Holman KJV Ultrathin Reference Bible – Review

IMG_5805Ultrathin reference Bibles are a staple in the market. If they have the right quality of tools they can be that one Bible that does everything: carry, reading, preaching, teaching, and even sermon or class prep. In this review I take a look at Holman’s KJV Ultrathin Reference Bible and see if it can be that one, Jack of all trades Bible.



  • Handy size
  • Lots of features


  • Has to break in before it will lay open


  • KJV
  • Imitation leather
  • Sewn binding
  • Presentation and family pages
  • Preface
  • Article on Why Read the King James Version
  • Americanized spellings
  • 8 point font
  • Red letter
  • Center column references
  • 63 page concordance
  • Study helps
  • 8 pages of maps
  • 1 ribbon
  • Gold gilted edges
  • 6 x 9 x 1
  • ISBN: 9781433605444
  • Printed in Korea
  • MSRP: $34.99

Cover and Binding






The cover is Classic Mahogany LeatherTouch. I love the look and feel. It is brown with a darker brown spine and corners. The cover is sewn around the perimeter. The liner is a brown pasted-down paper. The binding is sewn, but it’s very difficult it get it to lay open out of the box. Out of the box it would lay open somewhere in 1 Samuel. Now it will lay open in Joshua. Maybe after it’s been used for long enough it will lay open anywhere. The size is perfect for carry and handling. It’s easy to hold it in one hand for reading.



The paper is fairly opaque with very little show-through. The paper in my copy has a blue tint (I’ve heard this is from being recycled, but I haven’t been able to confirm this). I am not a fan of the blue tint. I would pay extra with white or off-white tint. It’s not as blue as other Bibles that I have, so it doesn’t aggravate me as bad as it could. I’ve seen this Bible without the blue, so you can get it with white paper.




The print quality is excellent throughout the Bible. Both the black and red letter has about a medium boldness. It has an 8-point font with maybe a 9 point leading. There are no pronunciation marks of any kind. It does have supplied words in italics.



The columns are close to 2” (2” from line to end with the text being 1 15/16”) wide with 38 characters across. The margins is 5/16”. You can actually get to the inner margin fairly well. This might be enough space to draw a symbol.



At the top of the page on the outer column you will find the book name, chapter number, and verse number. On the left page is the first verse that starts on that page, and on the right page is the last verse that starts on that page. I like that it includes verse numbers as well as chapter numbers. This makes it easier to find verses when preaching or teaching. Books start on the same page the last book ended.



When they call this a reference Bible they actually mean it. References are placed in the center column and are keyed to the text with italic letters. The center column contains the chapter and verse numbers in bold text. If there are too many references to fit in the center column, the rest are placed under the last verse on the page above the notes.

The references cover both words and themes, and there are plenty of them. They tell where someone is called by another name, where something was fulfilled, other verses that can supply more information, and lots more. Here are a few that I looked up while using this Bible:

  • Gen 1:1 – John 1:1,2; Heb 1:10; Ps 8:3, 33:6, 89:11,12; 102:25, 136:5; 146:6; Isa 44:24; Jer 10:12; 51:15; Zech 12:1; Acts 14:15; 17:24; Col 1:16, 17; Heb 11:3; Rev 4:11; 10:6
  • Matt 11:27 – 28:18; Luke 10:22; John 3:35; 13:3; 17:2; 1 Cor 15:27; Jn 1:18; 6:46; 10:15
  • Matt 17:20 – 21:21; Mark 11:23; Luke 17:6; 1 Cor 12:9; 13:2



Translation notes are placed under the last verse on the page. They are keyed to the text with regular letters. The notes under the last verse show the verse number and then the letter. They give information on the original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), literal translations, alternate renderings, parallel passages, historical explanations, and more. I am glad to see that footnotes are still being included. I’ve noticed a current trend of publisher going away from notes in the KJV. I think notes are helpful and should be included.



The concordance is just over 62 pages and has 3 columns per page. It lists people, places, and terms. It actually has quite a bit of entries and would be suitable for general study or for finding something. Here are some entries that I looked at and the variations on the word:

  • Faith – 53
  • Faithful – 31
  • God – 85
  • Godhead – 3
  • Godliness – 6
  • Godly – 5
  • Gods – 7
  • Praise – 9
  • Pray – 18
  • Prayer – 13

This is one of the better concordances that I’ve seen in an ultrathin hand-size reference Bible.

Study Helps


There are 20 pages of helps in the back:

  • Parables of our Lord
  • Miracles of our Lord
  • A Harmony of the Gospels
  • Messianic Prophecies of the Old Testament
  • Predictions Made by Jesus
  • Prophecies of Jesus’ Second Coming
  • 16 pages for notes

The helps are good for topical studies or trying to find something specific. Even just a few pages of helps makes a difference and adds to the value of study you can get by using this Bible. I would much rather have these type of helps because they’re basically lists of Scriptures.



There are 8 pages of full color maps on thick glossy paper. Something really interesting is a key to maps. This is similar to an index, but instead of having the names of places it shows which books and chapters of the Bible go with which maps. Here is a list of the maps:

  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


There is a lot to like about this Bible. If I could change one thing it would be the blue tinted paper. The opacity is fine, but I find the blue tint to be highly annoying. The blue tint is the only thing keeping me from using this as my primary carry Bible. Not all editions have the blueish paper, so I might grab one of these as my carry Bible. If this was the only Bible I owned (with white paper) I would be happy with it. The size is perfect, the font is dark enough to be readable, the references and notes are excellent, and the concordance will help you find the majority of anything you need. The study helps are useful for topical studies. This would make a great choice for a primary Bible or just a Bible to carry around. I’d love to have this in a premium cover. I highly recommend the Holman Ultrathin KJV Reference Bible.


Holman Publishing 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.


  1. Charles Jackson Jr.

    I have an Ultrathin Compact KJV on the way now from Holman. It should be in any day now. This review has heightened my anticipation for its arrival.

  2. Don Denison

    Dear Randy:

    This looks like a nice inexpensive bible, I would pay a few more dollars for real leather though with the price one shouldn’t complain.

    Have any of the rest of you all noticed occasional, slight and subtle differences in Holman’s printing of the Authorised version? Some one called my attention to it once, I looked, and it was there. Maybe it was just an error, I can’t even remember the book, chapter and verse. It does though make me uneasy when something like this happens. As I recall it was nothing that would have kept me from buying, but it left me with an uneasy feeling,

    Yours in Christ

    Don Denison

  3. RCal

    This is a pretty good bible, especially since it has the KJV marginal footnotes, but it has a couple of “cons” I’d like to see the publisher address in the next printing.
    First, it has no subject headings at the top of the page. Second, the chapters are run together like someone fell asleep during editing. Larger print would also be really nice.

    • Randy Brown

      I agree. It wouldn’t take much to make this my primary Bible.

  4. Airik H

    I actually have come to like these fake leathers esp because of the wide color choice and beautiful ways that they can use it. I have an NLT study bible with the same style imitation leather and stitched the same way as this one in the review, my only con would be the straight stitch line across the cover. On my NLT bible they also did not add a cross stitch, so now my bible cover folds at that spot and looks horrible, but it also is the most flexible bible I own and also pays flatter
    then any of my other bibles. What you get for your money clearly outweighs little flaws, IMHO Holman has the best selection of low cost bibles in the industry, not only do you get a good looking bible but you also get stitched book blocks which should be mandatory for all bibles. Godbless brother great review:)

  5. Jamison

    This Bible seems to have all the features I’m looking for, but sadly I cannot find it for sale anywhere! The newer editions don’t have the translator notes and have a lot of subject headings embedded in the text that I’d rather not have.

    • Randy A Brown

      Unfortunately, this one is out of print. Used book stores, eBay, or the Bibles sales groups on Facebook are your best options.

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