A Review of Holman’s CSB (Christian Standard Bible) Large Print UltraThin Reference Bible, in Black Goatskin Leather.

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I know many of you are waiting out there to see what this revision of the H.C.S.B. is all about.  It isn’t a formal equivalent, it isn’t a dynamic equivalent.  F.Y.I. Holman calls it an optimal translation.  Here is an excerpt from their site, “The Christian Standard Bible (CSB) is a highly trustworthy, faithful translation that is proven to be the optimal blend of accuracy and readability. It’s as literal to the original as possible without sacrificing clarity. The CSB is poised to become the translation that pastors rely on and Bible readers turn to again and again to read and to share with others.”

If you are like me, you might be wondering what is the difference between the two.  Here is another excerpt from their site, ” The Christian Standard Bible is a revision of the HCSB, updating translation and word choices in order to optimize both fidelity to the original languages and clarity for a modern audience. The Translation Oversight Committee, co-chaired by Drs. Tom Schreiner and David Allen, incorporated advances in biblical scholarship and input from Bible scholars, pastors, and readers to sharpen both accuracy and readability.”

The main reasons I didn’t use the H.C.S.B. for my reading and study, is that it seemed obvious when the translation switched between the two translation philosophies.  It was a continuity and flow problem.  I’m glad to say, that seems to have been dealt with in this revision.  The C.S.B. reads much better.  It is more of a seamless blend of the philosophies.  As far as being an optimal translation…  I guess that depends on your opinion.  I’ve not needed to have a dynamic equivalent, nor have I needed to have sections of the Bible to be translated as a dynamic equivalent.  I’m a man of average intelligence.  I have a basic education.  If I come across a difficult passage, I read it again.  If I don’t know the meaning of a word, I look it up.  I think we should endeavor to become better students, rather than changing our translation philosophy to make the Bible simpler.

That being said, if I had to pick a Bible that wasn’t strictly a formal equivalent translation, this would be it.  For years I have sat by and watched the N.I.V. become a gender neutral mess.  The N.L.T. in my opinion is so dumbed down, it has lost the majesty of God’s word.  Don’t even get me started on The Message, Passion, or the Voice.  As far as I am concerned, if you have a copy of the Voice, you should burn it so no one else can be poisoned by it’s lies. (I have some pretty strong opinions.)  So what’s a person supposed to do if they want a translation that is a bit more accessible than the N.A.S.B. you might ask?  In my opinion, get a C.S.B.  It is everything the NIV used to be.  It is accurate, and accessible.  It stays true to the intent of the author (God) and retains the gender contexts of the Hebrew and Greek texts without imposing a cultural hermeneutic on them.

I hope you’ll give it a try.  Let’s take a look at the physical attributes of the Bible I was sent for review.  Keep in mind that it is an advance copy, so some details might be different by the time this actually is published and sold.

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The Bible arrived packaged in a padded envelope.  The envelope had some tears in it by the time it made it to me.  The retail, two piece box also had a dent in it.  The Bible inside was undamaged and received in new condition.

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This Bible is covered in an extremely soft and smooth goatskin leather.  The grain is very understated.  I’ve heard others refer to the goatskin as garment grade.  I don’t know how true that is, but I could see how that would be so.

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The inner liner is a type of bonded leather.  I’m not sure if it is Cromwell or not.  I asked someone from Holman.  When I find out I’ll post an update.  Since this is an edge lined volume, it is very flexible and floppy.  The cover can be rolled up.

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This is an edge lined binding.  The bonded leather is  glued to the text block, and then a piece of vinyl covered paper is glued over that.  There is a piece of binding tape that reinforces the hinge.  This is good and bad.  It is good because it will make the binding more durable.  It is bad, because it hinders the ability of the Bible to be opened flat in the first few pages and the last few pages.  Sometimes you’ll see a more narrow strip of binding tape, that allows the first pages to open more easily. Some don’t even use the tape. With a bonded leather inner liner it is good that they did. This is still an extremely flexible and floppy Bible.

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One feature I hope they keep in the production model is the perimeter stitching in red.  I think it makes a striking addition to the aesthetic appeal of this Bible.  The stitching on the front is colored black.  On the inside it is red.

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I think the silver page edge gilt was the right decision instead of gold, considering the bold red thread and smooth black cover.  They work together. The head and foot bands are a brown color, and don’t really pop. It is easy to miss them. I would recommend red and black colored for the bands to go along with the color scheme.
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The spine is also ornamented with three spine hubs, and the words, “Holy Bible, Christian Standard Bible, and Holman” hot stamped in silver letters.  The area close to the head is left empty.  As one of my fellow reviewers mentioned, it seems a bit unbalanced.  We will see what they do with it in the final version they bring to market.

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Even though this Bible is printed in China, the quality of the paper and printing is very good.
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I found the 9.5 pt Bible Serif font to be inked uniformly, having sharp, clean edges, and contrasting nicely with the white paper.  The paper was opaque and line matching was employed. (line matching is when the text on the back side of the page is printed directly over the font on the front side of the page, so there is no background noise bleeding through the paper, otherwise known as text ghosting.)  The paper is 30 g.s.m. and rates a very good opacity of 84 with a brightness of 83.  This black letter edition is a double column layout, with center column references.  It will be familiar to Bible readers. 2K/DENMARK did fine work with the font and layout.  See for yourself how good it is.
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Here is a single page backlit so you can see how opaque it is.
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There is about a half inch in the margin for limited note taking.

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There are two above average ribbon markers.  The one for the Old Testament is black and the one for the New Testament is red.

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Did I mention how flexible this Bible is?  Due to the sewn spine and edge lined binding this thing is super supple, for my alliteration fans.  It does open nice and flat, it also can be easy to hold onto with how it can be bent.  Take a look.

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Among the features I already mentioned, here is a list from Holman’s product page, “…Features include: Smyth-sewn binding, Presentation page, Two-column text, Center-column cross-references, Topical subheadings, Black letter text, 9.5-point type, Concordance, Full-color maps, and more…”  I really like the maps 🙂

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Here is a picture of their robust cross reference system.

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Weights and measures.

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A respectable and useful concordance.

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and some well done maps.

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If you are in the market for a large print ultrathin reference Bible, I encourage you to give this one a look.  It has all of the features you could want.  It uses a translation that will speed you along in your studies.  It comes in at a reasonable price for the top line model and a very good value for the other editions.  You’d be hardpressed to find another one in this segment of the market with all of these features for this price.  I believe Holman has this edition set to sell for about $139.00 but I am sure sites like Christianbook.com will sell it at a deep discount.  Make sure to check out all of the pictures I took of this Bible on my flickr site.  You can read more about the CSB translation on their site, www.csbible.com  You could also purchase a copy on Amazon.

 

ISBN: 9781462743223

A Review of the Holman HCSB Military Families Bible in Navy and Crimson Leathertouch, Red Letter Edition.

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I want to get the failings of this Bible addressed right off the bat.  In my opinion it fails at what it aims to accomplish.  Here is a quote from the B&H product page, “Family, friends, and loved ones of military service members want comfort and guidance in how to pray for those in harm’s way and in how to cope with those tensions in their own lives so that they will have peace of mind. The Military Families Bible provides 60 pages of devotionals and prayers that minister to family members and loved ones of military personnel as well as equip the reader to minister to and intercede for those in the military.”  All of these articles are in this Bible, but (come on, you knew there was going to be a but…)  They are all in the back of the Bible.  They don’t have page numbers, and they are not indexed in any way shape or form.  You might be asking, “What’s so bad about that?”  Well, say for instance you are having a specific problem, that one of these articles addresses, wouldn’t it be great to be able to look it up?  The next problem is that these articles should be interspersed throughout the Bible and be attached to relevant scripture passages.  As it is, they are just lazily thrown into the back of this Bible.  Sure, it puts them in one convenient place to read, but they literally could be a separate devotional book instead.  My final problem with the devotionals is that some cited scripture passages have been torn out of context and misapplied by the writer.  This doesn’t happen a lot, but it shouldn’t happen at all.  

I would offer a solution instead of just seemingly complaining.  First, get the feel good authors out of the exposition business.  Second, get some vets, their families, and some theologians together, to talk about their experiences, and to help them connect with the Biblical doctrines that comforted them.  Third, intersperse the articles throughout the Bible, and connect them to sections of scripture in context, and properly apply the scripture to the situations the military families and soldiers are going through.  Fourth, index the articles so that people can find them and the scriptures that can offer them soul care pertinent to their situation.  See, was that so hard?  Seems legit to me…

Now let’s get into the physical attributes of this Bible.  It is a handsome little Bible in the HCSB translation.  It came in a two piece, sturdy, retail box.  The cover is a synthetic Navy blue, and crimson color leather like material.  It is perimeter stitched and case bound, with a paper liner.  The page edges are silver, the spine and corners are rounded.  This Bible’s spine is smyth sewn, regardless of what the retail sites say.
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There is some page crinkling at the beginning of the Bible, but it isn’t very bad.  There is a patriotic themed presentation page.  The single ribbon marker is red/crimson, to match the stripe on the cover.  The publisher’s information page indicates this Bible is manufactured in China…  patriotic Bible… made in China…  just sayin’

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I found this Bible to be just the right size.  It measures approximately, 8 ½” by 5 ¾” by 1 ½”  It is really more of a text Bible with devotions in the back.  The paper is opaque enough, and the print is a 10 pt. font, printed uniformly throughout the Bible.  This is a double column, paragraph format, red letter edition.  The red print is pretty average, not too bright, not too dull.  It is an easy to read Bible, mostly because of the size of the font.

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It would be even better if line matching was employed.  While the paper is decent, and the font is a good size, there is still some ghosting.  Limited footnotes at the bottom of the page reduce clutter.  The sewn spine makes this Bible nice and flexible, right out of the box.  It lays flat on the table, and that is a big deal for an inexpensive Bible.

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It truly is a great value with just the legibility and sewn spine.  The 60 pages of devotional material are useful.  Don’t get me wrong.  I just wished a better implementation had occurred.  Of the 60 pages, 30 are devotions and 30 are prayers.  I believe that theology makes a difference, and that a firm foundation in God’s word will help you through the storms of life better than anything else.  The sovereignty of God, God’s omniscience, and omnipresence, as well as all that those attributes entail gives me peace and comfort in difficult times.  Besides these features there are HCSB bullet notes, “Where to turn to” scripture index, and 8 full color maps.

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Make sure to check out the rest of the pics at my Flickr page.  You can pick up your copy at Christianbook, or Amazon.

ISBN-13: 9781433619670

A Review of, “The Underestimated Gospel” a Compilation of Edited Sermons from the 2012, “Together for the Gospel” Conference.

I know 2012 was a few years back, but that didn’t stop B&H Books from publishing this work in 2014.  Jonathan Leeman is the General Editor for this compilation of sermons.  He did a great job putting them together in book format.  Here is list of the Pastors whose sermons are featured in this book, David Platt, John Piper, Kevin DeYoung, Matt Chandler, R. Albert Mohler Jr. Thabiti Anyabwile, Mark Dever, C.J. Mahaney, and J. Ligon Duncan III.  With this list of names you would expect to see some good sermons.  I did, and I wasn’t disappointed.  As you can tell from the name of the book, and the conference, the messages focused on the gospel of Jesus, and its power to change everything.  

I don’t want to do the typical critical review here.  It isn’t really that kind of work.  This was sermons, preached to Pastors, for their edification, by other Pastors, at a conference.  It was not a work of fiction, a history book, a “Christian living” book, theology book, or a biography.  Considering that, I would rather just encourage you to read this volume of sermons for your own edification.  You don’t have to be a Pastor to get the message from this book.  Any Christian could pick this up and read it for their benefit.  These men laid out for us the importance of preaching the gospel, and how it applies to every aspect of Christian conversion, security, life, evangelism, and discipleship.  You get a view through a portal into the head and heart of these Pastors as they preach about the gospel.  

I would recommend this book to anyone who is tired of hearing fluff that doesn’t actually change anything, to Pastors who lack authority in their preaching, to Pastors who want to see their flock changed by the word of God.  The worst that can happen is that you would spend a short time reading some very good sermons.  If you are a false teacher, and false convert, the best thing that could happen, is that you could be genuinely saved, and motivated to give up that useless moralism, life enhancement, prosperity, best life now, drivel, you’ve been pushing, and actually preach the gospel of Jesus Christ crucified.  Sorry if that seemed a bit harsh.  I have sat in Churches that don’t preach the gospel.  It gets me riled up now when I think about other poor souls sitting in  a Church having nonsense preached at them.  Seriously, if you are a Pastor, or know a Pastor, get them this book.  It will aid them and encourage them.

You can pick up a copy here at Christianbook.com

You can also watch the entire conference for free on the site.

ISBN: 9781433683909

A Review of the Study Bible for Women by Holman Personal Size Edition.

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Let’s look at the, “Study Bible for Women” in the HCSB translation, personal size edition, from Holman. It comes in a quality leathertouch, (synthetic leather) teal and brown cover . It was a very pleasant surprise to see some actual study aids as opposed to junk food. There is academic quality here. There are some notes on hermeneutics, theology, some original language notes and transliteration help. Most women’s Bibles are pink and have a bunch of Osteen-esque, self help, self-esteem, feel good, prattle in them with little in the way of useful exegesis of scripture or how to apply it today. This study Bible has significant work in it from two established Christian women. Here are short biographies from Holman’s site,

“Dorothy Kelley Patterson is Professor of Theology in Women’s Studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. She is a homemaker, popular speaker, and successful writer, editor, and compiler of numerous books including A Handbook for Ministers’ Wives, The Family, BeAttitudes for Women, and Touched by Greatness: Women in the Life of Moses. She is co-editor of the two volume Women’s Evangelical Commentary:Old Testament and New Testament. Her husband Paige is President of Southwester Baptist Theological Seminary.”

and,

“Rhonda Harrington Kelley is President’s wife and Adjunct Professor of Women’s Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a frequent speaker for women as well as an author of books including Divine Disciple, Life Lessons for Women of the Bible, and Personal Holiness: A Biblical Study for Developing a Holy Lifestyle. She is co-editor of the three volume Women’s Evangelical Library including Women’s Evangelical Commentary: Old Testament, New Testament, and The Study Bible for Women. Her husband Chuck Kelley is President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.”

There is some of the fluff, don’t get me wrong. It is just kept in its proper place and proportion. I think that women should find this very helpful. However, I am not a woman and am just commenting because I want one like this for men.

Here is what the Publisher has to say about this Bible,

“Publisher’s Description
The Study Bible for Women will equip you to reach deep into God’s Word. Perhaps the single most powerful aspect of this Bible are the “threads” of specialized study thoughtfully woven throughout, pointing you to God’s larger story and allowing the Holy Spirit to write His revealed truths on your heart.

In The Study Bible for Women, personal size edition you’ll join a host of other women, all academically trained in the original languages of the Bible and passionate about God’s Word, for an intimately deep dive into Scripture that will equip you to unlock the riches and majesty of His Word, and ignite a passion to mentor others in your life to do the same. The Study Bible for Women includes the full text of the Holman Christian Standard Bible, a clear, contemporary English translation that’s faithful to the original languages of the Bible.

Features include extensive commentary notes, word studies, answers to hard questions, doctrinal notes, Biblical womanhood articles, character profiles, Written on My Heart applications, extensive book introductions, presentation pages, in-text maps, charts & time-lines, full-color maps section and concordance.”

The Bible was shipped in a cardboard box with paper packing material. The Bible was inside a two piece retail box. It arrived undamaged and in good condition. I can’t stress enough that this is not some cheap synthetic leather, nor is it some hard, shiny, pigskin leather you would find on other Bibles in this price range. This is a good quality synthetic cover.

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The spine is hot stamped with, “HCSB” at the top, “The Study Bible for Women” orientated horizontally along the spine in the middle, and at the bottom is the Holman logo. The page edges are silver. The pages are white with a faded blue color that becomes more solid as you approach the page edges and perimeter of the page.

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The paper is 30 g.s.m. making it pretty opaque. Lighter paper would not have been good. With this weight of paper you don’t have much in the way of ghosting (seeing the text on the backside of the page show through) There are numerous decorative designs throughout. I don’t know what your opinion is of that, but I could do without them. The font used for the main text is 8.5 point in ITC Clearface Standard. (Open-type) This makes it easy on they eyes unless you have bad eyesight. The coloring of the page perimeters could cut down on the contrast of the text to the paper. The paper could be a little brighter white where the text is, but then the perimeter effect would be lost. The text is laid out in a double column, paragraph format with the cross-references on the outside of the page instead of at the bottom or in a center column. Interspersed throughout are other features.

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The inside cover is made of paper of the same color and glued down. They did a good job with the corners. There is one ribbon marker and it is matching in color as well. The binding on this Bible is a South Korean, sewn binding. They have been doing a lot of Holman’s bindings and are holding up quite well. This also makes them flexible on top of being durable. Way better than a glued binding.

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Even though this is a study Bible, I don’t want you to be afraid that it is a behemoth. (funny right?) For a study Bible this thing is very manageable. In the personal size edition it is even more manageable than its full sized sister. It is just the right size for ladies who don’t want to use a hand-truck to carry their study Bibles to Wednesday night Bible Study. I think it is a very good investment if you are looking for a women’s study Bible that has good content instead of the motivational junk you get pushed on you nowadays.
Make sure to check out all of the pictures I took of this Bible here. There are lots of close-ups.
ISBN-13: 9781433607608

Finally, a Wide Margin Bible with Ruled Lines in the Margins! The Holman NKJV Wide Margin Journaling Bible in Two Tone Bonded Leather.

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I don’t know how many of you have shared my lament over wide margins with no ruled lines, but I can imagine it is a common want, hence stencils being recommended to scribe the lines ourselves. I am so glad to see Holman pick up the idea from Crossway, and put it to use with the different translations available to them. I remember having many conversations with people about how it would be great if someone would make a wide margin with ruled lines. It was one of my gripes. It seemed like such a simple and obvious improvement to me. I actually refrained from purchasing wide margin Bibles because of the lack of ruled lines. The 1 3/4” margins are filled with wonderful ruled lines that match the lines of text so you can put your notes and cross references right next to the text that they are about. Of course, if you want you can write in front of the line and get about 2 inches out of the margin.

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My handwriting is very difficult to read and tends to slope. It lacks uniformity in spacing between the letters and lines. I NEED ruled lines to write on. I know that my sloppy brethren are out there and enthused. I also know there are a select, rare, few, who are endowed with the gift of lovely handwriting. If you find yourself in that crowd, God has smiled upon you, but for me and my illegible brethren, “Vive la ligne!”

When you open the cover on this Bible you’ll see that the end pages are decorated. It is a case bound Bible.

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In the front you have, God’s Plan For salvation, Presentation page, Preface to the New King James Version, and the copyright/publisher page.

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In the Bible you’ll find one ribbon marker that matches the color scheme of the cover.

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In the back there is a fifty page concordance, eight full color maps, and a Bible reading plan.

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This Bible is just the right size to offer legible sized font while maintaining a manageable size to keep open on your lap and write in during Church. It measures 8.50″ x 6.50″ x 1.50″

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I for one am very pleased with this new Bible and not just because the lines. The paper on this thing is great. It is kind of an off white or cream color. It is a bit heavier and opaque. There is less ghosting than on most Bibles in this price range. Line matching was employed during the printing. This is when text on the opposite side of the page is printed directly behind the text on the other side of the page.

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The layout was done by 2K/Denmark. The Bible was printed and bound in South Korea.

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The font looks to be 8 pt in size and it is printed uniformly and sharp contrasting very well against the off white paper. It is one of the easiest on the eyes to look at since the pages are not a bright glaring white or a super thin translucent mess. The text is in a single column paragraph format red letter edition. There are no cross references. You are responsible for that my friends.

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There is a page of ruled paper at the end of every book. It is arranged in two blank columns for you to use as indexes of your references, notes, or whatever you like. It is up to you.

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I’ve written in this Bible with wet highlighters, fountain pen, fine tip ball point pen, and pencil. Of course the highlighters bled through a little bit depending on how long I left the marker in contact with the paper. The fountain pen I used is a Lamy with a broad tip nib. It lays down a lot of ink in bold dark lines. It does show through the paper. When I used a fine tip ball point pen it shows through, but not nearly as bad as the broad tip fountain pen.
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The Bible was shipped in a cardboard box and padded with paper. The paper was all at one corner and the Bible was at the opposite corner.
I was in a retail sleeve instead of a box. It arrived with some damage to the spine towards the bottom and back of the Bible. I think this was incurred during shipping. I don’t believe it was Holman’s fault. If I had purchased this Bible and it arrived damaged the retailer or Holman would have replaced it under warranty. Due to the damage I was able to see that the maps are held to each other with binding tape as well as being sewn into the binding. This will make for a very sturdy Bible. Frankly, as good as this thing is built, I’m surprised it got damaged at all. It must have taken a pretty hard bump. The retail sleeve type packaging had all of the expected information on it.

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The Bible I received was black smooth textured bonded leather over the spine and a saddle brown colored more textured bonded leather over the rest of the cover. The cover is perimeter stitched in white thread. It is an attractive Bible.

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The Bible is a hardback of sorts with very thin book boards. They wanted to make sure you had a portable desk so you could write straight on your super cool ruled lines. I don’t want to hear anyone asking for this in a flexible edge lined calfskin leather cover. That would make it more difficult to use. This Bible is all about being used. I haven’t even mentioned the sewn binding with overcasting. Whoops, I guess I just did. The sewn binding on this is great. The signatures are just the right size. The sewn binding makes the spine very flexible so that the Bible lays open quite well. For a journaling Bible it is important for it to lay open and flat. That makes it so much easier to write in and increase the longevity of the Bible.

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Overcasting is when several of the pages from the front signature are sewn to several of the pages of the signature behind it through the spine. This is done to reinforce the book. It can also be done to the back of the book. However, I didn’t see that in this one. The overcasting appears just in the front that I could see.

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If you like the design that Crossway came out with, but you wanted to use the KJV, NKJV, or NIV instead of the ESV and wanted to spend a bit less while still getting a very well made journaling wide margin this is the Bible for you. It fills a real niche and should become a favorite for many years to come. I think it will be a big hit for Holman.

Make sure to check out the rest of the pictures on my flickr page.

ISBN-13: 9781433691584

The Holman HCSB Large Print Ultrathin Reference Bible in Black Genuine Cowhide Leather is a Wonderful Demonstration of How High Quality Bibles Can be Made in America for a Very Affordable Price.

DSCN4304Yes, it is true! We can still make high quality Bibles here in America, and they are affordable! I’m not saying this is a cheap Bible by any means, far from it. It is a high quality Bible. I will go over all of the features later in the review. This Bible sells for around $80.00 online. Even if they sold it for the suggested retail price of almost $120.00 it would be worth it. So to all of my patriotic friends, “‘MericA!” The Holman HCSB Large Print Ultratin Reference Bible showed up on my doorstep well protected inside an appropriately sized cardboard box padded with paper.   DSCN4302

The two piece retail box is sturdy and should be retained for storage. The Bible was wrapped in black paper to further protect the black genuine cowhide leather cover.

DSCN4308I’ve read some other reviews of this Bible and much ado was made over the cover’s softness. I’ll admit that is the main reason I wanted to review this for myself. Although, it is a very nice cover, I wouldn’t call it the softest or most supple cover I’ve ever seen. Considering that soft does not always equate to good, don’t let my mention of that stop you from getting this Bible. I quite like that it isn’t as soft as what I was reading on other sites. For instance, I have an R. L. Allan Readers in goatskin leather. It is nothing like the goatskin I have on a Cambridge Clarion Bible. The Allan was thick and tough compared to the Cambridge. When you get into Bibles, one of the first things that gets you going is that there are Bibles out there with very soft covers. This new excitement wears thin after a while. After using Bibles with super supple covers for a while you begin to notice some drawbacks. Super supple covers or ssc’s for short, do enhance the flexibility of a quality edge lined, sewn binding. What you’ll notice though is that you will begin a tendency to bend your Bible in ways that are not conducive to a long useful binding life. You’ll also become annoyed at your Bible flopping around at inconvenient times. If you have a larger Bible that is ssc it will become more difficult to sit and read as you have to support it someway. The ssc’s also are more susceptible to scratches, and abrasions. The cover can flop away from the pages and leave your pages unprotected. I don’t know how many more dog eared pages I’ve gotten solely due to the ssc. There is a happy medium, thank goodness. I think that this Bible fits in that category very well. The genuine cowhide leather cover IS supple, but not too supple.   DSCN4309

DSCN4310  It is coupled with a case bound text block instead of an edge lined one.   DSCN4314

This also keeps it from being excessively flexible, without too rigid.

DSCN4346  The cover offers just the right amount of support and protection. When I open it to read from it, I can read both the left and right pages while holding the Bible in one hand, without one of them folding over so it can’t be read. With an ssc you can’t do this. With a rigid cover you are fighting the cover, constantly trying to keep it down and out of the way. This Bible is just right in that regard. When I took it out of the box and the paper it was wrapped in, I didn’t notice any chemical smells, just the smell of leather, as it should be. It felt good in my hands. The spine wasn’t too thick or thin. It is manageable in size at 9.75″ x 6.75″ x 1.25″ The texture of the leather’s grain is natural and pleasing to the touch. The spine is decorated with 6 raised hubs. At the head of the spine is the Holman sword and shield logo with, “HCSB” under it. In the middle of the spine are the words, “Holy Bible.” At the foot you’ll see, “Large Print Ultrathin Reference Edition” with the Holman logo beneath it.   DSCN4312

It has gold gilt page edges rounded corners and a slightly rounded spine. The signatures are fairly large. I think this is what accounted for some pretty dramatic looking page waves when I first took this Bible out to use.

DSCN4325  The good news is that those wrinkles you see in the pictures went away after a day of being out of the box and packaging. With just light use everything kind of balanced out. For some reason the pictures made the problem look worse than what it was. Since this Bible has a lifetime warranty through Holman, if you received one with this problem I am certain they would take it back and do what they needed to do to make sure you were happy. I just used it for a little while and it got much better. In the front of the Bible there is a Presentation page. Then there are record pages for Marriage Certificate, Births, Marriages, Occasions to Remember, and Deaths. After the records pages there is the Title page, copyright/publisher’s page, Table of Contents, God’s Plan for Salvation, Introduction to the HCSB translation and finally the text of the Old Testament starts.   DSCN4327

The paper is white enough to offer good contrast with the sharply printed modern digital 9 pt. font. The layout and typesetting was done by 2Krogh AS, Hojbjerg, Denmark and proofreading by Peachtree Editorial Services in Peachtree City Georgia. This Bible uses the 2009 Updated HCSB and cross references.

DSCN4335  This is a red letter edition. It is a double column, paragraph format Bible with center column references and footnotes at the bottom.   DSCN4344

In the footnotes there are alternate readings or notes on textual variants that is quite helpful.

DSCN4343  All of these features lend themselves to a highly legible text. It is easy on the eyes and will be a pleasure to use. The book names and chapter numbers are on the bottom of the page instead of the top along with the page numbers.   DSCN4334

If you are holding this Bible in your hand or lap while reading from a chair this makes more sense. If you are leaning over this Bible reading it at a table or desk the placement of that information can be less convenient. It is not the conventional way to do it, but that is not necessarily bad. There are two ribbon markers for your daily reading in the Old and New Testaments.
DSCN4313  DSCN4337

There is a concordance, eight full-color maps, and HCSB Bullet Notes in the back of this Bible. Overall, I have been pleasantly surprised lately by the quality and value of Holman Bibles I’ve been sent for review. I am actually beginning to expect this level of quality and value from Holman. Because of their work and the fact that we can have a domestically produced Bible of quality and value, I am expecting more from other Bible publishers. This is good for Holman, it might be painful to other publishers, but they can look at it as a negative and stop sending me Bibles to review like some have, or they can pick up the challenge and step up their game. Make sure to check out the rest of the pics I took of this Bible here.

ISBN-13: 9781433603020

The Holman NKJV Compact Ultrathin Bible in Brown Genuine Cowhide is a Winner! It is one of the Best Small Bibles I’ve Seen.

DSCN4223      The Compact Ultrathin from Holman arrived at my porch, well packed in a cardboard box, with paper packing.     DSCN4221

The retail box is a two piece box that should be retained for storage. (Once you get this it will never be stored, it is that good.)

DSCN4226    Inside the box the Compact Ultrathin is wrapped in black construction paper to protect it during shipping. DSCN4228

The Holman New King James Version Bible in brown genuine cowhide leather is one of the best compact Bibles I’ve seen. It is a bit smaller than the Pitt Minion settings, larger than the Ruby Text settings, while also remaining an ultrathin. Here is a picture of it with the Cambridge Cameo on the left and the Cambridge Pitt Minion on the right.
 
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It is a great design. 2K/Denmark did the typesetting/layout for Holman and I have to say it looks excellent. Even though this Bible was manufactured in China, Holman has managed to ensure quality control. I don’t know how they accomplish this, as many of their competitors have failed. The cover is their standard chocolate colored, soft, cowhide leather. It remains one of the nicest covers you can get for the money.

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It is aesthetically pleasing with decorative spine hubs adorning the spine and gold lettering. NKJV inside a circle is at the head of the spine, with, “Holy Bible” in the middle, and the Holman logo at the tail of the spine.

  DSCN4230

The Bible is case bound so the inside color matched, vinyl liners are pasted down to the inner cover.

DSCN4236  The covers corners are mechanically folded with precision.   DSCN4235

Inside you’ll find a, “Presentation Page “and three, “Occasions to Remember” pages.

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Next are the, Copyright page and the, “Table of Contents” along with a, “Preface to the New King James Version” and, “God’s Plan for Salvation.”

DSCN4240  DSCN4240

The paper appears to have a good amount of titanium dioxide in it as it is pretty white and opaque for being so thin. The print is also laid out with line matching, which greatly aids in legibility. 2K/Denmark used a modern digital font that at 6 pt. in size remains easy on the eyes during reading. They got the line spacing just right as well. At the beginning of each book the title is printed boldly in larger font on the top of the page. The chapter headings are bold as well. Book names and chapters are indicated on the top, outer margin of each page, while the page numbers are on the top near the gutter of each page.

DSCN4268  The print of this red letter edition is arranged in a double column, paragraph format, with limited notes on the foot of the page.   DSCN4252

There is a brown ribbon marker, as well as decorative head and tail bands. They match the colors of the cover and liner. The page edges are gold gilt and there is a small concordance in the back.

DSCN4267  The individual word entries are in red while their concordance information is in black. This makes looking up words quick. It is easy to distinguish between the word you are looking for and the concordance information.   DSCN4254

After the concordance are eight pages of color maps printed on slightly heavier and more glossy paper.

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It is the same as the, “Presentation” and, “Occasions to Remember pages.” Measuring in at 6.75”x4.5”x .75” this handy little Bible is very portable and can fit in a lunchbox or purse easily, leaving plenty of room for other items. It can be had for $22.50. Considering its size, low price, and brilliant design, I predict that this will be number one in my top ten compact Bibles of 2015 Comparison. (If I do one… would you all like a top ten?) That being said, GO BUY ONE NOW! Visit my flickr page to see all of the super cool pictures of this Bible 🙂

A Review of the Holman KJV Rainbow Study Bible in Mantova Brown LeatherTouch.

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This Bible was shipped in a cardboard box and arrived undamaged. The retail box is a two piece box and should be retained for storage.
 
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I was pleasantly surprised by the cover. Most synthetic covers feel very cheap and sometimes smell like chemicals. This one felt quite a bit like a cowhide cover, albeit very thin.
 
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I was concerned about the quality of this Bible due to the Chinese manufacture.
 
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Several of the Chinese manufactured Bibles I’ve received lately from various publishers have been poorly constructed and/or have been odoriferous. This one did not smell like anything. It was just lacking any noticeable odor. The construction was solid. It was not anything special as far as materials go, but they did a good job with what they had.
The inside cover is lined with brown paper to match the color of the cover.
 
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The perimeter is stitched as well.
 
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The spine is gilt with, “KJV” at the head, “Holman Rainbow Study Bible” under that runs parallel with the spine, “Every Verse Color Coded, Bold Line Edition” under that, and the Holman logo at the bottom.
 
DSCN3864
 
There is one brown ribbon marker. The binding is sewn for durability and flexibility.
 
DSCN3869
 
This is probably one of the more flexible inexpensive Bible’s I’ve seen to date.
 
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It does need to be worked over a lot when you first get it. The page edges are gilt in gold colored foil.
 
DSCN3865
 
The pages are all stuck together due to the liberal use of pigments on every page. This is not uncommon where publishers use a lot of color in a Bible. Once you get the pages separated, hopefully without tearing any of them, you can get down to using it. The paper is sufficiently opaque. Having every section of text printed in a colored field also helps cut down ghosting, while reducing contrast between the text and page.
 
DSCN3890
 
I have mixed feelings about this. I like to have good contrast between the text and page, but I also like to have as little ghosting as possible. The colored fields correspond to their category at the bottom of the page. There are twelve categories.
 
DSCN3887
 
I don’t find this particularly useful. I would prefer that they break down their categories into hermeneutical ones. For instance the categories they use are; Discipleship, Outreach, God, Salvation, Love, Commandments, Family, Faith, Prophecy, Evil, Sin, and History. I would have preferred something more along the lines of; Lexical-syntactical, Historical/cultural, Contextual, Theological, and Special literary. There could be a color for different lexical variations. There could be colors for historical and cultural differentiations. It would be great to see a color for poetic language, one for apocalyptic language, one for historical narrative, and so on. I hope you get the idea. I would find this immensely more helpful than the system that is employed. Not to mention that the bar at the bottom that acts as the key has many colors that are very subdued and similar. It is difficult to readily identify what you are looking at on the page. I am not color blind, I assure you. I do enjoy all of the maps and drawings dispersed throughout.
 
DSCN3896
 
I found them informative and clarifying. In place of red letter text this Bible employs an underlining system and goes a step further. The words of God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all underlined giving them equal import and attention. Of course many of us end up underlining the entire Bible after we have had it for a while. So this would get in the way of your own underlining just like the colored background fields don’t lend themselves to highlighting.
 
DSCN3898
 
Holman’s product information has this to say, “The Holman Rainbow Study Bible: KJV Edition has a unique color-coding system that allows readers to identify quickly and easily twelve major themes of Scripture throughout the text: God, discipleship, love, faith, sin, evil, salvation, family, outreach, commandments, history, and prophecy. The system also underlines all words directly spoken by God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Other features of this Bible include 12 pages of color maps with index, a Bible reading calendar, concordance, subject guide, Table of Weights and Measures, “Know What God Says,” “100 Popular Passages,” and “365 Popular Bible Quotations for Memorization and Meditation.”
I like when Bibles have reading plans in them. I also like to have a concordance. This one has those features and some extras like, some ruled pages for notes in the back. It is not your typical study Bible.  It lacks all of the footnotes at the bottom of the page.  It is not an overly thick Bible. I found it comfortable to hold and use. Because it isn’t very thick it also isn’t very heavy. The binding and cover make it easy to hold in your hands or lay on your lap to read. The font is also large enough to read easily. I did not get the font size from the publisher, but if I had to guess, I’d say it is 8-10 pt.
 
DSCN3886
 
Overall, I really liked the form and layout. It is a double column, verse format, with center column cross references.
 
DSCN3885
 
For an inexpensive KJV Bible with some interesting added features that remains fairly light and comfortable to hold, I don’t think you could go wrong with this Bible. My only concern would be uniform quality control from the Chinese manufacturer. As long as Holman can keep strict quality control they should have a winner here.

Make sure to check out all of the pictures on the flickr page 🙂

Format: Imitation Leather
Number of Pages: 1632
Vendor: Holman Bible Publishers
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 9.25 X 6.25 X 1.5 (inches)
ISBN: 1586409115
ISBN-13: 9781586409111
Availability: In Stock

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

DSCN3493

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,

DSCN3546

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.

DSCN3551

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.

DSCN3491

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

DSCN3497

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,

DSCN3500

but it has been pared pretty thin.

DSCN3499

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.

DSCN3526

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

DSCN3530

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

Hey women! Are you tired of the pink, “so-called” Study Bibles, that are full of fluffy self-esteem candy?

Holman woman's hcsb study bible 003

Well, Holman has got a surprise for you!  Their, “Study Bible for Women” in the HCSB translation.  It comes in this quality chocolate color, genuine cowhide leather, with thumb indexes.  It was a very pleasant surprise to see some actual study aids as opposed to junk food.  There is academic quality here.  There are some notes on hermeneutics, theology, some original language notes and transliteration help.  Most women’s Bibles are pink and have a bunch of Osteen-esque, self help, self-esteem, feel good, prattle in them with little in the way of useful exegesis of scripture or how to apply it today.  This study Bible has significant work in it from two established Christian women.  Here are short bio’s from Holman’s site,

Dorothy Kelley Patterson is Professor of Theology in Women’s Studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. She is a homemaker, popular speaker, and successful writer, editor, and compiler of numerous books including A Handbook for Ministers’ Wives, The Family, BeAttitudes for Women, and Touched by Greatness: Women in the Life of Moses. She is co-editor of the two volume Women’s Evangelical Commentary:Old Testament and New Testament. Her husband Paige is President of Southwester Baptist Theological Seminary.”

and,

Rhonda Harrington Kelley is President’s wife and Adjunct Professor of Women’s Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a frequent speaker for women as well as an author of books including Divine Disciple, Life Lessons for Women of the Bible, and Personal Holiness: A Biblical Study for Developing a Holy Lifestyle. She is co-editor of the three volume Women’s Evangelical Library including Women’s Evangelical Commentary: Old Testament, New Testament, and The Study Bible for Women. Her husband Chuck Kelley is President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.”

There is some of the fluff, don’t get me wrong.  It is just kept in its proper place and proportion.  I think that women should find this very helpful.  However, I am not a woman and am just commenting because I want one like this for men.

Here is what the Publisher has to say about this Bible,

Publisher’s Description

The Study Bible for Women will equip you to reach deep into God’s Word.  Perhaps the single most powerful aspect of this Bible are the “threads” of specialized study thoughtfully woven throughout, pointing you to God’s larger story and allowing the Holy Spirit to write His revealed truths on your heart.In The Study Bible for Women, you’ll join a host of other women, all academically trained in the original languages of the Bible and passionate about God’s Word, for an intimately deep dive into Scripture that will equip you to unlock the riches and majesty of His Word, and ignite a passion to mentor others in your life to do the same.  The Study Bible for Women includes the full text of the Holman Christian Standard Bible, a clear, contemporary English translation that’s faithful to the original languages of the Bible.

Features include extensive commentary notes, word studies, answers to hard questions, doctrinal notes, Biblical womanhood articles, character profiles, Written on My Heart applications, extensive book introductions, presentation pages, in-text maps, charts & timelines, full-color maps section and concordance.”

The Bible was shipped in a cardboard box with paper packing material.

Holman woman's hcsb study bible 001

The Bible was inside a two piece retail box.  It arrived undamaged and in good condition.

Holman woman's hcsb study bible 002

Inside the retail packaging it was wrapped in two pieces of black construction paper to keep it from getting bent corners.

Holman woman's hcsb study bible 006

The genuine cowhide is a chocolate brown color with a soft texture.  I can’t stress enough that this is not some cheap synthetic leather, nor is it some hard, shiny, pigskin leather you would find on other Bibles in this price range.  This is a soft and supple cowhide leather.

Holman woman's hcsb study bible 018

The spine is hot stamped with, “HCSB” at the top, “The Study Bible for Women” orientated horizontally along the spine in the middle, and at the bottom is the Holman logo.

Holman woman's hcsb study bible 013

The page edges are gilded gold.  The Bible is thumb indexed with gold text on black for the Old Testament and gold text on Red for the New Testament.

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The pages are white with a faded blue color that becomes more solid as you approach the page edges and perimeter of the page.

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It kind of gives it an art gilded look of blue under gold.  It might have been better to gild this with silver instead.  However, the effect is minimal so as not to be unattractive.  The paper is 30 g.s.m. making it pretty opaque.  Lighter paper would not have been good.  With this weight of paper you don’t have much in the way of ghosting (seeing the text on the backside of the page show through)

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There are numerous decorative designs throughout.  I don’t know what your opinion is of that, but I could do without them.  The font used for the main text is 10 point in ITC Clearface Standard. (Open-type)  This makes it easy on they eyes unless you have bad eyesight.  The coloring of the page perimeters could cut down on the contrast of the text to the paper.  The paper could be a little brighter white where the text is, but then the perimeter effect would be lost.  The text is laid out in a double column, paragraph format with the cross-references on the outside of the page instead of at the bottom or in a center column.

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Interspersed throughout are other features.  The inside cover is made of vinyl of the same color and glued down.  They did a good job with the corners.

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There is one ribbon marker and it is matching in color as well.

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The binding on this Bible is a South Korean, sewn binding. They have been doing a lot of Holman’s bindings and are holding up quite well. This also makes them flexible on top of being durable. Way better than a glued binding.

Even though this is a study Bible, I don’t want you to be afraid that it is a behemoth. (funny right?)  For a study Bible this thing is very manageable.  It is just the right size for ladies who don’t want to use a hand-truck to carry their study Bibles to Wednesday night Bible Study.  I think it is a very good investment if you are looking for a women’s study Bible that has good content instead of the motivational junk you get pushed on you nowadays.

ISBN: 9781586400941

http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/products/the-study-bible-for-women-chocolate-genuine-leather-indexed/

You can purchase this Bible on Amazon  or on Christianbook