Would recommend only for the fact that it is an HCSB translation with the apologetics notes, and the physical workmanship is really good. FAULTS: Not enough cross references in the apologetics notes; hardly any in the "bullet notes"; "bullet notes" are basically a condensed dictionary, not nearly as concise as a good biblical dictionary; indexing system is poor, in sets of 3 books; books should be individually indexed or tabbed, no option given for either of these; the apologetic notes and articles are good, however, the need more scriptural cross references, and some need to be placed differently, or highlighted differently. The placement and light shading used especially with "Twisted Scripture" sections makes them annoying. Finally, the HCSB translations I've seen before have been "red lettered", that is, Jesus' words in red type, this one is not. This is more of an advanced beginers or intermediate bible.
Let me start with this: I love the text of the Holman Christian Standard Bible. This is the first completely new translation in quite some time, and it is very well done. Holman blends the word-for-word method of formal equivalence with the though-for-thought readability of dynamic equivalence, ending in something the publisher calls optimal equivalence. IMO, this methodology results in a very precise, yet eminently readable, translation.
Second, this is the most beautiful Bible I've ever read. The design and use of color and graphics is extraordinary. I love the gold ribbon across the middle of the page showing alternate translations. And the light blue verse numbers really make the text much easier on the eyes. The publisher also does a great job of using illustrations and pictures. Even the thumb tabs are beautifully done and augment the appearance of the Bible. Plus, there are two ribbon markers to help you find your page.
The study notes are fair and even-handed. They are not always as academic as the study notes in the ESV Study Bible, but they are quite good. They tend to do a very nice job of explaining things clearly and concisely.
My only real complaint is that I would have liked a better concordance, but that is a minor quibble when the rest of the Bible excels in so many areas.
The combination of beauty, helpful study aids, and precise but readable text make this Bible very hard to put down. The Holman Christian Standard Study Bible has quickly become my favorite Bible, and I gladly recommend it to you.