I obtained my copy of the CSB Spurgeon Study Bible at the end of November. This has allowed me a little over a month to familiarize myself with both the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) translation as well as the addition of Spurgeon’s works in this publication. Four covers are available from the publisher, I’m reviewing the cloth over board edition.
Exterior Appearance: When I unboxed my new Bible, I was pleased with the oatmeal and brown color scheme. Details such as C.H. Spurgeon’s signature embossed on the lower right-hand corner of the cover along with the gold lettering on the spine, create a handsome overall appearance. Two ribbons, matching the cover can be seen peeking from the bottom edge, but you will not find indexed fore-edges in this edition.
Interior Features: Within the first few pages is a biography of Charles Haddon Spurgeon written by Alistair Begg. At only 4 pages in length, it’s merely a brief overview of his life and ministry. This is followed by indexes of THE LOST SERMONS OF SPURGEON, SPURGEON QUOTES, SPURGEON ILLUSTRATIONS; as well as an INTRODUCTION TO THE CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE. Moving into the scriptures themselves, each book is preceded by an introduction containing a paragraph or two of Spurgeon’s thoughts on the book. Double columns of text with study notes underneath are interspersed with the aforementioned writings of Spurgeon. While the body of the text is an eye-pleasing 10 point font, many of the preacher’s writings are presented in his own handwriting. His script is quite elegant, but I appreciate the editors decided to include typewritten transcripts in the footnotes (or on the opposite page for his sermons). Rounding out the accoutrements is an 83-page concordance and 8 full-color maps.
Translation: Together with my daughter, we began reading this text in the New Testament since that is where we were in our reading plan when the Bible arrived on our doorstep. We read Acts through Revelation using this translation. Previously, we had been reading from the English Standard Version (ESV). At times, especially in Romans, I preferred the word-for-word translation over the CSB’s “Optimal Equivalence.” (See where the CSB falls on the Bible Translation Continuum). That being said, this translation is reader-friendly and would be ideal for daily reading or perhaps as a nice gift for a new believer.
If like me, you already own a copy of the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) you may be wondering what the benefits would be of purchasing the CSB Spurgeon Study Bible. To this I would answer, it is the addition of Spurgeon’s insights. While I do not write sermons, I do like seeing how the “Prince of Preachers” broke individual passages down to extract their core concepts. This is something I can emulate in my own study time. As for the translation changes, I do not believe the CSB is a completely new translation, but rather a revision of the HCSB—a fine-tuning.
Two years ago, I read through the HCSB over the course of the year. Even after all this time, I still remember reading about manatees (Exodus 35:7), so that is the first place I looked for a change. Indeed, the CSB has replaced manatee skins with fine leather. By randomly selecting 4 other passages, I found no changes to the wording of 2 Kings 6:1-14, similar word/phrase changes in 1 Samuel 3:1-8 and John 15:1-8, and multiple changes in Acts 8:15-22.
1 Samuel 3:2 … “in his room” (HCSB) reads “in his usual place” (CSB)
1 Samuel 3:3 … “tabernacle” (HCSB) is exchanged for “temple” (CSB)
John 15:1-8 … held similar wording changes like “vineyard keeper” (HCSB) for “gardener” (CSB)
Acts 8:15-22 held the most changes (HCSB vs CSB)
I was drawn to this Bible by the Spurgeon name. If your desire is to read his thoughts alongside a portion of scripture you are currently studying, then I feel you will be pleased with your purchase. Perhaps, in time, this translation will gain acceptance in more pulpits and have studies written which will require its use. As for now, the CSB Spurgeon Study Bible strikes me as being more for personal reading and reflection.