The publisher notes that this Bible contains comprehensive study notes, full-color maps and reconstructions, and word studies in Greek and Hebrew. They have not overstated their presence. The study notes are useful and insightful. The word studies give pronunciation, uses, and focus passage with a short discussion relevant to the term examined. There are also timelines which I find helpful to keep events and kings sorted out, as are the charts found throughout the entire text that summarize or categorize different areas. Essays, book introductions and other available features make this an excellent study Bible. The translation philosophy is given in the introductory sections. The Biblical text reads easily and plainly. I recommend this translation and the study aids found here as an excellent study Bible.
There is one point that I cannot recommend for this particular volume, the Personal Size edition. It is listed as a personal size Bible and the size is indeed that. The issue is that in going for a smaller size the text had to be reduced. I found it very difficult to read comfortably from this size page and font. The cross references and notes are for young eyes only and in optimum light. I would not buy this size volume. That said, I would invest in this study Bible in its full size version without hesitation.
So this is a mixed review. Great material in a package (the Personal Size) that has a very limited audience.
Therefore, the final verdict is left for the individual to decide. If you have no problem reading fine print this one will be OK for you. For the rest of us, go ahead and spend for the larger version.
This book was provided by the publisher in return for a review.
To me this is the best Study Bible and size that's out there. The commentaries are conservative and the translation is one of the best I've seen. This translation is word for word but clearer than lets say the ESV and even than the NIV. It fits between the ESV and NIV.
The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Personal Size Study Bible contains all the features of the full sized study bible, but in a smaller, yet quite readable format. The layout of the HCSB makes it easy to use and pleasing to the eye. Color is used throughout the bible (diagrams, photos, verse numbers, section headings, etc.). The blue verse numbers would be easier to read if they were darker. The HCSB translation is quite literal, but utilizes natural English, so it is easy to read, yet very accurate. The words of Christ are not printed in red, but quotes from the Old Testament are printed in bold font when they appear in the New Testament. Study notes are written from a balanced, conservative, evangelical viewpoint. The quality leather-like cover is pliable and soft. The cover liner is a heavy-gauge paper; however, a plasticized liner would have provided greater durability. The bible does has a sewn binding and two ribbon markers; both indicative of quality construction. The size of the bible is approximately 5.75" x 8.25" by 1.9". The font is ~ 8 point for the text and ~7 point for the study notes. It contains a multitude of translation notes and bullet notes (which define traditional biblical terms). The HCSB also contains cross references, a concordance, word studies, essays on theological issues, bible reading and memorization plans, blank pages for personalized note taking and colorful maps. The book introductions are very helpful and contain both outlines and biblical timelines. This is a tremendous study bible in a very convenient size!