I was online looking for a Bible to buy when I came across the Holman Christian Standard Study Bible for Women. The website allows bloggers to get a free copy of the book in exchange for a book review. Here are my thoughts:
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) is one of the most literal interpretations of the Bible that I have ever encountered. It reads in a language similar to the New International Version of the Bible. For instance, one of my favorite verses of the Bible, Psalm 91, in the King James Version would read,” He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” In the HCSB the same verse reads, “The one who lives under the protection of the ‘Most High dwells in the shadow of the’ Almighty.” Most serious students of the Bible have more than one copy, and would rely on the Bible concordance and the Amplified Bible for a more literal interpretation. While this Bible doesn’t come with the Amplified Bible, it does come with a concordance in the back that allows for moving between the Bible pages with ease. However, for new students to God’s Word, people like myself, who are not quite as concerned with the exact wordage, this Bible works. This is probably one of the easiest interpretations of the Bible that I have encountered, and even though it doesn’t have the exact wordage of the King James Version, this Bible stays close enough to the text for a close interpretation.
Upon opening this Bible, one is struck by the details and thought that went into the making of this Bible. Included in the opening pages of the Bible is a Bible presented to page, the Ketubah, a page dedicated to writing down marriage details, and pages dedicated to family milestones and a list of women to include as spiritual mothers. In other words, this is a Bible made to preserve and keep for decades to come, and that’s just the beginning. The actual study Bible includes articles on women of the Bible. Each article includes the woman character’s background, her story, and life lessons. The character sketches include just enough information to remember key points about the numerous women mentioned here, but to the point that allows for easy memorization. The Bible also includes maps, footnotes on specific passages, and articles on biblical womanhood, which goes further than the life lessons of the character sketches, and modernizes the lessons that might ask questions of the reader such as did God establish different roles for men and women? The articles rely on Scripture and wisdom for the answers. Instead of answering the question with another question, the articles take a bold stance on the issues, drawing conclusions that are based on a God-given role as a woman. I found the articles to be helpful in relating the material of the article to my current role as a Christian woman.
The footnotes go in-depth and include the history of the passage and notes that one would be hard-pressed to find in a standard Bible. Though the print is small, certain words are highlighted to draw attention to the Biblical Womanhood articles. The Bible also comes with silver tabs that makes moving between chapters of the Bible with ease. I think if one can look past the tiny print of the footnotes, which allows for closer study, I think one can discover themselves spending hours upon hours in this Bible, reading the character sketches, and the articles, and finding themselves at ease with the text. This Bible is written for the woman that wants to know about her place in God’s kingdom as a Christian woman with a little guidance. The tools included here for study will give the woman studying this Bible the confidence to go further in her exploration of the Bible, and the confidence to master the key to understanding God’s Word. I would recommend this book for studying, reading and exploring.
Piper M. Davenport