I have to start this post with a confession. The CSB Readers Bible is slowly stealing my affection away from my ESV, though both are equally impressive. As I’ve been thumbing my way through the CSB and it’s fantastic Readers format, I’ve been drinking in the text in a brand new way.
Certainly, this could be the result of various life circumstances which God is using to further my sanctification or it could be that my mind, and my internal wiring, is geared toward readings in block format instead of piecemeal portions of scripture.
I’m not saying here that traditional formats are bad or incorrect somehow, it’s just that I’ve always had a problem reading through the text when it seems broken apart unnecessarily. I want to take my old formats and squish all the text together as though it were written without verse or chapter headings. Now I don’t have to, the CSB has done that for me.
Not only does the format lend itself to a deeper study but the translation process itself livens up the text so that important meanings and gleanings from the text are not lost on the modern audience. Trevin Wax, editor of The Gospel Project, has this to say about the updated translation;
“The CSB is as literal a translation of the ancient source texts as possible, but, in the many places throughout scripture where a word-for-word rendering might obscure the meaning for a modern audience, it uses a more dynamic translation. In all cases, the intent is to convey the original meaning of God’s word as faithfully and as clearly as possible.” (1)
You may be thinking at this point that it’s beginning to sound like The Message but it’s far from it. The liberty taken with the text is measured and qualified in order to match the meaning of the text instead of obscuring it or merely adding a plethora of extra words to amplify the meaning.
This process of carefully selecting the meaning of the text to match the intended meaning makes the words used resonate with more meaning. It’s hard to describe exactly how that happens but It seems to be working.
I’m grateful for the team at B&H, especially for Trevin, who seems to glow with excitement over where God is taking this new translation. This bible is transforming homes, not because of the CSB label on the cover, but because it’s bringing the very words of God to bear on more homes. It’s changing lives as families and small groups gather to study the revelation of the Christ to a broken people. It’s bringing the light of the Gospel to the darkest parts of the world. What better vision for a translation than to bring knowledge of the way of salvation to the most unreached people on this planet.