Thanks to Rolf for the following guest review:
I was asked by Timothy to give a guest review of the Little Rock Catholic Study Bible (LRCSB)- hardback, not because I am an authority on the subject, but because I received my copy before he received his. I just received this Study Bible yesterday, so this is a first impressions review.
I think this Study Bible fills a niche in that it appears to be published for the average Catholic reader out there and not necessarily the scholar. It is not unlike many of the Protestant Study Bibles out on the market (such as the NLT, NIV, etc). But I think that the LRCSB has a much cleaner page display and is much easier to read than the afore mentioned Protestant versions.
9 ¼ x 6 ½ x 2 inches, 2632 pages (plus 16 maps) *very similar in size to the Oxford Catholic study Bible
NAB (Revised Edition) translation
A timeline of biblical history is located inside the front and rear covers of this Bible.
A section in the front of the Bible called The Fundamentals of Reading the Bible which has various articles within in it;
The Why and How of the Little Rock Catholic Study Bible
How to Study Scripture
Why Study the Bible
How and Why Bibles Differ
The Church’s Use of the Bible
A Catholic Approach to Scripture
The Bible and Liturgy
The Bible and Social justice
Understanding the World of the Bible
Archaeology and the Bible
The Cultural World of the Ancient Mediterranean
This Bible contains all the Book descriptions and scriptural footnotes that are mandated by the USCCB for the NABRE translation.
Added to the Old Testament introduction is an article entitled; ‘Why do Christians Read the Old Testament?’
Added to the Beginning of the New Testament is an article entitled; ‘Background to the Gospels.’
In the back of the Bible there is;
A section called ‘Jewish Feast’ which lists all the major feasts with description and biblical refs.
Sunday Readings of Holy Scripture
And 16 nice color maps
The NABRE text appears with an approx 9-10 font size, is in single column format and is very well spaced. I found this text as easy to read as some larger print sizes. The paper is thin (2600+ pages) but bleed through is well controlled making the print easier to read.
The cross-references are in the upper outer edge of the page and are in a shaded box and are very easy to locate (unlike other NAB editions).
There are shaded boxes that occur on the pages of the text that relay different information to the reader that have symbols that designated what type of information is being relayed, and they include; definition and explanations of terms and ideas, description of main characters, insights about not so minor characters, archaeological insights, social justice teachings, prayer starters, liturgical use of scripture and cultural connections. There are also photographs, small maps and charts used within the text.
I really like this Study Bible, the page layout is clean an easy to read. It is compact enough (for a Study Bible) to take with you, although if you had to carry it with you for awhile it could get a little heavy. It gives you information at your finger tips which is good for your average Catholic user (non scholar), who might not take the time to look in the front of the Bible for the information (like the Oxford Catholic Study Bible). Of course if you are looking for a something a little more scholarly, there are plenty other choices out there.
I probably will make this my everyday Bible for now, I love the single column text!