Bible Review – Holman Christian Standard Minister’s Bible in Premium Black Cowhide

Today in this post I am going to be giving you a detailed look inside the HCSB Minister’s Bible which has a beautiful black cowhide cover. Yesterday we looked at the HCSB study Bible and saw many of the helpful tools and resources it offers along with its beautiful binding and black cowhide cover (to see that review click here) but today we are going to look at its compliment, the Ministers Bible. This Bible is much simpler with a less cluttered page and a more portable package. With that let’s jump right in!

Minister - Box
Here is the box for this edition. Once again Holman does a great job on the box and while the Bible is not in use this box will be a perfect storage place. Tip: when you store your Bibles do not put them vertical on a bookshelf. Instead lay them down so as to protect the binding. If you store them vertical (as you would a normal book) it creates a bow in the top of the spine that is almost impossible to reverse.
Box Top
This is how it should be stored, flat on its back and preferably in the box.
Open Box
This is the sight that greets you once you open the box. A beautiful presentation. I am very impressed with the packaging that they have used on these premium Bibles, they really make their products feel special.


Open Box/Paper
First glance at the Bible itself. You can really see the beautiful grain of the cowhide and you can already smell the leather. A great first sight.
Just a peek
Just a peek at the spine. Raised bands and simple print gives the spine a classic look.
Bottom veiw
Here is a view from the bottom.Two long thin ribbons, one black and one a maroon. I am wondering why the two colors? Probably to distinguish between OT and NT but that seems a little odd for a Bible that is geared towards ministers. I must give them credit though, the more I have handled these HCSB Bibles, the more I realize that they like to throw unique design and format options at you. One thing I really like is the lighter color of the gilding around the text, its a preference but I really like it.
Side View
Here is a side view. Very clean, very sharp. The only problem I have seen with this edition you can start to see on the top right corner. The edge crimping is a little loose. I’ll show this more further down.
First time opening it just flops right open. Very Fluid. Look how it just falls over the box.
Gen 1
Here we are open to Gen 1. Not as good as the study Bible but it also doesn’t contain as much prefatory material. This will only get better with use.
Rev 22
Here it is opened up to Rev 22. As you can tell there are more resource materials in the back which helps it lay a bit flatter. The cover easily falls open and stays open. Most Bibles are unable to do this right out of the box.
This is a unique binding decision. That middle black end-sheet is usually not there, I am assuming this helps add a stability to the binding.
Here is a view of the corner. Very simple and elegant. This one is looks good.
This corner is a little loose and was referenced above. It simply need a little super glue or epoxy underneath to secure it down.
Top view
Here’s a view of the cover itself. Very nice. Its soft but thick, but not too thick. It feels great in the hand and smells great.
Down the side
Down the side. If you look closely you can see the individual signatures which are sewn together. Also here you can see the slight concave feature of the text, this is often a sign of a high quality binding. It’s tough to pull off on a larger volume but looks great here.


Open Page
So here is what an open page looks like. It is a text only edition with some occasional footnotes. This is a single column text with wide margins and is very pleasing to the eye. I see this edition being perfect for daily reading and meditating.

John 3:16

Here is John 3:16. This shows what a typical page of text looks like outside of the book of Psalms. It looks much like a regular book which lends well to reading over studying. You can also see what the footnotes look like. This is also a black letter edition, which is my preference.

Margin John 3:16
Here is what the wide margin looks like from John 3:16. A solid amount of room for marginal notes. It is also visually appealing and gives the text room to breathe.
This edition is geared towards Ministers and contains some special resources in the back, here is a list of those resources.
Here is a sample shot of what the special resource looks like
Here is another sample article which helps encourage a pastor to press on.
HCSB info
Here is more info on the HCSB and the rationale behind some of their formatting.
Just to give some sort of size comparison I put it next to the classic Ryrie Study Bible. It seems to have the same dimensions. Its not a large Bible but certainly not a thinline. It would be a great Bible to do daily reading in and for on the go.
Here is another comparison. From here you can see they are almost exactly the same size, the HCSB might be a touch thinner, and definitely has a better cover.

So that is what the HCSB Minister’s Bible looks like and some of the features it offers.. It feels great in the hand, it is soft and supple but also holds together well and does not wilt like some premium editions. I highly recommend this as a daily reader but not as a Bible to do study out of simply because the format lends better to straight reading instead of study. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t use this for study, it’s just how I picture it being used best.

Besides having a great cover and construction (besides the one corner issue) the text is very nice and the wide margins are great for jotting notes or thoughts and really helps the text breathe and become more visually appealing. It is black letter, which is a huge plus in my book. I would really like to see this Bible in a double column, verse reference format (with black letter text of course), that would help make it a better Bible for study and preaching and teaching.

I have not read all of the articles in the back so I cannot fully endorse them but I do appreciate the resource material that is there to help encourage a pastor who is struggling or would like to see a model of how to do a funeral, or a wedding, or lead people to Christ. I really appreciate the motivation behind that.

Overall, I think this is a great Bible and if you already love the HCSB and are looking for a quality edition I would strongly encourage you to check this one out, the combo of this edition with the HCSB Study Bible would be perfect. Even if the HCSB is not your go to but you are interested in getting a premium Bible as a daily reader or you want a Bible that has some quick resources you can turn to I would highly recommend this Bible to you.

If you have any questions about this edition please feel free to ask in the comments section and I will get back to you ASAP. I would again like to thank Jamie over at B&H publishing for this amazing opportunity, thank you Jamie!

If you would like to get one of these editions yourself head over to


In Christ,



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