No one translation or edition of the Bible will capture the attention of a public that appears to be at least somewhat resistant to reading the Scripture, but the CSB Readers Bible offers an engaging format that puts a quality translation onto a reader-friendly page.
Chapter markings, verses and text headers have been eliminated from this edition as have footnotes, study guides, photos, devotions, and all of those other “helps” that have crept into a myriad of other editions of the Bible. As a result, any given page looks like the page of any book with single-column, left-justified print that focuses reader attention where it should be – on the words of the Scriptures.
I had never thought the headings, chapters and verse numbers made a difference in how I read the Bible. I learned differently when I settled in to read the book of Ruth. Without the visual cues to which I have been accustomed, I read the book’s four chapters much faster than I ever had before. It never occurred to me that all the “page furniture” could be a distraction – but it clearly was.
The CSB Reader’s Bible doesn’t leave the reader totally without guidance, however. Chapter beginnings are subtly marked with a blue capital letter, as can be seen on the photo on this page. Quotations from the Old Testament are also presented in bold, which is helpful for identifying those occasions in which the gospel writers referred to the prophets.
That’s where the purpose of this edition of the Bible runs up against its usefulness for deep study. Without a footnote, the reader has to consult other sources to find out what Old Testament texts those bold-faced quotations come from. It’s also hard to use this edition in a small group setting due to the lack of verse numbers.
But, that’s OK. That’s not the purpose of this particular edition. This edition is meant to connect the reader directly with God’s word, allowing an immersive experience without the clutter. And that’s just what it does.
If you get distracted while reading, or find yourself bogged down in a plan to read through the Bible, consider the CSB Reader’s Bible. I know that, for me, this will not be an edition of the Bible that just sits on the shelf to collect dust. It will be the go-to version when I want to read a few pages before bed or the entirety of one of Paul’s letters during breakfast.