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CSB Study Bible, Hardcover Hardcover – May 15, 2017
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In the CSB Study Bible, the publishers made the font more readable (approx. 10-12 font), and the study notes (approx. 8 font) are small yet readable. The publishers added colored photos and brief word studies of key words within the notes. The CSB notes look better than that of the HCSB Study Bible.
What is different:
There are new articles "Reading the Bible for Transformation" (Brian H. Cosby) and The Uniqueness of the Genesis Creation Story" (Kenneth A. Matthews) -- these articles were not in the HCSB Study Bible. Both the HCSB and the CSB study Bible have the articles "How to Read and Study the Bible" (George H. Guthrie) and "The Origin, Transmission, and Canonization of OT Books (Jeremy R. Howard)
Between Malachi and Matthew, there is a new article "Intertestamental History" which was not in the HCSB Study Bible. At the back of the Bible, after the book of Revelation, there is a new article "What Really Happened to the Apostles?" (Sean McDowell).
There are a lot more study notes at the bottom of each page compared to the HCSB Study Bible. The notes have been revised and expanded.
Other than these articles and the expanded study notes at the bottom, the content of the CSB Study Bible is very similar to that of the HCSB Study Bible. However, the print of the CSB Study Bible is much smaller than that of the HCSB Study Bible. For example, in both the CSB and HCSB Study Bibles, after Joshua 13, there is a helpful chart "Joshua's Cities of Conquest." In the CSB Study Bible, the chart is written in very small font (8 font) whereas in the HCSB Study Bible, the font is much bigger and the chart is spread across 2 pages.
The Translation (CSB)
Here is an overview of some good translations from the CSB / HCSB, and some constructive feedback of how the CSB/HCSB could have made "better" translations.
Good translations in both the CSB / HCSB:
Ps. 23:1 "The LORD is my shepherd; I have what I need." This explains better the notion of the LORD being our sufficiency than the NKJV, "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want." I also really liked the translation of the Hebrew word "chesed" as "faithful love". (cf. Psalm 23;6; Lam. 3:22):
"Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD as long as I live." (Ps. 23:6)
"Because of the LORD's faithful love, we do not perish, for his mercies never end." (Lam. 3:22)
Also, I liked how the CSB/ HCSB translated the Greek word harpagmos ("to clutch or to snatch") in this way in Phil. 2:6 about Christ: "who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as SOMETHING TO BE EXPLOITED." The CSB's translation of harpagmos is much better than the NKJV's translation as "consider it robbery to be equal to God" (which may confuse people or give the wrong meaning of the Greek word).
The study notes for the CSB Study Bible:
The notes are excellent. Most of the translators of the CSB come from an evangelical premillennial viewpoint, and the study notes reflect that viewpoint. The writers of the study notes adhere to the inerrancy of Scripture, to the biblical view of the Trinity, to Christ being fully God and fully human, to salvation through faith alone in Christ, and to a premillennial understanding of eschatology / the books of Daniel and Revelation. The introductions to each book of the Bible provide a concise yet comprehensive overview of the book, explaining:
Circumstances of Writing
Message and Purpose
Contribution to the Bible
Outline of the Book
At the bottom of the page in the Introduction, there is also a historical overview of the book and how it fits within the chronological history within OT or NT times. Notable events and rulers in both OT and NT history are noted. Furthermore, there are key word studies of important biblical words juxtaposed with the excellent study notes at the bottom of each page.
Some constructive feedback:
In certain poetic passages in the Psalms, the CSB misses out on the beautiful Hebrew poetry and it interprets some of the passage. For example, one of my favorite passages in Psalm 139: 7-10 (ESV) reads: "Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me." In verses 8-10, the CSB translation reads, "If I go up to heaven, you are there, if I make my bed in Sheol you are there. If I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, even there your hand will lead me; your right hand will hold on to me." The CSB, like the HCSB, interprets the beautiful poetic phrases "wings of the morning ... uttermost parts of the sea" as "eastern horizon" and "western limits", thus negating the beautiful Hebrew poetry. This was quite disappointing for me in the CSB. My suggestion: please leave the beautiful Hebrew poetic phrases intact in the translation, and explain the poetry in the notes at the bottom of each page in a footnote.
Another notable change in the CSB is that it translates the covenant name of God (YHWH) in the Old Testament consistently as "LORD." The HCSB alternated between translations of YHWH as "Yahweh" and "LORD." Personally, I wished the CSB retained the use of Yahweh, like the New Jerusalem Bible does.
The CSB and HCSB also have some awkward translations of several OT Scriptural passages, which I hope will be corrected in future revisions of the CSB. One such verse is Micah 6:8. The ESV reads "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" The CSB's / HCSB's translation reads, "Mankind, he has told each of you what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God." You can be the judge of which translation is better. I prefer the ESV's translation. In addition, in the OT, both the CSB and the HCSB has the LORD saying, "This is the LORD's declaration" instead of "Thus declares the LORD" in other translations such as the ESV, NIV, or NASB (cf. Isaiah 43:10). When one reads passages such as Isaiah 43:10 aloud, the phrase "This is the LORD's declaration" sounds awkward compared to a simple "declares the LORD" (cf. ESV). Compare the 2 translations by reading it aloud: " 'You are my witnesses'" -- this is the LORD's declaration -- and my servant whom I have chosen,' and understand that I am he.." (Isaiah 43:10a CSB). Now read the ESV, "You are my witnesses,' declares the LORD, 'and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he' " (Isaiah 43:10a ESV). When you read the 2 different translations aloud, the simple "declares the LORD" (ESV) makes for a much smoother reading, than the wooden and awkward phrase, "This is the LORD's declaration" (CSB / HCSB). The CSB translators should have revised the awkward, "translation English" renderings of the HCSB to make it sound smoother as an English translation. Most of the other Bible translations (e.g. NIV, ESV, NASB, NRSV) have smoother English translations of Micah 6:8 and Isaiah 43:10.
Is it worth it to buy the CSB Study Bible if you have the HCSB Study Bible? The only major differences are a couple of the introductory articles for the OT and some articles at the back on "What happened to the Apostles?" Most of the content are the same, except the standard version of the HCSB Study Bible provides much larger font and thus it is easier to read. In the CSB Study Bible, the study notes at the bottom of the page are much smaller than those in the HCSB Study Bible -- one has to squint to read the notes. Hopefully, in the future, the editors will make the font of the study notes larger so it's easier to read.
I hope this review will help you to discern whether it is worth it to purchase the CSB Study Bible. The HCSB Study Bible earned the Evangelical Christian Book Award in 2011 for Best Study Bible. The CSB Study Bible will most likely receive similar accolades.
The issue is with the digital format. There is no way to access the study notes from the individual verses. You most flip to the end of the chapter to read the commentary then go back to the text. It becomes very frustrating having to flip to the end of a chapter to read the study notes multiple times in difficult to understand sections of scripture. I hope they resolve this issue since the translation and notes are very good.
But, I decided to open it up and I was delighted with what I found. The stitching on the outside cover is in black but the inside stitching is red. It has a black ribbon near the Old Testament and a red ribbon near the New Testament. The cover is soft and flexible. It has many helpful tidbits of useful information, pictures and charts with pertinent information about the scripture that is found on the same page. One does not have to go hunting for it. I was particularly impressed with the advice it gave in the article "Read the Bible for Transformation" where it says: "read the Bible with the expectation that God is at work". In doing so, it totally transformed my quiet time with the Lord as I now read His Word expectantly, spending more time tuned in to Him listening rather than doing so much talking. Though I had been already trying to meditate this way, I was not as successful as I am now since I read "with the expectation that God is at work."
The commentary on Genesis 3:22-23 concerning why man was banned from the tree of life was definitely food for thought. It teaches that "banning the humans from the tree of life allowed for their redemption rather than for them to live a life of perpetual sin in an unredeemed condition."
This is something I have never thought of.
Finally, this is my first time reading the CSB version of the Bible as I usually read NASB now and KJV an NKJV in the past. I find the word studies, alternate and literal translations included near the scripture very useful and a great time saver. One thing I did notice was that John 5:4 is completely omitted in the scripture but a note is in place in the commentary along with the omitted scripture stating that some manuscripts include it.
Also, since I have memorized scripture using NASB and KJV versions, I must use my Bible or another concordance to find scripture. The language of the CSB is so different that I have difficulty finding scripture when referencing with its concordance.
I originally gave 4 stars but decided to change it to 5 stars because it has so much useful information in it.