Chronological CSB #04

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.”

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Chronological CSB #03

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.

Chronological CSB #02

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.

CSB Baker Illustrated #01

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)

(Pp. XXIX-XXXV)

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.

Chronological CSB #01

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.

Two New CSB Bibles arrived

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Conclusion

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.

Comparison of translation choices

I have been reading ESV for a few weeks. I am posting just some random translation choices of ESV and comparing it to other translations. The first two examples have to do with seemingly awkward (oral) translation choices. The last example has to do with the difference between translation approaches: formal equivalent and functional equivalent (other terms have been used to express the differences in approaches)

Formal equivalent: reasonably equivalent words and phrases while following the forms of the source language [Greek in this case] as closely as possible. Sometimes called “word-for-word” translation. Examples include ESV, NAS, NKJV, and MEV.

Functional equivalent: This type of translation reflects the thought of the writer in the source language rather than the words and forms. Sometimes called “meaning based translation.” Examples include: GW, NLT.

Combination: Then there some translations that fall somewhere between these classifications, namely CSB, which leans toward Formal equivalent, and NIV, which shifts between the two approaches (without any signal that such a change is taking place).

Deuteronomy 4:39

ESV know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

NAS Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.

NKJV Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

CSB Today, recognize and keep in mind that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth below; there is no other.

NIV Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

MEV Know therefore today, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

“Lay it to your heart” just sounds odd, and I am not familiar with any other contemporary use of that phrase in English.

Deuteronomy 5:3

ESV Not with our fathers did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today.

NAS The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today.

NKJV The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive.

CSB He did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with all of us who are alive here today

NIV  It was not with our ancestors that the Lord made this covenant, but with us, with all of us who are alive here today.

MEV The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, we who are living now and here today.

GW He didn’t make this promise to our ancestors, but to all of us who are alive here today.

The translation “but with us, who are all of us here alive today” is awkward English and hence problematic for oral reading. Surprisingly CSB follows ESV closely, only shifting the word “all.”

Interestingly NKJV adjusts the word order to make it more comprehensible but also flowing better for oral reading. MEV goes about it differently to achieve the same result.

Ephesians 1:3-14

This is one section in which the formal equivalent and dynamic equivalent translations show marked differences even in where to put sentence stops (periods).

Ephesians 1:3-14 is one of the more difficult passages, partly because it depends on how sentences are divided in the entire section, 1:3-14. Here are the number of sentences (in parentheses) in each text:

NA28 (Greek text, 4): 1:3-6, 7-10, 11-12, 13-14

ESV (4) 1:3-6, 7-10, 11-12, 13-14

NKJV (4) 1:3-6, 7-10, 11-12, 13-14

MEV (4): 1:3-6, 7-10, 11-12, 13-14

NAS (5) 1:3-6, 7-8a, 8b-10, 11-12, 13-14

==========

CSB (8) 1:3, 4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13, 14

NIV (8) 1:3, 4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13a, 13b-14

==========

GW (14): 3, 4, 5-6, 7, 8, 8-9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 13, 14, 14, 14

NLT (15) 1:3, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 13, 14, 14

You can see the division of sentences relative to Formal (ESV, NAS, NKJV, MEV) and Functional (NIV, GW, NLT) translations.  Interestingly CSB and NIV sit in the middle of sentence division choices but for different reasons. CSB (and predecessor HCSB) tend toward Formal equivalence, while NIV sometimes alternates the translation decision between Formal and Functional (without noting which is being followed in a particular text).

ESV 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

NAS  7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.

NKJV 7  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth

CSB 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8 that he richly poured out on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he purposed in Christ 10 as a plan for the right time—to bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him.

NIV 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

MEV 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood and the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace, 8 which He lavished on us in all wisdom and insight, 9 making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself, 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Christ, which are in heaven and on earth.

GW 7 Through the blood of his Son, we are set free from our sins. God forgives our failures because of his overflowing kindness. 8 He poured out his kindness by giving us every kind of wisdom and insight 9 when he revealed the mystery of his plan to us. He had decided to do this through Christ. 10 He planned to bring all of history to its goal in Christ. Then Christ would be the head of everything in heaven and on earth.

The challenge in a passage like Ephesians 1:3-14 is to provide a translation that reflects the original Greek, and yet make it understandable in an English context. Very difficult to do. That is why I recommend to those who do not know the original languages to choose one from each type of translations (i.e. NAS and GW, or other combination).

PS: As an experiment, try to orally read each translation of Ephesians 1:3-14. And compare your ability to faithfully read and then understand.

Further Notes:

Keep in mind that there are many factors in translation choices. Those decisions can be much more complex than I have indicated. This only looks at one of two of those choices.

I have carefully avoided the evaluation and comparison terms (“better” “best” “worst”) in this post. I think it more appropriate to evaluate based on understandability of the English used in the translation.