Published by Holman Bibles.
With the incredible number of English Bibles available, it is valid to ask a new edition or even translation the question ‘Why do you exist?’ or ‘Is there anything unique you have to offer?’ It seems that as a result, publishers have created Bibles for every conceivable niche group in the church. Alongside this fact, is the reality that many Bibles do one thing very well while doing several other things poorly.
One option is a traditional Study Bible, filled with copious amounts of notes, diagrams and background information, all of which can be a distraction if someone is trying to read through a significant portion of Scripture. Alternatively, a ‘plain-text’ Bible, with little more than a table of contents in the front, and a concordance at the back maybe someone’s preference, but it can be challenging to interact with unfamiliar books of the Bible if there are zero study helps available. Indeed, each style has value, but it can be difficult to make a decision when the choices are so opposed.
The He Reads Truth Bible brings a balanced approach to this divide, making it a fantastic option for someone looking to purchase one Bible. The purpose statement of the editors, Men Reading God’s Word, informs every decision in this Bible. Study aids are accessible and available, yet they never distract from the text itself. The typeface, line spacing, wide margins, and text size combine to make reading this Bible easy and enjoyable. Each element of this Bible points to thoughtful design, aimed at eliminating barriers to reading. As a unique feature, He Reads Truth also has a key verse from each book of the Bible presented artistically to highlight the theme of each of the 66 books of Scripture. Together, these 66 verses tell one story of redemption from Genesis to Revelation.
My favourite feature of this Bible occurs in the book introductions. Here, in addition to placing the book in Scripture’s grand narrative, outlining its message, and providing necessary background information, the editors have included a section titled “Give thanks for the book of…” Each book contains a message of thanksgiving, from obvious books for which Christians regularly give thanks, like the Gospel of John and the Psalms, to difficult-to-read books like Ecclesiastes, or difficult-to-apply books like Leviticus.
Even this small aspect serves the overall goal of scriptural engagement. Perhaps someone would read the book of Leviticus out of duty, or out of a desire to complete a yearly Bible reading plan, but many more people will read this book, learn from this book, and be changed by this book if they first understand why they, as a Christian, should be thankful for this book.
Reviewing this book was my first serious exposure to the Christian Standard Bible (CSB), and I am confident that many will not be familiar with the translation. It is not a new translation, but rather a revision of the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). Over the past two decades, publishers found that the name of the publishing house in the name of a Bible translation “created more questions than answers”.(1) The CSB is, therefore, an updated translation with a name designed to eliminate confusion so that it can reach its intended audience.
The translators of the CSB made a conscious commitment to work towards “a translation that is both highly literal and highly readable”.(2) Comparing translations is a complicated task, and there is no space here to compare multiple verses across translations. It is, however, somewhat helpful to think of the CSB as a hybrid of the English Standard Version (ESV) and the New International Version (NIV). It is the goal of the CSB translators to feel as though Christians no longer have to choose between accuracy and readability when choosing a translation. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that reading the CSB is at once refreshing and recognisable. John 3:16 demonstrates this dual nature well. “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” This edition does all the little things right; attention to detail, combined with several unique features, has resulted in an outstanding opportunity for God’s people. Reading the He Reads Truth Bible will be reinvigorating for the mature Bible student without being daunting for a person reading Scripture for the first time.
(1) Christian Standard Bible, “FAQs,” Christian Standard Bible, https://csbible.com/about-the-csb/faqs/#faq/why-was-the-word-holman-removed-from-the-name-of-the-translation (accessed May 28, 2020).
(2) Christian Standard Bible, “Translational Philosophy,” Christian Standard Bible, https://csbible.com/about-the-csb/translation-philosophy/ (accessed May 28, 2020).
Published by Holman Bibles. Holman Bibles publishes high quality Bibles and reference products that are trustworthy, accessible, and useful for the pursuit of lifelong discipleship.
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About the reviewer
Joshua Ens is a Canadian currently residing in New Zealand. As well as a book reviewer for Authentic he is a Youth Pastor at River City Bible Church and a full-time Secondary School Teacher.
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