In the Gospel reading for today (John 21:1-19) Jesus restores Peter to ministry. He does so by asking Peter three times: “Do you love Me?” Each response by Peter “Yes, Lord. You know that I love you,” is met with Jesus saying, “feed My lambs”; “Shepherd My sheep”; “Feed My sheep.” This parallels Peter’s three-fold denials when asked if He was one who followed Jesus. Peter was forgiven, restored, and called to care for people.
Note how Peter writes about this change in 1 Peter 5:1-4:
1 I exhort the elders who are among you, as one who is also an elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, take care of them, not by constraint, but willingly, not for dishonest gain, but eagerly. 3 Do not lord over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of glory that will not fade away.
(1 Peter 5:1–4 MEV)
Chronological Bible comment: I have noted elsewhere that the CSB Chronological Bible has several commendable features. But I noted that the Act-Scene-Readings structure offers no help to the Bible reader.
Sometimes when reading I may flip through the Bible looking for something specific passage or referent. Unless I have to open it on the Day intro page, I am left with this view (below) with no navigation capability. Nothing on this page indications what book of the Bible is presented; even the chapter number is only marginally helpful. This is confusing (especially for a new reader) because the books in the reading sequence have little bearing to the normal listing of the Biblical books (i.e. Genesis is followed by Job). I think some kind of reference could be given on each page. Thus, on this page at the top instead of “Governance: God rescues His People” they could put “Exodus 18.”
Comments on Job
I am a little surprised that the comments focus on the suffering, but ignore the critical issue, namely a human’s righteousness before God. Notice in 4:17 (Eliphaz: “Can a mortal be righteous before God?”) Eliphaz identifies the right question/issue behind the suffering The again in 5:8 Eliphaz the right solution (Eliphaz: “However, if I were you, I would appeal to God”)
Then even more clearly in 6:29-30 Job responds: “my righteousness is still the issue”
And in 7:21 (Job:) “Why not forgive my sin and pardon my iniquity?”
Again: (9:2 Job:) “Yes, I know what you’ve said is true, but how can a person be justified before God?”
Finally, in 9:33-35 Job admits:
“There is no mediator between us, to lay his hand on both of us. Let him take his rod away from me so his terror will no longer frighten me. Then I would speak and not fear him. But that is not the case; I am on my own.”
So suffering is certainly an issue, but behind it is the righteousness of the one who suffers. Ultimately that is resolved in chapters 38-42, most pointedly in God’s questioning of Job. Even after ch. 38-39, Job still does not get it. God ultimately asks:
Would you really challenge my justice?
Would you declare me guilty to justify yourself? (40: 8)
For such a critical issue, it seems that the comments could lead the reader to at least watch for something so significant.
The week 4 readings are from the Book of Job. I think this is where the introductory comments in the Chronological Bible fail the reader.
The comments throughout Job readings focus on the suffering, but ignore the critical issue, namely a human’s righteousness before God. Yet look at the textual hints about the righteousness of the one who suffers throughout the book. Here are a few:
Job 4:17 (Eliphaz asks: “Can a mortal be righteous before God?”) Eliphaz identifies the right question/issue behind the suffering The again in 5:8 Eliphaz the right solution (Eliphaz: “However, if I were you, I would appeal to God”)
Even more clearly in Job 6:29-30 Job responds: “my righteousness is still the issue.”
And in Job 7:21 Job speaks: “Why not forgive my sin and pardon my iniquity?”
Again in Job 9:2 Job speaks: “Yes, I know what you’ve said is true, but how can a person be justified before God?”
Finally, in Job 9:33-35, Job admits: “There is no mediator between us, to lay his hand on both of us. Let him take his rod away from me so his terror will no longer frighten me. Then I would speak and not fear him. But that is not the case; I am on my own.”
So suffering is certainly an issue that Job faced. But behind it is the question about the righteousness of the one who suffers. Ultimately that is resolved in chapters 38-42, most pointedly in God’s questioning of Job. Even after ch. 38-39, Job still does not get it. God ultimately asks:
40: 8 God asks: “Would you really challenge my justice?
Would you declare me guilty to justify yourself?”
With such a critical issue, it seems that the comments could have helped the reader to at least watch for something so significant with regard to the ultimate revelation in chap. 40 and 42.
Initial Reactions to CSB Baker Illustrated
Table of Contents
For the Table of Contents, the font size is readable. The light colored page numbers are acceptable (because they are larger than in the List of Resources), but a darker font would be better.
List of Resources
While the font is smaller than in Table of contents, the words are still readable. However, with the colored numbers for the page references being smaller than in Table of Contents, this becomes harder to read. The bleed-through is noticeable (not as distracting as this photo suggests), but bleed-through does affect the colored numbers and readability.
The List of Resources includes: Articles, Definitions, Maps, Figures, and Artists’ Reconstructions. As expected each of these maps are tied to the Biblical text so that each is easier to find.
Timelines (Old Testament and New Testament)
Timelines are essential for understanding and teaching Biblical texts. For the Old Testament Timeline the three fold colors helps to distinguish Key People, Key Events, and Key People (elsewhere in the world), which means the reader can follow chronologically each of them individually or comparatively. Interestingly for the New Testament Timeline only two parallel timelines are used (Key New Testament Bible Events and Key People/Events from the Mediterranean World).
How To Read, Interpret, and Apply the Bible
(Pp. XXXVIII– XL)
The guidelines here are fairly basic, but helpful for casual or first time users.
Overall, this looks to be a helpful Study Bible. In coming weeks I will review some of the Book Introductions and some of articles scattered throughout the Bible.
I have been reading the CSB Chronological Bible for two weeks. For the most part I have settled into its layout and even font size, although I still need a little more light.
I don’t get the heading arrangements
Aside from the normal Biblical text: book, chapter, verse, the Chronological Bible uses a system with:
Act — Scene — Reading
So for today’s reading (Genesis 30-33) was labeled:
Act 2— Scene 1 —Reading 8
In this photo, who would know that Act 2 — Scene 4 —Reading 15 refers to Ruth (given away by the name in the text)? When it comes to later texts in which names of people or places is not mentioned, how would such a system work?
Unless a reader keeps this extra structure handy on a separate sheet, I find no value in adding it to the notes. Maybe someone has a good reason for it. But if you asked me what is Act 2 — Scene 4 —Reading 15 I would have no clue. And only by looking at p. 392 would I discover that the reading for that day is the Book of Ruth.
Perhaps it will make sense when I get to 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 &2 Kings, as well as the integrated prophetic readings. But not sure how this helps the reader.
I will be using and reading the CSB Bibles in coming weeks. I purchased the hardcover Baker Illustrated Study Bible and the Leather touch Chronological Bible (at $25 why not).
Baker Illustrated Study Bible (https://www.bakerillustratedstudybible.com)
Day by Day Chronological Bible (https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/csb-day-by-day-chronological-bible-brown-leathertouch-P005807998)
Baker Illustrated Study Bible:
- Bulk: By that I mean the depth, 2 ¼ inch thick, is rather hefty (For comparison the LCMS ESV Study Bible is about the same thickness). Of course, as a study Bible I will not be carrying it with me wherever I go, leaving at the study desk. So less of a problem.
- Text quality: I am a little surprised in font choices and sizes. The text font size is smaller than I expected. This is rather disappointing. The text of the Scriptures themselves are a challenge to read. It is doable, but the lighting has to be just right for reasonable comfort for longer reading periods. The only smaller font that I have seen in Bibles is the font for Compact Bibles.
Even worse, the font used for the footnotes fails on two issues: a.) even smaller size than the main text and b) it is a Sans Serif font with a lighter (fainter) look. That combination works against easy reading. Also the font and placement for cross references is not easy to read. The cross references are in the inside margin of the page, which makes it less friendly to use. The concordance font is very small as well. Good thing I keep a magnifying glass at my desk.
Red letters are used in the New Testament for Jesus’ words (quite common). Given the size of the font and red (which is lighter than the black) may be a longer term problem.
Maps: For me, this is a strong point. I have not examined all the maps, but the ones I have are well done. The text is small but readable. Moreover the color choices make the maps a good resource.
Day by Day Chronological Bible
- Bulk: This Bible is produced by Holman Bible Publishers. It is a little bigger than I expected, but workable and portable: depth 2.20; length 9.80; width 7.60. The leather touch cover is nice, flexible. The sown binding should hold up well.
- Text Quality: The font size smaller than I would like for continuous reading. But the font itself is very pleasing to read, and it is darker than many other Bible fonts. (Notice the bleed through on the page.)
The fonts used for page headers/footers is Sans Serif (which works well), Interestingly both headers and footers are printed with a blue color (which is ok). The chapter numbers are likewise blue, which I like. Oddly, the Psalms chapters are smaller font and not printed in blue (see first photo). Don’t see the reason for such a change.
While the darker font aids in reading, the bleed through is distracting. The inside margin is ¾” and the outside margin is 1 ½.” While this is good for note taking, it seems a little narrower margin could have allowed a larger font for the text.
While both Bibles offer some good features, my initial impression is that there are some drawbacks for those with vision limitation and color blindness.
I will begin using them in the coming weeks to evaluate each Bible more completely.