I received the HCSB large print ultrathin reference Bible in brown genuine cowhide from B&H Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I already own an edition of this particular Bible in black genuine cowhide (sometimes advertised as calfskin) and you can find a review of it here. The cover of the brown genuine cowhide edition is made from a very nice quality leather. It is much nicer than most genuine leather Bibles because it is actually made from cowhide, whereas most genuine leather Bibles are made from pigskin. The cowhide is supple and features a beautiful pebble grain that feels very pleasant in the hand. The leather is flexible, but not floppy or stiff. Some of this has to do with the material used to line the leather cover. The lining in this Bible is chocolate brown to match the cover. The color of the leather is a dark chocolate brown and is very attractive to the eye. The Bible feels and fits nicely in the hand. The dimensions of this Bible (9.50″ x 6.75″ x 1.25″) are similar to the Hendrickson line of Minister’s Bibles (9.8″ x 6.8″ x 1.2″). The spine features six raise hubs to give the Bible a classic look and feel. The cover also has a nice overlap of the pages, although not what one would call a semi-yap cover, but a nice overlap nonetheless. This edition of the HCSB large print ultrathin reference Bible features one chocolate brown ribbon marker.
The formatting of the Bible is well done. The font is large and easy to read. It is advertised as being a 10.5 point font. This edition features the words of Christ in red. Though this is not a wide margin Bible, it certainly has more room than most. On the outside of the page one finds 5/8 of an inch of space, while on the inside there is slightly less than ½ of an inch of space. It is enough room to write notes or cross references with a fine tip pen (ex. Pigma Micron 005).
The paper of this Bible is opaque, which makes it pleasant for reading. There is some bleed-through of text but its effect is minimized because of the line-matching of this edition. Line-matching refers to the lines of text being formatted so that text on the facing page is matched up text on the following page so there is not as much distraction from the bleed-through of text on subsequent pages. This Bible also features a smyth sewn binding, which adds significantly to the value, usability, and longevity of it.
This Bible features a concordance that is a condensed version of the one found in the HCSB Minister’s Bible. On each page one will find center column cross references. Personally, I still prefer the 95,000 cross references found in most NASB reference Bibles. The HCSB references are not as exhaustive but they are not sparse either. Each page features footnotes that discuss textual variations, alternate translations, historical and cultural details, and even cross references. A feature of most HCSB editions, including this one, is the bullet notes. The bullet notes lead one to a section in the back of the Bible which define different theological terms, names of individuals and places, and other significant biblical details.
I use the HCSB as my main Bible for preaching, study, and memorization. I have done so for over two years. I believe that it is accurate and readable translation. It is not enslaved to cultural trends or agendas. The HCSB has a translation oversight committee, which continually evaluates the accuracy and readability of the translation. I highly recommend the HCSB translation and also this high quality (but surprisingly affordable) edition of the HCSB.