Yes, it is true! We can still make high quality Bibles here in America, and they are affordable! Im 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. Even if they sold it for the suggested retail price 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. 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. Ive read some other reviews of this Bible and much ado was made over the covers softness. Ill admit that is the main reason I wanted to review this for myself. Although, it is a very nice cover, I wouldnt call it the softest or most supple cover Ive ever seen. Considering that soft does not always equate to good, dont let my mention of that stop you from getting this Bible. I quite like that it isnt 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 sscs for short, do enhance the flexibility of a quality edge lined, sewn binding. What youll 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. Youll 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 sscs also are more susceptible to scratches, and abrasions. The cover can flop away from the pages and leave your pages unprotected. I dont know how many more dog eared pages Ive 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. It is coupled with a case bound text block instead of an edge lined one. This also keeps it from being excessively flexible, without ruining the ability to be bent and undamaged. 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 cant be read. With an ssc you cant 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 didnt notice any chemical smells, just the smell of leather, as it should be. It felt good in my hands. The spine wasnt too thick or thin. It is manageably sized at 9.75" x 6.75" x 1.25" The texture of the leathers 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 youll see, Large Print Ultrathin Reference Edition with the Holman logo beneath it. 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. 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.
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/publishers page, Table of Contents, Gods Plan for Salvation, Introduction to the HCSB translation and finally the text of the Old Testament starts. 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. This is a red letter edition. It is a double column, paragraph format Bible with center column references and footnotes at the bottom. In the footnotes there are alternate readings or notes on textual variants that is quite helpful. 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. 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. 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 Ive 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.
I love the HCSB. Love the features ect. but this particular one has a publisher's bobo in it. They goofed. Where you are at in the Bible is to be at the top of the page and not at the bottom. When you are looking for a passage you don't look at the bottom of the page you look at the top corner. This will tax your sanctification if you are used to it being at the top where it has always been.
I received the HCSB large print ultra-thin reference Bible in genuine cowhide as a review copy from B&H Publishing. One thing that I have to mention up-front is that I use the HCSB for preaching, teaching, and study. With that being said, this new edition of the large print ultra-thin reference Bible is an improvement over the previous 2004 edition. First of all, it has the updated 2009 HCSB text and the quality of the features have improved, but more on that later.
B&H used a company in Denmark to design and typeset the interior of the Bible. This has resulted in a somewhat different look that I have seen before. You will find the same two-column format with center-column cross-references but without lines dividing the references from the biblical text. It could be said that the absence of the lines lends to less visual distraction, and with this I would agree. One difference with the cross-references is that they have gone to an italicized letter key format. Each page starts it's center-column references with the letter "a" and proceeds onward to list each entry to the point of having entries such as "ag" to designate the references. The textual notes that the HCSB has featured from its release are still found at the bottom of the page. One improvement in recent editions of the HCSB have been the absence of a box around direct speech, which looked very out-of-place and distracting. The text, though a different font that what I am used to in a Bible, is very readable and I have become comfortable with it. This is a red-letter edition, which is not my preference, but it is not an issue for me. It is more of a dark red color, so I don't believe that anyone would have difficulty reading it.
In the back of the Bible you will find the glossary of bullet-point definitions. The HCSB has featured bullets next to names, places, theological terminology, etc... and defined these words in a glossary in the back of the Bible. I think it is helpful and a nice feature for the reader. The bullets are not nearly as distracting as they once were in the initial editions of the HCSB. This edition also features a concordance, but I have discovered that it is not as extensive as the concordance found in the HCSB Minister's Bible. Personally, I prefer a more extensive concordance. In all fairness, it is better than the abridged or topical concordances found in most Bibles today. In fact, many Bible editions today do not even have a concordance. This is likely the result of the reality that many professing Christians do not actually study their Bibles, but rather use them as a decoration in their home or as a fashion accessory for their person when attending church.
The paper is an off-white color, which reduces shine and increases readability. The paper is a good weight, definitely heavier than most Bibles on the market today. Many publishers have attempted to cut cost and utilized lighter paper, which wrinkles easily, tears easily, and has significant bleed-through from the following pages (forget about trying to write on the pages of those type of editions). There is bleed-through in this edition but it is not significant. It is not enough to be distracting. The font on the page is dark enough that "ghosting" is only noticeable when there is no overlap of text on adjoining pages. One feature of this Bible that is worth mentioning are the outside margins. There is more room than one normally finds in a non-wide margin edition. This was certainly a pleasant find for one who likes to record notes in his Bible. The weight and color of the paper also lends itself to being able to write in this edition. I prefer the Pigma Micron pen for writing in my Bible. It is a pigment ink that is waterproof and fade proof. My edition also comes with a .25 mm line width (there are different sizes).
The cover of this Bible is described on the box as "genuine cowhide" and it is. The leather has a very nice grain to it and is soft to the touch. It is not limp nor bendable like a high-end calfskin edition. I have some of those and it is actually harder to hold when it is such a limp leather. Do not misunderstand me though, the leather is soft and it is flexible. It lays flat, which is also aided by the fact that the pages are smyth sewn. As with other calfskin or genuine cowhide editions of the HCSB there are hubs on the spine of the Bible, which is a nice feature.
I think that this is a very nice edition of the HCSB and has become my primary Bible. I highly recommend it. I appreciate that B&H Publishing strives to produce quality editions and this is one of them.