I have recently become a huge fan of Reader’s Bibles. I love the simplicity of only the text on the page without the distractions of chapter numbers, verse numbers, and footnotes, helpful as they may all be. I currently have a six-volume ESV reader edition, a one-volume ESV reader edition, and the NIV Books of the Bible reader edition.
One recent (re)translation that has come out is the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). I have enjoyed reading through that translation, and I was excited to hear that they had a Reader’s Edition being released. Upon request, the publisher agreed to send me a copy to review.
The edition I received was a gray cloth over board edition. Interestingly, the slipcase is the same cloth over board material as the Bible itself, which was a nice tough in my opinion.
The Bible is well constructed, and it lays flat from the very first page of the Table of Contents all the way to the end.
The font is a decent size and boldness, which makes for easy reading. The paper is very white, but that helps the text stand out. Because it is a one-volume edition, the paper is not as thick as the multi-volume editions released by other publishers; it can’t be if you want a portable Bible. But the line matching helps to minimize ghosting from one page to the next.
Each chapter starts with a larger initial letter in a blue font, and the same blue font is used at the bottom of the page to give you a rough guide as to what book and chapter you are reading in. This could be helpful if one were to take the Bible to church to read with, although you would still need to listen to the context and be familiar with it, as there are no verse numbers throughout. It also retains the bold font for quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament. There are maps in the back, but there are no guides as to what page numbers certain chapters could be found on.
I like the CSB’s use of setting new dialogue in different paragraphs, more like a modern novel would. It helps me keep track of who is talking when. This has always been a weakness of the ESV to me, as they may have a back-and-forth conversation all in one paragraph.
The Bible does include on dark blue ribbon bookmark to help you keep track of where you are reading.
To me, the CSB Reader’s Bible is almost the perfect layout. I love the font, and the boldness of the text. It doesn’t seem too cramped on a page. But the one thing I wish they had done is take more of a note from Biblica’s Books of the Bible set or the six-volume ESV set and do away with chapter numbers all the way around, possibly redividing text by thought. I understand that keeping the beginning of chapters noted with the large blue first letter helps orient some readers, but it still forces an unnatural division into the text. It’s almost like the CSB Reader’s Bible got right on the verge of producing one of the “perfect” Reader’s Bibles and stopped just short of the final goal.
All in all, the CSB Reader’s Bible is a welcome addition to my collection of reader’s editions, and it is one I will refer to again and again.
*Note: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.