Broadman & Holman has an impressive array of premium Bibles in their “optimally equivalent” translation: The Holman Christian Standard Bible. In the months ahead, I will review four: The HCSB Large Print Ultrathin (here), the HCSB Giant Print Reference, the HCSB Study Bible, and the HCSB Minister’s Bible. The Large Print Ultrathin (henceforth LPU) is available at a good price here.
The brown cowhide on the LPU is extremely attractive. It has a nice, pronounced pebble grain to it, and it is a pleasant shade of brown (see photo comparison). The binding style is paste-down and the lining is cardboard-like, quite reminiscent of the Pitt Minion actually. While this doesn’t provide the same flexibility of a leather or polyeurethane-llined binding, it does the job! And the binding is (obviously) sewn, and thus flexible enough to please most of us. Though LPU lacks some common features of premium Bibles (namely, multiple ribbons and art-gilt) it includes one beautiful feature that is often lacking in many other premium Bibles: raised hubs on the spine. This combined with the subtle and crisp imprinting makes for a understated and attractive spine.
The dimensions are roughly 9″ x 6″ x 1″, making it quite portable, an ideal form factor in the eyes of this beholder. Lets find out if its as readable as it is portable!
The LPU features a very readable 10.5 point, sans serif font. I prefer serif, but others staunchly prefer sans serif, so there you go! While the paper isn’t great, line matching helps mitigate the show through (or “ghosting”). In some cases, you can get by without line matching because the paper is sufficiently opaque (i.e. Allan’s ESVNC1). The paper on this one allows enough ghosting, however, that without line matching it would be a mess. As it is, the level of ghosting is tolerable for me, though perhaps not for you. Take a look.
The typesetting is a traditional two column, center column reference Bible with translation notes on the bottom, which is popular for a reason. Also, the words of Christ are in red, but the red is a good, crisp red (see above). The HCSB also puts OT quotations in bold (see below). This is less garish than the 2004 HCSB-isms (if you’ve seen the 2004, you’ll know what I mean!). This 2010 edition is much nicer from a design standpoint.
The LPU has a two column format, like the HCSB Study Bible, but in the LPU the font is 10.5 point sans serif and in the Study Bible looks to be a 9 point serif font. The HCSB Minister’s Bible, on the other hand, has a plain text single column typesetting with maybe 9 point serif font. Which reads easier? Hard to say.
If you preach from the HCSB, this is probably one you should consider. It is classy and attractive Bible on the outside and a eminently readable Bible on the inside. You won’t be disappointed at this price point!
And lest we get lost in leather-bound English-Bible luxury, please remember to pray for translations in the remaining 1,859 Bible-less languages in our world. Click here to see my heart on the matter and to even support the work of Bible translation.