HCSB Scofield III Reference Bible

I received this HCSB Scofield Reference Bible as a review copy a couple of months ago. This particular one is the blue bonded leather edition. It brings back some fond memories of my early Christian life. The Scofield Reference Bible was my first real study Bible and I filled it with notes. It still sits on my shelf at home. Those were the days when the biblical text truly began to open up before my eyes.

The cover is probably the highest quality of bonded leather that I have ever personally handled. In fact, Oxford has utilized a bonded leather that is of higher quality than what some other Publishers term genuine leather. It appears durable and has a nice deep blue color.

The pages are of a good quality. They are not as thick as one would find in a Foundation Publications NASB or a Cambridge Bible. Yet, they are certainly not what one would find in a Life Application Study Bible (very thin). A huge benefit of Oxford Bibles is that they feature sewn bindings. This allows for the Bible to open flat when you are holding it or you lay it down. Such a binding will last longer and is clearly of higher quality than those which are glued. There are also plenty of pages in the front and back of the Bible for note-taking.

The text is visually appealing on the page. One unique feature of the Scofield Bibles is that the cross-references are featured on the outside margins rather than in the center margin. The Scofield Bibles are all red letter editions. I am not overly opposed to such editions, as long as the reader recognizes that the biblical text featured in black letters is equally inspired and authoritative. The only real issue is that the red letter text in this edition may be difficult for some to read on the page. The color is red whereas other publishers have transitioned to more of a burgundy color in their red letter editions (such as Foundation Publications and Holman Bible Publishers). It is not an issue for me but may be for others.

I like the translation itself because I believe that it strikes a good balance between the formal and dynamic approaches to Bible translation. The translators of the HCSB also chose to depart from some traditional translation choices in favor of a more accurate rendering of the biblical text. The present edition is the 2003 edition of the HCSB, not the 2009 update. This is somewhat irrelevant for this particular review because the Scofield Reference Bible is available in a wide range of Bible translations including: KJV, NKJV, NIV, NASB, ESV, and the HCSB.

In regard to the unique features of the Scofield Reference Bible one should recognize that this particular reference Bible has been the choice of many traditional dispensationalists for over 100 years. C.I. Scofield (with the help of others) compiled the cross-references and wrote the study notes which are interspersed throughout the text. The cross-references in particular are said by many traditional dispensationalists to be the most valuable resourced in the Scofield Bible. The cross-references are organized as a dispensationalist would understand/interpret the biblical text. Therefore, they are organized in more of a topical/chain-reference format. The notes themselves remain as close as possible to what Scofield originally penned. In this particular 2006 edition revised by Doris Rikkers, some of the features have been updated. Definitions of names and places have been added alongside the original Scofield notes. There are also in-text maps which have been inserted into appropriate places alongside the text. Suffice to say, the 2006 edition has retained the Scofield content but also updated the features to make them more user-friendly and provided more content to help readers understand the biblical text, which was Scofield’s goal in the first place.

If anyone is looking for a Bible that is well made and affordable this one meets the criteria.

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One thought on “HCSB Scofield III Reference Bible

  1. Pingback: Dispensationalism: A Historical Survey. | Dave Enjoys

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