I love this Bible. I originally purchased it for the wide margins for note taking. However, I love the translation. It is easy to read.
The HCSB falls somewhere between a word for word literal translation and a thought for thought dynamic equivalence translation. At times the text agrees almost word for word with my ESV 2015 Reformation Study Bible, and at other times I find it is very close, if not word for word, with my other favorite translation-the 2009 New Living Translation. This combination gives me the best of both worlds. B&H Publishing refers to it as an Optimal Equivalence translation in the introductory notes to the Bible. Whatever it’s called it makes for a great, readable and entirely understandable translation that is used in many mainline churches.
The wide margins are very good for making notes. It is a single column Bible but has very few references in it. There are footnotes at the bottom of each page that are very helpful.
The cover is a soft, flexible cowhide. I don’t believe it is top grain cowhide though. The liner inside is a synthetic paste down liner that is also very soft. Since this is not a Study Bible, there are no notes or study helps beyond the footnotes on each page.
The minister’s helps at the end of the Bible are very helpful and includes such helps as classical wedding or contemporary weddings. There are helps for adult funerals and another for a child’s funeral. There is even a three page help to give the minister Bible passages for a variety of counseling needs among many other things.
The font used looks to be about 8.25 – 9.25 pt for the text and maybe a 7 pt font for the footnotes. It is not a large print Bible, but I wear bifocals and have no trouble reading either the text or the footnotes either one without my glasses. The paper is not excessively thin. There is very little ghosting even though the text doesn’t appear to be line-matched. I use Pigma Micron pens for all of my underlining and note taking and there is little if any bleed through.
I have only one complaint. The black end sheets are doubled for extra thickness but they are not completely glued together. They are only glued half- way up in both the front and back end sheets. I have no idea what the purpose of that was.
All-in-all the Holman Christian Standard Bible Minister’s Bible is an excellent edition and a great addition to my growing collection of Bibles. If you are a minister or just looking for something to make notes in like I was, I can easily recommend this one.