The Holman HCSB, Deluxe Ultrathin Reference Bible in Black Genuine Top Grain Cowhide, is an Excellent Idea, but Poorly Executed.

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I would love to give this Bible a glowing review. It is a good idea. My favorite size Bibles have been ultrathins. They are generally pretty portable and handy. An ultrathin with, sewn binding, some references, top grain cowhide leather cover, edge lined binding, opaque paper, and legible typeset is a wonderful Bible to have. If done correctly, they could sell them as fast as they could make them. Like I said earlier though, the design needs to be properly executed.  There have been some problems with both review copies I was sent. The first copy arrived with the gold stamping on the spine missing in spots,

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the tail band was sliced, one of the end pages was dog eared, the cover was not glued down to the inside liner well enough, this allowed the pages to get between the liner and cover, and the pages were all stuck together. The gold stamping would have been enough to send this Bible back as it is fairly expensive. The second Bible sent to me to replace the first one has leather debris sandwiched between the cover and the liner, leaving two lumps on the front cover.

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These will cause the cover to wear out and eventually put holes in it. That would have been enough to warrant sending that Bible back as well. Generally, I am very pleased with Holman Bibles. Many of their Bibles are produced in South Korea. This one was produced in China. Almost all of the incidents I’ve had with defects in workmanship or materials, have been with Bibles made in China. It doesn’t seem to matter who the American publisher is, whether it is Lockman, B&H, or Hendrickson when they make Bibles in China the quality control is problematic.

Where Holman stands above some of the other publishers is in their customer service. They have quickly and courteously supplied me with another copy, when I brought the defect to their attention. Some publishers were unwilling to replace defective copies. Lockman has replaced defective copies as well, but this review is of B&H.

If this Bible would have been produced without defects, with a higher quality liner, and end papers, it would have been worth the retail price. I would suggest that B&H stop making this Bible in China, and move the production to someplace with higher quality standards. This would have been a great Bible considering the ambition of the design. It was shipped in a cardboard box with paper packing.

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The retail box inside is a two piece box, that should be retained for storage.

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The Bible inside the box was wrapped in black construction paper to protect it during shipping. The cover is supposed to be top grain cowhide leather. It does feel very soft,

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but it has been pared pretty thin.

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I don’t know if Holman supplied the leather or allowed the Chinese binder to provide the leather. The liner looks like a synthetic material. It doesn’t glue well to the hide cover. The end papers are very thin as well. This might have been done to increase the flexibility of this Bible given that it is edge lined bound and not case bound. I appreciate what they were attempting to do, but the end papers just came off as cheap. I love when a Bible has a genuine, high quality hide as a cover. The smell and feel of a genuine hide, not to mention the durability, ensure many years of use. Combine that with a flexible sewn binding, and you have an easy opening Bible that lies flat on your table, or can be wrapped around itself, to be held in one hand for easy reading.

The line matching helps to keep the text legible in conjunction with the uniform printing and ink consistency.

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This is a double column paragraph format, red letter edition Bible.

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There is an oddity that puzzles me. They printed the book names and chapters on the bottom of the page, instead of at the top where it typically is located. It makes you pause for a moment when trying to turn to a specific scripture.  Chances are good that I could have been sent a Bible with zero defects and my review would have been extolling the virtues of this great little Bible.  Chances are, you might order it and receive a good copy.  I just happened to get tow in a row with defects.  The good news, is that Holman will make it right if you get a bad one.  If you really want an HCSB in ultrathin that is edge lined and covered with top grain leather, this is about one of your only choices.

Make sure to check out all of the pictures I took of this Bible and its replacement on my flickr page.

9781586404314

The Apologetics Study Bible, in Black Genuine Leather, HCSB Translation, is not Your Usual Study Bible.

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Most people assume all study Bibles to be pretty much alike.  If you get one with a person’s name on it, more than likely, it will reflect that person’s theology.  If it doesn’t have someone’s name on it, then it is usually an eclectic grab bag of information.  Well, “The Apologetics Study Bible” is not your average study Bible.  Instead of just tossing in an abundance of information in some haphazard fashion or having one group’s theological presuppositions espoused, it systematically provides specific information about, the scripture, ethics, science, archaeology, philosophy, and non-Christian belief systems.  It does it in a very thoughtful manner.  I found the sections called, “twisted scripture” to be very helpful.

Just the list of contributors on this one had me sold on the idea; Albert Mohler, Ravi Zacharias, Phil Johnson, Chuck Colson, Norm Geisler, Josh McDowell, J. P. Moreland, and Hank Hanegraaff.  Not to mention the features; the easy to read HCSB text, presentation page,

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the two-color page layout for contrast, introductions and book outlines to each Bible book that focus on apologetics,

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double-column paragraph format in black 10 point text,

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translation footnotes, study notes that explain “problem” passages, sidebars on scriptures misused by cults, (twisted scripture) profiles of historic Christian apologists from Justin Martyr to C. S. Lewis, plan of salvation, lined pages for recording personal notes,

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silver page edges,

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5 full color maps, charts, and two ribbon markers, make this an excellent choice for the student polishing up their apologetics chops.  This Bible lives up to the name, “The Apologetics Bible.”

Every believer is called to give an answer for the hope that they have, we are supposed to evangelize, and make disciples.  This Bible definitely will help with the Great Commission.  Everyone should have a copy of this to refer to.  It puts some of the most expertly done work at your disposal.

This Bible was shipped to me in a cardboard box padded with paper.  It arrived undamaged and in good condition.  It was packaged in a two piece retail box that should be retained for storage.  The Apologetics Study Bible is 9 1/2″ x 7 1/4” x 1 1/2” it has a genuine leather cover.

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The cover is what you would expect from a genuine leather cover.  It is made from pigskin leather.  It is a bit shiny compared to calfsplit or cowhide leather, but not near as pricey, while offering superior quality to most synthetics and bonded leather covers.  The corners are machine cut, formed, and glued, so they are nice and uniform.  It is case bound with a sewn binding.  There are decorative head and tail bands.  The page gilt and stamp work is done in silver.  The font is uniformly inked and printed.  It is 10 point in size and is easy on the eyes.  The coloring of some of the elements on the page can be a bit distracting if you are a purist.  The paper seems to be opaque enough.  The study attributes of this Bible are the big features.  You are getting a lot for your money.  This Bible is a great value.

ISBN-13: 9781433602917

ISBN: 1433602911