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 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

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.
 
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There is one brown ribbon marker. The binding is sewn for durability and flexibility.
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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Overall, I really liked the form and layout. It is a double column, verse format, with center column cross references.
 
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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