When it comes to “Notetaking Bibles,” there is no doubt a plethora which have flooded the market in recent years. They are sometimes categorized as Wide Margin Bibles. Virtually every Bible publisher has tried to get in on the profit act. Holman Bible Publishers and the B&H Publishing Group have now placed an entry into this category. Their entry is The Illustrator’s Notetaking Bible with the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) translation as the text.
The Bible contains many of the usual features: At the beginning is placed “God’s Plan of Salvation,” certainly a worthy entrance to the Scriptures, and an “Introduction to the HCSB” and at the end is included an abbreviated concordance and maps. The size (8.50″ x 6.50″ x 1.50) and weight (2.4 lbs.) are ideal to carry anywhere.
So let’s look at the good and the bad. First the bad.
The text of the Bible is relatively small – 8 point text size. So, if your eyes don’t zero in on something that small you might have a problem reading the text.
“Over 600 images, including text designs, images, & filigree” (delicate and fancy designs) all designed for your coloring pleasure. This is a new phenomenon in “Bible Study,” color your way to biblical literacy. Unfortunately, these images take up half of the generous margin space, an area you could be using for useful notes based on your study of Scripture. Fortunately, these images are in light gray so they can easily be written over.
Now the good.
Plentiful margins. The publisher claims 2” margins for notes, but that’s with some elasticity – they are really about 1.75”. Nevertheless, the margins are quite adequate for ample notetaking.
Excellent, highly recommended Bible translation. The HCSB is between a literal translation and a dynamic equivalent and is very readable. The Introduction will give you the translation philosophy.
Single Column Text. Although the typeset is rather small, it is arranged in a single column which makes the process of aligning notes much more efficient. You won’t have to squeeze notes into the inside margins.
The Final Analysis
This Bible is a bit of hybrid between a genuine wide margin, notetaking Bible and a coloring Bible. It will allow you to do both is you so choose.
If your Bible study passion is to fill your copy of the Scriptures with personal notes, this is an excellent Bible for that task. There’s plenty of room to write. But be sure to use this Bible for notetaking with your own personal study. Avoid (if at all possible) the mind-emptying coloring exercise that this Bible promotes. Rather, fill your mind with Scripture and record your own thoughts.
Disclaimer: This Bible was provided to me for a fair and honest review.