Monday, April 13, 2015

HCSB Study Bible(Large Print) - Mahogany Leather-Touch

I was very impressed when I first opened up the package that contained my review copy of The HCSB Study Bible(large print), it has a beautiful cover, it looks very…..well, I guess the expression that seems most fitting as a description would be 'simply elegant'.  I just hoped that the inside 'features' would be  impressive as well, and that it wouldn't just be a study Bible that looks really good but doesn't have truly helpful/exegetical study notes.  I am glad to report that this Bible is impressive inside and out. 

I really liked the goal of the study Bible as stated in the introduction, "As servants of the text, the study tools are designed to keep the focus on Scripture and never on the tools themselves."  And, from what I can tell, they do a pretty good job at meeting that goal.  Even the font for the text of Scripture doesn't hinder or distract one hermeneutically as even the words of Christ are printed in black, not red(I don't know if I've ever seen a Bible where they weren't), so they do not stand out from the rest of God's revelation in the New Testament.   I was also very pleased that the study notes in this Bible have a 'premillennial' bias, at least the ones I read did, the writers of the notes evince a belief in God's future plan for the Jews as a sanctified ethnic people, and His reestablishment of them in the land of Israel with the Messiah reigning over them.  Even in Galatians 6:16 they view the "Israel of God" as being saved Jews, and I've read 'dispensationalists' who doubt the meaning of that phrase, so it was refreshing to have it taken at face value. 
The book has several lists/charts to aid in your reading, charts of the Priests of the OT, Kings, and even charts of the sacrifices/offerings listing which type of offering had what sacrifice.   It also has maps throughout and some neat renditions of what Rome and Corinth  may have looked like, and it also has full color photos of various biblical places throughout.
Of course(no study notes are perfect), there were some things that I don't think were biblically accurate, for instance, there were some notes holding to the common belief that Christ permitted remarriage after a divorce that was instigated by adultery.  But if marriage is annulled (before God) by adultery then there would be no room for forgiveness because divorce would be a mandate, not an option.  If God views marriage as ended by adultery then the couple would absolutely have to get a divorce otherwise they would be living together out of wedlock….right? And they'd also have to divorce if one of the spouses was lustful in their mind as well because Christ said that that type of lust is adultery.  
Also, I was disappointed that there is not an assumption that the Apostle's quotations of the OT were accurate and not simply paraphrased or adjusted to fit what they were saying.  When you get to Hebrews 10, they don't even mention that, though the author of Hebrews' quotation of Psalm 40 doesn't match up with the Hebrew manuscripts available to scholars(they read something like, "sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have opened") it does match the Greek translation of the Old testament that would have been around in that day(and that that translation was probably used by the Apostles) in that they both read, "a body you have prepared for me"(instead of ears being opened).  I wish they would have at least mentioned in the textual footnotes that other manuscripts agree with certain texts of the Apostles quotations. 
Anyway…moving on.  Other than things like what I addressed above, I like this study Bible a lot(including its large print), it truly seems like a helpful study Bible, though I must warn you, though I don't mind it,  it is very large and a bit heavy - for me that adds to its overall appeal. Its a bit reminiscent of the reformation era style of books...though I guess I'd have to except some editions of Tyndale's Bible and the other ones that were designed to be smuggled...
Many thanks to B&H Publishers for sending me a free review copy of this Bible to review!(My review did not have to be favorable)
This Bible may be purchased at Amazon and directly from the publisher.

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