By Matt Henslee
I know the adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” and it’s true, but sometimes, authors and publishers go all out on their covers, and it’s the icing on the cake.
Take Susie, for example, by Ray Rhodes, with Susannah Spurgeon emblazoned prominently for all to see the unsung hero of the Prince of Preacher’s ministry.
Or what about Andrew Peterson’s, Adorning the Dark, with its subtle gold embossed title that sticks out on a foreboding cover, indicating beauty in our broken world?
Sometimes the cover, while not everything, can serve as a good indication of what’s to come, and another example is the latest edition from the Holman Bibles team, the CSB Verse-by-Verse Reference Bible.
As soon as you open the box, words will be incapable of conveying the true beauty of the cover with Smyth-sewn binding to boot.
My copy is the black goatskin leather, and the touch, the feel, and even the smell are amazing.
Unlike most Bibles, right out of the box, this edition will lay flat with a lot of give, making it a perfect option for preaching or study.
What’s more, it’s crafted to last, and will likely be one of those treasures you’ll pass down to your kids.
The gorgeous cover and high-quality Smyth-sewn binding serve to protect the pages, which seem to be thick enough to hold up to regular preaching, especially those of us that make our way through books of Bible at a slow pace.
Other Bibles I’ve used, in a matter of weeks, have their pages begin to curl and crinkle, where these pages have held up well over a few weeks of study and preaching in one or two pages.
As a bonus, while there is some minimal bleedthrough, the line-matching makes it virtually undetectable and the gilt-edging on the pages, as a beautiful touch of beauty to complement the Word of God.
Full disclosure, I’m nearsighted, so I rarely have a problem reading anything unless it’s at a distance. So, if you’re farsighted, I won’t be able to see it from your perspective.
But from mine, the 10-point type is just the right size to not appear large print while also been easy on the eyes. That adds to the ease of preaching for those like me that look up from the text often.
Not only is this the highest quality Bible I believe the Holman Bibles team offers, but the layout is also likely to be the other prominent distinct feature.
As the name would indicate, this is a verse-by-verse layout; every verse begins on its own line and is indented.
Now, when it comes to preaching, my preference had been a single-column CSB. I often internalize the text and will look up from the text throughout the reading of our pericope during my sermons.
In the past, double-column Bibles made it harder to find where I was in the passage when my eyes would return to the text. However, with the indentions and the verses beginning on their own lines, that struggle has been eliminated.
In the future, I’d love to see the team offer a verse-by-verse single column, but I’m perfectly content with how this layout mitigates that struggle.
Couple that, or rather triple that, with the three ribbon markers, I have an easy to read, easy to follow, heirloom-quality Bible in my hands in the pulpit and my Study.
Perhaps the best feature of all, as all of the other features are here the merely complement the highly readable, highly reliable Christian Standard Bible. I love the CSB for its perfect blend of readability and accuracy.
The cover protects, the pages reveal, and the font offers an engaging way to experience Scripture’s life-transforming message. In my opinion, the verse-by-verse layout makes it even easier to share it with others.
MATT HENSLEE (@mhenslee) is managing editor of Lifeway Pastors and coauthor of the book Replanting Rural Churches. He is the husband of Rebecca, father of four princesses, pastor of Mayhill Baptist Church in Mayhill, New Mexico, and a D.Min student at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.