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Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary Review – For 25 years the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary has been the go-to Bible reference resource for lay Bible students, teachers, pastors, academic courses, and libraries.

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1800 Pages – 11/01/2015 (Publication Date) – Holman Bible Publishers (Publisher)

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary Review


The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary is 1704 pages and an absolute wealth of bible information. It not only gives word definitions, but defines events, places, topics, and people that are found in the bible. There are also extensive articles on major themes found throughout the scriptures on subjects like historical events, culture influences, and geographical locations. There are more than 700 colorful photographs, illustrations, and charts. They also refer to several of the major bible translations in this dictionary and did not single just one translation out. This dictionary is also equipped with color coded “quicktabs” for quick and easy access to the word or topic that is being sought.

The Good

The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary goes above and beyond just word definitions that you would expect to find in a dictionary. When I first obtained this dictionary I thought to myself that it would just be words in the bible defined with some colorful pictures accompanying them. Was I ever wrong! This book does not just define words but discuses theological topics, events in the bible, personality profiles etc… I was pleasantly surprised by all the extra content that I was not expecting to find. I not only use this book to supplement my bible studies but I often find myself just reading it like a book all by itself. I mean, who reads a dictionary like its just another story book? Since I have found this dictionary I can raise my hand and say that I do! The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary is so easy to read and understand. It is presented in a conversational style and really captures the imagination. One of my favorite features in this dictionary is the multiple verse references that are found within the definitions. Meaning, that if you look up a word, topic, or event that is found in the bible; the definition or description will also provide you with other bible verses that said word or subject can be located in. Also, the colorful charts and maps are very impressive. Some of the charts found in this book can go on for pages. Another helpful attribute in this dictionary is the way certain subjects are broken down between old testament meanings or applications and new testament applications. So for instance, the subject of Prophecy/Prophets is broken down and discussed in both the light of the OT and the differences in he NT.

The Bad

My only complaint about the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary is not every difficult word found in the bible can be located in this book. During my use of this reference book, I have run across a couple of hard to understand words located in the King James Version that I could not find in this dictionary. For example: In Romans 1:30 KJV we find the word “backbitters.” When I read this word I immediately reached for the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary to get a better understanding of its meaning, but it was no where to be found. One more example was the word “sup” that we find in Revelation 3:20 KJV. My wife came across this word in her daily bible study and asked me what it meant. Again I went to my trusty bible dictionary to get her the answer but it was nowhere to be found. With that being said, it is not to often that I come across a word that has been left out.

Final Thoughts

Despite coming across a word every now and then that can not be found in this reference book, the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary is an awesome bible study tool. It is a must have for the serious bible student. I utilize this book constantly in my own bible studies. The color coded quicktabs at the top of each page are very helpful and make this dictionary easy to use. The inexhaustible number of accurate definitions, topic discussions, and colored maps will have you reaching for this dictionary constantly. I really enjoyed how the definitions are not presented in a formal dictionary tone that is almost robotic. Instead, they come across as conversational and simplistic in nature. I would most definitely purchase this book again and I highly recommend it for a supplemental bible study tool.


A must have for the serious bible student.

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  • Colorful Pictures
  • Great Maps, Charts, & Illustrations
  • Quick Tab Locator System
  • Bible Verse Cross References in Definitions
  • Many Major Bible Translations Referenced


  • Not Every Word in Bible is Defined

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