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Rainbow Study Bible – Review

Rainbow Study Bible 001

Everyone who knows me knows that I color-code my Bible. Now, lots of people mark their Bible’s with color, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about actually coding my Bible with color. I color-code topically (my favorite way to study). I have around 20 topics that I mark in a specific way. I usually only color the major verses in any topic. Almost everyone I know has expressed interest in having their Bibles color-coded but most of them don’t want to do the coloring. It is time-consuming and tedious work and it can be difficult deciding on how to color some verses. There is a Bible that is colored for you and it has every verse in the Bible marked. It’s called the Rainbow Study Bible. This is not your typical study Bible. It doesn’t have commentary with Theological notes. Instead of commentary it has in-text maps. So instead of opinions it has facts. That’s the kind of study Bible I can get behind. I am reviewing the Holman edition in KJV.


  • No commentary
  • Every verse color-coded
  • All the words of God underlined


  • Not available in a premium edition


  • KJV
  • Brown/Chestnut LeatherTouch
  • 10-point font
  • Black letter
  • Words of God in both testaments underlined
  • 12 topic color code
  • Every verse color-coded
  • Lots of references
  • In-text color maps and illustrations
  • 500 word glossary of archaic words
  • Reading plan
  • Harmony of the Gospels
  • Gilted edges
  • Brown ribbon marker
  • 9.5 x 6.25 x 1.5
  • ISBN: 9781586406356
  • List = $59.95

Cover and Binding

The cover is an imitation leather called LeatherTouch. It’s a two-tone cover in brown and chestnut. The brown is smooth and the chestnut is textured. I like the feel of the chestnut portion the best. It has stitching around the perimeter and has a vinyl liner that is glued. The cover looks nice. I’m not sure how long it would last. It doesn’t want to lie down flat after you’ve opened it. I would love to have this Bible in a quality leather such as calfskin. The binding is glued. It does stay open in the middle of Genesis and I’m sure it will lay flat at Genesis 1 after it breaks in a little. I don’t know how long this cover will last, but I’m seriously considering rebinding it in a premium leather once it wears out.

Paper and Print

The paper looks and feels like the standard paper that is found in most study Bibles today. It’s not high quality but it’s not bad either. It’s not as opaque as I would like and it does feel thin. I was surprised at how well it takes the color. After using it for a while I’ve come to appreciate how good the color and print consistency looks and the opacity isn’t that bad. The paper has a blue hue (you can only see it in the gutter). I prefer a cream hue but this paper might be necessary for the color-consistency.

There are 4 pages to write on in the back. I’m glad and grateful that pages for writing are included, but I want a few more pages.

The font is 10/11. The text is black-letter. Rather than having the words of Christ in red, the entire words of God in both testaments, including the words of Christ in his humanity, are underlined. I like having the words of God in the Old Testament marked. This makes it difficult to do any of your own underlining. It’s not out of the question- it’s just difficult. Since this Bible is already marked, I’ll make the trade. The font is sharp and readable and the print quality is consistent. The boldness of the font is darker than most study Bibles.

Color Code

The color-code is the real star of this show. There are 12 colors, each one representing one of 12 major topics (subject headings):

  • God – purple
  • Discipleship – salmon
  • Love – green
  • Faith – light orange
  • Sin – grey
  • Evil – brown
  • Salvation – blue
  • Family – yellow
  • Outreach – pink
  • Commandments – green
  • History – silver
  • Prophecy – yellow/orange, gold

Most of the colors are not named, so I’m just guessing on a few of them. I’m sure the names I’ve given are not exact. Most verses are only marked with one color, but there are a few that have two colors. The colors are consistent throughout and it’s easy to read the text through the color.

There is a bookmark that has the color with the topics and subtopics but the colors don’t match the bookmark exact enough in my opinion. The colors are also listed in the front using the same paper as the text. This one is easy to use and reference.

The 12 subject headings contain 26 categories and 129 sub-topics. This is great for topical study. For example, if you’re interested in reading about Salvation just look at the verses in blue. It also works for devotions.

The topical system isn’t perfect but it’s a great place to start. Some verses are categorized as a complete passage rather than on a verse-by-verse level. For example, Matthew 7:1 is placed in Prophecy because of verse 2. I’ve color-coded my Bible long enough to know that you can’t cover every topic and many verses will fall into multiple topics. The Bible is too rich and vast to cover everything in detail, so 12 primary topics are enough. I might categorize a few things differently but overall it still works.

Book Introductions

The book introductions take one page and include:

  • Author
  • Date written
  • Time span
  • Title
  • Background
  • Where written
  • To whom
  • Content
  • Key words
  • Themes
  • Outline

All of the information is informative and useful. Some are just a single sentence and others are a complete paragraph. The outlines are short, usually between 5-9 points.


There are no commentary notes in this Bible. Rather than having commentary based on Theological bias, the Rainbow Study Bible has geographical facts. These are shown as in-text maps and illustrations in full color. There are 91 maps and illustrations. There is an index in the front so you can find them easily.


Every study Bible needs good references. When I compare these references to other Bibles that I know have 100,000 cross-references, the references in this Bible look the same. Based on that I’m guessing there are 100,000 cross-references. I prefer my study Bibles to give me the tools to do my own study and references are essential. I want my references to be as complete as possible. The more the better. This one has lots of good references. They are in the center-column and are keyed to the text with letters. The center-column contains the chapter and verse numbers in bold, then the letters for the references and the references themselves. If there are more than will fit in the center column the rest are placed under the last column of text on the page.

One of my tests for references is Genesis 1:1. This one has 21. This is far more than most reference Bibles. Another of my tests is the Gospels. A good set of references will link the parallel passages in the Gospels and build a Harmony of the Gospels right in your references. For this test I use Matthew 10:33. A good reference Bible will link it with Mark 8:38, Luke 9:26, and 2 Timothy 2:12. Most Bibles have one or two of these references. This Bible has them all. I consider the cross-references one of the strengths of this Bible.

Translation Notes

The original translator’s notes are also included. They are keyed to the text with numbers and the verse number and they appear under the last verse on the page. They primarily consist of alternate Hebrew and Greek renderings.

Section Headings

There are lots of section headings throughout the text. They’re in italics and do a great job of breaking up the text and making it easy to find what you’re looking for. They are no references within the section headings for the harmony of the Gospels, but considering they are covered in the center-column cross references there’s no need for it.

Additional Material

Here is the list of additional material in the back:

  • Tables of Weights and Measures
  • Ancient Versions of Biblical Text
  • Know What God Says
  • 100 Popular Bible Passages
  • 365 Popular Bible Quotations for Memorization and Meditation
  • Daily Reading Plan
  • Reading Calendar
  • Harmony of the Gospels
  • Glossary – 500 archaic words that have changed meaning


The concordance has 91 pages with 3 columns per page. It has plenty of entries with 43 for God, 10 for God of Heaven, and 4 for God of Hosts. Here are a few example entries with their number of references to help you compare:

  • Christ – 9
  • Christ Jesus – 3
  • Christian – 3
  • Christs – 2
  • Faith – 22
  • Faithful – 16
  • Faithfulness – 3
  • Faithless – 3
  • God – 44
  • God of Heaven – 10
  • God of Hosts – 4
  • Goddess – 3
  • Godhead – 2
  • Godly – 4
  • Godliness – 3
  • God-Ward – 3
  • Gods – 9
  • Praise(n) – 10
  • Praise(v) – 4
  • Praised – 7
  • Praises – 7
  • Praising – 6
  • Pray – 16
  • Prayed – 3
  • Prayer – 7
  • Prayers – 9


There are 12 maps, and to my surprise, there is an index to maps! The maps are on the same thin paper as the rest of the Bible. They are full-color and they look nice.

Book Mark and Ribbon

There is a bookmark included that has the color-code on one side and the books of the Bible on the other. It’s a different type of paper than the text and the colors look a little different to me. It’s handy for reference but I prefer using the color-code that is printed in the front of the Bible because it’s a better match.

The ribbon in this edition is brown. It is about the right length and looks and feels great. My only complaint is that it is skinny and there is only one. A thicker ribbon would feel more elegant and two ribbons would be more useful. I think two ribbons should be standard.


I love the features of the Rainbow Study Bible. The color-coding is great for topical study – which happens to be my favorite type of Bible study. It is a great resource for teachers and preachers in preparing messages and for students and layman for personal Bible study. The study material in this Bible is as non-biased as it gets – given you historical facts rather than Theological opinion. Most of the features that I’ve been looking for in a Bible are here. For that reason I wish that is was also available in a non-color edition so I can use my own color-code. Not that I want mine and not this one – I want both. It would be a great choice for topical study for both preachers and teachers as well as personal and group study.


Rainbow Study Bible 002

Rainbow Study Bible 003

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Holman Publishing provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review- only an honest review.

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. RCal

    Great review. I too want this without the color-coding. I’d prefer the translator’s notes to be marked by a numeral superscript or a bold letter superscript, and Genesis 1:2 is missing a reference to Jeremiah 4:23 like all good reference bibles have. Regardless, Holman doesn’t even have a regular KJV reference bible as nice as this. Come on Holman wake up.

    • Randy Brown

      Thanks. This one is the closest to the features I want that I’ve reviewed so far. I’d love to have it without the color-code and with a leather cover.

  2. Don Denison

    Dear Randy:

    What a nice prepared study bible. As you know, books that I treasure, I refuse to mark up. I do this not because I don’t believe that a marked up book is not useful, but because I have some wonderful books that I acquired during the time I was getting my education that I have gone back and read since and looked at my notes and highlighting with horror, wondering why I ever marked them up as I had. I can guarantee you that given 20-50 years, even 5-10 years later one will wonder why he defaced such a wonderful book. Those of you all that do this may not feel this way, I can only report what my experience has been.

    I still mark up books, an example is, The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis, I have a clean copy somewhere of about 50 years of age, but I recently purchased a used paperback in almost new condition for the express purpose of reading, highlighting, and making notes in it. I think I spent less than $10 for this book, and after reading it (I’ve read this book many times), I passed it on to a new christian that was struggling with the concepts dealt with by Lewis in this treasure. My library still has the clean copy that I purchased sometime in 1962 or 1963. I have decided if I am going to mark up something it will be a cheap paperback that I have no reason to treasure. Others probably will disagree with my conclusions on this matter, I hold no animus towards folks that disagree with me, I either buy something cheap and mark it up myself, then save it for future reference or give it away depending on need.

    This bible appears to be a useful tool for study, I particularly like the maps and the comments about them, Geography has a profound influence on behavior, and an understanding of it goes a long way to help understanding of how people behave and why. For those who don’t hold the eccentric attitude towards marking up valuable and treasured literature that I do, this bible should be a real asset. For myself, I’ll stick to my notebooks, my Westminister Reference Bible, my Matthew Henry, my Cruden’s and my Smiths’ Bible Dictionary and various other references that I use and keep what I learn in notebooks.

    A great review as usual, you always give complete and appropriate information.

    Yours in Christ

    Don Denison

  3. John

    This is the Bible I read the most and the first one I study from. I find the color coding to be outstanding.

    Great review!

    • Karrin Kassell

      Yes John. I too found this version early in my walk, around the mid 90’s. It has been a worthy addition to my library and a great help in key-word-studies.
      The review has been an affirmation and a mini revival for my heart. Bless you Randy Brown & each one of these reviewers. Bless too those who sought, and have hopefully found, their own copy of the reviewed work. Amen

    • Randy A Brown

      Thank you Karrin. I appreciate it very much!

  4. Steve Thibault

    Thanks for the great review. The photos were very helpful and the in-depth review eliminated guess work about whats inside the Rainbow Bible. I’ve ordered this bible and can’t wait until it arrives.

  5. Bella

    Would you mind sharing your own 20 colour code with us please?
    I keep trying to get one established and just feel there are not enough colours in the rainbow!
    So to know an experienced person’s idea of sufficient topics would be useful, because I keep thinking up new ones and then don’t know what to mark them with! You are obviously settled in yours and that would be well worth copying, to my mind

    Thank you

    • Randy Brown

      I’d be glad to share my color code. I’m actually using 18 colors. I don’t use the full color-code in every Bible. These are the names of the PrismaColor pencils that I use. I also like Crayola.

      Canary Yellow – Godhead
      Crimson Red – Salvation
      Ultramarine – Holiness
      Violet – Healing
      Grass Green – Defending the Faith/Study the Word
      Orange – End Time Prophecy
      Black – Wrath of God/Judgment
      Pink – Faith
      Peach – Works of the Flesh
      Yellowed Orange – Creation
      Burnt Ochre – Science
      Lilac – Gifts of the Spirit
      Light Cerulean Blue – Fruit of the Spirit
      Spring Green –Miracles
      Dark Brown – Archaeology/Chronology
      Light Aqua – Prayer
      Tuscan Red – War
      Process Red – Promises of God

  6. Haroon Emmanuel

    dear sir / madam,
    im from lahore pakistan can you plz send me this bible i shall be thankful to you i have no money to pay for that i shall be thanful to you

  7. kimberly ann radford


  8. Shannon

    Have you considered using your color code to make your own version of the rainbow bible or contacting them to see if they would be interested in maybe a second different version. 🙂

    • Randy A Brown

      Hi Shannon. I do have an extensive color-coding system but it didn’t occur to me to contact them about a second edition. Thanks for the idea!

  9. Kevi hughes

    I have a question about the concordance. You said it was 93 pages, that’s good, but are the words a large font which would obviously make the actual words used in the concordance not many. How many entries do you think the concordance has? and how big is the font?
    Thanks, Kevin

    • Randy A Brown

      Hi Kevin. I’ll grab it from my office at the Church this weekend.

  10. Kevin Hughes

    What is the font of the concordance? You said in the review that it has 93 pages, which is pretty good size, but how many entries does it have? Because if the font is really big then that would obviously make for less words.
    So again what is the font of the words in the concordance, and how many entries do you suppose there is is this rainbow concordance?
    Thanks, Kevin

    • Randy A Brown

      Hi Kevin. I left it at Church. I’ll grab it tomorrow and check.

    • Randy A Brown

      I wasn’t able to grab it today. I’ll get it the next time I go so I can post examples, but I remember it having a lot of references and being a good one for study.

  11. Kevin Hughes

    Okay thanks a lot Randy I appreciate it just let me know as soon as you post something on here I look pretty much every day just to make sure

    • Kevin Hughes

      Hey Randy don’t forget to let me know about how large the font is and how many entries there might be in the concordance….
      Thanks Randy

    • Randy A Brown

      Thanks for the reminder. I will find it tomorrow. I did look Thursday, but I had to leave and ran out of time.

  12. VINER Trinidad

    Hi mr. Randy
    I would like to get one of that Rainbow study Bible, can you send me here in saudi arabia

    • Randy A Brown

      Hi. I have to keep review copies to answer questions and do comparisons.

  13. Kevin Hughes

    Hey Randy did you ever take a look at the concordance?

    • Randy A Brown

      Hi Kevin. I did. I have Matthew working on adding example references. The older and newer editions have the same concordance but the older is slightly larger. The older edition (the one in this review) has a 7 point font. The newer edition looks to be a 5 point font. Hopefully, he can have the examples entered by tomorrow.

  14. Kevin Hughes

    Ok Randy, thanks so much. You mentioned it was a 7 point font, and the newer one is a 5 point font. Would you say that the older one even if it has a smaller font, still has more entries?

    • Randy A Brown

      Hi Kevin. Matthew has the examples updated now. They have the exact same entries. The older edition has a 7 point font with 91 pages and the newer edition has a 5 point font with 79 pages.

  15. Kevin Hughes

    Hey Randy, why does this version of the kjv rainbow Bible have 200 more pages then the latest version of the kjv rainbow Bible. What is the difference that would make 200 more pages?

    • Randy A Brown

      It’s the font. The one with more pages has a slightly larger font and a lot more space between the lines. It has 26 verses on the first page while the other has 29 verses.

  16. SHerry

    Is the Rainbow Bookmark available for standalone sale. I have the Bible however, the useful bookmark didn’t come with my version. Also, is their a compacts version of the Bible so it can carried in a woman’s purse perhaps?

    • Randy A Brown

      I haven’t seen a compact version. I don’t think the bookmark is available separately, but you might check with Holman to make sure.

  17. Dennis Totman

    I’d love to find a rainbow KJV Bible with wide margins for my own references and notes. Does it even exist?

  18. Renee

    I came a cross your blog, do not know if your still active but here goes..I have the ultimate Catholic student bible the color code being the same BUT.. on James 5:8-9 IT SHOWS a color that’s NOT in the list.. it’s like a Pea Green. Can you help me on that

    • Randy A Brown

      Hi Renee. I’ll check into it. It will take a few days to get it.


  1. Improved Holman Rainbow Study Bible KJV - Review | Bible Buying Guide - […] recently reviewed the Holman Rainbow Study Bible KJV. Although I liked it a lot there were a few things…

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