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.
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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

A Review of the Modern English Version (M.E.V.) Personal Size, Large Print, Reference Bible, Covered in Cherry Brown, Imitation Leather.

One big concern with the MEV is the translation method. I didn’t address it when I wrote my review of the thinline. The translators were grouped and assigned sections to translate. The entire Bible was translated by several different groups of extremely varied theologians. Some of them I would never have trusted to do translation. The bad ecumenism is actually touted as a good thing by some and a selling point as well. I look at it as an attempt to pleas a broader range of people and increase potential sales and adoption. This leads to some inconsistency between books. The inconsistencies don’t amount to error, but bad doctrine starts with small things. I like the way the MEV reads most of the time, but on occasion it slips back into early Modern English sentence structure. I don’t know if that is an effort to maintain the, “majesty” of the KJV or just an oversight. As time goes on, many of the inconsistencies presumably will be addressed. I’d also love to see thousands more cross-references. Our modern NASB has of 90,000. TBS’s KJV reference Bible has around 200,000 references and notes. Another thing I’d like to see them do is to kick off the translation team the Roman Catholic, Church of Christ, and other unorthodox sects. I’m a bit tired of all of the Textus Receptus fans calling all other versions, “per-versions.” As far as I’m concerned they need to get a grip and realize the critical texts are just as valid if not more so.

I know it seems I’m being awfully critical of this translation, but don’t be mistaken, I do actually like the way it reads for the most part. I don’t think I would recommend it over my NASB or NKJV for serious study just yet. I would like to get a hold of the KJV parallel they are selling to do a comparison of the entire Bible while making notes in the margins. It is a very promising translation based on the Textus Receptus.

With that out of the way, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts. This Bible arrived packaged in a padded envelope from the publisher. Not my preferred packaging, but it worked. The Bible arrived undamaged.

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Inside the envelope was a lightweight two piece retail box containing the Personal Size, Large Print, Reference Bible.   DSCN4128

I really like the size of this Bible. It is just right for me personally. I wish it were available in calfskin leather or goatskin leather.

DSCN4130  The cover that is on it is not real leather. It doesn’t smell like leather, it doesn’t feel like leather, and it costs much less than leather. It is decorated and attractive looking.   DSCN4129

I find the coppery tone of the gilt on the page edges complimentary to the color of the cover and ribbon marker. It is positively a good looking value Bible.

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The binding on this one is Smyth-sewn.

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It is a case bound Bible with paper interior lining pasted down to the cover.

DSCN4137  The publisher’s information and copyright page show that this Bible was made in China.   DSCN4135

There is a presentation page in the front and a weird dedicatory page to the Queen?

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What!? I mean, come on Patrick? Get with the program Patrick! Don’t be anachronistic Patrick! (Fans of “TheLutheranSattire” channel on Youtube will get the joke. Look up, “bad analogies” on their channel. It will make you lol)

The Books have an introduction page that many find helpful.
 
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The paper is pretty white and could be a bit thicker or more opaque. On the upside, it does appear that line matching was employed effectively. That is when the text on the opposite side of the paper is printed directly behind the text opposing it. This makes the text more legible. The text is pretty big at 11 pt in size. It is also printed pretty consistently given it was done in China. The text is bold and black against the paper contrasting well.
 
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The text is arranged in a double column format with limited notes and references at the bottom of the page.
 
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After scripture headings you’ll also notice parallel reading references that will take you to another place in the scripture where the same thing can be read. Off to the right side of this picture you can see it references Luke 12:22-34
 

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This is a red letter edition so the words of Christ are printed in red. The red print is bright and easy to read.
 
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There is a small concordance in the back.
 
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Overall, lots of potential and room for development. For now, it is pleasant to read and I recommend it for the price and sewn binding if you are a Textus Receptus kind of person.

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

 

ISBN-13: 9781629980676

Do you want a large print compact NASB? Review of the Lockman Foundation Large Print Compact Text Edition in Burgundy Leathertex.

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Review of the Lockman Foundation Large Print Compact Text Edition in Burgundy Leathertex.

As usual Lockman did a fine job of packing and shipping the Bible to me.

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This edition is not expensive.  If you have high expectations you will be disappointed.  This Bible sells for about $20.00 it is produced in China.

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I’m not making excuses here, but there are some things you need to consider when criticizing a Bible.  I know some people have complained about the print and the paper on this edition.  They aren’t wrong.  The paper could be a bit more opaque or the print could be a bolder type face.  It would be much easier on the eyes if that were the case.

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What would the consequences of that be?  Well, if the font were a bolder type face and stayed 9 point, it would take up more space on the page necessitating more pages.  This edition is already pretty thick at about 1 3/16” not to mention that they have already taken out the references and made it single column paragraph format.

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There isn’t much in the way of helps either.  There aren’t any maps to remove to make this thinner.  So what about the paper?  Well, same problem if you make a thicker paper that is a higher g.s.m. then the Bible gets thicker.  It’s just the laws of physics in a finite world folks.  I hate to be a bummer.

This Bible tries to fill a niche that definitely is there.  I’ve heard many people complain that they want a nice clean, compact, text edition of the NASB in paragraph format.  The Cambridge Clarion is pretty close, but it costs almost $200 dollars in goatskin.  You could opt for the calf split leather for around $105-$115 but that is still pretty expensive.  So let’s look at what you are getting for $20.00 instead of what you aren’t getting.

This edition has 9 point font, the words of Christ in red arranged in a single column text format with limited footnotes at the bottom of the page.

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It has a sewn binding and is covered in leathertex which is modern synthetic leather.  It has a cross stamped on the front with a channel around the perimeter.

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On the spine is printed, “New American Standard Bible” in large letters from one end to the other.

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The page edges are gilded.  There is one ribbon marker that matches the burgundy color of the cover.  The ribbon is pretty thin and narrow.  The inner liner is vinyl and color matched to the cover.  It is glued down.  There are decorative head and foot bands.  You have a presentation page printed on Bible paper and not card paper.  Then, you have the copyright page, followed by the foreword with translation explanation.  Before the text begins you have a table of contents.  After the text of the Bible you have one page of the, “Parables of Jesus” then, four pages of, “Important Events in Christ’s Life According to the Gospels” three pages of, “God’s Promises” and next, two pages of, “Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Christ” and lastly, one page of, “The Miracles of Jesus.”  The outside cover closed measures 7 5/16” long by 5 1/4” wide by 1 3/16” thick.

This is exactly what it is labeled.  You can’t expect it to be everything you wanted in a Bible.  There are going to be compromises when you make a large print, compact, text edition.  I know this review sounds like an apology.  I really wanted to like this Bible, but the truth is that it is a bit hard on the eyes due to the seemingly skinny font and thin paper.

For the money though, it is an excellent value and the perfect size to carry with you.  The font is much larger than a 6 point font and you really haven’t gained that much in size over a traditional compact edition.  I would recommend this Bible for people with good eyes that aren’t going to do long reading sessions.  It would be good for break room reading or whenever you have a few minutes.

ISBN: 1581351569

ISBN-13: 9781581351569

Review of the Lockman Foundation, Large Print, Ultrathin, Reference Bible, in Black Calfskin Leather.

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I’m kind of biased because I love the NASB translation and Lockman Foundation… but, I know there is always a, “but” after the review starts the way this one did.  The, “but” in this case is the hit and miss nature of  some of the Chinese manufacture processes.  This would have been a great Bible if fit and finish quality of the work were better.  This is $100.00 Bible and should reflect that in the finished quality.  Their was a section in the back where the overly thick card paper edge was glued improperly so that the white paper edge was visible and exposed.

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also on the front of the Bible the card paper was splitting on the bottom corner.  I don’t know if it was not glued well, bent during shipping from China, or the card paper that was used was just to thick and rigid for this application. three bibles 147

The Head and foot areas of the Bible could do with more precise attention to quality.

The notches could be smaller.

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The ribbon markers could be a thicker, higher grade of ribbon. three bibles 169 Lockman needs to move away from using the higher clay content shiny paper for the presentation pages and maps and move to a flat paper.  The glossy ones are too prone to falling out.  The presentation page should have been a couple of pages in so that you could actually write on it.  It is glued to the card paper that attaches to the binding and cover.

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I think if Lockman Foundation left the manufacture of their Bibles that cost less than $50.00 in China it would be alright, but with their middle and top end products they really need to bring it back home.  They sent me a copy of the hardcover Charles Stanley text Bible that is made here in America and it was excellent.  I loved the paper and the binding. If this Bible got the same treatment it would be worth the $100.00 price tag, but as it is I would have to pass.  They did send this Bible to me for free to be reviewed on my blog. With all the cons, I don’t want you to get the idea that this Bible does nothing right.  It has a sewn binding, and a calfskin cover.  It includes two ribbon markers and it is pretty thin considering that it is a real reference Bible.  You get all the benefits of a full reference Bible with a pretty thin profile. The Side Column Reference Bible I did a review on previously had more attention paid to fit and finish.  It was better so I overlooked some of the smaller cons like the opaqueness, excessively notched near the head and foot, and ribbon quality.  The opaqueness isn’t near as bad as other Bibles I’ve seen.  I just mention it because it isn’t as good as some in the same price range.  It seems like a more flexible card paper was used to connect the cover and text block on the side column reference which I love. This one con seems to cause others or make them more noticeable.  It is difficult to design the perfect Bible because, well it is subjective.  We like what we like though, so you can either make a ton of variations and try to please a lot of people, or you can make a few, really well made Bibles and hopefully sell a bunch of them to a smaller crowd. The bottom line is that you still get a great translation, in a sewn binding that is very flexible and lays flat, with genuine calfskin cover.  If you order one and it is good it will be very good.  If not, it has a lifetime warranty.  Just mail it back for a replacement.  I’m sure Lockman Foundation will stand behind their product.  I would just suggest they make these here in America or lower the price. Features, Ultrathin, large print 10 point font, making it easy on the eyes, double column verse format with center column references, Black letter edition, 8 pages of full color maps, Concordance, 2 Ribbon markers, gilt page edges, Presentation page, Family record pages, Gilded edges, Smyth Sewn, Printed on high-opacity paper to limit bleed-through, Lifetime guarantee, Black Calfskin leather.

Review of the Holman HCSB Electric Blue Large Print Compact Colormax Bible.

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This is kind of an odd little Bible. It is odd because of the cover color, material, and size of it.  The cover is smooth and shiny.  It reminds me of candy apple blue car paint.  The cover is smooth and shiny like the corfam oxford dress shoes the Marines wear.  You know the ones that never need polishing.

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It is flexible, but the binding is stiff.  I think that’s because it’s a tight binding.  The cover is lined with some blue paper.

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On the spine of the Bible the word, “Colormax” is printed in silver colored letters, and then the logos on the top and bottom.

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The pages are gilded with silver colored foil.

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The size of the Bible puts it in between a true compact and a small reference Bible.  It is thicker than most of the compact Bibles.  This is good in the sense that the font can be larger, but it doesn’t lend itself to going into a pocket or a bag as easy.  I would say it would be good in a lunch box, or backpack.  I think that was kind of the idea with this one.  The cover is obviously aimed at younger people.

This is a red letter edition of the HCSB text with 7 point font.

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The printing is clear and legible and the pages are opaque enough to limit ghosting.  The read text is bold, but not distracting.  It is dual column paragraph format.  There are limited references at the bottom of the page this makes more of the page real estate available to font size.  This makes it easier to read.

This Bible was made in South Korea.

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It seems the quality is better than many of the Chinese made Bibles.  There is one ribbon marker that matches the color scheme in silver.

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This Bible was shipped in a white plastic bag.  The retail packaging is a multicolored card-paper sleeve.

The topical concordance and “where to turn” index were very limited, but helpful, especially for younger or less mature Christians. You should already expect that when buying a compact.  The fact that it has any extra features is a bonus value in my mind.  It also includes, presentation page, eight maps, a, “how to use the Bible” page, plan of salvation, table of weights and measures, Titles of Jesus, and HCSB introduction and bullet notes.

After using this Bible for a while it loosened up a bit. The cover still doesn’t close right after bending it up a bunch.

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You kind of have to wait for it or put something on it.  The good news is that it appears to be a sewn binding.  So regardless of if you like the cover or not the Bible should hold up pretty well.  I kind of got a kick out of bringing this little Bible to Church last Sunday and showing it around to some of the fellas.  For the price, under twenty dollars, this is a nifty little Bible.  I think it would make a great Bible for the young person in your life.  Inexpensive enough to not be worried about the rigors of youth, and decent build quality to hold up to some abuse.

Dimensions: 5.67 X 4.00 X 1.13 (inches)

ISBN: 1433614448

ISBN-13: 9781433614446

 

I was given this Bible for free to review on my blog and am not required to give a positive review.