Holman Hardcover Full-Color KJV Study Bible Review – Rating: 8.4

If you read my review of the Chronological Life Application Study Bible, you may recall that I really like bibles that are in full color (which typically applies only to study bibles from what I have seen so far).  It is strictly a preference on my part.  Not that they necessarily make it easier to read or study the bible – I just find it aesthetically pleasing for me.

You may be different in what you like.  I requested an evaluation copy of the Holman Full-Color KJV Study Bible from B&H Publishing so I could review it. I accidentally requested the hardcover version and with the completion of this review will be requesting the leather bound one for another review as I feel more people would be interested in the nicer leather bound one for their personal use than a hardcover.  Watch the blog for a follow-up review for that version of this bible assuming B&H is willing to send it to me.  I’m looking forward to reviewing that version.

In full disclosure, I was not required or requested by B&H Publishing to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


**See all sections below for full detailed review**

I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by this particular bible.  The Study tools are done very nicely, although admittedly, I would have liked to see some of the study notes go into more details and a deeper dive into the cultural and historical background.  As I mentioned this review is of the Jacketed Hardcover version of the Holman full-color KJV Study Bible, which I would recommend highly if you want a good desk reference study bible.  I hope to do the leather bound review which would then end up being the bible to carry around (for those of us that like a thick, heavy bible to lug around with us. 🙂   Printed on nice opaque paper (less show through from back side of pages), nice color photos and other full-color items.  Easy to use.  Overall a thumbs up for this bible.



Type of Bible:  Study Bible
Publisher: Holman Bible Publishers (2012)
ISBN-13 of Bible Reviewed: 978-1433600340
Bible Version: KJV
Price: At the time of writing this review, the cheapest place to get this book is at Christianbook.com.  They have it for $28.99– suggested retail from the publisher is $49.99. Please note that these prices do not include any potential shipping charges.
If you would like to purchase this book, please support my blog and purchase by clicking any of the links to Christianbook.com on this page like the one below.  If you want it in a different format, Click Here for those links listed below in this review.

600341: KJV Study Bible, Full-Color Hardcover KJV Study Bible, Full-Color Hardcover
By NONE / Holman Bible Publishers

2011 marked the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible, a landmark that gained worldwide media attention and researched estimates that more than one billion copies of KJV editions have been sold to date. Indeed, the beloved, historically rich rendering of Scripture is an ongoing favorite among Bible readers.

The Holman&nbsp;KJV Study Bible is a new edition modeled after&nbsp;Holman’s 2011 ECPA Christian Book Award-winning HCSB Study Bible, where every well-conceived study help is practically placed on the same page spread as the related biblical text. It also features 15,000 study notes, 141 photos, 62 timelines, 59 maps, 40-page concordance, 20 articles and essays, 16 illustrations and reconstructions, 15 charts, and a helpful glossary of 17th century expressions relative to the KJV&rsquo;s signature phrasing.


  • Two-column text setting
  • Center-column cross references
  • Full-color page designs
  • Full-color maps, charts, and reconstructions
  • Extensive book introductions, and commentary notes
  • Concordance
  • Essays on practical and theological issues
  • Feature-length articles on the origin and transmission of the Bible
  • A “King’s English” glossary of terms
  • The words of Jesus in red
  • One- and three-year Bible reading plans
  • Presentation page
  • Family record pages
  • Two ribbon markers
  • 9.50″ x 7.00″ x 2.25″

Physical Characteristics:
  • Hardcover
  • Full color dust jacket
  • Smyth sewn and glued back (not perfect bound)
  • 1 tan ribbon marker
  • Words of Christ in “red” text (see comments below on this)
  • 2,240 pages (not including Pre-Scripture Text Pages and final Maps at end)
  • Type size is 9 point (for scripture – it’s smaller for Study Notes)
  • Dimensions: 6 11/16″ wide x 9 1/8″ high x 2″ thick
  • Approximate weight: 4 lbs


Pre-Scripture Text Pages

  • Presentation page
  • Marriage page (much like a marriage license)
  • 2 pages of Births
  • 1 page of Marriages
  • 1 page to record “Occasions to Remember”
  • 1 page to record Deaths
  • Table of Contents
  • Books of the Bible with page numbers (in page number sequence)
  • Books of the Bible (arranged alphabetically)
  • Introduction to Holman KJV Study Bible by Jeremy Royal Howard (General Editor)
  • Features of the Holman KJV Study Bible (explains how to use it)
  • 5 pages of Contributors (Editorial and Study Notes)
  • 4 pages of List of Maps, Illustrations and Charts
  • Abbreviations used in the KJV Study Bible
  • God’s Plan for Salvation with a toll free number to call the Evangelism Response Center to talk to someone about Jesus (888-537-8720)
  • 3 pages of Steps to a Classic (explains some history to the KJV translation) by Ed Blum (General Editor)
  • 16 pages of Epistle Dedicatory and the Translators to the Reader (full)
  • 9  pages of How to Read and Study the Bible by George H. Guthrie
  • 7 pages of Origin, Transmission and Canonization of the Old Testament Books by Jeremy Royal Howard (General Editor)
  • 5 pages of Origin, Transmission and Canonization of the New Testament Books by Jeremy Royal Howard (General Editor) NOTE: This is actually located in the pages between the Old and New Testaments on pages 1564-1568

Scripture Text Pages

  • Each book starts off with a nice introduction that includes
    • A brief summary statement
    • Circumstances of Writing
    • Message and Purpose
    • Contribution to the Bible
    • Structure
    • Outline of the book
  • Holman Study Notes on the lower portion of each page of biblical text (approximately 15,000 of them per the publisher … and no, I did not count them to verify)  🙂
  • 141 Full-color photos throughout giving a nice example of biblical places and ideas
  • Cross References
  • 59 full-color maps that are very nicely done
  • 16 illustrations and reconstructions showing mock ups of some biblical buildings and locations
  • 15 charts
  • 20 Articles and Essays
  • 62 Timelines putting into perspective when a book was written and what is contained in it

Post-Scripture Text Pages

  • Table of Weights and Measures
  • 18 pages of King’s English (glossary of terms used in the King James Bible like “gainsay” which is to “deny or contradict” for example)
  • 50 page concordance (not exhaustive by any means, but then again, if you’re a serious bible study person, you probably have a separate concordance like Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance or something similar).
    • NOTE: The advertisements show it as a 40 page concordance, however unless someone  was using some new kind of math, it looks like it’s actually 50 pages (starts on page 2183 and ends on page 2232). So we apparently get 10 bonus concordance pages!   🙂
  • One year Bible Reading Plan
  • Three year Bible Reading Plan
  • Art Credits page for Photos, Illustrations/Reconstructions and Charts.
  • 8 additional full-color maps


OK, this is the part where I get to tell you about how I like or dislike this bible in a detailed manner.  What I typically try to do is do a quick glance over the entire book at a high level to get a feel for it.  Then I will go in depth in a shorter book such as Philippians so I am comparing the same thing from bible to bible.  That gives my reviews a certain consistency to them.


Ease of Use:

I would say that this bible is very easy to use.  I’m not going to go into the readability of this version vs. that version.  To any bible reader/student, the tools and layout/design of this bible are done nicely thus making the usability very high in my opinion.  The extra-biblical reference materials and commentary have a very natural flow to them.

Study Tools Helpful & Informative:

  • Quite a lot of study notes – as I mentioned before, some don’t go into much detail while others do go quite deep.
  • Glancing through a few of the Essays, they are pretty good, most of which are from authors with a background in the Baptist church.
  • Maps are done nicely in color, however on some of the maps, the font size is very small which would make it hard for some people to read without some kind of magnifying tool.
  • Illustrations (hand drawings) are done pretty well. I did really like the one about the High Priest’s Garments on page 151.
    Example Topical Chart for Proverbs.
  • Charts are done very cleanly. As a very nice example, on page 136 is a chart of the Ten Commandments which shows the Commandment, the Passages where the Commandment was given, any related Old Testament passages, any Related New Testament Passages and then Jesus’ teachings related to the Commandments.
  • Additional comment – The Proverbs Topical Chart on pages 1039-1044 are done very nicely giving you where to look in proverbs for certain topics and are grouped nicely like Emotion (Anger, Desire, Grief, etc.), Godly Traits (Fear, Humble, Integrity, Pure, Righteous, etc.), Ungodly Traits (Evil, Fools, Pride, Sin, Vanity, etc.) and other great principles.
Example Summary page of the Introduction


  • The book introduction pages are done very nicely and give a great background to each book of the bible.  This includes a timeline for each book as well which helps the reader to get an idea of the timing of the events surrounding the time of when the book was written.
Does Commentary Convey Biblical Truth:
From the quick glance through hitting multiple random commentaries, it does seem to have a pretty solid foundation.
You might have to zoom in a little to see, but these are
the indications of a Smyth (section) sewn book.

Durability of Bible:

For a Hardcover Bible, I would say that this appears to be a fairly durable bible.  Again, please note that I have a personal preference toward leather bound books.  This bible does appear to be Smyth Sewn (or section sewn), which means it will hold up better than some strictly “perfect bound” or glue back bibles (similar to general paperback books).  Due to this being hardcover, I would probably classify this as more of a desk reference version vs. what I would call my “carry around with me” bible.  Thinking that might change if I get a chance to review the leather bound version.
Typeface and Print:
  • Scriptures appear to be about 9 point Times Roman font, which tends to be fairly standard size and font used in many bibles.
    Showing smaller sized font for Study Notes.
  • The study notes are substantially smaller in point size (maybe a 5 or possibly 6), but it is done in a very clean font (similar to an Arial or Verdana possibly).
    • Study Notes verse number references are done in that nice light blue color and the text is black.  When a portion of the study note quotes directly from Scripture, the publisher put those quoted words in a bold font.
  • Scripture text and the commentary text (and maps and charts) are very clearly separated by a tan colored horizontal bar separating the two areas into an upper section (scripture) and a lower section (study notes, maps, charts, etc.)
    Showing section headers, Verse Numbers and
    Cross References in blue color.
  • The section headers (such as “Saul in Damascus” for Acts 9:19-22) and the chapter numbers are in a very pleasing blue color which gives it a nice distinctness from the actual scripture text which is in black.
  • The actual verse numbers are in a slightly lighter blue hue.
  • The center-column cross references are distinguished nicely by the verse being in that same lighter blue and the actual cross reference being in black.
Showing the “red” Words of Christ as mentioned
in my comments to the left.  See how the image 
below looks to have the correct colors.
    • Words of Christ are in red, but you may notice that the color is closer to the magenta side vs a true red.  Some people would interpret this color as a darker pink.  It doesn’t look bad – just different from what I would normally expect.
      • NOTE: from a purely technical perspective, true red is obtained by using 50% magenta and 50% yellow on a printing press in two separate printing units.  Sometimes you could argue that the printer had too little yellow giving the Words of Christ this pinkish-magenta hue.  However this is not true because, for example, on page 1784 the Words of Christ in John 11:34-42 are directly “in-line” with a 4 color photograph directly below.  If the yellow was too low, this color photograph would look terrible.  It does not.  Therefore the color appears to be an intentional design by Holman.  Plus, the color seems to be pretty consistent throughout the scriptures.
    • There is a descent amount of room to write in the outside margins to write in if you desire (just about 3/4″ margin)
    • Paper used for this bible is a nicely opaque paper so you don’t get nearly the show through that you do with other bibles that use cheaper/thinner paper.
  • Full color maps, photographs, charts, timelines, and other content are done very nicely and the print is very good quality.


Ease of Use:

Reading and studying in Philippians and Is very easy to do with how the publisher laid out this bible.  Starting with the book introduction to the study notes – all very well done.

Study Tools Helpful & Informative:

Again, the book introduction is very nicely done giving some great background to Philippians as well as the overall message of the book, covering church unity, freedom from legalism, stewardship,and more.  Cross references seem to be very solid depending on which portion of the verse you are focusing on (which would be true with any cross reference in any bible).  Study Notes are done very cleanly and concisely without getting too wordy.  I would have liked to seen more of the cultural and historical background of Philippi given in the study notes, however.

Does Commentary Convey Biblical Truth:

The commentary in Philippians seems to be pretty solid.  As mentioned previously, to notes don’t go into great depth, but overall, I would say it seems to be very helpful  A little more on the history and culture would be good to cover, however.


Below, we have the overall ratings that I would give to this particular bible with a 1 to 10 range.  Keep in mind that when I am doing these ratings, it is based on the physical makeup, format, extra-biblical content and value of the bible, not rating the Word of God itself as that would be off the chart  🙂

Quality:  8.2 (I rated this a little higher than I normally would have.  I will never rate a hardcover book higher than a nicely sewn and bound leather book simply due to long-term durability.  Basically, this means without proper care, any hardcover bible type will not last as long as the leather bound sewn version of that same bible).  I hope to get a copy of the leather bound version of this bible so I can do a review on it as well.
Appearance: 9 (the layout and colors are nicely done – I personally like the color scheme of the Chronological Life Application Study Bible a little better as it seems a little “softer” to me vs. the more harsh red-ish earth tones of the KJV Study Bible – just personal preference though. You may prefer the color scheme of this bible more)
Value: 7.5 (If you like hardcover bibles, then you personally should rate this higher.  I personally like leather bibles that are sewn better simply because they feel better in the hand to me personally and are typically made better and will last longer.  Overall for a hardcover bible, the value of this bible is very good)
Innovation: 9 the full color pages seem to make it much easier for me personally to read and use this bible.  How to study the Bible section is very practical and will be handy for many users.
Other/Wildcard: 8.5 (the study notes are pretty good, although in some areas, they are a tad weak.  I have seen other study bible notes that have more detail.)

Overall Rating: 8.4 out of 10 (see note about Value above)


Bible Formats and Options:

Here are some of the different formats that this bible comes in per the publisher.  You can simply Google the ISBN number to find where you can get your desired version;

ISBN: 978-1433600340  (Jacketed Hardcover – This review)
ISBN: 978-1433603785 (Black Genuine Cowhide – The next one I would like to review)
ISBN: 978-1433603150 (eBook)
ISBN: 978-1433600388 (Black Genuine Leather)
ISBN: 978-1433600395 (Black Genuine Leather Indexed)
ISBN: 978-1433600357 (Saddle Brown LeatherTouch Indexed)
ISBN: 978-1433603631 (Lavender LeatherTouch)
ISBN: 978-1433600333 (Saddle Brown LeatherTouch)
ISBN: 978-1433604362 (Father’s Edition Black/Tan LeatherTouch)
ISBN: 978-1433614378 (Turquoise Mother’s Edition LeatherTouch)
ISBN: 978-1433600333 (Saddle Brown LeatherTouch)

Company Summary:

In 1993, A.J. Holman Bible Company was acquired by Broadman Press to form B&H Publishers.  Then in 2014, B&H Publishing combined with Lifeway Church Resources.  They are based in Nashville, TN and have roots that go back to 1738.


Please leave a comment or question and I will try to respond a.s.a.p.

– Michael


This entry was posted in B&H Academic, Hardcover, Holman, KJV, Study Bible, Study Bible Reviews, Word of God. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Holman Hardcover Full-Color KJV Study Bible Review – Rating: 8.4

  1. Rocco Runino says:

    How does the Holman KJV compare with the Henry Morris


    • Hello Rocco – my sincere apologies that it took me so long to respond. things have gotten very crazy for work. I’m even behind on my reviews, sadly. To answer your question, unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of the Henry Morris KJV Study Bible to be able to do a comparison.


  2. Pingback: Holman Full-Color Cowhide version KJV Study Bible Review Rating 9.0 | The Christian Reviewer

  3. Pingback: Tyndale Full-Color Chronological NLT Life Application Study Bible: Review – Rating: 9.1 | The Christian Reviewer

  4. Thanks for the kind words, Mark. Hopefully many others will find my posts helpful to them in studying the Word of God.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Very nice review. Appreciate the attention to detail. When looking at reviews, it's helpful (as you have done) to provide a summary for those who want a quick review, but also provide a more in-depth section for those of us who like that.

    Thanks for putting the time in on this!



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