I wanted a relatively small Bible with print big enough to read easily. I use NASB and ESV for study purposes, but I love the HCSB for reading. The use of the name Yahweh and the title Messiah are constant reminders of the Hebrew Heritage of our faith. The binding makes the Bible comfortable to hold, and each morning, when I come to my prayer chair, I can't wait to pick it up and begin a time of dwelling in it as spend time with the Lord.
The HCSB is my new favorite translation, combining the translation accuracy of ESV or NASB with even more modern English than the NLT or NIV. Only having learned about the NCSB a year ago I now have it as two Study bibles, the Apologetics Bible, the Compact Large Print, and this UltraThin. The UltraThin is easy to hold in my arthritic hands and easy to read with my older eyes. My 30 year old daughter recently saw it and was impressed as well.
This Bible is an excellent value, if you don't mind a Bible without a concordance. A concordance is the most foundational study tool to mine the riches of God's Word. This particular Bible features the accurate and readable HCSB translation which includes many translation notes. Maps and blank pages for notes are also included. The font is very readable and the bleed through on the pages is minimal. The quality, brown simulated leather binding and the sewn pages are both features seldom seen in a Bible at this price. I would love to give this Bible a "5 star" rating, but the lack of a concordance significantly diminishes the Bible's usefulness .
After using the ESV for several years, I was ready to consider a switch--either to the NKJV or the HCSB. I appreciate the ESV, and will continue to enjoy reading it, but I've become frustrated with its unnecessary abstruseness. It seems that the translators were over-committed to mirroring original language word order, and keeping an arbitrary sense of majesty.
The NKJV reads more naturally, and is still quite conservative, but it can be a bit archaic in places. The HCSB reads very naturally, is conservative and accurate, but I find the "freshness" occasionally jarring. I also don't like the capitalizing of deity pronouns. However, I wanted something faithful to the Word, conservative in translation, and open in the manuscripts it relied on. I especially like the transparent textual footnotes and the usage of Yahweh, rather than the ambiguous "Lord" of other translations.
After reading the HCSB on my phone for several months, with my ESV falling apart, I was ready to try the HCSB as a "real" Bible. Here's what I like about this edition:
1. It's inexpensive. This is really a great price for the Bible
2. The text is laid out very well and the font size is more than sufficient. It's very easy on the eyes, easy to find a reference, and the use of bold text to indicate OT references is great.
3. It's small. I'm used to using a large clunky Bible, and while I miss the wide margins, it's worth it for the "ease of transportation". I can throw this in my briefcase without thinking. It's easy to hold in one hand, or rest on a music stand while preaching. But it doesn't feel too small, and again, it's easy to read, even in a teaching context.
4. The pages are thick enough. There is some bleed-through, of course, but it's better than many.
5. It looks really nice. Handsome and contemporary, without screaming, "my Bible's cool!".
A few things I don't like:
1. The quality is far from top-notch. It's decent, but I don't expect this to last for more than a couple years. The "leather" will probably deteriorate like it did on my similarly-bound ESV Single Column Reference Bible (TruTone, Black). The silver gilding on the page edge is discolored (brownish at the corners.)The "threading" at the seams is already loose and fraying.
2. The lack of cross-references. I should have read the description more closely, and I think I got mixed up with another edition, but this one doesn't have cross-references. This can be really handy if you know a verse you want, but can't remember where it is.
3. The cover, while nice to the eye, is quite stiff. It feels like it will crease--as if it was cardboard.
This was a great purchase for me. If I find that I can commit to this translation long-term, I'll plan on buying a higher quality edition, with cross-references. But for now, the balance of quality and value is just right! If you'd like to try the HCSB, give it as a gift to an interested friend, or don't use your Bible that much, this handsome edition may be just what you are looking for.
Nice bible for the price & a good translation too!
July 17, 2011
I'm very pleased with this bible. The product photos don't do it justice. I wasn't sure if I'd like the black/gray cover (I usually prefer brown), but this is very nice - the black is like a matte finish and the gray is kind of blue-gray. It seems to be well made, and the binding appears to be sewn.
I like the size. It's a little bigger and a little thicker than my Zondervan thinlines (NIV83 & NASB) and about the same size but a little thinner than my Crossway premium thinline (ESV). The paper is whiter than the Zondervan and Crossway bibles. Bleed-through from the other side of the page isn't bad - about like the Zondervans and much better than the Crossway. The text is a little bigger (9 pt.) than the other thinlines; and overall, the quality seems a little better than the others too.
My primary devotional bible was an old NIV thinline. With the new changes made to the NIV2011, I decided to start looking for a new translation. I like the readability and reliability of the NIV84, but it's being phased out and I've read enough about the NIV2011 to be concerned. I like the NASB for study but not so much for devotional reading. I tried the ESV, but I just can't get used to the language...it seems unnatural to me (I actually find the NASB easier to read). I've done a lot of research and decided to try the HCSB. It falls in the middle of the translation spectrum - but a little more formal equivalence than the NIV. So far, I'm finding it to be similar in readability to the NIV84. It's a good fit preference-wise for me too, with some features I've always prefered: capitalized pronouns for God, plentiful footnotes, and OT quotes with bold font in the NT to distinguish them.
This particular bible is the HCSB 2009 text. And I'm glad to recommend it as a nice bible at a very good price.