26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Why I give it 4 stars: By removing section headings, verse numbers, returning the Old Testament to the original Hebrew order, and reorganizing the New Testament away from the arbitrary format of longest to shortest Paul books: this Bible has a unique reading flow to it. I, personally, did not realize how influential (and often distracting) verse numbers and section headings/breaks are until getting my hands on this version of the Bible. This format of the Bible has breathed a new life into my walk with the Lord and provides a refreshing perspective on the Good Book.
Why I did not give it 5 stars: This is an NIV translation. While the NIV is certainly more reliable that any paraphrased version of the Bible, I personally prefer the English Standard Version. I am hopeful that Crossways (the publisher of the ESV) will someday realize that there is a market for a Bible without verses and section headings/breaks.
Secondly, I was hoping for a reorganization of the New Testament into chronological order by when the books were written. I understand it would be rather easy to just read them in chronological order, but it would be nice to have them bound in that order for a linear-fluidity. Don't get me wrong though, the way this book has reorganized the New Testament is very purposeful, reverent to the text and ultimately better than the traditional order.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2013
The Books of the Bible is a Bible that was developed for a unique reading experience. It contains no chapter or verse numbers - just the text. It's also arranged differently than the standard book arrangement. The books are arranged by literary form.
Cover and Binding
This edition is hard cover with a glued binding. It comes with a dust jacket that has the same graphics as the cover. Printed on the inside the dust cover is a list of features. I'm partial to earth-tones and I love the color-scheme of the cover.
Paper and Print
The paper is thin. It's the same paper found in other Zondervan study Bibles. It's not as opaque as I'd like but it's not too distracting.
The text looks really good, especially for the thin paper. I'm guessing on the font size, but to me it looks like a 10-point with a 12-point leading. The print is consistent throughout. It's darker than I expected for such thin paper. It is very readable. It could be improved with line-matching.
The page layout looks like a regular book. There are no chapter or verse numbers to hinder reading (except for Psalms, which has chapter numbers). There are spaces between the chapters, so you can see where one chapter ends and another starts. In some verses there is a faint dot. This dot shows that there is a note at the end of the book for that portion of text.
The book name appears at the top of the page. If the group has been grouped in a range of books (for example, Luke and Acts are grouped together), all of the book names appear at the top of the page. The current book is in bold and the others are printed in a fainter text.
At the bottom of the page is the range of chapters and verses that appear on that page. The chapter and verse numbers are printed in faint text.
Notes appear at the end of each book or grouping of books. The notes show the page number the note refers to, the word it refers to, and then the note itself. The notes include page numbers for cross referencing, translation notes, manuscript variants, distance, etc.
Book introductions are called "Invitation to [book name]". The invitation takes up a page or two and talks about the setting and covers some of the major points in the book. The books are often compared with other books of the Bible.
The books are arranged differently than the standard Biblical arrangement. They're arranged according to literary form. The purpose is to read the Bible in large blocks. This ends up being an arrangement by author for most books. All of John's books are at the end with Revelation. This is difficult for me to follow because I don't expect to look near Revelation for the book of John. I could understand the arrangement if there was a daily reading plan and the books were arranged according to that order, but there's no reading plan and the arrangement doesn't always seem to serve a purpose. If I was reading from start to finish I would want to read the gospel of John with the other gospels. I would read by theme rather than literary form.
Table of Weights and Measures - a table that covers weights, lengths, and capacity.
Drama of the Bible - gives a short overview of the Bible, dividing it into six acts (like acts of a play).
Living the Script - instructions to study and apply the Bible to our lives.
About The Books of the Bible - how to use this Bible. it covers how The Books of the Bible presents the Scriptures in their literary forms and covers the features.
A Word About the NIV - the NIV preface.
One thing I would like to see added is a reading plan. This edition is designed for reading but there's no reading plan to help keep track of or guide your reading.
The Books of the Bible is definitely unique in its presentation. The point of this Bible is to promote Bible reading. It is free of distractions, allowing the Scriptures to be read like literature. The books are arranged according to literary form with the purpose of reading in large blocks. It is very readable. I don't recommend it as a carry Bible, but it should make a nice reading Bible.
For picture see this review on Bible Buying Guide
Zondervan provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review- only an honest review.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This is my favorite Bible for extended reading. And the introductions to the Old and New Testaments and the individual Bible books are insightful.
27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The Books of the Bible is formatted for reading. It is a single-column layout with no chapter or verse divisions. The print edition is beautiful and makes for easy reading. This Kindle edition has some issues:
1) the left margin is bigger than the right
2) some of the text is in a different font. (2 Ch 2.1 is a different font from 2 Ch 2.2 - no matter which font setting I choose)
3) there are an excessive amount of spaces between paragraphs which breaks up the text. The print version has one or two spaces between literary units, the Kindle edition has 5 to 6.
I purchased electronic editions of the new NIV (OT - Covenant History, The NT) from Biblica when they first appeared last year and have been looking forward to getting the whole bible in this format. Unfortunately, this Kindle version from Zondervan has formatting issues that make it less reader friendly than the print edition.
Zondervan, Amazon, please fix these issues and make a great idea into an even better product.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Take note please - these are the views of an unregenerate Gentile.
Chapters and verses (CAVs) in standard English Bibles are uninspired and man-made. Well-intentioned though it was, the 'chapter-and-verse-ification' (or rather, 'chapter-and-WORSE-ification'!) of Holy Scripture, has done serious harm. Yes, CAVs can be very handy indeed for locating (or ushering someone to) a sentence or two of Holy Writ; but, when this asundering of God's message is put upon the 'scales of understanding' (so to speak), what has been gained in CONVENIENCE is sometimes outweighed by what has been lost in CONTEXT. CAVs have facilitated and perpetuated the misunderstanding of a number of sentences ('John 3:16' and '2 Thessalonians 2:7' being classic cases). CAVs have turned God's LIBRARY of BOOKS into an ORCHARD of (66) CHERRY TREES. hankfully, the NIV has now brought out 'The Books of the Bible' (TBOTB); where all man-made chapters, verses and section headings, have been removed; with one column of print.
Note this remark from TBOTB's preface (sentences which must rank among the most important and overdue ever to be penned by an English Bible translation committee!):
'Unfortunately, for some time now the Bible has been translated in a format that hides its literary forms under a mask of numbers. These break the text into bits and sections that the authors never intended ... Chapters and verses [or WORSES!] have imposed a foreign structure on the Bible and made it more difficult to read with understanding [and EASIER to perpetuate pernicious distortions] ... When verses are treated as intentional units ... they encourage the Bible to be read as a giant reference book ... they can be taken selectively out of context and arranged in a way as to suggest that the Bible supports beliefs and positions that it really doesn't ... the order [in which 'Cherry Tree Bibles' place their 66 BOOKS] ... is yet another factor that hinders their understanding ... They are badly out of historical order ... The need [given the albeit unintentional but very serious damage done by Cherry Tree Bibles] to help readers overcome the many obstacles inherent in the Bible's current format [i.e., the Cherry Tree Bible format] is urgent ...'
To call TBOTB 'a breath of fresh air' may be quite an understatement. What man has (albeit sincerely) put ASUNDER, TBOTB finally (at long, long last) puts back together. Perhaps most of us are more addicted to versification than we care to realize. In TBOTB the 'verse range' is given at the bottom outside edge of each page. That very helpful feature serves to keep our addiction to Cherry Tree Bible references somewhat accomodated, without asundering the actual text.
Because the chapters, verses and section headings have all been removed, much chunkier reading of Holy Scripture can take place. It is like the difference between driving on a smooth highway on the one hand, and trying to travel along a country lane with over 30,000 verse-bumps on the other. Secondly, in this 2011 undate of the NIV text, there are some lovely changes. 'Messiah' has replaced 'Christ' in a number of places (which serves to point readers back to the narrow Way's Olive Tree ABRAHAMIC roots); the God of Holy Scripture, is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - always has been, always will be. Furthermore, the word 'saints' has been eradicated (given the false connotation that word has amassed over the centuries, that's another major positive!).
Not content with removing sincere but intrusive CAVs, TBOTB has ALSO placed the books of God's library in far better order: the ordering of the books in standard English Bibles - like CAVs - is NOT inspired. The better ordering facilitates a better read; a read that better follows God's revelation from Eden, to the new Jerusalem; from the first Adam and his bride (Eve), to the second Adam and his Bride (EKKLESIA). The book ordering in TBOTB is a country mile better than that of Cherry Tree Bibles - on second thoughts, make that ten country miles! That said, I think it may have been better if 'Mark' had been put first, then followed by 'Luke' and 'Acts.' Reason? Well, simple because 'Mark' is a sort of rough 'n' ready pencil sketch biography of Messiah Yeshua, which therefore seems more at home at the very start of Second Covenant Scripture; with Luke then painting in the extra details (so to speak).
Regarding the man-breathed pieces of writing within TBOTB: While 'The DRAMA of the BIBLE IN SIX ACTS'; 'Living the Script'; and the 'INVITATIONS' (to each book of the Bible), contain some helpful guidance (in fact quite a lot; for instance, the repeated phrase 'community of Jesus-followers' is actually a truly EXCELLENT wording), it MUST BE remembered that what is there written is NOT INSPIRED; indeed, there ARE sentences which could have been put differently, or even removed. For instance, I believe the invitation piece for John 2 is unfortunate: TBOTB's idea that '2 John' is written to a community of Jesus-followers is read INTO the text; not read FROM. I believe John is actually writing to a sister in Messiah (yes; ABOUT a community of Jesus-followers). OVERALL, TBOTB's effort at introducing readers to the various God-breathed books DOES contain much that is good (and then some!); perhaps the single most FANTASTIC aspect of the Invitations is that they rightly place Israel (people and place) at the epicentre of God's plans for mankind: quite rightly saying that Israel is (basically) the VESSEL-NATION through which God wants to bless the entire world.
On the downside: The NIV is not alone in gnat-straining Messiah's disciplehood YARDSTICK (so to speak). A number of translation committees (NIV, NKJV, NASB and ESV) persist in putting 'hate' in Luke 14:26; a very counterproductive choice of word indeed. 'Hate,' as used by English speakers today, means the very opposite of AGAPE (AGAPE being the very SPINE of Holy Writ - agape toward God, family, neighbor and even one's enemies); that being the case, 'hate' does NOT convey from Greek what Yeshua actually MEANT; therefore 'hate' seriously fails to match Biblica's statement (in 'A Word About the NIV') in which they say 'The first concern of the translators continues to be ... its faithfulness to the intended meaning...' 'DEMOTE' may possibly (???) be much closer to the mark - for Yeshua is basically saying He must come FIRST; everyone (and everything) else (including even one's children), must come SECOND.
Why is using 'hate' so pernicious? Simply because in rendering the Greek as 'hate' I believe it means evangelists of today are therefore reluctant to bring outsiders to Messiah's 'terms and conditions' for authentic disciplehood; and instead of making sure responders to the Good News measure up to His YARDSTICK (all 36 inches so to speak) for being His DISCIPLE, many responders (without counting the cost BEFOREHAND, as Messiah Yeshua there told outsiders to do) are led to believe they are His 'Christian' based on a one-minute, ONE INCH "Sinner's Prayer" (that's a loss of 35 inches; small wonder so much of the Western BODY is 'Sardisian'/'Laodicean').
Modern translations really must remove the 'Luke 14:26-bullet' they've shot in the foot of evangelism (so to speak), and get that passage right once and for all (translating it more along the lines of "If anyone comes to Me, and does not 'demote'/'put Me before' his own father and mother ...").
Regarding translation SNOBBERY: There seems to be a tragic snobbery (in some circles) towards the NIV. May it NEVER be forgotten that the HOLY Spirit inspired Paul to write in blue collar Greek; the (sometimes multi-syllable) white collar words found in the NASB/NKJV/ESV are a step backwards, not forwards. Note Yeshua's words as recorded in 'Luke': "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do."
Let it be said LOUD AND CLEAR that the NIV's translation of God-breathed Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek is FAR superior, and FAR more profitable and nutritious to read, than ANY work of fallible man. Why? Well, simply put, because in the NIV you have the thought-for-thought words of God's Son, plus the words of the 'Holy Scripture FACULTY' (so to speak; i.e., Moses, Joshua, right through to Jude and John); whereas in works outside of Holy Writ (and albeit sincere though the authors be), so called 'scholars' are prone to shoehorning the words of God into various distorted frameworks of men; so their wrongly venerated "SCHOLARLY" volumes are built on sand (or at best a mixture mainly of sand, plus a few bits of rock here 'n' there!).
Making TBOTB your primary source of truth: Have no hesitation whatsoever in heartily GORGING yourself on the NIV's TBOTB, for in doing so, you will be feeding on a source of unrivalled nutrition and vaccine. There is NO BETTER BIBLE for laying your theological foundations. (Yes, the NASB; NKJV; and ESV, have a more formal word-for-word structure; but, God wants the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek to be UNDERSTOOD - not turned into English multi-syllable, mom-n-pop-UNfriendly WOOD!) Do endeavor to read each of the Bible books in as few sittings as possible; the Bible is a PIZZA to be wholeheartedly relished and devoured, not a spoon of vile medicine to be reluctantly taken! The very first 'pizza-reading' is to (in effect) break up God-breathed soil; subsequent pizza-readings will harvest more and more information (and the primary themes of the God-breathed 'tapestry' will become increasingly clear).
With CAVs removed, you will find it much easier to place supremacy where it belongs (in the hands of CONTEXT!); not only that, but it is also psychologically much easier to then study Holy Scripture in chunkier portions (so to speak). Note: Don't make the classic mistake of focusing in on the "New Testament" (so-called), at the expense of the "Old"; to do so, is to lick the peanut butter out of the God-breathed sandwich! Yes, it is true to say that the "New Testament" reveals what is foreshadowed in the "Old"; but, it is another thing entirely, to concoct erroneous ideas built directly from the "New," and then subjectively and gymnastically read those false ideas back INTO the "Old.")
If you want to, then of course, also use the NASB, NKJV and ESV (even in Cherry Tree format if need be), to fine tune your expertise on a point here 'n' there in Holy Writ (and/or get a Hebrew and/or Greek Interlinear Bible too, if you like); but, do get TBOTB, and from here on in (or until other translations bring out unasundered editions too), make TBOTB a primary source for easily digested Bible nutrition.
On building a STELLAR narrow Way Library: Nobody is infallible, and I believe God has distributed skillsets among men and women in such a way as to make sure they are truly INTERDEPENDENT. Therefore, different people bring different areas of expertise to the narrow Way table. With that in mind, I hereby suggest that in addition to TBOTB, you also consider getting yourself three GAME CHANGERS; plus some of the best outside-the-box/wineskin works of fallible men (not forgetting to keep your winnowing fork in hand at ALL times):
GAME CHANGER 1: The Normal Christian Birth: How to Give New Believers a Proper Start in Life David Pawson's game changer on ACTS-rooted (and truly TRNITARIAN) evangelism. Quoting from the prologue: "Many 'Christians,' including myself, were badly delivered ... The typical sinner's prayer is seriously inadequate ..."
GAME CHANGER 2: Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices Viola and Barna's game changer on the UNSCRIPTURAL foundations of the "Institutional Church." Quoting from the preface by Tyndale House Publishers: "Perhaps you wonder why a publisher of Christian books would release a book that questions so many common church practices ... they [Frank Viola and George Barna] are asking us to thoughtfully consider the source of our churches' traditions and then ask how these practices square with Scripture ... Many in the church hold to tradition, even if it is not grounded in Scripture, and these same people wonder why the church seems to be losing its relevance and impact in the contemporary world."
GAME CHANGER 3: Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith Marvin Wilson's game changer. Christianity" (so-called); is it a NEW religion? Is Israel a God-forsaken CATERPILLAR that a Gentile Grace-Butterfly FLIES FROM?! Or, is Israel an OLIVE Tree that Gentiles are GRAFTED INTO? Get this key work on the arch-distortion that is "Replacement Theology." Hear this loud and clear (from Chapter 7): "Perhaps the most important reason the Holocaust happened is that the Church had forgotten its Jewish roots."
When Jesus Returns Many sincere disciples consider themselves EXEMPT from the very tribulation period that Messiah Jesus wants to prepare them for. The rapture (AND the Millennium) IS INDEED taught in Holy Scripture; but, the comforting teaching that the rapture is to take place BEFORE the mega-tribulation, is something taught by Darby (who passed the teaching on to Schofield; who via the Schofield Bible, passed it on to millions).
Back To Jerusalem Things are rather simpler in the East: Chinese disciples follow Jesus and love their enemies. Can the same be said of disciples in the West?! And just as a bumble bee flies because no bumble-bee-ologian told him he could not, these disciples expect and see signs and wonders because no theologians infected them with Cessationism.
Principles for the Gathering of Believers Under the Headship of Jesus Christ This group of guys have co-authored one of the best Narrow Way books of recent times; penned in humility, they discuss (among other things), disciplehood in countries where persecution matches Matthew 10:28-33; rightly reminding readers that such persecution is in due course to spread to the West (Matthew 24:9). the serious [Matthew 10:28-33-level] persecution taking place today in some parts of the world; rightly reminding readers that such persecution is in due course to spread to the West (Matthew 24:9). Furthermore, these guys have cast this book upon the waters: it is free in six formats, including Kindle. Do make sure you download a free copy of this one onto your Kindle; or, onto any gadget on which you have installed a free Kindle App (such as your smartphone; your tablet; or your PC). Then, in order to get a sense of how important this book is, make a beeline for Principle 43.
Sharpen your ACTS" (SYA) is an Amazon Listmania list I've put together. It is basically an attempt to select a few books of exceptional importance, so that any disciples who are not prolific book readers, can get themselves a small Narrow Way library, and yet one that gives first class information (including vaccine against some of the most pernicious toxins permeating the Western contingent of the Bride).
To find the SYA list, click on my name here on Amazon; then click on "Listmania Lists." Nearly all of the SYA books are available in ebook form, so free samples can be downloaded to your Kindle; or, onto any gadget on which you have installed a free Kindle App (such as your smartphone; your tablet; or your PC). Do go see the list; do get free samples; do don a napkin.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2012
Format: Imitation LeatherVerified Purchase
I love the NIV Books of the Bible format. The Chapters and Verses have been removed from the text. This makes it easier to read entire book and sections of the Bible at one time. It is so much easier to see things in larger contexts.
Sometimes when I read the Bible, the verse and the chapters cause unnatural breaks. There is something uninhibited about reading and entire book in one sitting. I would recommend this Bible to anyone. This Bible is great for personal Bible reading.
I am wondering if the leather version of this Bible will stand the test of time. So far it has worked out well. Only time will tell if it will hold up after lots of use.
You should buy this Bible and read it. It could change how you read the Bible.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Got this as a gift for my husband. He loves the flow of reading the Bible without any references, footnotes, commentary, etc. New appreciation for God's word.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2012
Format: Imitation LeatherVerified Purchase
Arranging the Old Testament books according to Jewish order and the New Testament books according to author and when they were written, and eliminating chapter and verse numbers and all inserted headings was a stroke of genius! I am thoroughly enjoying reading without the imposed embellishments and am gaining insights like never before.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
A Bible without chapter headings, topical headings, or verse numbers might seem like a radical idea, but the Bible was written without them. When you read a Bible without them, it becomes immediately apparent just how distracting those additions can be. We do not insert them into most other books that we read, so why should we do it in the Bible when all we want to do sometimes is to READ it? "The Books of the Bible" is a reader's edition from A to Z.
The textual format of this book is superb. The font is large enough to be an easy read unless the reader happens to have significant problems with their vision. It is certainly larger than what one would find in most bibles without looking unnaturally large. The inner margins are wide enough that one does not have to struggle at all with reading the text near the binding.
The pages are quite thin, so there is some bleed-through of the text on the other side of the page. This transparency is a bit more than I would like to see in a book, but it is not by any means the worst that I have seen.
One outstanding feature of this book is that it lays flatter than any other book that I have ever owned. Even when I open it to the the first and last few pages, it lays flat-- PERFECTLY flat!-- so that I do not have to hold the pages or the cover down at all, ever.
Another outstanding feature: It includes a section entitled "The Drama of the Bible," which is a summary of the Bible story. Sometimes it is easy to get "lost in the forest," so to speak, when reading the Bible. There are sixty-six books in the canon, after all, and it can be difficult to discern the overarching story without some help. This summary introduces new readers and reminds experienced readers to the grand story that encompasses all of the books. Most bibles unfortunately do not include this feature.
I do have one criticism, though: The summary of the bible story and the preface to the NIV text are at the back of this book, not the front where they should be. It does not make any sense to put them at the back, almost as if including them were an afterthought. This issue, as well as the transparency of the paper, is why I gave it for stars instead of five.
All in all, this bible is the best reader's edition of the NIV (2011 Text Edition) on the market. If you want to READ the Bible without distractions, rather than study or reference it, this is the right edition for you!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Wow, is the first word that comes to mind as we read the Books of the Bible. Out church did the NT on Wednesday night in an 8 week read through. My teens participated with us. on the second week of lively discussion our leader looked at my 17 yr old and said "did you ever imagine people getting excited over God's word and reading it?" We enjoyed the option to listen online to it being read to us.
It was amazing to realize how distracting the chapter and verse sections were. As we read each book through as a letter I was amazed to notice I heard more the tone of the letter. I noticed Paul's sacrasam when he chastised the church over taking others to court. It was an amazing experience to discover things I had never before noticed. Each week we met to discuss and there was genuine excitement as we all saw things we had never before noticed.
Having the books arranged by author resulted in the Gospels being read separately. We were able to get so much more out of them as we did not tend to skim through. The stories were fresh and alive.
Having the option to listen to the readings worked well for my family. In the front of the book there was a bookmark with the 8 week reading plan and a link to listen online. My teens enjoyed listening to the scripture being read. They really listened and took notice. They jumped in and participated in the discussion with excitement.
I cannot express in words the impact this had. Buy it, read it, you will enjoy it and be impacted!