In this post I will not discuss the translation itself. Rather I will observe things about actually using the CSB translation in church settings.
I began using CSB for our lectionary readings beginning with Lent, for both Sunday and Wednesday worship. Generally, the lectors have done a good job. Sentence structure and oral comprehension aid the listener to understand the text.
Sentence Structure and Readability
At the same time, our Saturday morning Bible class has studied 1 John (6 weeks, then continue after Easter). I would pass out one chapter of CSB each week printed so that each participant could write notes in the right hand column.
I conducted the class differently than all previous studies. This six week study was focused only on what the text says. We used only that text, no study aids, etc, nor other translations. This proved effective because we all had the same text, and we had to wrestle with what the text stated. It also allowed each participant to see connections in the texts.
The sentence structure of CSB helped in this approach. Sentences were not overly long, which aided students in reading the thought progression. If questions arose, everyone was seeing the same thing in the text. That formed the basis of the study. The CSB translation was a positive experience for all participants.
After Easter, we will return to 1 John, for a more extensive examination, but this time focusing on application of the text.
My edition is: CSB Large Print Ultrathin Reference Bible.
While I like the font size for personal study, I found that 9.5 font size was too small for me to use in a preaching and teaching environment. This particular edition says it is “Large Print.” Here is the description from CSBible.com
I looked at the CSB web site for other options. They have a Giant Print edition with 14.75 point size. That is too big for my purposes.
I have several other translations and many publishers have a size in between that is Large Print, namely 11 pt. That is exactly the size I find comfortable for reading in public, for preaching, and for teaching (my NAS Reference Bible is that size font).
Corrected: CSB publishers do offer a true Large Print Bible with 11 pt font size; but it is not available on their web site; found it on Amazon. (Special thanks to Diego and Gary)
Strange that CSB offers several different font sizes, all identified at Large Print:
8 pt [Compact]
9.5 pt [Ultrathin Reference], and
11.25 pt [Larger Print Personal Size]).
That is less than helpful. I would think that Large Print from the same publisher would designate all Bibles regardless of the edition.
Despite this being a “Large Print” edition, and the text size is not true large print, the real problem comes with the cross references. Sadly I have to use a magnifying glass for most of the cross reference texts. We have two other people in the congregation who use the same Bible. Their first comment after talking about liking the translation is on the size of the cross references.
Sadly, these cross references are essentially useless, whether personal reading or especially when teaching/preaching and looking for a cross reference.
Single Column Text
Over the past several years I have picked up 3-4 translations (ESV, NKJV, GW) in single column format. It really is much easier to read in that format. This is especially true in poetic sections in the Old Testament. Because of the narrower columns in a double-column format, it is harder to follow the thought and connection.
CSB for Isaiah 64
God’s Word translation still offers the best single column format with indentation in poetic sections that makes reading silently and orally much easier. Here is Isaiah 64 in GW:
I think CSB would be much more user friendly in offering a single column edition in 11 point font size with cross references that are readable and with indentation in poetic sections to clarify relationships and help readers.