the NIV for those desiring a more broadly evangelical audience. KJV and NIV are the two most widely read English translations of the Bible and pairing resources with those translations ensure that you are able to reach the most people possible.

 

  1. It takes the fear out of teaching. The Standard Lesson Commentary not only provides expositional commentary on the Scripture, it also provides a complete lesson for those who are new to teaching. The Standard Lesson Study Bible provides expository notes on the Scripture AND it adds discussion questions. The Standard Bible Dictionary provides insight on 2,000 foundational terms your students should be familiar with.

 

  1. There is a Uniform Series. The Standard Lesson Commentary follows the International Sunday School Lesson Uniform Series. This is important because on any given Sunday, churches around the world are teaching the same lesson. You can, literally, walk into any Sunday School that uses Standard Lesson Commentary and pick up right where you left off. Additionally, the Standard Lesson Commentary will take you through every book of the Bible in 6 years, not every single verse but you will get every book.

 

There are more reasons to choose Standard Lesson Resources but these are the reasons I give when I recommend Standard Lesson to pastoral colleagues and Sunday School Teachers

CSB Verse by Verse Reference Bible Reviw

CSB Verse by Verse Reference Bible Reviw

 

Anyone who knows me will know that a verse by verse format is my preferred format for a Bible. Single column verse by verse is my ultimate but double column works just as well. In this article, we are reviewing the CSB Verse by Verse Reference Bible, which Holman Bible Publishers was good enough to send me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review and my opinions are my own.

 

Click me for photos

 

A Fun Fact to Start:

A.J. Holman is the oldest Bible publisher in the U.S. They beat out Thomas Nelson by just a couple years. With over 200 years publishing, they are one of the oldest Bible publishers still in operation (Cambridge University Press is still the oldest with nearly 500 years of experience.) Nowadays AJ Holman Company is the H in B&H publishing or Broadman and Holman if you like to use the formal name.

 

The Translation

This Bible is in the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). Previous to licensing to AMG for the excellent Keyword Bible, which I also reviewed, Holman was the exclusive publisher.

 

CSB is a mediating translation of the Bible, though Holman calls this Optimal Equivalence (OE). An OE translation strives to give the best balance between fastidiously literal (think NASB) or free flowing and meaning based (think NLT) . It is fastidiously literal where it needs to be and very free flowing where it needs to be. It reads, and sounds, fairly close to the NIV with the major distinction being that the Christian Standard Bible leans more toward the literal end of the translation spectrum than does the NIV. Both translations are on a middle school comprehension level; if you like to be technical, I would rate it as 8th Grade on the Flesh-Kincaid Readability Matrix. Most of parishioners will not have any comprehension issues with the CSB but the younger crowd will, naturally, need to grow into it.

 

Is it a scholarly translation? Well, that depends on what you mean by scholarly. It is not ecumenical and most definitely is not liberal. It is very well suited for discipleship and study. Here are just a few of the Bible teachers, seminary presidents, and university faculty who endorse/approve of the CSB: Dr. Danny Akin, Dr. Ed Hindson, Dr. Tony Evans, Allistair Begg, Robby Gallaty, Dr. David Dockery, Dr. Gary Coombs, Pastor Matthew Bassford, Pastor and Theologian Kofi Adu-Boahen, and me, Pastor Matthew Sherro. Do not forget that a major and extremely conservative publishing house, AMG, has licensed the CSB for their Keyword Study Bible.

 

All that to say…In the pulpit, in the classroom, or in your living room, you can trust that the CSB is a faithful and accurate translation. You can build your teachings and devotions on the CSB without worry.

 

Cover and Binding

There are two options available, brown bonded leather (which I am reviewing) and black goatskin. The bonded leather has a paste down lining with a bit of a pebbled grain. To the touch, this is a higher quality of bonded leather than what other publishers are using so I do not think it will wear out quite as fast.

 

Most Bible publishers have gone back to sewing their text blocks which is outstanding. Now if they would just print and bind in the U.S.A. There are publishers who do and yet keep the prices affordable but I digress… The sewn binding ensures the text block will hold up well over the years.

 

Layout, Paper, and Font

The layout is double column verse by verse with each verse beginning on a new line. The Bible looks to be line matched which lends to the readability of the text. Verse numbers are in cranberry red to aid in finding the number.

 

Why is verse by verse important? Verse by Verse is the ideal format for those who preach and teach. Each verse begins on a new line making it much easier to locate the verse which you will use for preaching.

 

The font was designed by 2k/Denmark. Many Bible publishers have been using them and a single glance is all that is necessary to understand why. Their fonts are the perfect blend of utility and aesthetics. This Bible is no exception, in my estimation, it is the most reader friendly font offered in a Holman Bible. Of course this is a black letter edition, however, the chapter headings, verse numbers, and page navigation are all in cranberry to make navigating the text easier.

 

The paper is soft white, far more muted than in other Bibles, and, so, is very easy on the eyes. Being gloriously opaque does not hurt that Bibles cause at all.  Sometimes Bible paper can reflect the dazzling brightness of the sun into your eyes if reading outside. Thankfully this does not happen here.

 

It is a wide-margin edition, hitting two of my sweet spots in Bible design. Margins measure approximately 1.1 inches wide. I am using this Bible in conjunction with the Bible from AMG so I have not decided, yet, if I will write in this one as well. I do like the option and may add some mini word studies which I would not want to forget in the pulpit. It is not a journaling Bible, the margins are too small for that. Rather, it is clear to me that Holman desired to give the Bible teacher his best tool possible.

 

Helps

Footnotes

Holman is well noted for having the most translation footnotes in a mainstream translation at around 30,000 annotations depending on edition. The NET does have twice as many but I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of pastors I know who are in possession of an NET Bible full notes edition (I actually have it on 3 different software platforms but I am a huge nerd.)

 

It looks as though we get the full body of footnotes and I am delighted to see that. We are treated to alternate translations, manuscript variants, etc. Got a question about the text? Look at the bottom of the page and chances are the translators have provided it for you.

 

References

There are around 63,000 organic references in the Scriptures (One verse illuminates another without being part of a topical chain.) and Holman gave us all of them. On each page, they can be found at the bottom of the right hand column. I have grown to prefer this as it prevents the flow of the text from being interrupted.

 

Full Concordance

Holman has provided a full concordance (though not an exhaustive one). It runs to 75 pages with 3 columns of entries per page. Sufficient content is provided to teach on just about any topic you can imagine.

 

Actual Use Scenario

I am pairing this with AMG’s Hebrew Greek Keyword Study Bible with the latter for study and this for preaching and teaching. I have told a number of colleagues that if there were a verse by verse CSB available, I would use it more and I aim to make good on that promise. I have also made the statement that this is what the CSB Pastor’s Bible ought to have been in the first place. Allegedly most pastors want a single column paragraph Bible for preaching, but I have not met a single one who shares that sentiment. The CSB Verse by Verse is the ideal CSB Preaching Bible and Holman should change the name and call it exactly that, the CSB Preaching Bible.

 

Should you buy it?

For CSB users, this is one of two must haves. If you have been paying attention, you have already deduced the other. I will go a step further…If you preach from CSB, don’t take any other Bible into the pulpit than this.

CSB Hebrew Greek Keyword Study Bible Review

CSB Hebrew Greek Keyword Study Bible Review

 

One of the top two Study Bibles, AMG’s Hebrew Greek Keyword Study Bible, has combined with one of fastest growing translations on the market, the Christian Standard Bible. Admittedly, the two have been together for a while but this is the first opportunity I have had to review the combination. This review, however, was not solicited by AMG but is, rather the result of a gift to our ministry.

 

Click for Photos

Why is the Keyword Bible important?

I have said that the Keyword Study Bible is one of the top two Bibles and want to explain why I think it is a vital investment for many Christians.

Most of the teachers in any particular church are not seminary trained, and in reality, the bulk of pastors around the world are not seminary trained, so they will have limited experience with the original languages of the Bible for lesson preparation. This is where AMG really shines in the Christian publishing world, it makes the original languages more accessible to the average Bible teacher. More on that when we get to the tools.

The Translation

The Keyword Bible is finally available in the Christian Standard Bible, one of the fastest growing translations on the market, one that I suspect will soon rival NIV. A couple of unexpected colleagues have recently adopted the CSB which prompted my looking a little further into the translation.

Similar to the NIV, CSB is a mediating translation. This is a blending of the rigidly literal word for word translation style of Bibles like he NASB and the free flowing meaning based style of translations of Bibles such as the NLT. There are areas where CSB is very literal, precise, and technical and other areas where it is free flowing and more meaning based. CSB calls this Optimal Equivalence; optimal is quite a fitting word for the translation.

Cover and Binding

This is a very highly grained genuine leather cover with a paste down liner. This is one of the few Bibles where I prefer a paste down liner, which AMG did give to us. Of course they sewed the binding; you cannot have a good quality study Bible without a sewn binding as they will not last.

Layout, Font, & Paper

The Keyword Bible has a double column format with center column references. The verses are laid out in a paragraph format as opposed to a verse by verse, where each verse would begin on a new line. We are also given a 1-inch margin although my copy is thumb indexed making the margins a little smaller but I won’t miss the margins

The font is crisp and deep ebony for the black letter and a rich cranberry for the red letters.

The Keyword Bible is one of those Bibles which demand to be written in and marked up (I have a brand new set of Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils waiting to do just that.) and the paper is quite opaque and a little thick. I would guess about 32 GSMs on the paper. Were I to describe the color of the paper, I would call it eggshell white; your colored pencils will work out very nicely on the paper.

 Tools

What really makes this Bible different and sets it apart are the grammatical codes and notations. There are numbers, letters, and underlining within the Scripture text. Words that are underlined have the Strong’s number. You can look these numbers up in the dictionary in the back. If the number is bold, the entry will be expanded (annotated). If the number is not bold, it’s just the regular Strong’s entry. Not every word gives the Strong’s number. There are lots of them on every page, but there will always be one that I want to be coded that’s not coded. For these words I have to look them up myself and write the number over the word. Grammatical codes are a string of letters that appear before the word. They are only found in the New Testament. These codes show the part of speech for that word. There is a list of grammatical codes in the back and on a supplied bookmark.

Book Introductions

The book introductions are about a half a page each. They cover the history and customs (limited) of the people the book was written to or about, and gives information of the significance of the book. I cannot speak for others but this is one area that I would have liked to see developed a little more. Since Dr. Zodhiates is, himself, Greek, it would have been very nice to have some material on Greek culture. If nothing else, a 1 page article could have gone a long way towards helping to understand the New Testament better.

Notes Section

The notes at the bottom of the page discuss theological, exegetical, historical, and geographical points from the text. This is not like a standard study Bible with lots of commentary on every page. The main function of this study Bible is to be a linguistic aid rather than a commentary packed into a Bible. If you are looking for commentary, this Bible probably is not for you; if you want to better understand Scripture (especially if you are a Bible teacher) then this is not a should have it is a must have. If I could only have 2 Bibles for the rest of my life, this and the Thompson Chain Reference Bible are what I would choose. Between the two, you will find that you have everything necessary to grow in your knowledge of the Bible and of the Lord.

The study notes are provided by Dr. Spiros Zodhiates the founder of AMG. They are fairly influence free and exhibit mainstream evangelical thought. Unlike most study Bibles, though, this Bible does not provide notes on most passages of the Bible. Rather it provides notes on key passages of scripture and every verse has a keyword noted and linked to the dictionary in the back. On a side note, it is quite useful to understanding the New Testament that Dr. Zodhiates was Greek. Who better to explain a Greek Text than a native Greek?

Grammatical Codes

The Grammatical Codes section contains a page with all of the codes and 3 pages of examples. The codes show the verb tense forms of the Greek. The information explaining how to use the codes is found in the next section – Grammatical Notations. I would recommend placing the Grammatical Codes after the Grammatical Notations, so the explanation on how to use them comes before the codes themselves. The information is in this Bible, it’s just a little confusing at first because it looks like two separate sections when it really should be one section.

Grammatical Notations

The Grammatical Notations section is 20 pages and explains how to use the Grammatical Codes. The focus is on verbs. It covers the five features of verbs (tense, voice, mood, person, and number. They are written so that anyone can use them).  Each of the features are explained and plenty of examples are given. They give enough information to be helpful and get you started, but it doesn’t give you everything you need to know. This section is very clear about that and gives references to other works to help learn Koine (New Testament) Greek. This section is the most technical and difficult to use.

 Pastoral Use

I have Hebrew Greek Keyword Study Bibles in three of the four translations I use most-NIV, NASB, and Now CSB. I had an NKJV as well but passed it on to another pastor (replacing that one is on my agenda). As a pastor, and this would work out well for any other Bible teacher, I study with the Keyword Bible and preach from a somewhat smaller Bible.

The Keyword Bible calls out the essential Hebrew and Greek words for your audience to know. You could almost build your lessons around just those but I do not want you to do that. Historical and cultural backgrounds must be added to the original languages.

 

Final Thoughts

Pick your translation and own one- there is no excuse for a Bible teacher to be without a Keyword Bible. The Hebrew Greek Keyword Study Bible is far and away the best study Bible you can own, especially in light of how accessible it makes the original biblical languages. My friend and colleague up in Oregon, the noted pastor-scholar Kofi Adu-Boahen has called this the most underrated Study Bible on the market and he is absolutely correct- many of my fellow teachers have said they have never considered the Keyword Bible and that is a tragedy that they should willingly cheat themselves out of such an excellent tool. Another colleague, the eminent pastor, Randy Brown, speaks of the Keyword Bible in more even more glowing terms than I do. To repeat, every Bible teacher should own one.

Jeremiah Study Bible Review (Recovered Content)

Jeremiah Study Bible Review (Recovered Content)

 

The content below was recently recovered following an earlier server failure.

 

Jeremiah Study Bible Photos


(Disclaimer: I have a personal relationship with one of the contributing editors. Also, Dr. Jeremiah is the Senior Pastor of my church)

Note: This Bible was not provided by Turning Point, Shadow Mountain, or Worthy Publishing. It was a gift from my wife. 

Have you ever wondered what the Bible really says, what it means, and/or how it applies to your life? If so, you are in good company and this Bible is definitely for you…

The best way for me to describe the Jeremiah Study Bible is to say that it is an unexpected pleasure. Most study Bibles feel very academic, which is ok since their primary purpose is to guide you through your study of the Bible. The Jeremiah Study Bible, however, feels much more intimate, almost as though Dr. Jeremiah has come into your living room for a personal discipleship session.

Dr. Jeremiah’s own words about the Jeremiah Study Bible:

“I want people to understand what the Bible says, what it means, and what it means for them. These three things are central in my thinking when I prepare to preach, and they serve as the framework for the structure of The Jeremiah Study Bible.”

This is the Bible you want to give to someone who is new to in-depth Bible Study. Why?

This Bible is a 2,200 page one-of-a-kind study tool, featuring insightful and practical content:

Unique introductions

For every one of the 66 books of the Bible, there is a unique and captivating introduction that will open readers’ eyes to the experiences and the background of the Biblical writers through whom the Holy Spirit breathed. Smart-phone and tablet users can utilize a barcode scanner application and access a special video introduction as well as other online content designed to make the Bible come alive in new ways.

8,000 individual study notes

Accompanying the Scripture text in this Bible are more than 8,000 study notes. Relevant issues and key points made in the text have notes to expand upon the thought being developed. These notes are educational, to be sure, but they are not dry and boring as can be the case. I have found many of the notes to show something I have not seen before, despite over 20 years of study and frequently consult other resources as a result. In the interest of full disclosure, the notes are dispensational, pre-tribulational and baptist (Shadow Mountain is in cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention)

Sidebars

Word studies, historical insights & more are positioned within the text that offer additional insight beyond the notes. To make these segments even more useful for readers, we have created a sidebar index for the entire Bible. A quick glance will direct you to the biblical topic of your choice. (Many of these are marked off in a box labeled f.y.i)

Essentials of the Christian Faith (Approximately 50+ full-page articles)

Scattered throughout this Bible are more than 50 articles that cover foundational doctrines of the Christian Faith.

Teacher’s Topical Index

The best way to learn is to teach. The Jeremiah Study Bible includes a Topical Index for teachers covering approximately 50 topics in depth.

80 page concordance

I believe this might actually be larger than the standard concordance offered by Thomas Nelson for the NKJV. As with other concordances this is an invaluable tool for gathering references

Lifetime Guarantee from Worthy Publishing

If your Worthy Publishing Bible fails due to a manufacturing defect, you may replace it for free at anytime. If the same Bible is out of print, discontinued, or otherwise not available, we will replace it with a Bible of equal or greater value. However, this guarantee does not apply to normal wear and tear. Most hardcover Bibles do not offer a lifetime guarantee against defect so this is a very nice feature.

Paper and font

On the back of this Bible, it indicates a full size font, which appears to be 9 point. The paper is moderately opaque; there is only slight ghosting and I do not see much bleed through. The black is extremely clear and easy to read, I only wish I could say the same of the red. In direct light I had a bit of difficulty with the hue.

Overall Impression

I do have a small complaint, and I hope I do not offend anyone. I, personally, would have chosen HCSB for this study Bible, simply because it is an “easier to understand” translation.

That being said, from time to time, people ask me if I can recommend a good Bible study resource so they can begin in-depth study. The Jeremiah Study Bible has become my primary recommendation for new students. It is academic without being dull and boring, practical and easy to understand without being simplistic. Overall it is a great choice if you are new to Bible Study or if you simply want a different perspective. Having listened to Dr. Jeremiah for ten years before having the opportunity to worship at Shadow Mountain, I can assure you that every time you turn to this Bible, you will find a nugget that you hadn’t seen before. In fact if I could sum up this resource in one sentence it would be this;

The Bible: Read it again for the first time.

 

Pastor Matt Bassford on Switching to CSB

Pastor Matt Bassford on Switching to CSB

This morning we have a guest post from a colleague, Pastor Matt Bassford at Jackson Heights Church of Christ. Matt recently adopted the Christian Standard Bible as his preaching and teaching Bible and he has been gracious enough to share his thoughts. (More information can be found at Matt Bassford’s Blog

Why I Switched to the CSB

English-speaking Christians are blessed with a plethora of good translations of the Bible. Of course, translation is an art, not a science. There are no perfect translations, nor will there ever be.

However, practically every translation that we’re likely to encounter is more faithful to the original Hebrew and Greek texts we have than the Septuagint is to its Hebrew originals. If the Holy Spirit thought the Septuagint was good enough to incorporate into the New Testament, whatever we’ve got is good enough to get us to heaven!

Because we are so spoiled for choice, though, those of us who care about the Bible are likely to move from translation to translation, looking for one that is maybe a little bit more perfect than the rest. In my time as a preacher/Bible reviewer, I’ve preached and taught from at least 10 different translations, and at various times, I’ve used three translations (NASB, NKJV, and ESV) for my primary text.

A couple of months ago, though, I decided to try out a fourth translation for my every-day Bible—the Christian Standard Bible, or CSB. When I switched from NASB to ESV a few years ago, the CSB was a strong second-place finisher, and my occasional use of it ever since gradually swayed me to adopt it. Several factors played into this decision:

VOLUME QUALITY. My copy of the CSB is bound in edge-lined goatskin that Holman sent me as a promo copy in 2017 when they rolled the translation out. It’s true that I love edge-lined Bibles, and once you’ve gotten used to one, it’s tough to go back to paste-down.

However, it’s really the quality of the setting of the CSB that influenced me here. My CSB was set by 2K, a Danish shop that is world-famous for its Bible designs, and the quality shows. It’s better designed than the ESV I was using before. My CSB is prettier, easier to read, and has cross-references that are easier to use. As far as I’m concerned, anything that makes reading and studying the word more pleasant is well worth adopting!

STYLISTIC QUALITY. I love the English language and rejoice in good writing. As a result, I struggle to love translations that prioritize faithfulness to the words of the Greek (and sometimes even to Greek grammar) over making clear sense in English. Brethren often are fond of these translations (I think because they appear to remove human judgment from translation, though in truth they do not), but they often pose obstacles to our understanding. These obstacles can be surmounted in verse-by-verse study (as when the preacher reads a verse and then pauses to explain what it means in normal English), but they often make Bible reading difficult, especially for new Christians who don’t speak fluent NASB.

By contrast, the style of the CSB is accessible and lively. Instead of talking like Bible characters, speakers in the CSB sound like real people. For instance, in Luke 6:46 in the CSB, Jesus says, “Why do you call me “Lord, Lord” and don’t do the things I say?”

The CSB also is full of aptly phrased renderings. Consider the difference between Ruth 2:12 in the NASB (“May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.”) and the CSB (“May the LORD reward you for what you have done, and may you receive a full reward from the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”). The NASB undeniably sounds more Hebraic, with idioms like “your wages be full”, but it’s the CSB that sounds like good English. That’s important!

TEXTUAL FAITHFULNESS. It is, of course, possible for translators to take accessibility too far. Unlike most brethren, I’ve used the NLT extensively (I read the whole thing cover-to-cover a few years back), and though I like it for reading, I feel like the translators take too many liberties, especially in the New Testament, for the translation to be suitable for close study. When I’m reading from the NLT, there are a dozen places in the book of Romans alone where I stop and say, “Man; they sure booted that one!”

The translators of the CSB are much more careful. So far, at least, I feel that the translation sacrifices little in the way of nuance and faithfulness in exchange for great gains in style and clarity. Of course, there are CSB renderings that I don’t like, but there are renderings in every translation I don’t like. To this point, they are infelicities I can live with.

I also like the balance that the CSB has struck on gender equality. The translators generally render the Greek _adelphoi_ as “brothers and sisters” (unless the context makes it clear that only males are under discussion), and they replace “how blessed is the man” in Psalm 1:1 with “how blessed is the one”. However, the pronoun throughout Psalm 1 is “he”, and the translators preserve the singular “son of man” in Psalm 8:4 (compare “human beings” in the NIV). It remains to be seen whether the upcoming 2020 revision of the NASB will fare as well.

I certainly don’t insist that every Christian out there needs to switch to the CSB Right This Minute. It almost certainly is true that the Bible you’re using right now is get-you-to-heaven good (though if you struggle to adhere to a Bible-reading program, consider that your choice of translation and setting may be at fault). However, for those who are looking for another Bible or simply are curious, the CSB is well worth checking out.

New Interpreter’s Study Bible Review (Recovered)

New Interpreter’s Study Bible Review (Recovered)

 

New Interpreters Bible Photos

 

Recently Abingdon Press sent me three Bibles to review, The Common English Bible Study Bible, The Wesley Study Bible, and the New Interpreter’s Study Bible. The CEB Study Bible review has already been completed and today we will be discussing the New Interpreter’s Study Bible. 

 

Before we get into the review, a little information from the publisher: 

 

Product Description 

The New Interpreter’s Study Bible brings the best of biblical scholarship to the service of the Church. In this new study Bible, based on The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible with Apocrypha, sixty distinguished scholars have provided background and insight on the biblical text. Features of this valuable new study Bible include extensive historical and theological annotations on the biblical text; brief introductions and outlines for each biblical book; excursuses giving further background and insight regarding particular themes and passages; and nineteen newly commissioned maps detailing the biblical world at various historical periods. 

 

Features: 

  • Double-column format
  • Article, “Canons of Scripture”
  • Guides for Interpretation articles:

Reliability of Scripture 

Authority of the Bible 

Inspiration of Scripture 

Guidelines for Reading and Interpretation 

Varieties of Readings and Interpretations of the Biblical Text 

Culture and Religion Among Ancient Israelites 

  • Sectional headings
  • Book introductions and Outlines
  • Black letter edition
  • 19 color maps with index
  • Glossary
  • Old and New Testament Chronologies
  • 9-point text size
  • 50″ x 7.50″ x 1.75″

 

And now, let’s dive right in… 

 

Font Size, Paper, and Layout 

NIB’s font size is impeccable; it’s 9-10 point and incredibly readable, being laid out in a double column paragraph format. This, for me as well as many others, is one of the top three considerations when choosing a Bible. I don’t have the greatest eyesight and if I find myself straining to make out the text on the page, I won’t bother. I, personally, think that the text size is ideal for a study edition of the Bible, small enough that you are not carrying around too much weight and large enough to not cause headaches.  

 

The paper is a very bright white. Some white papers actually discolor after quite a bit of handling but that is not the case here. I have handled the paper extensively, turning every page several times to get a feel for the material and thus far there has been no discoloring from the oil on my hands.  

 

The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals 

This, I confess is new to me. My biological father was a catholic and my wife is a former catholic yet I can say that until this Bible I had never really looked into these books. As their name suggests, these are not part of the generally accepted canon by most Protestants. At the same time, I have been able to ascertain that some denominations actually do accept them. 

 

Of the Apocryphal books, I find the Books of the Maccabees to be the most interesting. Without going into a great deal of detail, there are a couple things I noticed: 

 

  1. It is in the Books of the Maccabees that we learn about the Feast of Dedication/Channukah.
  2. The most substantiation for the Antichrist having already come seems to be found here. If Antiochus IV was the Antichrist, the case would most certainly and most clearly laid out here. However, I do not see anything else in Scripture to suggest that Antiochus was the Antichrist, most especially since Jesus and Paul both spoke of him in a future tense. 
  3. The additions to Esther do not appear in all Greek texts of the Old Testament and they do not appear in the Hebrew OT at all, which leads me to question, seriously, the validity of including them in the Scripture.
  4. Beland the Dragon and Tobit bot appear to be works of fiction. If that is the case, their inclusion in a Bible would be most suspect. 

 

Overall, I am not opposed to Christians reading the Apocrypha; I certainly would not call these works authoritative but I cannot find the harm in reading them since they did comprise a part of Church History.  

 

Text Excursus 

This is a feature that I have only seen in one other Bible, the CEB Study Bible. These are kind of like a side-bar or a more in-depth foot note but they have less detail than a full article. Nearly every book of the Bible has at least one; in some cases, Ephesians for example, they provide interesting background information that most likely was not known otherwise.  

 

Special Note Section 

These are similar to the Text Excursi but much more bite sized. A number of them appear to be word studies.  

 

Introductions, Outlines, and Study Notes: 

In order to get more of a feel for the layout, I acquired a New Oxford Annotated Bible (NOAB) from my local thrift store. NOAB is the main Bible used in Mainline Protestant Seminaries, is also a New Revised Standard Version Text, and could pass for the older sister of the NIB. Unless you are a teacher you will probably find it hard to get excited about an outline; I find myself rather enjoying them. In some study Bibles, the outlines will run a couple pages per book. Thankfully that annoying problem is not present in the NIB. These outlines are succinct without lacking substance. All of the essentials that you need to know to comprehend a book are outlined for you and you could use them as an expository teaching guide without leaving your congregation lacking or use them as a starting off point for an intensive in depth study. 

 

As to the Study Notes themselves, it is quite obvious that NIB is meant as an academic text. That is not bad but it does cut some people out of the prospective market. It, most assuredly does not have the pastoral feel of a MacArthur or Jeremiah Study Bible but that is quite ok. This is the one that you will reach for when you are looking for solid academics and not necessarily pastoral care.  

 

There are a couple features that are found in other Bibles that I would love to see Abingdon poach for this version: 

  • Interpretive Challenges (found in MacArthur Study Bible)
  • Christ in Scripture (Found in Nelson’s NKJV and Open Bible Study Bibles)
  • Major Themes of each Book (found in ESV Study Bible)
  • Word Studies (Found in Holman CSB Study Bible, Nelson NKJV Study Bible, and AMG Hebrew-Greek Keyword Study Bible. 

 

The addition of those features could easily make this the ultimate Study Bible.  

 

The Book Introductions are a little different from what you may be used to. As I have already pointed out, this is one of the most academic study Bibles I have ever encountered. It is obviously assumed that the user of this Bible will fall into one of a few categories: an Undergraduate Student, a Seminary Student, a pastor, or a teacher in a church. Because of that assumption, the Introductions really shine in the NIB. There is the usual historical background and outline as well as a bit of commentary on the author but something I found, here, that I do not usually notice in other study Bibles is the theological commentary. Granted it is Mainline Protestant Theology and I am a Conservative Evangelical but I cannot stress enough how valuable it is to have the remarks on theology as a starting point for discussion. Many Christians have little idea what they actually believe or why; they don’t have any idea of what their Christological, Soteriological, Pneumatalogical, or Eschatological beliefs are or if they are even supposed to have one. This is not because they are defective Christians (we are all defective but I digress) rather it is because they don’t have any point of reference upon which to build. That being the case, I am glad to see theological opinion in the introductions, even if I don’t always agree. 

 

Translation

This is offered in the New Revised Standard Version, the academic standard text for mainline protestant seminaries. Though it does contain the Apocrypha, it is not the Catholic Edition (abbreviated NRSV-CE)

 

Overall, the New Interpreters Study Bible is a pleasant surprise. Because I am so conservative, I did not think I would like the NIB and I was nearly certain that I would not like the translation. NRSV is not a translation that would normally find its way onto my shelf nor would an “ecumenical” study Bible. There is enough valuable information inside, however, that the New Interpreters Study Bible has earned a place on my shelf and if you are a student of the Word, you may want to give it a look too.  

 

 

The Pastor’s Quad: Brief Comparison of the Preaching Bibles

The Pastor’s Quad: Brief Comparison of the Preaching Bibles

There are 4 Bibles chomping at the bit to be your new preaching Bible. I have reviewed them individually and today I want to compare them for you. They are ESV Preaching Bible (Crossway), CSB Pastor’s Bible (Holman), The Preaching Bible, NKJV and KJV (Thomas Nelson), and The Preacher’s Bible (GTY/Steadfast Bibles)

Let’s dive in…

ESV Preaching Bible

Translation English Standard Version

Cover and Binding Pebble grain goatskin, leather edge-lined

Font 10-point

Margins 1.25”

Format Single Column Paragraph

Stand Out Feature(s) Most liturgical sounding of the 4. Bolded verse numbers for ready references. 36 gsm paper, ideal for writing.

Drawbacks None

Well known pastors who use ESV John Piper, Allistair Begg

Why should you choose this Bible? The experience of using this Bible is unlike any other I have ever used (see my review). The translation coupled with generous margins and very heavy grade paper makes this a perfect choice for the Reformed or Reformed leaning Expositor.

Aside from the translation, I would say the paper is the top reason to choose this Bible. Many pastors, especially those of us who lean reformed, have a tendency to make marginal annotations (pictures, word study, cross references) and this paper is quite nice for doing just that. {Note: Alaways test your writing instrument on a page in the back first}

Nelson Preaching Bible

Translation King James and New King James Version

Cover and Binding Ironed Calfskin, leather edge lined

Font 11-point

Margins Non-existent

 Format: Double column, verse by verse

Stand Out Feature(s) Only Bible in the group that offers references

Drawbacks Tiny margins

Well known pastors who use NKJV Phillip DeCourcy, David Jeremiah, the late R.C. Sproul, Voddie Baucham, Mike MacIntosh

Why should you choose this Bible? Thomas Nelson has been producing KJV Bibles for nearly half the time the KJV has existed and, in honoring that legacy, also produce the New King James. These are the only Bibles in the group that offer the original translation (NKJV, which to date has not been revised/updated/or otherwise tinkered with). Nelson has the utmost in quality offered here and if you are looking for the most conservative of the translations available, these are it.

NKJV and I are the same age, both having entered the world in 1982 and we have a special connection. It has been with me so often that I had not even realized it was my go to Bible; I thought I was the NASB guy. That, though, is your ultimate goal in choosing your Bible- it needs to be so comfortable and so familiar that it is not just a tool in your hand but it is an extension of you. 

 

CSB Pastor’s Bible

Translation Christian Standard Bible

Cover and Binding Ironed goatskin with paste down liner

Font 10.5-point font

Margins 1”

Format Single column, paragraph

Stand Out Feature(s) Pastoral helps section for various services. Old Testament quotations in bold print.

Drawbacks Thin paper. Paste-down liners are less than flexible. Newest translation in the group.

Well known pastors who use CSB  Ed Hindson, JD Greear, Robby Gallaty, David Platt, Professor David Dockery

Why should you choose this Bible? CSB is almost a perfect blend of literal and readable. It offers and excellent balance of academic and devotional reading. This is ideally suited for age diverse congregations or congregations whose members primarily have English as a second language.

 CSB is growing at an extremely rapid pace. Formerly the Holman Christian Standard Bible, it is in its 3rd iteration and has been very well received by many. A number of smaller churces use the CSB as their main teaching Bible. The age of this tranlation seems like a problem at first, but when you read it you will see that it is sound, accurate and readable. If it were possible for the fastidiously literal NASB and the incredibly readable NIV to produce offspring it would be the CSB.

The Preacher’s Bible

Translation New American Standard Bible (1995 Updated Edition)

Cover and Binding Pebble grain goatskin, leather edge lined

Font 11-point

Margins 1.5”

Format single column, verse by verse

Stand Out Feature(s) 65 gsm paper, heaviest currently available in a Bible. Designed by John MacArthur, largest margins of the 4.

Drawbacks Largest Bible currently in production weighing in at nearly 5 pounds.

Well known pastors using NASB John MacArthur, Charles Swindoll, Steve Lawson, HB Charles, Charles Stanley

Why should you choose this Bible? The Preacher’s Bible carries the heaviest paper on the market, virtually guaranteeing no bleed through. With the largest margins in the group and generous spacing between lines, this is the ideal choice for the pastor who loves to write notes in the margins.

This is a juggernaut of a Bible and it isn’t easy to carry. This Bible is for you if you want to keep it on your desk, you pulpit, and not many other places. I am actually using this not as a preaching Bible but to create a Family Legacy Bible. Notes and passages marked from 3 generations of my family are being transferred/recorded here so that if the Lord tarries, I will leave it behind to the pastor who steps into my place when I pass and I will leave him a robust legacy of a strong faith. 

Is there a clear winner?

I am forced to declare a tie between Nelson and Crossway. Crossway looked deep into my soul and created the perfect Bible BUT I have realized that over 80% of my lessons over the last 22 years have been from NKJV (My most heavily marked up and used Bible is NKJV). Habit, more than anthing else, will keep the Nelson Preaching Bible in my briefcase and on my pulpit. Aesthetic appreciation will keep the ESV Preaching Bible right next to the Nelson in my briefcase and on my pulpit. Why choose? Both are perfect in their own right.

The truth of the matter is this: When you choose your preaching Bible, the translation should be your primary choice. It needs to be faithul to the original languages and as acccurate as possible. The choices represented here offer the best English translations available. Beyond that, for a Bible that you will take into the pulpit, less really is more. Your essentials are a large enough font to read from without eye strain and as few distractions in the text as possible. I happen to be peripatetic at times so I also look to be able to carry the Bible in one hand as I move about behind the pulpit. 

I commend to you any of the 4, but especially the Crossway or the Nelson. I would encourage you to try both. Be advised, both Bibles are so excellent that you may find yourself in the same boat as me and not able to choose.

Zondervan Premier Collection NIV Large Print Thinline Bible Review

Zondervan Premier Collection NIV Large Print Thinline Bible Review

 

 

Disclosure: Zondervan provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to post positive comments; my opinions are my own.

Crossway, Cambridge University Press, Broadman & Holman, R. L. Allan and Sons, Schuyler, Thomas Nelson (Harper Collins), and now Zondervan (Harper Collins). What do all these publishers have in common? They all publish deluxe/premium Bibles in various English versions and at varying ranges of the pricing spectrum. The closest in materials and price point to the Harper Collins Premier Collections are from Crossway and Holman. We will compare the Crossway and Holman editions today as well.

I am reviewing the Large Print Thinline NIV and I will compare it to the the Holman CSB Large Print Ultra-thin Reference Bible (LPUT) and the Crossway ESV Large Print Bible.

Product Description from Zondervan

This NIV Premier Collection Bible features a soft, fine goatskin cover and many other quality finishes such as art gilding, edge lining, and three thick ribbon markers. The NIV Premier Collection Bible combines fine craftsmanship with ultimate readability and portability. It features the new Zondervan NIV Comfort Print font expertly designed for the New International Version (NIV) text, and delivers a smooth reading experience to complement the most widely read modern-English Bible translation.

 

Features:

  • Hand-bound in a supple goatskin leather cover
  • Smyth-sewn and edge-lined construction for flexibility
  • Art Gilt page edging, with gilt line and perimeter stitching
  • Exclusive Zondervan NIV Comfort Print typeface
  • Three satin ribbon markers, each 3/8-inch wide
  • Premium European Bible paper, 36 gsm
  • Black-letter text
  • Family record section

 

Price Point-

  • NIV Large Print Thin-line $149.99
  • ESV Large Print in Top Grain Leather $139.99
  • Holman CSB LPUT-$129.99

Cover Material and Binding:

  • NIV: Black Goatskin with edge-lined leather liner and smythe sewn binding.
  • Crossway: Black calfskin with edge-lined leather liner and smythe sewn binding.
  • Holman: Black goatskin with edge-lined leather liner and smythe sewn binding.

Winner: Tie between Zondervan and Crossway.

Among all three, we have the top Bible in its translation and class. Zondervan’s goatskin is quite wonderful. It is smoothly ironed with just the faintest sense of grain. That scent, which only a true book aficionado will love is there; it is intoxicating and it is what I look for most when I open a new Bible. This leather is infinitely more touchable than the Holman and that is part of what sets Zondervan apart; your first sensation when you interact with your Bible is how it feels. It should feel natural in your hand, not too cumbersome, loose but not so floppy that it falls out of your hand if you use it one handed.

When you look at the leather, you will notice tiny variations in the skin and you need to know that this is not a defect. Many times you will see “blemishes” in leather goods and this is a natural result of using real animal skins. I have come to look for these little variations as they make it more unique.

A goatskin leather cover and a sewn binding guarantees your Bible will last for a lifetime, which is exactly what Zondervan guarantees.

Side note: Both Holman and Crossway beat Zondervan with a tighter binding.

 

Font

  • NIV: 11.4-point comfort print font type
  • Crossway: 11.5-point font type.
  • Holman: 9-point font type

Winner: Zondervan

Zondervan uses what it calls a comfort print font that was designed by 2/k Denmark, who also designed the typeface on the Holman and the similarities are obvious when you look at the two Bibles. Zondervan and Crossway give us true large print fonts.

While Crossway offers Zondervan stiff competition, the Comfort Print from Zondervan is, far and away, the easiest font that I have read. Zondervan and 2/k Denmark teamed up to create a font family that is very easy on the eyes and is intentionally designed to minimize eye fatigue.

Paper:

All 3 Bibles use a 36-GSM Bible Paper but this time Holman is the clear winner.

Zondervan’s paper is sufficiently opaque to be easy to read. However, there is a bit of a shine so it can be challenging in the pulpit. I have a tendency to be mildly peripatetic and so there was not really a major issue with the shine.

The remainder of the review will focus exclusively on the Zondervan and my thoughts…

 

Ribbons:

Zondervan gives 3 satin ribbons- Navy blue, light blue, and standard blue. The color variation is an offset to the blue under silver art gilding and is another feature designed to make the Bible easy on the eyes.

Layout:

We have a double column paragraph format that is text only. For classroom teaching, this is an ideal layout. When you are standing before your learners and bringing the Word, you do not want any distractions. Some of my colleagues prefer to preach from a single column format but I just cannot do it. I have taught from a double column for so long that I can’t function without that layout.

As a pastor’s Bible:

The Large Print Thin-line NIV is very portable and fits nicely into my laptop bag. It is very easy to use one handed. Because of its portability, it went with me for one-on-one discipleship, on a hospital visit, and into the pulpit. Overall, I found it to be very practical. If I had one complaint it would be that the sewing is loose enough that the Bible feels very floppy; I would like to see it sewn a little tighter.

Is anything missing?

That is a tough question to answer. A concordance is definitely left out and I’m not sure why. I would like to see end of verse references and a few lined pages for notes. The absence thereof is not problematic, more of nit picking on my part.

Would I recommend the Large Print Thin-line? Who should buy it?

I do recommend the NIV and so I recommend this by default. As for who should buy this particular Bible, I would primarily recommend this edition for someone who is teaching the Bible on a regular basis and especially for missionaries. In my personal opinion, it is the most practical Bible that Zondervan offers.

Final Thoughts:

Zondervan’s sheer size as a publisher enables them to offer a very high quality Bible at what is a fairly low price point for the premium class. Many Christians only have one Bible and it needs to be a good one; when I say a good Bible, I mean a high quality edition that will easily last 25 years or more.

I am glad to see that the world’s best selling English Bible is available in a format worthy of Sacred Scripture. I am also pleased to see that Zondervan is offering a price point that will be more accessible to many Christians.

 

CSB Pastor’s Bible Review

CSB Pastor’s Bible Review

 

The most important tool any pastor carries is his Bible and a number of publishers have released special Bibles for pastors, all of which are worth consideration.  Previously, we have reviewed the EVS Pastor’s Bible from Crossway and today we are reviewing the CSB Pastor’s Bible in brown genuine leather. (Note: This Bible was acquired at my own expense; no review has been solicited by Holman Bible Publishers.)

 

Before we begin, some information from Holman…

Product Description

Available in two editions, Genuine Leather or Deluxe Leather-Touch-the CSB Pastor’s Bible is ideal for pastoral use during preaching, officiating services, or personal study. Helpful features include a single-column setting, large type, wide margins, a special insert section in the middle of the Bible. Also contains outlines for officiating weddings and funerals, and extensive tools and articles from some of today’s respected pastors and church leaders. The CSB Pastor’s Bible is a valuable life-long resource for Pastors.

 

Features include:

  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Single-column text
  • Footnotes
  • Black-letter text
  • 10-point type
  • Concordance
  • Presentation page
  • Two-piece gift box
  • Over 17 articles on leadership and ministry by experienced pastors and leaders disbursed throughout the Bible’s pages
  • Outlines for officiating weddings and funerals

The CSB Pastor’s 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 and share with others.

A Few Remarks About CSB

The choice to preach and teach from the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) is one that more and more pastors are making and I can see why. On a number of occasions, I have described the CSB as the perfect blend of NASB (the most literal) and the NIV (the most popular). CSB is fastidiously literal yet very easy to read. I would estimate at an approximately 8th grade level, which is excellent because it will afford the teacher of God’s word the broadest audience spectrum possible. I have mentioned, in previous articles, that CSB is one of the 3 main translations that I use for regular reading. I am happy to commend the CSB to you; you will find it to be very accurate, readable, and most importantly, faithful to the original text.

Cover and Binding

I selected the brown genuine leather version, for myself, and I want to tell you two things about it. 1. Brown genuine leather is a total understatement. This is actually goatskin leather, as you will see stamped on the back of the Bible. 2. This goatskin cover is absolutely exquisite and I cannot believe that you can find a goatskin Bible at this price ($99.99)

The liner is a paste down, which I think contributes to the pricing. Here, in Phoenix, the heat can make a paste down liner a little problematic because if you leave it in your car, you can melt the paste (This has actually happened to me in the past.).

The block, itself, is sewn. If you know anything about bindings, you know that a sewn binding is the only type that will stand up to the near constant punishment a pastor will subject his Bible to and I can confidently state that the cover will wear out before the sewn binding will.

Layout, Font, and Margins

This Bible is laid out in a single column paragraph format. The margins are approximately 1-inch. A wide margin is essential for a pastor so that you can mark out your notes and references.

2k/Denmark designed the font and, even though it is officially a 10-point font, it reads more like an 11-point to my eyes. The text is black letter and I have found this to be much more useful in the pulpit than a red letter.

The single column paragraph format works out well for large scale consumption of the Biblical text and, since consuming the Biblical text is a pastor’s most important undertaking, this format is highly desirable.

Helps

At the end of the Bible are the various pastoral helps.  These include a “where to turn” section with Scripture references to help (pictured below), “A Brief Biblical Theology of Leadership,” “Eight Traits of Effective Church Leaders,” “Pastor, Find Your Identity in Christ,” “Glorifying God in Your Ministry,” “What is Biblical Preaching?,” “Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures,” “What is Doctrinal Preaching?,” “Four Keys for Giving an Effective Invitation,” “Five Ways to Improve Congregational Singing,” “Soul Care: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love,” “Letter to the Church,” “Five Steps to Start and Keep an Evangelistic Culture,” “How Do You Disciple Others?,” “The One Thing You Must Do as a Student Pastor,” and “Sharing the Gospel with Children.”

In between Psalms and Proverbs is where you will find the “Life Events” helps. These are for weddings, funerals and so on.  Noticeably absent are helps for communion and baptism as well as cross-references, which can all be found in the rival ESV Pastor’s Bible. Whether or not missing these helps is problematic will depend entirely upon who you are as a pastor. The helps that are “missing” I have in other books that are in my library.

There are 3 ribbons provided so you can mark your spot in each of the 3 major sections of the Bible: Old Testament, Worship and Wisdom, and New Testament.

As A Carry Bible

The Pastor’s Bible is not small but it is not overly large, either. I would list it as just right. It fits in my bag easily, I can hold it one handed without my hand/arm getting tired, and it pairs well with my iPad when placed on my pulpit.

Final Thoughts

Would I recommend the CSB Pastor’s Bible? Yes. As the pastor at Abounding Grace Baptist Church, I use different translations (NLT, CSB, & NASB) for different purposes and I definitely plan on moving the pastor’s Bible into rotation as my pastoral care and discipleship Bible. I will also be using it alongside my Tyndale Select NLT Reference Bible for large scale consumption of the Biblical text.

 

CSB Study Bible Review

CSB Study Bible Review

This particular review has taken me a little longer than normal, not because there is anything wrong with the CSB Translation but because old habits die hard. The HCSB, predecessor to the CSB has been one of the translations that I have used for a number of years and I am trying to make it a main translation but after 21 years with NASB, old habits really do die hard.

The particular CSB that we are reviewing today is the CSB Study Bible in jacketed hardcover which was provided by B&H Publishing free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

The CSB Study Bible is an update to the HCSB version of the Holman Study Bible.

From the Publisher

The CSB Study Bible continues to offer the ECPA award winning Holman study system with all of its study notes and tools uniquely designed to be on the same page as the biblical text to which they refer. Newly expanded to offer additional word studies, feature articles on the apostles by Dr. Sean McDowell, and more.

The CSB Study 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.

For the growing believer whose desire is to know Scripture more intimately and live out its loving instruction, the CSB Study Bible always keeps you and God on the same page.

Features include:

  • 368 word studies to introduce you to the context and meaning behind key Greek and Hebrew words
  • High-quality smyth-sewn binding that will lie open whether you are reading Genesis 1 or Revelation 22
  • Full-color visuals to help you see the structure and context of Scripture come alive, including 94 photographs, 55 maps, 44 paintings, 21 illustrations/reconstructions, 19 charts, and 61 timelines
  • Introductions and outlines for each book, including background information, theological themes, and insights into the unique contribution of each book
  • Easy-to-read layout with two columns of text, center-column cross-references, and three columns of notes

Why do you need a study Bible?

A number of my colleagues do not care for study Bibles and I think this is a bit short sighted. The primary audience for a study Bible is a new disciple. Fully 95% of the Christians in America will not get the benefit of Bible College but will need resources to help them grow. A good study Bible, and this one is an excellent choice, will provide an excellent foundation for discipling a new believer.

Translation Choice

The CSB is what we would call a mediating translation, or to use B&H’s description, Optimal Equivalence. It is not strictly literal like the NASB nor is it an entirely meaning based translation like NIV or NLT. You will find the text to be literal where it needs to be and meaning based where it needs to be. All in all, I really like the translation and I will eventually replace my NASB and NIV with the CSB and the NLT.

Study Notes

The study notes are conservatively estimated at 15,000 but I would say that we are closer to 20,000. The notes easily rival both the MacArthur and ESV Study Bibles, two of my favorites. They are very comprehensive and do not simply explain the text but they provide cultural and theological background as well.

The predecessor, HCSB, was often times called the “Hard Core Southern Baptist Bible” because it is copyrighted and published by a Southern Baptist entity. However, the notes are not strictly Southern Baptist, even less so now than in the preceding edition. I would say they are pretty much mainstream evangelical.

Hebrew and Greek Word Studies (CSB Only)

There are times when you need to go deeper into a word’s meaning to be able to interpret Scripture correctly. The CSB Version of the Holman Study Bible offers Hebrew and Greek Word Studies. A word study will feature the word, its pronunciation, how it is translated in the CSB, an explanation of the word’s use in the Bible. This is arguably my favorite feature in the Holman Study Bible. In the updated version we are treated to 315 Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic word studies.

The word studies do not take the place of learning any of the original languages but they are most helpful for a Sunday School Teacher or a younger pastor who wants to go a little more in-depth with the audience.

If there was to be one feature that would cause me to recommend this study Bible over some others, it would be the word studies.

Additional Helps

141 photos, 62 timelines, 59 maps, 40-page concordance, 20 articles and essays on practical and theological issues, 16 illustrations and reconstructions, and 15 charts all come together to make what is doubtlessly one of the best tools you can add to your library.

The photos bring Scripture to life in new ways as they enable visualization of the lands of the Bible that may have been hard to imagine before. The timelines bring the historical context into the Bible and the charts present key information in a systematic way for more practical study

Overall Impression

All in all, I like the CSB Study Bible. I would prefer the paper to be a little heavier so that I felt comfortable writing in it but that is simply a niggling little complaint. Despite snarky remarks from its detractors, there is not really any denominational or theological bias in the CSB Study Bible.

If this is going to be your main/only Bible, spend a little more and get a leather edition. There is nothing wrong with a hardcover but it will wear out faster than a leather edition will.