How blessed we are to have so many different Bibles to turn to for different purposes! Most of us own more than one Bible – we have study Bibles, devotional Bibles, pocket Bibles, large print Bibles, and all in a wide variety of translations. I am almost embarrassed to admit how many Bibles I own! And yet, I jumped at the chance to review yet another Bible when I was invited me to do so, as a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid. What is unique about this particular Bible (New Testament, actually) is that it is a series that “presents the New Testament books across five paperback volumes to make it easy to carry anywhere and read anytime.” And it is true. They are easy to carry with you, and easy to read. Here is a copy of one of them in my hand, to give an idea of its size:
For review purposes, I chose to read Acts of the Apostles in volume 3 of the series. Like the other volumes in the series, this volume is presented as a bestselling book and given a catchy title and attention-grabbing title – “Grand Tour: The Amazing Story that Changed the World.” To be honest, I am not very enthusiastic about the marketing approach being used here. It is almost as if they are trying to trick someone new to the faith into picking up a copy and reading it.
But what I do like about this book, and this series in general, is that it is designed to help the reader approach the Bible in a different way. There are no verse numbers, no footnotes, and it is printed in a single-column format, just like many of the books that we read. You can pick this book up and read it without focusing on particular verses. And I think that there are times when this is a great approach to reading the Bible. It shouldn’t be the only way that we read the Bible, in my opinion, but it is certainly one way to read the Bible that is often neglected and can be quite helpful.
The translation used in these volumes is the New English Translation (NET). The NET Bible describes itself as “a completely new translation of the Bible … completed by more than 25 scholars – experts in the original biblical languages – who worked directly from the best currently available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts.” It is a translation that I use and trust, and a great choice for this series. And I add that the font size in these paperback books is quite generous. At my age, as my adult kids will tell you, font size is one of the first things I look at in a new book, and these volumes definitely pass my eye test.
One thing that I personally don’t like in these books is the “Prologue” that you can find at the beginning of each book. I don’t necessarily disagree with what is written; my concern is that they are printed in the same font as the actual words of the Bible. These words might seem to be equal in stature to the inspired words of Scripture, especially to someone new to the Bible. Perhaps in the next edition they change this, which would simple enough – just print the prologues in a different font.
But overall, I think that these paperbacks are a great addition to my library, and I plan to keep one of the volumes with me on my travels. The Gospel According to John is next in my annual reading plan, so it looks like the next volume I’ll be reading from is “Now But Not Yet.” Thanks again to Bible Gateway for providing these books for me to review.