Book Review: CSB Reader’s Bible


Reader’s Bibles have taken the Bible publishing world by storm. Whether formatted and published in single or multiple volumes, publishers are rushing to get in on what’s becoming the hottest new trend in Bible publishing. And I couldn’t be happier.

A reader’s Bible can be described as a raw text version of the Bible, meaning that only the words of Scripture are found on the pages of the book. There are no verses, no chapters, no footnotes, no study notes. A reader’s Bible contains a raw English translation of the Bible with no other helps, marks, or divisions.

One of the world’s newest English Bible translations, the Christian Standard Bible, has published a simple, beautiful, and inviting reader’s Bible.

Simple & Beautiful

The CSB Reader’s Bible is simple and beautiful. Admittedly, simple and minimalism are beautiful to me. Simplicity is an attractive element in every reader’s Bible. Without the distractions of footnotes, verses, chapters, or study notes, readers are able to absorb the words of Scripture and nothing more. The design of the CSB Reader’s Bible complements the text well. Published as a gray cloth over board, this reader’s Bible contains a simple and small blue diamond design on the front cover with minimalistic descriptive design on the spine. The book itself looks great on a shelf or desk.

As a single volume Bible, the CSB Reader’s Bible is substantial in size, but not overwhelming. Publishers, editors, and designers did an excellent job using paper thin enough to publish the Bible in one volume, even though the paper is more transparent than I would like. Despite some transparency, it’s not unbearable as the reading experience is barely affected. The simple and clean black text of the Scriptures is accented by blue book and chapter titles subtly placed at the bottom of each page.

Like all reader’s Bibles, the CSB Reader’s Bible is structured and functions much like any other classic novel. The design reminds the reader that the Bible is a work of literature. With generous margins for every book of the Bible, the poetic and prophetic genres have even larger margins, which benefits the reader. The CSB is unique in all of its Bibles in that all Old Testament quotations in the New Testament are bolded.


As I started reading the CSB Reader’s Bible, I noticed how warm and inviting it is. As a pastor, writer, and seminary student, my default approach to the Bible is study. I love cross-reference footnotes, alternate translation footnotes, and study notes. For readers like me, a reader’s Bible feels naked. I initially felt exposed and impatient. However, I also found myself absorbing more of the Bible in one sitting.

Without the distraction of cross-reference notes or study notes, I was able to just read and admire the beauty of the Word. Without the distraction of verse and chapter numbers, I never found a natural “stopping place.” So, instead of planning to read x-number of chapters or verses, I just read until I ran out of time or attention.

If you are a natural-born reader, you will love the freedom of the CSB Reader’s Bible. If reading is not your thing, I think you’ll be surprised how much more of the Bible you will read in one sitting. You cannot become a better Bible reader without reading the Bible a lot. The CSB Reader’s Bible is an accurate and readable translation formatted in such a way that you will do just that–read the Bible a lot!

For more information about the Christian Standard Bible, you can visit

You can find a copy of the CSB Reader’s Bible at LifeWay ($28), Amazon ($29), or CBD ($28).

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

19149367_2014653971893374_3834793165439186257_nMathew Gilbert is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God. Mathew and his wife, Erica, live in Tupelo with their two boys, Jude and Jack.


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