You’re not going to be indifferent to this version. It will be a frequent go-to, or the latest in a string of takes-up-too-much-space-on-my-shelf editions.
The best way for you to know what this volume contains is by telling you what it doesn’t.
No commentary. None.
No chapter markers.
No subheadings keeping the text running ever so smoothly.
No verse numbers.
No cross-references or tiny little italicized numbers and letters in the text.
No indecipherable sidebars to suffer through, or boxes of extra-biblical expert interjection.
No charts providing the approximate distance from the Pools of Bethesda to the Hinnom Valley (Wait! This may actually prove useful only as long as it’s in metric).
No pre-book articles.
No theologian-splaining the Pharisees and Sadducees, length of a Philistine spear, or tactility and purpose of a linen ephod (I’m still waiting an ephod comeback in the near future).
No red letters.
No numerated key theme sections.
No Cliff’s Notes-esque section-by-section, idea-by-idea outline of the book to be read.
No Bible reading plans presuming an undisciplined devotional life.
And who really needs a Biblical-to-Appoximate-American-and-metric-equivalent of a “beta”, anyway? Or for that matter, an ephah, lethech, hind, mina, or (my own personal favorite) a homer?
The CSB Reader’s Bible assumes you know what you’re doing when you crack a book.
It assumes you’re a reader and can find the information you need on your own.
It reduces clutter by removing away the haystack so the needle stares you squarely.
If you want to read Scripture in a way that resembles how it was originally read, it may be something worth pursuing.
However, if you rather enjoy your lines, your charts, your chapter/verse markers, and red letters this may not be you brand. If the articles, commentary, cross-references assist more than they hinder, you will stare, rather disappointedly, at this volume wondering what you’re supposed to do with it.
Whether someone is enamored with it, or finds it quite lacking, one thing’s undeniable is the favorable feeling of the volume in the hand. The warm, pleasant cloth binding offers the reader the notes of a classic work of literature. Even the box when the text is contained is enveloped in identical texture. One of the hallmarks of this version is the desire to run you hands over the cover before the text is ever opened.
The book is the height of an average Bible, but with a slightly narrower width, giving the appearance of a text of literature per se — more rectangular — than other Bibles which are closer to square in comparison to a general hardcover.
Without of the weight of additional content and the reduction of voluminous luggage normally present in other versions, the text fits neatly and comfortably in the hand while being carried.
As previously stated, you’re either going to find this worth your time, or you’re dismiss it. If those in your church are more literature minded, who enjoy reading Scripture as a continuous story instead of a philologist starter kit, this would be a positive addition to their library. Undoubtedly, however, one using this text to prep for teaching, doing serious exegetical work, or have a need for consistent commentary and cross-referencing will find this edition lacking.
To know if this is the type of text you are seeking you have to know well your needs in consuming Scripture. Hopefully, the above examination has aided you in this process. But one mustn’t look too far to distinguish this — indeed, not past even the name of the version of the volume itself to know whether it is worth the investment.