Holman Illustrated Study Bible
B&H Publishing Group
1,983 pages, $39.99
"The land is the fifth gospel" is the ancient adage that shapes the Holman Illustrated Study Bible. The goal of this volume is to illustrate the land through hundreds of full-color maps, photos, reconstructions, and charts, salted through nearly every page of the text.
Most useful are the more than 120 colorful and clear maps, which orient readers to the land beneath the feet of the Bible's characters. Photos help readers see the terrain, buildings, plants, and animals described in Scripture. The reader glimpses ancient cultures through their artifactsreliefs, chariots, ruins, armor, and coins.
The Holman Christian Standard Version (1999), at the heart of this study Bible, seeks the middle ground between two prevailing translation philosophiesformal equivalence and dynamic equivalencewith its own "optimal equivalence."
As a study Bible, this volume shines when a picture is worth a thousand words. But when only words will do, it falls short. There are some sidebar explanations, but whole pages of the Psalms, Prophets, and Epistles pass without a comment.
For the Christian seeking one study Bible, this book will not do. Too many questions will remain unanswered.
But as an addition to one's library, you get both the new Holman translation and a rich resource of background helps in one package.