Sunday, July 5, 2015

Bible Review: Super Giant Print HCSB

HCSB Super Giant Print Reference Bible. 2015. B&H Publishing. 1824 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I believe that Bible reading should be comfortable. No, not exactly comfortable for the heart, soul, and mind:
For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)
But comfortable on the eyes. Perhaps you can relate. Have strained and tired eyes ever kept you from reading as much as you liked in the Bible? 

The print in some Bibles is so tiny. And unless they're also super-light-weight--meaning you can bring it in as close as you need--it is near impossible to read without squinting--without strain. And if that tiny-print Bible is also red-letter, then forget it! My eyes simply can't handle the stress of trying to read red-letter in small print. (The MEV Thinline Bible comes to mind as a recent example. I wanted so badly to read that one since it's a new translation. And I did manage to read all the New Testament. But oh, how my eyes suffered, and suffered especially in the gospels which were red letter, of course, and the orange-y red letter too.) 

So I have been looking for a comfortable-on-the-eyes Bible for quite a while. I am happy to say that I've found a perfect-for-me line of Bibles. B&H publishes a line of Super Giant Print Reference Bibles. So far, the translations include: the HCSB, the KJV, the NKJV, and RVR 1960. And each one, I believe, is available in many different covers and indexed or not. For example: mint green, cobalt blue, teal, brown/tan, purple, brown/chocolate, brown, mahogany, pink, burgundy, charcoal, genuine cowhide, and saddle brown. 

The font is 18 points. Chances are you'll either be: WOW, THAT'S WAY TOO BIG. Or, like me, WOW THAT'S PERFECT! My goal is not to try to convince the "wow, that's way too big" crowd to buy a Super Giant Print Reference Bible. 

The Super Giant Reference Bible would be great for personal use for believers who like or need large print. It might also be great for church use: for example, for use on the altar or the pulpit. 

This review will focus on the HCSB Super Giant Print Reference Bible. There are a few things you should know. 

It's the HCSB Translation. I am not as familiar with the HCSB translation as I am say with the ESV. But I have had the opportunity to read all of the Old Testament in the HCSB earlier this year, and, I'm now making my way through the New Testament too. I am enjoying it very much. 
For no one will be justified in His sight by the works of the law, because the knowledge of sin comes through the law.
But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed—attested by the Law and the Prophets —that is, God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe, since there is no distinction. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. God presented Him to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:20-26
If I have told you about things that happen on earth and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about things of heaven? No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.
“This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.” John 3:12-21
“The poor in spirit are blessed,
for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Those who mourn are blessed,
for they will be comforted.
The gentle are blessed,
for they will inherit the earth.
Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed,
for they will be filled.
The merciful are blessed,
for they will be shown mercy.
The pure in heart are blessed,
for they will see God.
The peacemakers are blessed,
for they will be called sons of God.
Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed,
for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Matthew 5:3-10
Here are just a few reasons I'm enjoying the HCSB:
  • I love, for example, that Old Testament passages used within the New Testament (quoted in the New Testament) are in bold font. 
  • I love that the HCSB has "bullet notes" (a glossary of terms)
  • I love that it translates the word servant as slave. (For example, Romans 1:1, HCSB; James 1:1, HCSB)  Paul calls himself a slave. The Greek word doulos is mistranslated in most Bibles as "servant" or "bond servant." A slave was owned, was bought for a price, received no wages, and could not quit. A servant could quit, got paid, and was a free person. Jesus Himself took the form of a slave ( Php 2:7), and Paul reminded Christians that "you are not your own, for you were bought at a price" ( 1Co 6:19b-20).
  • I love that it is readable, yet, holds onto rich theological words like PROPITIATION. Here is the "bullet note" definition for propitiation: the removal of divine wrath; Jesus' death is the means that turns God's wrath from the sinner. 
The font is large, 18 points. 

It is red letter. But. Honestly, for once, I don't mind. The font is large enough that even red letter is easy on my eyes. 

When appropriate, it is in paragraph format, not verse-verse-verse. Poetry, of course, is written as poems.

The cross-references, though fewer than a traditional cross-reference Bible perhaps--though I haven't compared side by side--are found at the end of paragraphs.

It has a small topical concordance. More than I was expecting since I wasn't expecting one at all. But not as large as I've seen in other Bibles. 

It has in addition a three page "where to turn" guide for helping you find Bible passages.

It has a few color maps

It does have a presentation page, and places to record marriages, births, deaths, etc.

It does not have book introductions, a bible reading plan, or any notes. It does have a ribbon marker, however. 

It lays flat well. The text in the margins is just as readable as the rest of the text.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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