Holman HCSB Military Families Bible Review

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Military families are different from most families. They have to deal with a lot of moving around and being apart for long periods of time. They deal with the worry of the day-to-day dangers of work, and they’re always on the clock. The Holman HCSB Military Families Bible was made specifically for them. At its core the Military Families Bible is an HCSB Large Print Reference Bible. What sets it apart is the 60 devotions and prayers in the back that were written specifically for military families.

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Binding

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The cover is a stylized American flag of red, white, and blue imitation leather with perimeter stitching. The colors are dark just like I like them and it has an interesting grainy texture. The paste-down liner is paper. It has a sewn text-block but the cover will need to break in thought before it will lay open in Genesis. It has a dark red ribbon. The overall size is 8.50″ x 5.75″ x 1.50″.

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Paper

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The paper is thin and has more show-through than I prefer. I’m guessing it around 26gsm. It isn’t so bad that I can’t use it but it is distracting. It doesn’t have any glare that I’ve noticed. It has a white color. The edges are silver gilted which matches the dark flag colors of the cover.

Typography

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The text is set in double-column paragraph format. References are placed within the text at the end of paragraphs (based on the older Holman system called Jewel Verse Reference System). Footnotes are placed in the footer. The header contains the page number in the inner margin, and the book name, chapter, and verse in the outer margin.

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OT quotes are in bold. They can almost be a little harsh on the eye after seeing the light-medium text. To be honest this isn’t the prettiest layout but it is functional.

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The placement of the reference apparatus looks clumsy and seems like it would hinder readability, but in practice it doesn’t get in the way that much. At worst it separates passages, which is something the section headings are already doing.

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The font is 10 point with a light-medium darkness. The red-letter is also light-medium darkness. The font is a touch on the light side. Coupled with the show-through it can be difficult to read. The print is consistent throughout.

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The columns are 2.25” wide and have 40 characters across, giving space for around 7-9 words on a line. The text doesn’t feel cramped or crowded.

References

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Based on the Jewel Verse Reference System, the references are keyed with lower-case letters and are groups for paragraphs. They’re not labeled to the verse they correspond to but there are only a few verses in a paragraph. The references are large enough to see but I didn’t find them distracting within the text.

Here are some samples to help you compare:

  • Genesis 1:1 – Jn 1:1-2; Heb 1:10; Jb 38:4; Col 1:16; Heb 11:3
  • Deuteronomy 6:4 – Mk 12:29
  • Matthew 17:20 – Mk 9:23; Lk 17:6
  • Mark 11:23 – Mt 21:21; Lk 17:6
  • Mark 12:29 – Dt 6:4
  • John 1:1 – Rev 19:13; Is 9:6
  • 1 John 1:1 – Mc 5:2; Jn 1:1; 2 Pt 1:16; Lk 24:39; Rev 19:13

Footnotes

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Footnotes appear in the footer and are keyed to the text with capital letters. They include manuscript variations, alternate renderings, notes on the original languages, clarification, references for quotes and parallel passages, people, places, measurements, and more.

HCSB Bullet Notes

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HCSB Bullet Notes is a standard feature of the HCSB. Within the text and some footnotes there are several words that have a bullet next to them. These words and their definitions are found in this 8-page index of frequently used words and terms. It includes places and people. It doesn’t give any references to where you can find them. This normally wouldn’t be that big of a deal if you could find them in the concordance, but this Bible doesn’t have a concordance.

Where To Turn

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This is a 2 page list of topics with references. Topics include temptation, money, tiredness, failure, sickness, anxiety, guidance, direction, worry, wisdom, etc. This is useful for devotions and it lets the Scriptures give you answers. The verses you go to will give you more references, making this a good starting point.

Military Family Devotions

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What sets this Bible apart from a regular HCSB Large Print Personal Size Reference Bible is the devotionals in the back. I like that they’re placed in the back instead of within the text. In my opinion this makes the text easier to use because you don’t have the devotions as a distraction and you don’t have to thumb past them in order to find the next verse in a passage.

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There are 60 devotions. Technically 30 are prayers while the other 30 are a more in-depth devotional. They give the title, references to the passage or passages they correspond to, the author’s name, and the devotion. Prayers are placed in italics. Devotions take about 1.5 pages.

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The devotions talk about things that pertain to military life: courage, hope in the future, marriage, deployment, loving your enemy, military in the Bible, joy, witnessing, your loved ones, unfamiliar surroundings, fear, and much more. The devotions and prayers are short and to the point, and provide insights and how-to’s for coping with and living the military life. They’re great for short bursts of encouragement based on God’s Word.

Authors include:

  • Colonel John Laing
  • Jocelyn Green
  • Rebekah Benimoff
  • Linda Montgomery
  • Bettina Dowell
  • Rosie Williams
  • Sharron Carrns
  • Carrie Daws
  • Sarah Ball

Maps

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There are 8 pages of full-color maps on thick non-glossy paper. This is my favorite paper for maps. I like the colors a lot. They’re not cartoonish at all. They include topography, distance, routes, borders, water, cities, Scripture references, and annotations.

Maps include:

  1. The Migration of Abraham
  2. The Route of the Exodus
  3. The Tribal Allotments of Israel
  4. The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah
  5. Palestine in the Time of Jesus
  6. The Ministry of Jesus Around the Sea of Galilee
  7. The Passion Week in Jerusalem
  8. Paul’s Missionary Journeys

Conclusion

This is a good Bible to help military families and those that have to minister to military families. This Bible strikes home with me. I grew up in a military family and we were always moving. I was sometimes left behind with other family members. Every move required readjusting to a new home, new town, new school, and new friends.

The military life does have a great impact on the family. I didn’t know it at the time but the answers and guidance I needed were right there in God’s Word. This Bible shows that by giving insights on the military life with relatable Scriptures. The devotions and prayers in this Bible fills a need for military families.

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Photography by hannah C brown.

Holman Publishers provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review – only an honest review. My opinions are my own.

About The Author

Randy A Brown

WordPress writer by day, Bible reviewer by night, pastor all the time. And there’s also that author thing.

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