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Not the best choice.
on August 2, 2005
While one admires the intent behind Zondervan's abridged version of the Bible, i.e., to introduce the Bible and the story of salvation to those who find the complete text too intimidating, they went too far in their editing. For example: Melchizedek is mentioned only as a priest and Abram's exchange with him is not at all explained and their conversation is completely omitted; the account of God's covenant with Abram omits completely Genesis 15.12-20; the account of God's visitation to Abraham and Sarah, Abraham's intercession, and the the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is also completely omitted.
If one is looking for a abridged or condensed version of the Bible a much more excellent choice is Tyndale House's "The Bible In Brief." It is less expensive and follows the same approach using the text of The Living Bible, and lacks the omissions of "The Story." Walter Wangerin's "The Book Of God," while actually a novel, is also useful as a means to introduce someone to God's story of redemption. Though being a novel it is written in the author's own words interspersed with passages of Scripture as opposed to using primarily the actual biblical text as the "The Story" and "The Bible In Brief" do.
Finally, an excellent paraphrase of just the Gospels can be found in Daniel Partner's "The Story Of Jesus: A Portrait of Christ from the Gospels."