New Testament for readers

I am currently reading through te New Testament, but in an unusual new edition.

It is the "Book of the Bible" New Testament from Biblica (only available direct from them). Check out the link for more info and samples.

The basic idea is to present the New Testament (NIV) as a conventional book to make the reading experience less intimidating.

No chapters and verses

No subtitles (though there are gaps between paragraphs at key places in the flow of the text).

A single-column typesetting.

All that does make it an interesting reading experience.

But the best thing about it is the reordering of the books.

The NT is arranged into four sections, each of which begins with a Gospel. Each Gospel is followed by other NT books that have some kind of link with it.

Thus the book opens with Luke and is immediately followed by Acts. I love that! Luke-Acts presented together as a single, two-part work!

Then we have all Paul's epistles, because of the traditional link between Paul and the author of Luke-Acts (and because the epistles of Paul link to the narrative of Acts just read).

But the Pauline epistles are presented in (our best guess at) their chronological order. Obviously there are contested aspects of this but, on the whole, it works well and adds a different dimension to the reading experience.

John's Gospel also heads a section that sensibly includes the Johannine epistles and Revelation. So that's another good move.

The other two groupings are a bit less compelling — Mark linked to Petrine epistles (because of the traditional Mark-Peter association) and Matthew linked to James and Hebrews, etc (because they are aimed at Jewish Christ-believers). Nevertheless, there is merit to this order.

I really do like the difference that this re-ordering brings to the way that texts are read alongside each other.

There are also surprisingly well-written introductions to each section and book.

All in all . . . me likes this. It is not intended for study but for reading and it genuinely has something new to add on that score.


Sue Barker said…
It sounds good but it is the NIV which has Junia as a man!
Robin Parry said…


I am not sure if this version of the NIV does. I'd have to go and check.

Junia was, of course, not a man.

But even if they take the wrong (in my view) approach to that question I could live with it. The basic idea here is a good one.
Arthur Davis said…
The NIV is a rolling translation with periodic updates; TBOTB uses the 2011 NIV in which Junia is... Junia! Hurrah!

I reckon the most significant thing about TBOTB is its reformatting, removing the clutter of reference apparatus (verse & chapter numbers, headings, notes).

And I'm of the firm opinion that our everyday reading Bibles should indeed be readers Bibles of exactly this sort, rather than study Bibles -- which is in effect the format that all our Bible pages conform to by looking like textbooks.

Death to atomisation!
Death to Quiet Time!
Long live the reading revolution! :)
Robin Parry said…

I can confirm that the translation is the TNIV and Junia is a woman.

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