Holman’s CSB Apologetics Study Bible review – Rating 9.3

Holman CSB Apologetics Study BibleI am and always will be a big fan of any tool that can help Christians better understand what they believe when it comes to God and his Word.  I was very interested when I found out that Holman came out with their Apologetics Study Bible based on their relatively new CSB (Christian Standard Bible) translation or rewrite of the HCSB if you will.  This is the second type of Bible that I have received in the CSB translation.  At some point in the near future, I will do a review of the actual translation itself, but I have to admit, so far, I am liking it.  There are a few things that I wish they did a little differently in the translation, but overall seems to be pretty solid so far.

As I mentioned, I will likely be doing a post on the CSB translation itself in the near future.   But for now, we will be discussing the CSB Apologetics Study Bible.  I  requested a copy from B&H Publishing (Holman Bible Publishers) through their BH Bloggers program to see how this particular Study Bible stacks up in regards to ease of use and more importantly helping people to functionally understand better about what they believe.  The copy that I got was the hardcover version with the printed dust cover.


In full disclosure, I was not required or requested by B&H Publishing to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


**See all sections below for full detailed review**
This CSB Apologetics Study Bible is geared toward helping readers of God’s Word to better understand what they believe so they can defend their faith.  A basic definition of “apologetics” is the practice of giving reasons that support the Christian faith and responding to those who may give objections or criticisms to it.  This Study Bible is an excellent resource for someone who wants to take a deeper dive into the faith and be able to better understand what and why they believe.  It is full of study notes, articles and many other features that really are very helpful.  To some readers, this may be rudimentary – such as people who have been to Bible College or maybe longer term Christians who have done some serious studying of the Scriptures.  However, while I know that many people believe, a large portion of those believers may not understand exactly each point of the faith or the “why” of what they believe.  This Study Bible will help in many ways.  I would highly recommend it.   I received a copy of this Study Bible from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


Type of Bible: Study Bible / Apologetics
Publisher: Holman Bible Publishers / B&H Publishing (August 1, 2017)
ISBN-13 of Bible Reviewed: 978-1433644092
Price:  At the time of writing this review, the cheapest place to get this book is at Christianbook.com.  They have it for $27.99– suggested retail from the publisher is $39.99. Please note that these prices do not include any potential shipping charges.

If you would like to purchase this book, please support my blog and purchase by clicking any of the links to Christianbook.com on this page like the one below. If you want it in a different format, Click Here for those links listed below in this review.

644092: CSB Apologetics Study Bible, Hardcover CSB Apologetics Study Bible, Hardcover
By Holman Bible PublishersThe CSB Apologetics Study Bible helps today’s Christians better understand, defend, and proclaim their beliefs in an age of increasing moral and spiritual relativism. This revised and updated edition includes new articles and extensive apologetics study material from today’s leading apologists.Features include:

  • Presentation page
  • Book Introductions
  • Study Notes
  • Apologetics articles from leading apologists
  • “Twisted Scripture” explanations for commonly misunderstood passages
  • Profiles of Christian apologists
  • Two-column text
  • 9.75-point type size
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Ribbon marker
  • Full-color maps

Includes commentary from over 90 leading apologists, including: Ted Cabal, Lee Strobel, Chuck Colson, Paul Copan, Norm Geisler, Hank Hanegraaff, Josh McDowell, Albert Mohler, J.P. Moreland, Ravi Zacharias, and many more — plus a lead article by Lee Strobel (The Case for Christ).

The CSB Apologetics Study Bible features the highly reliable, highly readable text of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB), which stays as literal as possible to the Bible’s original meaning without sacrificing clarity. The CSB’s optimal blend of accuracy and readability makes Scripture more moving, more memorable, and more motivating to read and share with others.

Physical Characteristics:

  • Hardcover with dust jacket
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • 1 black ribbon marker
  • Double column Bible text
  • Words of Christ are NOT in red
  • No Cross References used in this Study Bible
  • 1,728 pages
  • Type size is approximately 9.75 for Scripture text
  • Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.8 x 9 inches
  • Approximate weight: 2.4 lbs.

CSB The Apologetics Study Bible


Pre-Scripture Text Pages

Presentation Page
This is the typical single page presentation page with a field for each “Presented To”, “By” and “On” for you to fill out.

This is a nice single page write-up that explains the need for this Apologetics Study Bible and a short summary of how the features in it can help believers better understand how to defend or answer for their faith.

Books of the Bible and Contributors
Two pages that are fairly typical where it shows the Books, abbreviations and page numbers for the first page of those books.  However, it also shows the contributor that was the author of the Book Introduction as well as the study notes.

Additional Features
These 5 pages list out the particular study tool as well as the author and page location where you can find it.  Basically this is an index of the many Articles, “Twisted Scripture” Notes, Notable Christian Apologist Biographies, Other Materials and Charts and Maps.  This is very helpful for when you might be looking for a specific thing within this Study Bible.

These 5 pages list out the different contributors and a brief description Of them and what portion of this Study Bible each one provided their contributions.  The backgrounds of these contributors  are varied, but for the most part, they stem from a Baptist background.  Some of the contributors are: Lee Strobel, Chuck Colson, Hank Hanegraaff, Josh McDowell, Albert Mohler, Ravi Zacharias, Darrell Bock, and many more.

Introduction to the Christian Standard Bible
This is the typical letter from the translators’ information which informs you how this translation came to be and the method the translators used when translating this version.  As this is a newer version/translation (which is really a revision of the HCSB), I always recommend people to read these sections of their Bibles to understand some of the features and how your particular version was created.

Commonly used abbreviations in CSB Bibles
Kind of a help for the translators’ notes to give you an idea for what abbreviations are used mostly in the Translators’ Footnotes.

What Is Apologetics Article
This is a one page article on what apologetics is and how it pertains to and is important to the believer.

How Apologetics Changed My Life Article
A two page article by Lee Strobel on ow his life was effectively changed by gaining an understanding of apologetics.

Christ: The Fulfillment of Prophecy Article
A two page article by James Kennedy listing out some of the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus and his conversation about it with man who did not believe in the Scriptures.

Writing History – Then and Now Article
This is a 5 page article by Kirk Lowery that helps us to understand the importance of reading and studying the Scriptures by trying to understand the culture and writing styles at the time that they were written rather than from our current culture. It is easy for us to miss things or even possibly misinterpret things if we are not aware of this critical point of view.

Numbers in the Bible
This three page article by Kirk Lowery helps us to understand the importance of numbers and how the Biblical writers used these numbers.  Excellent article.

The Chronology of the Kings of Israel and Judah
This three page article by Kirk Lowery reviews the challenges with how the years line up in the books of Kings in the Old Testament and shows how the “problems” are not with the Scriptural text, but rather with our ignorance of the ancient world.

Scripture Text Pages

Individual Book Introductions
The Book Introductions are anywhere from one full-page to 3 or 4 pages depending on the book.  In some instances, it’s actually a little more information than what is typically seen in most Study Bibles.  Very clearly written and very helpful.
CSB Apologetics Study Bible Book Introducdtion

Old Testament References in the New Testament
As I have seen in each CSB Bible so far, they followed suit with how they referenced Old Testament quotations/references like they did in the HCSB translation.  They did this by using a nice bold font for the Scripture text that is the reference.  This makes it very easy to see the reference are used in any New Testament text to indicate Old Testament quotations or any obvious allusion to any Old Testament text.  Of all the methods of referencing Old Testament Scripture that I have seen so far, my favorite way is how they do it with the HCSB and CSB Bibles where they bold the font of the actual text.  I hope Holman keeps this format going forward.

CSB Apologetics Study Bible Old Testament References in New Testament

Study Notes
The study notes in the CSB Apologetics Study Bible are geared toward the topic of apologetics to help the reader gain a better understanding of biblical doctrines and helping to encourage their faith.  I do like how the number of study notes does not outweigh the actual text of the Scriptures.  They really hit a nice balance to get the apologetical points in without going too far overboard.  I have seen some study Bibles where more than 60% of each page is devoted to the study notes.  That is a bit too much in my personal opinion.  Holman did a nice job with the balance on this one as the Scripture clearly has the focus and not someone’s commentary.  These study notes are written more for the layman in my opinion as they do not go into the world of academia regarding depth and wording making this Study Bible easier for anyone to read and understand.

CSB Apologetics Study Bible Study Notes

“Twisted Scripture”
These are around 58 short single paragraph callouts quickly take a look at different parts of scripture and explain why some people have twisted this portion of Scripture into an incorrect doctrine such as Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons to name a couple.

CSB Apologetics Study Bible Twisted Scripture

There are over 140 articles that cover some broad apologetical topics.  While I did not read every single one, the ones I did read are very well written and helpful.  Similar to the study notes, these articles are less on the academic side and seem to be geared more toward the everyday person.

CSB Apologetics Study Bible Articles

Notable Christian Apologists in History
There are 12 articles that talk about the person’s life and also their contributions to the Christian faith in relation to apologetics.  Fascinating articles to read!

CSB Apologetics Study Bible Notable Apologists from History

Margins on Scripture Pages
There is a little bit of room in the outside margins to write some notes, but not very much.
– Top Margin (not including page number and Scripture reference in the header) =almost 5/8″
– Outside margin =5/8″
– Bottom (foot) margin =5/16″ (below study notes area)

Translator Footnotes

Typical with most Bibles, the CSB Apologetics Study Bible has translator footnotes on many pages that show how the translators understood the original Biblical language.

CSB Apologetics Study Bible Translator's Footnotes

Post-Scripture Text Pages

Annotated Bibliography
Thirteen pages of an annotated bibliography for all the references that were used to create the study notes and many articles.  Also, the last two pages provides recommended websites and journals relating to the topic of apologetics.

CSB Concordance
This is a pretty decent concordance that is around 70 pages for the CSB translation. It is laid out very clean and is easy to use.

8 pages of additional full-color maps which are printed on very nice paper and pretty easy to read except for some of them have pretty small text


OK, this is the part where I get to tell you about how I like or dislike this bible in a detailed manner. What I typically try to do is do a quick glance over the entire book at a high level to get a feel for it.


Ease of Use:
I would say that this bible is very easy to use. The layout is very nice and easy to follow.  The articles are written more toward a layman level rather than an academic level which will be nice for a majority of the people who would likely purchase this Bible.  As I mentioned earlier, the Study Notes are well-balanced so they do enough to convey the apologetics side without overwhelmingly put more of an emphasis on the Study Notes rather than the Scriptural text itself.  Overall, this is a very well designed Study Bible.

Study Tools Helpful & Informative:
The study tools in this Bible are very helpful.  They really are easy to read and will provide you with a good basic understanding of apologetics.

Does Commentary Convey Biblical Truth:
From the articles and study notes that I read, it does seem pretty solid.

Durability of Bible:
I would say that this appears to be a fairly durable Bible. It is a hardcover Bible for the version that I received, but this Bible is Smyth Sewn (or section sewn), which means it will hold up better than most “perfect bound” or glue back Bibles (similar to general paperback books). I would consider this to be a Bible for studying or reading.

Typeface and Print:

Scriptures appear to be at a very readable 9.75 point font for the Scripture text.  The articles and the study notes are a little smaller – probably at a 7.5 or 8 point at most.  One thing to note is that they really did do a really good job on the line matching which helps the readability quite a lot.  Line matching is where the printed lines on the front side of the page are lined up exactly with the lines on the back side of the page which makes the show through (where you can see the type ghosting through from the other side) much less apparent and easier to read.

The inside dust cover states that it is a two-color interior, however, I”m not completely sure where the 2nd color is.  Unless they are referencing the gray tones that are used throughout different areas… but that’s not a 2nd color – it’s a screened black that varies how much screening is done to get the lighter color.  Maybe they used a Pantone color for this gray, but it is very close to the black if that’s true.  Of course, I may have simply missed the 2nd color somewhere.  With all that said, it still is designed and laid out very nicely, so I won’t knock them for this one.  Just to be honest, I would have loved to see this in full color, but this as a design (and a small cost) decision and it looks just fine in my opinion.

Paper Stock:
Paper used for this Bible is fairly typical and you can see the type through the paper.  However, as mentioned in the section above, the line matching really does not make it as noticeable, so I would not classify it as a concern.   ________________________________________


Below, we have the overall ratings that I would give to this particular Study Bible with a 1 to 10 range. Keep in mind that when I am doing these ratings, it is based on the physical makeup, format, extra-biblical content and value of the bible, not rating the Word of God itself as that would be off the chart 🙂  Soon, I will do a separate post that talks specifically about this new CSB “version” which is technically a revision of the HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible).
Quality: 8.9 – I am going to state that when I rate the “Quality” section, I am basing it partially on how the product is made when compared to the actual price.  With that said, I would say that for the price of this particular Bible, you are getting a fairly good quality… again for the price.  It is a hardcover Bible, but overall, it is actually pretty good quality.  
Appearance: 9.4 – 
The appearance of this Bible is very nice.  Granted, the version for my review is hardcover, still nicely designed and laid out.  The font is a very pleasing and easy to read font in my opinion and has a decent 70 page concordance for the CSB translation. The Scripture font is 9.75 point which is a very good size and easy to read.
Value: 9.5 – I personally like Bibles that are Smyth sewn better simply because they are typically made better and will last longer. Yes, this is a hardcover Bible, but overall, it feels pretty well made nonetheless.
Innovation: n/a – Nothing pops out to me as overly innovative, so I am going to mark this section as not applicable and not include it in the rating.
Other/Wildcard: n/a – There aren’t any real wildcards for this one that stood out to me, so I am marking this section as not applicable and not including it in the rating.

Overall Rating: 9.3 out of 10


Bible Formats and Options:

There is a small selection of binding options/formats that this Study Bible comes in from the publisher.  Click the ISBN number of the option you like below to be taken to Christianbook.com where you can purchase your desired format:

ISBN: 978-1433644092 (CSB Apologetics Study Bible, Hardcover – This review)
ISBN: 978-1433651199 (CSB Apologetics Study Bible, Hardcover, Thumb-Indexed) 

ISBN: 978-1433651236 (CSB Apologetics Study Bible, Mahogany LeatherTouch) 
ISBN: 978-1433651212 (CSB Apologetics Study Bible, Navy LeatherTouch) 
ISBN: 978-1433651229 (CSB Apologetics Study Bible, Navy LeatherTouch, Thumb-Indexed) 
ISBN: 978-1433651243 (CSB Apologetics Study Bible, Mahogany LeatherTouch, Thumb-Indexed) 


Company Summary:

In 1993, A.J. Holman Bible Company was acquired by Broadman Press to form B&H Publishers. Then in 2014, B&H Publishing combined with Lifeway Church Resources. They are based in Nashville, TN and have roots that go back to 1738.


Please leave a comment or question and I will try to respond a.s.a.p.
– Michael


This entry was posted in Apologetics, B&H Publishing, Bible Reviews, Bible Study, Concordance, CSB, Gospel, Hardcover, Holman, Lifeway, Maps, Reference Book Reviews, Scriptures, Study Bible, Study Bible Reviews, Studying, Word of God and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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