Bible Review – Holman Christian Standard Study Bible Premium Black Cowhide Calfskin

It’s been a while since I have done a Bible review but I recently received two new premium Bibles for review from the good folks over and B&H publishing. One I will do today and the other I will do in the next couple of days. Both of these Bibles use the Holman Christian Standard translation as their text. I have had very little to no interaction with this translation and I am excited to finally dive in and get a feel for it. In this post I am going to show you a lot of pictures to highlight some of the great features of this Bible.

This is actually one of the cooler boxes I have seen. Most Bible boxes are pretty plain but this one almost begs you to open it.
This is actually one of the coolest boxes I have seen. Most Bible boxes are pretty plain but this one almost begs you to open it.

 

Here is the back side of the box which lists it's features and gives you a preview of the resources inside
Here is the back side of the box which lists it’s features and gives you a preview of the resources inside
Here is the first look at it. I really like the subtlety of the spine. It has the classic raised bands and feels good too.
Here is the first look at it. I really like the subtlety of the spine. It has the classic raised bands and feels good too.
Here is the view from the top. As you can see it has two ribbon markers. One is a pale yellow and the other is black.
Here is the view from the top. As you can see it has two ribbon markers. One is a pale yellow and the other is black. You may also notice that this is a large Bible. I would say it is somewhere between a MacArthur Study Bible and the ESV Study Bible. I would also point out that the cover has a nice over hang or “yapp”. I really like the look this gives the Bible.

 

This is the first time opening it. Look at how flexible it already is. The cover feels soft and limp but not so limp that it doesn't hold together.
This is the first time opening it. Look at how flexible it already is. The cover feels soft and limp but not so limp that it doesn’t hold together. Once the pages are turned this Bible will be very nice to handle.
Here is a look at the front cover. Very nice. Very soft. Really like the look and smell of it too.
Here is a look at the front cover. Very nice. Very soft. Really like the look and smell of it too. Back cover is the same. The back cover does not contain any markings which can be frustrating when you have a beautiful cover and a stamp saying “Deluxe Calfskin”. But, this is clean and simple, the way it should be.

 

Here is a view down the opening
Here is a view of the over hang or yapp. If you know what to look for you can also see that the pages are divided into signatures which are then sewn together. This is how a page block is supposed to look. The cover is a nice thickness, not too thick and bulky and not too thin so as to lack the needed support for a larger volume.
HCSB Study Bible corner
Here is a view of one of the corners. This also gives you a nice look at the cowhide and how the inside lining looks.
HCSB Study Bible Endsheets
Here’s a close-up of where the cover meets the text. Feels pretty solid and it looks very clean.
Here is the Bible opened up to Gen 1.
Here is the Bible opened up to Gen 1. Not bad for the first time. Lies pretty flat for being fresh out of the box. This Bible will only get better with use.
Here it is opened to Rev 22
Here it is opened to Rev 22. Once again, very good performance for being right out of the box.
Here are some of the features of this edition.
Here are some of the listed features of this edition.

 

Featured Articles
Here is a list of the featured articles and essays inside this edition, great stuff

 

HCSB Difference
Here is the explanation of one difference in the HCSB translation, namely, the use of Yahweh in the OT and Messiah in the NT.
This study Bible offers a neat selection of word studies of both Greek and Hebrew
This study Bible offers a neat selection of word studies of both Greek and Hebrew

Hebrew Word Study

What an open page looks like
Here is what a fully open page looks like. As you can tell it is double column format with references in the center column. As is typical with many editions, it is paragraph format split into the the two columns. This Bible is not in verse format.
John 3:16 - HCSB
Here is what John 3:16 looks like. So here you can see that it is a black letter edition. You can see the center column references and how the color coordinated page looks. I really like the text font and size but I think my eyes need to adjust to the color, I am so used to black on white.
Map - HCSB
To highlight the reference material and the color quality here is a map in the study notes. This is a great reference and very helpful, these are the types of helps that make a study Bible so helpful. If you click on the photo you will notice that they have shown you the locations where famous events in the life of Elijah and Elisha took place, this is well done! Plus this is right below the text, not in the back of the Bible were you will rarely go take a look.
Map - HCSB
If you do go to the back of the Bible there are some great maps back there too, here is their version of a map of Paul’s missionary journeys.
Formatting - HCSB
One of the different formatting issues that I like is that they bold NT references to OT texts. The NASB uses all lowercase caps but I like this bold text effect as well.

 

Formatting - HCSB
Here is a unique formatting decision, they put “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD” in bold and on its own like. Kinda different, I think its novel but not sure if I would make the same decision.
Color Illustration - HCSB
Here is a very nice color illustration of the Solomonic Temple. These types of resources are scattered throughout this whole volume.
HCSB - Minister on SB
I was also blessed to receive a Deluxe Minister’s Edition of the HCSB. Here is a size comparison. Both are in black calfskin/cowhide. Both are very nice. I think the Study Bible might be a tad softer.
HCSB - Minister on SB
Here is a top view. Minister Edition on Top with the Study Bible on the bottom
Here you can see the text side.
HCSB - Minister on SB
Here are the boxes

Overall, I think this is a great resource. The binding is well done and I love how it looks and feels in the hand, it makes me want to hold it which is always a good thing. I also really like all of the goodies they have inside that help shed light on certain passages, I find those maps and illustrations very helpful. In general, I like the formatting, especially the font and size, I think its a good fit. I really like the size, it’s big but not too big. I really like the ESV Study Bible but it’s just so big.

Some things that on first look I don’t care for. I don’t care for the multicolor format, I strongly prefer a black on white page of text, The text appears too busy to me. Now I am sure that upon further use that distraction would fade but initially it is an adjustment. I also don’t care for unique format placement of texts like “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD” but once again that can be gotten used to.

If the HCSB is your translation or you are looking to dive in and check it out, I highly recommend this edition to you! It is loaded with great resources and is beautiful to boot! If you want something a little more portable and great for just reading and meditating be on the look out for my review of the Deluxe Ministers Edition.

If you have any questions about this edition please feel free to ask in the comments section and I will try and respond as quickly as possible. I want to thank Jamie at B&H for allowing me this opportunity, thank you! If you would like to get your hands on one of these beautiful copies you can find them and many more at www.LifeWay.com. Stay tuned, because in the next day or two I will review the HCSB Deluxe Ministers Edition in black cowhide.

In Christ,

Craig

 

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3 Replies to “Bible Review – Holman Christian Standard Study Bible Premium Black Cowhide Calfskin”

  1. Do you have either of these still that are unused? I want to buy an HCSB deluxe leather bible but can’t find any. I don’t like the updates to the CSB

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