I’ve just received a new copy of The Books of the Bible! I’ve been making very positive noises about this for a while. It has just become available in Australia, but my mate Kutz has got a couple of copies to give away — if this will be useful to you, let me know in the comments below!
This is my go-to Bible for everyday use, because The Books of the Bible is a reader’s Bible, designed for reading instead of referencing. And that’s a big deal. But I’ve talked about reader’s Bibles recently, and I’ve previously reviewed the original version of The Books of the Bible, so all I really want to do here is give you a feel for it. There are photos below.
This new edition of The Books of the Bible has two main changes: the latest NIV translation (which updates and supersedes the TNIV) and a more pleasing and readable typeface.
And hey, with me looking like I’m on Biblica’s payroll or something, let me add that The Books of the Bible isn’t perfect. At its widest, the text column squashes text into the gutter. This doesn’t pose such a problem for passages set in verse (see Ecclesiastes below), but elsewhere it can impinge on readability. So, when it comes to page design in reader’s Bibles, The Books of the Bible isn’t the gold standard. (Follow Bible Design Blog if that’s what you’re after!) But this is hardly a problem at all, by virtue of everything else it achieves.
The thing is, The Books of the Bible serves to alter the reading experience in the most wonderful ways. It’s a reader’s Bible through and through, and that makes it a zillion squillion times more readable than a reference Bible — in other words, just about every Bible you’ll find on a shelf. Real reader’s Bibles are still a bit of a rarity, and The Books of the Bible is perhaps the first that could make true reader-based design commonplace — and that’s one thing which could genuinely improve our Bible reading on a massive scale! At the same time, The Books of the Bible steers us away from simply seeing Bible reading as an end in itself (see the “drama” page below).
This is a large book (it weighs 1kg or so), so if you’re after something for easier handling, there’s a four-volume version on its way (the New Testament and the beginning of the Old Testament are already available).
Nothing remains except to say: get yourself one and read.
Arthur Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.