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Rainbow Study Bible – Review

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.

Pros

Cons

Features

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):

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:

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.

Notes

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.

References

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:

Concordance

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:

Maps

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.

Conclusion

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.

 

 

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

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