One of the hallmarks of a great and enduring theological work its ability to hit the “sweet spot” by engaging as many readers as possible without sacrificing depth and richness.
With a veritable sea of study bible options available on the market, users can feel adrift when choosing a study Bible.
Certain people who want a study Bible want relevant articles written by theologians, another person may want more footnotes or short bursts of commentary for personal study or prepping Sunday school lessons, where others seek more academic options such as reference material, maps, cross-references, and concordance tools.
Obviously, a publisher wants to offer a credible study Bible while still offering an attractive product of wide appeal. The result is a product which packs the maximum amount of content, into one volume as possible. This is why study Bibles tend to be the size of a shoe box.
And who can blame the publishers? You asked for a study Bible and they gave you a study Bible!
The problem with this approach, however, is the text, instead of inspiring greater study and reflection, turns out to be overwhelming.
And let’s not forget the Biblical text itself. While most want a translation that is readable and accessible, a translation which most closely resembles the original Hebrew and Greek signatures remains a priority.
In an attempt to take the reader’s desire for a functional, readable, accessible, and accurate translation into consideration, LifeWay has released the CSB Apologetics Study Bible.
The Christian Standard Bible (CSB), like most Bible translations, comes in multiple versions which offer a focused concentration within their translation (i.e. study, apologetics, students, children, etc.). This apologetics Bible offers some rather positive features, setting it apart from other apologetic and study bibles currently available.
Here’s what I found noteworthy about the CSB Apologetics Study Bible:
1. User friendly
The Biblical text is a clean layout with a text font allowing the eyes a more enjoyable reading experience. The text gives the reader relevant commentary options, but aren’t overwhelming or distracting. The CSB removes the “center cross-reference column” most Study and Apologetics Bibles contain. Instead, the cross-reference material is given as the bottom of the page, keeping it from being a distraction while reading. In fact, the cross-reference and commentary material appear almost as footnotes. The cross-reference material is separated from the commentary material by a clear, bold, black line.
2. Commentary material
The CSB Apologetic Study Bible is not lacking in scholarly contribution. Each Biblical book has brief and concise, introductory commentary on the authorship, background and setting, and reliability of the text, etc. Most of the books are provided with a two page introduction. Scholarly, yet accessible, articles are strategically placed throughout the Bible by theological and Biblical language experts.
Again, what is personally most impressive is the editing of the CSB Apologetics Study Bible. The balance of quality, richness, scholarly contribution, brevity, and conciseness is one it’s strongest features.
3. Additional features
The beginning of the CSB Apologetics Study Bible offers a table of contents where readers can locate the contributor, topic, and page number of the apologetic content. The table of contents offers reader the ability to location other apologetic tools such as a “Twisted Scripture Notes” and “Noted Christian Apologist Biographies”.
The CSB Apologetics Study Bible does a fine job of hitting the “sweet spot” mentioned at the beginning. This Bible could be as easily seen in the hands of the senior adult Sunday School teacher as it would be in hands of the high school student wanting to know more about his/her faith, as well as the pastor wanting clarification on certain passages or needing a quick article quote for a Sunday morning sermon.
And at a price point of slightly under $30, it is an economically accessible study Bible for almost anyone.