CSB Verse-by-Verse Reference Bible Review

The Holman CSB Verse-by-Verse Reference Bible presented the Christian Standard Bible in an easy to follow verse-by-verse format with elegant touches and wide margins on writable paper, making it an excellent choice for preaching, teaching, personal study, and following along with others. It’s available in brown bonded leather and black genuine leather (which is actually edge-lined goatskin). I’m reviewing the black goatskin, ISBN: 9781535990615, made in China. It comes wrapped in thick paper in a sturdy 2-piece box.

Holman provided this Bible in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.

_________________________________________________________

This Bible is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon

Christianbook

and many local Bible bookstores

_________________________________________________________

Table of Contents

    1. Video Review
    2. Binding
    3. Paper
    4. Typography and Layout
    5. Cross References
    6. Footnotes
    7. Table of Weights and Measures
    8. Concordance
    9. Maps
    10. Comparisons
    11. Conclusion

Video Review

Table of Contents

Binding

The cover is black goatskin. It has a pebbly grain with nothing printed on the front. The spine includes tooled rib indications and the text printed in gold. It has tight stitching around the perimeter. It has a 1/2″ yapp (the amount of leather that hangs over the edge of the pages). The cover is flexible, but it isn’t floppy. I find it easy to hold and carry.

The liner is edge-lined leather with a gilt line around the inside perimeter. The tab is a touch stiff and will need to be broken in well before it will lay flat in the first few chapters of Genesis. It’s Smyth sewn and has overcast stitching in the front.

It has three 1/4″ ribbons: black, gold, and red. The head/tail bands are black. The overall size is 7 1/4 x 9 13/16 x 1 1/2″ and it weighs 2 lbs, 9.9 oz.

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Paper

The paper is 36 GSM Hadley White with an 85 opacity rating. It’s extremely opaque. This is some of the most opaque paper I’ve seen in a Bible. It’s off-white in color and has no glare under direct light. The texture has the right amount of roughness that makes it easy to grab and turn. It seems to be made for notes and highlighting. This is easily some of my favorite paper in any Bible. The edges are art-gilt with red under gold. It’s not a deep red, but it does look nice.

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Typography and Layout

The text is presented in a double-column, verse-by-verse format. Old Testament quotes are in bold. Section headings are all-caps and are bold. The header displays the book name and chapter number in the outer margin and the page number in the center. The cross-references are placed in the column under the last verse on the page. Footnotes are placed in the footer. All highlights are in dark red including book names, chapter and verse numbers in the text, pilot chapter and verse numbers in the cross-references and footnotes, and the line separating the footnotes from the text. A drawing of a flower in black is placed under the book names.

The typeface is a 9.5 Bible Serif designed by 2K/Denmark. It’s dark and consistent throughout. It has around 8 words per line with a good amount of space between the lines. The text is printed with line-matching, so the lines on both sides of the are in the same location to reduce show-through. Although, the paper is so opaque that it wouldn’t matter if they didn’t line up. The setting doesn’t place poetry in stanzas. Instead, every verse follows the standard vbv format. One thing it does that I like is that each verse that continues the previous sentence starts with a lower-case letter. Verse numbers are bold and the verses are indented to make them easier to find quickly. This text is excellent for preaching, study, and reading.

This is a wide margin edition with a 1″ outer margin, 3/4″ inner margin, 5/8″ bottom, and 7/16″ top margin. This is great for small notes, references, symbols, etc. I recommend Pigma Micron pens or similar archival quality pens. The smaller the tip the better. I highly recommend this Bible for those that enjoy marking up their copies of God’s Word. For more about Bible marking, see my book Easy Bible Marking Guide on Amazon.

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Cross References

The references are keyed to the text with small italic letters and are placed under the last verse in the right column. There are a lot of cross-references, making this an excellent Bible for study and sermon prep. Here are a few examples to help you compare:

  • Genesis 1:1 – Ps 90:2; 102:12; Is 40:21; Jn 1:1-3; Eph 3:21; Neh 9:6; Is 40:12-14; 43:7; Jr 10:12-16; Am 4:13; Rm 1:25; 1 Co 11:9; Col 1:16; Rv 4:11
  • Deuteronomy 6:4 – Zch 14:9; Mk 12:29, 32; Rm 3:30; 1Co 8:6; Eph 4:6; 1Tm 2:5; Jm 2:19
  • Isaiah 9:6 – Is 7:14; 11:1-2; 53:2; Lk 2:11; Jn 3:16; Is 22:22; Mt 28:18; 1Co 15:25; Is 28:29; Dt 10:17; Neh 9:32; Is 10:21; 63:16; 64:8; 26:3, 12; 54:10; 66:12
  • Matthew 28:19 – Mt 10:42; 28:19 (not sure why this is included); Lk 14:26; Jn 8:31; 13:35; 15:8; Ac 6:1; Mk 16:15; Lk 24:47; Ac 2:38; 8:16
  • Mark 12:29 – Col 4:1; Ja 5 (no verse given); Dt 6:4
  • John 1:1 – Gn 1:1; Col 1:18; Jn 1:14; 1Jn 1:1; Rv 19:13; Jn 20:28; Php 2:6
  • John 3:16 – Jn 12:43; 1 Cor 13:1; Gl 2:20; Col 1:13; 3:12; 1 Th 1:4; 2 Th 2:13, 16; 1 Jn 4:7-12; Ja 1(no verse given); 1 Jm 4:9; Jn 5:19; Heb 1:2; Jn 12:25; ; Rm 5:8; 1 Jn 3:16; 4:9-10
  • Acts 2:38 – Lk 24:47; Ac 3:19; 26:20; Ac 8:12; 22:16; Ac 3:16; 15:14
  • 1 John 1:1 – Jn 1:1; 1Jn 2:13-14; Ps 119:25; Jn 1:1, 4; 5:24; Php 2:16

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Footnotes

Footnotes are placed in the footer and they’re separated from the text with a red line. OT textual footnotes show differences among manuscripts and ancient versions including the Vulgate and Septuagint. NT footnotes show the differences in manuscripts including variations, additions, and omissions. They also show literal renderings, alternate renderings, equivalence, when the word that’s given is actually from the original languages and provided with English letters, where the text is difficult to translate, etc. The footnotes are helpful in getting insights into the translation and seeing other options.

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Table of Weights and Measures

The table of weights and measures provides units for weights, length, dry measure, and liquid measure. It provides the biblical unit, the language of the unit, the biblical measure, U.S. equivalent, Metric equivalent, various translations. It’s similar to the typical table, but the addition of the original language and various translations provides more information than is normally available. I especially like the various translations. I’ve heard many of those terms but didn’t realize they referred to the same things.

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Concordance

The concordance is 76 pages with 3 columns per page. It includes biographical information with lots of good character studies. It’s a good concordance for study and sermon prep. Here are a few example entries with the number of references they have in order to help you compare:

  • Christ (see also Messiah) – 35
  • Christian – 2
  • Faith – 34
  • Faithful (see also Faithfull Love) – 15
  • Faithfull Love – 15
  • Faithfulness – 6
  • Faithless – 1
  • God – 78
  • Goddess – 2
  • God-Fearing – 1
  • Godless – 1
  • Godlessness – 2
  • Godliness –
  • Godly – 4
  • Praise (n) – 8
  • Praise (v) – 5
  • Pray – 14
  • Prayer – 6

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Maps

It includes 8 maps on thick non-glossy paper. They’re printed with muted colors that look elegant. I love these colors. It doesn’t include an index to maps, but they are labeled well and I found them easy to use. They include distance, topography, cities, mountain peaks, routes, distance, water, Scripture references, borders, roads, locations of events, annotations, and dates.

Maps include:

      1. The Migration of Abraham
      2. The Route of the Exodus
      3. The Tribal Allotments of Israel
      4. The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah
      5. Israel in the Time of Jesus
      6. The Ministry of Jesus Around the Sea of Galilee
      7. The Passion Week in Jerusalem
      8. Paul’s Missionary Journeys

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Comparisons

The closest Bibles I have to compare to this one are the ESV verse-by-verse and the NKJV large print thinline.

ESV Verse-by-Verse Reference Bible

The CSB is on the left

CSB is on the right

CSB is on the right

The ESV Verse-by-Verse Reference Bible is the Bible with the closest design to the CSB V-B-V that I know of. It includes the v-b-v text, wide margins, cross-references under the last verse on the page, and footnotes across the footer. It adds short book introductions. The paper is similar, but it does have more show-through. The print is slightly lighter. It doesn’t have highlights in another color. The cover is much lower quality, but everything else is similar.

Premier Collection NKJV Large Print Thinline Reference

The CSB is on the right

CSB is on the right

CSB is on the right

The Premier Collection NKJV Large Print Thinline Reference is similar in build construction and size. It has a goatskin cover with leather liner, 36gsm paper, and red highlights. It’s a paragraph edition. The book names, chapter numbers, and section headings are in red, while verse numbers are not. I’m mostly showing this one to compare the leather and paper.  The NKJV’s font is slightly darker, but both have an excellent level of darkness.

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Conclusion

The Holman CSB Verse-by-Verse Reference Bible looks and feels elegant inside and out. The materials and construction quality are top-notch. It has some of the best paper I’ve seen in the 36gsm range. This design, a large print wide margin reference that’s the size of a regular reference edition, sets a standard that I’d like to see other publishers follow. If you’re interested in a CSB for preaching, teaching, and note-taking, this is the one I recommend.

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_________________________________________________________

This Bible is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon

Christianbook

and many local Bible bookstores

_________________________________________________________

 

Holman provided this Bible in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.

About The Author

Randy A Brown

WordPress writer by day, Bible reviewer by night, pastor all the time. And there's also that author thing.

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4 Comments

  1. Jeff

    Is this the 2017 CSB text or the new 2020 CSB text?

    Reply
    • Randy A Brown

      It shows the copyright as 2017.

  2. Prentiss YeateS

    I really like this edition. I have the Spurgeon CSB in black goatskin, and it really was a game changer for Holman. I like the VBV , but my budget will have to go with the bonded leather- is the bonded Cromwell ?

    Reply
    • Randy A Brown

      Good question. I haven’t seen it myself, but it’s likely that it is Cromwell leather. I know they’ve used Cromwell before and it’s becoming more popular.

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