The New Bible: The Books of The Bible

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There are many parts of my position as acquisitions editor at WaterBrook that are really cool. One of those things is certainly discussing ideas that have significant potential for publication. The exchange of intellectual capital, so to speak, is invigorating and always interesting. I’m truly amazed at the breadth of skill, talent, and experience of the people I get to call friends. 

But one of the coolest perks is all the free books.

When Mike Morrell of the counter-cultural Christian web journal The Ooze asked me to take part in the reviewing service for their site, I was more than happy to accept. I haven’t had time to write about any of the books—and I don’t really have time now—but one new arrival deserves a special mention.

The Books of the Bible is the new much-anticipated Bible project from International Bible Society and it’s everything we’ve been hoping for from the old bee-eye-bee-el-ee all along. No more artificial divisions and confusing textual structures. Gone are the arbitrary numbers and chapters, the text notes and superscript code language, replaced by the simple, straight-forward story of God and his creation.

Going through Luke-Acts, I kept thinking, Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? It’s truly a delight to read and I’ve made significant headway in my goal to finish reading the entire Bible this year already. If you don’t think it matters, that you’ve always read the Bible as segments of broken statements and disconnected phrases, I’d challenge you to go find one of these inexpensive new Bibles at your local bookstore. Someone’s probably already said it, but this new version of the TNIV brings the reading experience back to the foundational texts—it’s the Bible without the babble.

It changes the order of the books to be more logical and follow the intent of the original books, shedding new light on the history and meaning behind the well-known events. It’s broadens your perspective to include the particular distinctiveness of the authors’ voices and historical context, but also repairs misunderstandings about certain books’ type of writing, like James, primarily a book of wisdom writing like Proverbs rather than a letter like Romans. This creates a freedom to read the books in a new understanding of their theological traditions as well, which will be a completely new experience for most Christians.

Imagine if the Bible started to really come alive.

Now, of course, this is a very controversial Bible as well. Google it. Some Christians aren’t happy about it, and in fact rumors are IBS wasn’t all in on the concept either. But progress can’t be stopped. I’ve written about another controversial Bible here before—the Inductive New American Standard. And in fact, I still prefer that translation. If I could blend the two, I’d probably run off and join a monastery, so God’s preserving my family by keeping that from me. But after a couple weeks reading through this new Bible, I think I’ll probably still be talking about this. It’s that cool.

So check it out. And get into the real meaningfulness of "the word."

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7 thoughts on “The New Bible: The Books of The Bible”

  1. Sounds like a great way to switch things up a little. Will have to check it out.
    Also interested in what you think of the Frank Schaeffer book so far? I’ve heard good things about it.

  2. You wrote, “Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?”
    Jesus didn’t have chapters or verses in His copy of the scrolls.
    Actually, in all seriousness, I have seen things like this before, although I can’t remember now.
    But I agree, learning to see the Bible as a story (and a collection of stories) in seminary taught me more about God than any Sunday school lesson (and taught me more about literature than any English class).

  3. Sounds so logical to read the Bible like a book, not stopping at each new editor-inserted heading or bold-faced verse number. No one (except perhaps the insanely busy person) reads a couple of paragraphs of a novel per day.
    Of course, as believers we know the Bible is not just a book. It’s God’s Word and the truths within it are Spirit taught. Sometimes a single verse is all a puny human soul (or at least my puny human soul) can digest without exploding.
    Then there’s the poetry. How can anyone breeze through Isaiah, no matter how it’s formatted?
    The Bible is the only book written by an Author with the power to make His words new every time the reader sees them–whether it includes artificial divisions or not. Opening it is like peeking into a magical treasure box. Yesterday it may have contained rubies, but today everything is bathed in sapphire blue.
    I haven’t read the arguments against the new version, but I see no reason we can’t have both. Read this one the same way you’d read any story, but still set aside times to chew small bites, meditating on the God we will never fully fathom until we see Him face to face.
    Thanks for the tip, Mick. I’d like to check it out. And, as always, nice to see you. :)
    Jeanne

  4. I’ve always griped about not being able to read the Bible properly. I know, heathen that I am, griping about the Divine’s structure. What’s new?
    And, I’ve wondered why no one has ever done this.
    After introducing me to Stumble! (a literal stumbling block) you’ve redeemed yourself with this post.

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