I gotta tell ya, at first I loved this Bible. I love reading God's Word, and I am also one of those people who loves to doodle. You will find me doodling as I take notes during services, and if I sit for long with a paper and pen, I will be doodling. So this Bible, to me, was right down my alley. I am also a note-taker, and most all of my Bibles over the years are highlighted, colored, written in the margins. There is rarely a "clean" page. I have been wanting to check out one of these Bibles for a long time. And given the opportunity, I jumped on it. There are enough illustrations in this Bible to last you a long time, close to two years if you colored a page a day. There are lines for note-taking, and space to make your own doodles or designs. The back contains bullet notes, a daily Bible reading plan, and a concordance. And the Holman Christian Standard is a version I enjoy reading.
There are almost always drawbacks to a product, there are two key ones I noticed in this Bible. The font is small. Although that didn't necessarily bother me, it may be a problem for some. The artwork was done by Kristi Smith of JuiceBoxDesigns in Nashville. Most of the illustration designs are OK, some are very pretty, others I am not as fond of. Quite a few of these illustrations seem to be drawn in the latest coloring book fashion. The drawback to that is that many of the patterns in the latest craze, such as mandalas/Sanskrit art, stem from eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism and are used for meditation purposes. Not being very familiar with this method of drawing, I cannot say that the particular patterns in this Bible were drawn based on these methods, but it has made me a little more aware that I need to be careful and alert, not allowing such things to infiltrate however subtly they come. I think many Christians, even such as myself, may naively accept this without much thought as to the origin, simply focusing on the beauty of the artwork or the calming effect of coloring. So hopefully, you can understand my drawbacks now.
I have included in my review several pictures of pages I have colored, or created myself, as well as, an example of a couple of original pages without the coloring. They are drawn in a very light shade of grey which makes them easy to color, but doesn't take away from the words. The pages seem thick enough that the color doesn't penetrate through the other side. I used coloring pencils, but I think it would be wise to test the art media you are using before completing a page, just in case. Another thing I liked is that the illustrated verses were actually on the page corresponding with the verse in the Bible, not just put in some random location, as I have noticed with Bible stories and such in other Bibles.
I received my copy for review from B&H in exchange for my honest opinion.
A mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल, lit, circle) is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Indian religions, representing the universe. In common use, "mandala" has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe.