Showing posts with label Holman Bible Publishers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holman Bible Publishers. Show all posts

April 24, 2015

HCSB Minister’s Bible

Liturgical church groups, such as Episcopal or Roman Catholic Christians, often have books dedicated to the order of worship, rites of matrimony, funeral services, collection of prayers, and other pastoral guides. Some churches incorporate those features in the hymnals or in special editions of the Bible for a denomination such as The Lutheran Study Bible.

Pastors of evangelical, interdenominational, or independent church groups might feel as though they’re on their own if it weren’t for editions especially for ministers such as the Holman Christian Standard Minister’s Bible, which Holman Bible Publishers produced with many helpful features and wider-than-normal margins, ideal for taking notes.

Although available in various choices of covers, the publisher kindly sent me a review copy of their black simulated leather, which is soft to the touch and lays open without flopping shut. Presumably the genuine leather will lay completely flat and have an even nicer drape in the hand. However, this copy seems quite sturdy and should hold up well.

Besides an introduction to the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) translation, which has been lauded for its accuracy and readability, the opening pages include a “Plan of Salvation” to help pastors lead nonbelievers to accept Christ as Savior, pray a “sinner’s prayer,” and consider baptism (no mention of immersion) and church membership (no mention of any particular denomination.)

In the back matter, a section of “HCSB Bullet Notes” provide an interesting glossary with key words marked in their first occurrence within the text then explained here. For example:

atone/ atonement
A theological term for God’s provision to deal with human sin; in the OT, it primarily means purification. In some contexts forgiveness, pardon, expiation, propitiation, or reconciliation is included. The basis of atonement is substitutionary sacrifice offered in faith. The OT sacrifices were types and shadows of the great and final sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Under “propitiation” we find:
The removal of divine wrath; Jesus’ death is the means that turns God’s wrath from the sinner.

Although not as comprehensive as the concordance, which can also be found in the back matter, the bullet notes include brief definitions of words relating to theology, biblical culture, or place names, such as:

Originally a term for the fortified section of Jerusalem and then, by extension, used for the temple and the city of Jerusalem both in the present time and in the future

Also in the back matter, two pages on “Pastoral Care” give pastors a quick way to find a scriptural response to concerns brought to them by other people – or themselves! For example, “When you are blue” refers readers to Psalm 42:5, while Matthew 6:34 might be contemplated “When you worry.”

Essentials for church leadership and an “authentic ministry” have also been provided as well as the order for “A Classical Wedding Ceremony,” “A Contemporary Wedding Ceremony,” and funerals – from a peaceful death to the death of a child or a suicide victim.

Pastors will welcome the section on “Commitment Counseling,” too, with guidelines regarding:

• salvation
• baptism
• church membership
• assurance of salvation
• rededication to grow toward spiritual maturity
• commitment to vocational Christian ministry

Looking through these topics and thinking about a women in my Bible study group who has been coming to church for years but doesn’t know if she knows the Lord, I’m thinking this minister’s Bible would also be a helpful resource for Bible teachers, church leaders, Christian writers, and other communicators for Christ.

©2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, poet, writer, and reviewer, is a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church in all its parts.

HCSB Minister’s Bible, black simulated leather

HCSB Minister’s Bible, black genuine leather

April 13, 2015

Holman Rainbow Study Bible

Do you ever underline a favorite Bible verse or color-code passages you want to highlight? Holman Bible Publishers spent 16 years doing this and more for us in the new Holman Rainbow Study Bible, available now in the New International Version (NIV) with two other translations (NKJV and HCSB) in the works.

When I first opened the review copy Holman kindly sent in the edition shown below, I wondered if the quilted look of the colorful pages would befuddle my eyes! As it turned out, the muted colors actually helped to hold my eyes steadily on the passage being read, reminding me of the early school years when we followed words with an index finger to keep our eyes aligned and pointed in the right direction.

Besides holding my attention, the rainbow-colored text felt unexpectedly soothing to read. The idea behind this, however, is to show the major themes of the Bible clearly through thoughtfully-selected color-coding. For example, a soft shade of purple has been “assigned to God because it is a color of royalty” with “Blue assigned to Salvation because it has a heavenly or eternal connotation,” and “Silver assigned to History because it signifies age or experience.”

All total, you’ll find 12 major themes color-coded in the text with a colored decoder strip along the bottom of each page, indicating Discipleship, Outreach, God, Salvation, Love, Commandments, Family, Faith, Prophecy, Evil, Sin, History.

In addition to this unique feature, the edition includes a Bold Line® System with the Words of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) underlined, regardless of the surrounding theme. This system replaces the need for the words of Christ to be further enhanced, as typically done in red letter editions.

The overall effect of these features is not only pleasing to the eye, they ease reading, accentuate themes, and enhance memorization. To further encourage readers to memorize key scriptures, another help comes with the inclusion of “365 Popular Bible quotations for Memorization and Meditation.”

The edition also provides introductions to each book with a list of the “Books Of The Bible in Biblical Order” and “Books Of The Bible in Alphabetical Order” in the front matter to help students new to the Bible to become acquainted with the arrangement of the books. Also, this particular edition has indexed tabs to help you find a book quickly in your Bible study group. Such study aids, along with maps in the back matter and cross-referencing throughout the text, make this an excellent choice for Bible students of all ages.

©2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, poet, writer, and reviewer, is a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church in all its parts.

Holman Rainbow Study Bible, NIV, hardcover, indexed edition

March 17, 2015

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) reader edition

When the B&H Publishing group kindly sent me review copies of the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), the first thing I noticed was the packaging! Yes, the packaging. In all my decades of buying Bibles and now of receiving them for my review on the Bible Reviewer blog, I’ve never seen an edition treated with such care.

Inside each sturdy box, I found a Bible wrapped in both directions in heavy-duty paper to ensure its safety. Then, inside the wrapping, I found a thick leather cover – ready for long wear, yet flexible and soft to the touch. No wonder Holman Bibles come with a lifetime guarantee!

Earlier I had received a review copy of the hefty, impressive, award-winning HCSB Study Bible, which I highly recommend, but this time I wanted a reader’s edition to read, cover to cover, without the distraction of lengthy footnotes and articles. So the publisher sent two!

The HCSB Large Print Personal Size Reference Bible measures about 5.75" x 8.5", which provides a nice size for carrying in one hand. To keep down the weight and thickness, the paper is a bit thin with some bleed-through, but the large font (about 10-point) is very readable. With no footnotes except essentials and no center-margin references, this truly is an edition to just sit down and read.

The HCSB Large Print Ultrathin Reference Bible measures about 6.75” x 9.5” and is also easy to carry, but the slightly larger size helps the leather cover to lay flat. The unusual font choice blocks out the bleed-through but might take some getting used to if you’re expecting the typical roundish serif. Once I actually began to read the text, however, I found the dark, narrow san serif font to be super easy on my eyes.

The ultrathin edition also includes a small concordance at the back of the book and cross-referencing in the center column, providing features I like even in a reader’s edition. In addition, I discovered an unusual feature I don’t recall seeing before: The names and chapters of the books have been placed in the left corners of the bottom margins of the pages! In the opposite corner, page numbers have also been placed at the bottom of each page, so with the ultrathin edition, I was able to look up scriptures very quickly in my Bible study group.

Regarding those scriptures, the HCSB provides a contemporary translation of the Bible that, unlike some updated versions, wisely retains such key words in Christianity as “justification,” “sanctification,” and “redemption.” As a writer and poet who aims toward compression, I seldom like the use of ten words when one precise word will do – especially if it carries the weight of centuries of faith and theology.

I’m also happy to say this translation retains the word “blessed,” which says so much more than my momentary happiness over that discovery! In the Sermon on the Mount, for example, Matthew 5:3-5 reads:

“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.”

In the next chapter, Matthew 7:7 in the HCSB clearly states:

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

With red letters in the ultrathin edition, I immediately found those words of Christ, and with bold letters for the biblical quotes in various chapters, I easily found scriptural references from the Old Testament to the New. With either edition though, I'm finding the HCSB a good choice to read.

©2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, poet, writer, and reviewer, is a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church in all its parts.

HCSB Large Print Ultrathin Reference Bible, Brown Genuine Cowhide Leather

HCSB Large Print Personal Size Reference Bible, Brown Genuine Cowhide

November 4, 2013

The big picture in a Bible storybook

Most Bible storybooks for children include similar stories of people who exhibited great faith and courage – or a lamentable lack of either! Unlike the titles published years ago, however, today’s storybooks often show God’s people as admirable but flawed human beings, who sometimes reflect and sometimes conflict with the ongoing love, goodness, justice, mercy, and forgiveness of our unchanging God.

To emphasize this contrast even more, “A Letter to Parents” in The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook from B&H Publishing clearly states: “’Be good’ is not the message of the Bible. ‘Be saved’ is.” While human heroes come and go, God The Hero remains.

As any child knows, of course, a Hero rescues, protects, and takes care of what needs tending – just as God did from the moment sin ruined the perfection created in the beginning. So, from the beginning, God planned a timely redemption through the sacrificial life, death, and resurrection power of Jesus Christ.

To show this so children can follow the time sequence and see how God’s plan fits together from Genesis to Revelation, each page of these Bible stories includes the unique feature of the “Christ Connection.” For example, the story, “God Created the World and People,” makes this connection: “Colossians 1:15-22 reveals that Christ is ruler over all of God’s creation. All of creation was created through Him, by Him, and for Him. Everything was created to give glory to Christ, but people would choose not to give Him glory. The rest of the Bible reveals how Jesus would restore the relationship between God and man.”

That “Christ Connection” ends with a “Big Picture Question” for discussion and a “Big Picture Answer” too. In the story, “Obadiah the Prophet,” for example, the question, “What is pride?” receives the “Big Picture Answer: Pride is thinking you are better than others, and it steals glory from God.” Or, the story, “Jesus Christ Will Return,” asks the “Big Picture Question: Why will there be no need for a lamp in heaven?” then answers, “God’s glory will be its light and there will be no more night.”

This type of involvement helps the book live up to its name, but in addition, The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook offers an app to be downloaded for free. Then readers can scan the icon on each page and watch the illustration come to life online. With over 140 colorful, kid-appealing illustrations to choose from, children can interact with Bible story people as they interact with God, presenting us with our timeless stories too.

©2013, Mary Harwell Sayler

The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook from B&H Publishing