The CS Bible and She Reads Truth

My concern with the most recent changes to the ESV Bible regarding Genesis 3:16 is no secret. The ESV has become the standard in my reformed circles. I have a number of copies myself. But I was suspicious of my reaction to the change in Genesis 3:16 in light of my own baggage/experience with Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill concerning that verse. So I asked other leaders without similar baggage about it. Pretty much all of them had similar concerns to mine, and several mentioned plans to switch their churches or ministries over to the Christian Standard Bible when it was released. I have been interested since then to read the new CSB, and at this year’s Gospel Coalition conference, I finally got my hands on one.

The really neat thing about this Bible is the LACK of agenda regarding translating gendered language beyond 1) accuracy and 2) readability.

Printed inside the cover–

The Gender Language Use in Bible Translation

The goal of the translators of the Christian Standard Bible has not been to promote a cultural ideology but to translate the Bible faithfully. …

From their website

Translating Gender Language into English

The Christian Standard Bible retains a traditional approach to translating gender language into English. Masculine terms (Father, Son, King, etc.) and pronouns (he, him, his) are retained whenever they refer to God. To improve accuracy, the Translation Oversight Committee chose to avoid being unnecessarily specific in passages where the original context did not exclude females. When Scripture presents principles or generic examples that are not restricted to males, the CSB does not use “man,” “he,” or other masculine terms. At the same time, the translators did not make third person masculine pronouns inclusive by rendering them as plurals (they, them), because they believed it was important to retain the individual and personal sense of these expressions.

 

Here are a few examples of this difference.

1 John 3:16 (CSB)
16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

1 John 3:16 (ESV)
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

1 John 3:16 (NASB)
16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

The NASB, a Bible I have always considered the most accurate of our day (though not the most readable), uses brothers only to refer to the plural form of male siblings. Here is an example from the NASB that uses brothers.

1 Timothy 5:1 (NASB)  Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers,

Brothers here in I Tim 5:1 is limited to male siblings. When the mention of siblings is without respect to gender, the NASB uses brethren, the CSB generally uses brothers and sisters, and the ESV uses brothers.

Often times, the ESV will footnote “brothers” at the bottom of the page with the clarification “brothers and sisters.” But though the same word in James is used multiple times and footnoted multiple times in the ESV that way, in James 3:1, the ESV limits brothers only to men (the context is teaching in the church) without footnoting the addition of women. Here’s a comparison of all three translations, the NASB being most consistent of all.

James 3:1 (CSB)
3 Not many should become teachers, my brothers,[a] because you know that we will receive a stricter judgment.(A)

Footnotes:

  1. 3:1 Or brothers and sisters

James 3:1 (ESV)
3 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

(There is no footnote at the bottom of the page for this verse in the ESV for brother and sisters, despite footnotes for the same word elsewhere in James.)

James 3:1 (NASB)
3 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.

To some that may be a big deal, to others it may not.  It was a big deal to me, reflective of an agenda to limit references to women in ways that the Bible does not.  I believe that agenda has harmed the very cause that ESV translators were hoping to aid, a conservative understanding of women in Scripture.

But the new Christian Standard Bible is now widely available, and I feel relieved of this conundrum I found myself in for a bit. I recently received their women’s study Bible, She Reads Truth. I initially wasn’t interested in checking it out, but someone whispered to me that it was actually better than average, so I gave it a look. I was pleasantly surprised. It has some pretty, feminine script that doesn’t do much for me, and the pages are thin in the hardcover version. Also, the font is tiny, which is a problem for many women.

The good of this study Bible makes up for thin pages and small font though (get some reading glasses). I particularly appreciate the clean look overall and key features – genre indicators, key verses, cultural context, timelines, and so forth. They are factual and helpful resources for biblical literacy, as Jen Wilkin calls it. Every day older I grow in the faith, I realize the singular thing women need in the church is this BIBLICAL LITERACY. I spent a long chapter early in Is the Bible Good for Women? for this reason. How can women know if the Bible is good for them if they don’t understand the basics of the Bible?! The She Reads Truth Study Bible gets this, and I hope it will become a best selling women’s study Bible for the long haul in the church.

Check it out for yourself here.  I also have one to give away on Friday, so comment below if you are interested, and share this post with friends that you think might benefit.

88 Responses to The CS Bible and She Reads Truth

  1. RS April 24, 2017 at 9:26 am #

    As someone who’s been struggling with the patriarchal nature of my church, I am SO interested in a study that promotes literacy and encourages women. I’d love to get a copy!

  2. Karen Heska April 24, 2017 at 9:27 am #

    I would love a copy!! I was gifted a 2016 ESV and I would love a CSB copy instead!

  3. Amanda April 24, 2017 at 9:28 am #

    I would love to get one of these! I’m an ESV user, but reading through your blog and several others about the “permanent text” changes they’ve made has made me want to change to a different translation, too. I really like the HCSB that I have.

  4. Belle Bicke April 24, 2017 at 9:28 am #

    I’d love to win one.

  5. Jasmine April 24, 2017 at 9:30 am #

    Hi! I’m definitely interested in the She Reads Truth bible. Biblical literacy is a new step for me and I’m
    going forward cautiously but excitedly.

  6. Saralyn April 24, 2017 at 9:31 am #

    My ESV is falling apart, and it’s time to get a new Bible. I’m also concerned about similar gender issues with the ESV and was considering going back to the NIV. Maybe the CSB is what I’m looking for.

    • Wendy April 28, 2017 at 7:37 am #

      Saralyn, I had 84 entries, and random number generator chose #6! Congratulations. Email me at theologyforwomen@gmail.com with your mailing address.

    • Saralyn April 28, 2017 at 2:44 pm #

      Thanks so much, Wendy! I look forward to diving into it!

  7. Rachelle Cox April 24, 2017 at 9:33 am #

    Woah, I’m definitely interested in a coy of the “She Reads Truth” Bible. I alllllmost nabbed a copy at TGC17, but I have already bought way too many books and blew my budget out 🙂

    I wondered myself about going to CSB instead of ESV, but I try to stick with whatever my church is using just to make it easier for reading in corporate worship and whatnot.

  8. Wendy April 24, 2017 at 9:34 am #

    Me! Me! Me!
    I’m totally interested!!

  9. Lauren Purvis April 24, 2017 at 9:35 am #

    I’ve heard many good things about the “She Reads Truth” Bible but haven’t yet had the opportunity to look through one myself. Thank you for the amount of research you have put into it! I’m only recently hearing about the newest controversy with the Esv (which has been my go to translation) and I’m interested to learn more.

  10. Abigail Perry April 24, 2017 at 9:53 am #

    Thank you for studying these issues so we can all be aware of them!

  11. Elizabeth April 24, 2017 at 9:59 am #

    Count me in!! I’m definitely interested in checking out other translation options. We frequently give Bibles as gifts, and I am uncomfortable using the ESV for that once their new translation changes go into print. Glad to hear that there is another faithful translation to consider!

  12. Dinah Luevano April 24, 2017 at 10:03 am #

    I am a NASB user. I have recently been hearing about the She Reads Trith bible and am really interested in checking it out.

  13. Melissa Deming April 24, 2017 at 10:04 am #

    Thank you! I’m always worried to jump on bandwagons and so this review is helpful! I bought your book and can’t wait to dig in!

  14. Bina ellefsen April 24, 2017 at 10:19 am #

    Thanks, Wendy!

  15. Cynthia April 24, 2017 at 10:31 am #

    Thank you for this review of the CSB. I have been both curious and skeptical of this translation for the same reasons you mentioned. I love the concept geared toward women, but was leery of the motive behind the translation. You have sold me on giving it a try.

  16. Jessica April 24, 2017 at 10:33 am #

    Count me in! I’ve been wanting to look into a new Bible as my ESV is falling apart, and I’d like something different this time.

  17. Krysta April 24, 2017 at 10:36 am #

    I’m right there with you. I had moved on from the ESV and am thrilled to have this option now. I’d love to win a copy!

  18. Mary April 24, 2017 at 10:40 am #

    I like using a Bible that doesn’t contain deocrative features because sometimes I think they detract from the text or my notes. This looks to be tastefully done. I have not used any of the She Reads Truth material, but I am glad that they are emphasizing the importance of women learning the Scripture with a more scholarly approach than the standard devotional. I’d love to check this out.

  19. Sarah April 24, 2017 at 10:40 am #

    I would love an opportunity to get a copy of this new bible. We have some women in our church that struggle with these things you have mentioned, and I’d love to be able to use this to help them through some of these issues.

  20. Laura Kaye April 24, 2017 at 10:41 am #

    My husband was just telling me about the CSB. I’d love to have one and set my ESV aside. I’ve heard great things about She Reads Truth and would like a study Bible.

  21. Persis April 24, 2017 at 10:43 am #

    Please put my name in the hat. I’ve switched to NASB from ESV because of Genesis 3:16 and other translation issues like John 1:14 – only Son versus only begotten Son.

    Thanks!

  22. Jordan April 24, 2017 at 10:57 am #

    I would love a copy! Right now, all I have is ESV, and especially post Mars Hill and working on faith reconstruction, I’d love to get away from a translation that carries so much baggage for my spiritual life

  23. Jennifer Sabin April 24, 2017 at 10:58 am #

    Thank you for sharing the ways in which they were different. I appreciate seeing all of that side by side.

    And if by some chance I win your giveaway comma I will pass it along to one of the college students at Florida Polytechnic.

  24. Megan April 24, 2017 at 11:00 am #

    Thanks for posting your concerns!

  25. Anita April 24, 2017 at 11:07 am #

    I’m glad to hear that there is another option out there. Bravo to the translators who are also concerned about the accuracy of translating the scriptures! I agree, Bible literacy is at a all time high concern for the church. For both men and women! I have lamented for years about the little to no resources in the church for men and women to study the Bible. I am grateful for BSF and CBS as organizations that promote in depth Bible study, but the church needs to pick up the slack! It is one of their primary responsibilities to teach the truth of the scriptures accurately and responsibly!

  26. Jennifer Whitmer April 24, 2017 at 11:17 am #

    Thank you for this careful and thoughtful review! I would love a copy to explore. It’s such an important issue. @jennwhitmer

  27. Sarah April 24, 2017 at 11:26 am #

    I would love to have a copy of the CSB! I still use the ESV, but have really appreciated what I have read recently about the CSB. Also, I’ve found the Word Matters podcast (sponsored by the CSB) really worthwhile.

  28. Patricia April 24, 2017 at 11:30 am #

    I’ve been a longtime NASB reader, but the CS version sounds great! I would love to have one! I did a study last year on all the verses “adelphoi” was used and the verbs involved. Lots of overlooked opportunities for women to serve alongside men in encouraging the body of Christ.

  29. Debbie Raymer April 24, 2017 at 11:39 am #

    Certainly would love a copy!

  30. Whitney Cox April 24, 2017 at 11:45 am #

    I am very interested in this study Bible. I have been on staff at a church with leaders who differed in their theological understanding of women’s roles in the church. It was frustrating to work under. I would love to see what this study Bible says.

  31. Barb Best April 24, 2017 at 11:46 am #

    I’m interested 😄

  32. Amanda Wu April 24, 2017 at 11:49 am #

    I would love a copy of the she reads truth study bible.

  33. Jennifer Clark April 24, 2017 at 12:00 pm #

    I would love to win a copy! ❤️❤️❤️

  34. Corinne April 24, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

    Yes, please count me in. I had recently read an article about the CSB which piqued my curiosity. Thanks!

  35. Carrie April 24, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

    Would love to check this out. Thanks!

  36. Jennifer McIlwain April 24, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

    I would love to be able to have a copy of this Bible. I provide leadership in my church where Bible studies are concerned in our Women’s Ministry and I often have women come to me asking for recommendations on a good study Bible to use. I too have primarily used the ESV. And while I have heard a lot about the CSB and She Reads Truth Bible, I haven’t had the chance to have a physical copy to look over. Thank you for the opportunity to hopefully, finally see a copy!!

  37. Jen H April 24, 2017 at 12:14 pm #

    I would love to receive a copy, and am so excited to hear about this new translation!

  38. Carol April 24, 2017 at 12:17 pm #

    Thank you for posting on this new Bible and your concerns with the ESV. I’d love to see this one for myself.

  39. Amy April 24, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

    I would also love a copy! I have a HCSB I enjoy as well as a She Reads Truth bible study. I would love to see how they have put that together!

  40. Jackie April 24, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

    I would love to have a copy!

  41. Debbie April 24, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

    My next Bible will be the CSB. Thanks for providing clarity on these issues. My 15yo daughter wanted a study Bible so bought herself an ESV, the new one. It was a good moment for us to have a conversation about the differences and give her a “head’s up.” Thanks for the offering!

  42. Drb April 24, 2017 at 1:18 pm #

    I would love to have this.

  43. Amy April 24, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    Thanks for your thoughtful review!

  44. Bethany G April 24, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    I’m generally very skeptical about Bibles that are marketed specifically towards women, but this one has me very intrigued! I would love to check it out! I also currently use the ESV and am interested in the CSB.

  45. Vikki April 24, 2017 at 2:37 pm #

    Praying that this Bible version will bring much glory to God through equipping the Body to be faithful servants.

  46. Michelle April 24, 2017 at 2:44 pm #

    I am very interested in receiving a copy of this!

  47. Donna April 24, 2017 at 3:01 pm #

    Thanks for the help on understand the new CSB. I’m working on communicating it to our teachers–

  48. JessicainFlorida April 24, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

    Thanks for this review, Wendy! I’m hopeful that my church will make the switch for the reasons you’ve outlined.

  49. Angel April 24, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

    As always, I appreciate your thoughtful, wise words. Whether or not I win the copy you’re giving away, I hope to have one of these in my hands soon. I love His Word so much.

  50. Lisa Spence April 24, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

    Pick me!! 🙂

  51. Jan April 24, 2017 at 4:06 pm #

    Sounds like this will be a great translation, expecially considering the changes to the 2016 ESV. And thanks for the chance to win a copy – I have my fingers crossed. 😆

  52. Nina-Marie Rueda April 24, 2017 at 5:05 pm #

    Wendy, as always, I appreciate your blog posts. Thank you for your comparison on gendered language in various translations. I’d love to get my hands on a copy of the SRT Study Bible to share with a younger sister in Christ.

  53. sylvia hill April 24, 2017 at 6:48 pm #

    I appreciate the analysis and as a NASB fan, I would love to have another option to recommend. Thanks for all you do!

  54. Diane W April 24, 2017 at 7:16 pm #

    I would love to win a copy!

  55. Michelle Roden April 24, 2017 at 7:22 pm #

    I’m interested.

  56. Cherill April 24, 2017 at 9:04 pm #

    I thought this would be really good to share with my friends since we have recently downloaded the she reads truth app and love it.I would also love a copy of the Bible.

  57. Barbara April 24, 2017 at 9:23 pm #

    I would love to win a copy of this Bible!

  58. Sarah April 24, 2017 at 9:28 pm #

    Would love a copy of this Bible!

  59. Christian April 24, 2017 at 10:10 pm #

    I love my NASB study bible, and have been considering purchasing a CSB as an additional reference. The She Reads Truth Poppy Linen looks beautiful! Id ❤️ to win a copy!!!! As a busy mom of three littles under 5, I try to keep Bibles open on the counter to take in Biblical snacks through out my day. I’m not much of a Bible journalist, but the print in the SRT version would be something nice to look at through the day. Fingers crossed!!!

  60. Jane April 24, 2017 at 10:35 pm #

    Such an important issue for the church. Thank you, Wendy, for shining a bright light!
    I am eager to make the switch to CSB !

  61. Sarah April 24, 2017 at 10:54 pm #

    I’ve used the She Reads Truth app for a few years and just found out about their study Bible this past week! I’d love to receive one!

  62. Lydia Rominger April 25, 2017 at 12:32 am #

    I’d like to be in the drawing for the CS Bible. I live in Indonesia but will be home this summer for a few weeks. I just finished going through your Ephesians study with a group of women here (for my second time!). Aside from the brownie points, I really do love that study!

  63. Annette April 25, 2017 at 12:52 am #

    I’m interested! Very encouraged by the changes in the new translation.

  64. Kimberly April 25, 2017 at 12:57 am #

    Thank you for offering this giveaway! I would love to share this with my daughter.

  65. Shea Patrick April 25, 2017 at 5:13 am #

    If I win there’s no shipping! 😜

  66. Kendra April 25, 2017 at 7:17 am #

    I’d love to check this out!

  67. Beth Cole April 25, 2017 at 8:01 am #

    I appreciate your thoughts regarding these translations. I am very interested in the copy you are giving away, thanks so much.

  68. Jeannette April 25, 2017 at 9:43 am #

    Super interested in this translation!

  69. Amy April 25, 2017 at 10:30 am #

    As always, thank you for your careful, well-researched and prayed-over thoughts. Love you friend. If I win, maybe I’ll come get it in person. 🙂

  70. Alexis April 25, 2017 at 10:39 am #

    Thankful for you and your desire to teach women the word of God! I’m excited about the CSB bible and would love to have one!

  71. Danielle Jones April 25, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Thanks for your review of this version and this Bible in particular. I’m not usually interested in “women’s Bibles” (what does that mean?) but the features interested me in this version. I like She Reads Truth in general for their devotionals. I’d now love to win a copy!

  72. Adriana Hernandez April 25, 2017 at 5:38 pm #

    I’m usually skeptic about “women bibles” But I’ve seen so many positive reviews about this one!
    I’d love to win the copy 🙂

  73. Jennifer Weston April 26, 2017 at 5:59 am #

    I would be interested in winning the CSB version.

  74. Heather April 26, 2017 at 7:38 am #

    I was very skeptical about this bible because I thought it was just going to be another “pretty little something marketed towards women.” However, now I’m intrigued both with the layout and the CSB translation.

  75. CJ April 26, 2017 at 9:02 am #

    I would love a copy! Been an ESV reader, but troubled by the latest change.

  76. Alexiana Fry April 26, 2017 at 9:08 am #

    I would love to see this Bible. Really upset by the recent ESV changes, especially as a Hebrew student, where those changes make absolutely no sense. Put me in!

  77. Scarlett Evans April 26, 2017 at 9:50 am #

    I would love a copy! Have been an ESV reader for a bit but after getting the CSB at TGC, really enjoying it.

  78. Kristel April 26, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    I’d love to give it a try!!

  79. Tammy April 26, 2017 at 10:18 pm #

    I would love an opportunity to explore this study Bible and the CSV version. Thank you!

  80. Sara Rojas April 26, 2017 at 11:10 pm #

    I think this is the first I have heard of the CAN. I have had a few years of slack bible study and recently have been craving some solid teaching. Your writings have helped increase my desire to be able to interpret scripture using scripture. Thank you.

    • Sara Rojas April 26, 2017 at 11:11 pm #

      Sorry, autocorrect, CSB.

  81. Eileen Elledge April 27, 2017 at 12:57 am #

    I’m very excited about this new Bible! I hope to get one soon.

  82. Charles April 27, 2017 at 10:44 am #

    I’d love to give this to my wife!

  83. Jackie Galvan April 27, 2017 at 8:40 pm #

    I lead a weekly women’s Bible study and I would love to win a copy. My husband is the pastor of a church plant and I’m grateful at the chance to obtain it. Thank you for your insight and wisdom. Its been a blessing to read and share your blog.

  84. Kate April 30, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

    The ESV absolutely has an agenda. This quote from one of Gordon Fee’s books describes it better than I can:

    “6. Matters of Gender. When this book first appeared in 1981, the problem of using masculine language where women are included or are in view was just beginning to become an issue for translators. By the time the second edition appeared in 1993, one revision (NRSV) of a well-established translation (RSV) had already appeared, which became deliberately inclusive in all such instances in both the Old and New Testaments. In the following decade all the other leading translations have followed suit to a greater or lesser degree, while at least one revision (ESV) came into existence to “stem this tide,” as it were, so that in effect it is deliberately exclusive of women in many places where it is quite unnecessary to do so.”

    That’s why I don’t use it, even though it is the preferred translation of my denomination. I much prefer the NIV or the NRSV.

  85. Laura S May 5, 2017 at 8:45 pm #

    Good post! This indeed looks like a good translation of the Bible, would love to get my hands on a copy!