By far my favourite format of Bible has been The Books of the Bible published by the International Bible Society (more recently Biblica).
There are several features I like about it.
- It removes chapter and verse references and therefore the distractions and interruptions they cause within the text.
- Other inconvenient book divisions are also removed; for example the gospel of Luke and Acts are joined together to enhance the natural reading flow of Luke’s continuing narrative, and OT books traditionally divided into two parts, are recombined into continuous accounts.
- The edition also groups the Bible’s books more logically than the traditionally used order. Therefore NT letters are printed either according to chronology or theme instead of the traditional order of length. I find this helps the natural narrative flow more than the chronological hopscotch evident in other Bible editions.
- The text itself also appears more like a normal book, with text reading right across the page instead of the commonly used division into two columns.
My edtion of it is in the TNIV – probably not my preferred choice, but it was the only one available at the time I bought it. It seems a version was later published using the NIV, but to date I haven’t seen one myself.
My most recent Bible purchase was one I saw reviewed in a free newspaper I picked up from my local Christian book shop. The TYB (Trash Your Bible) is intended to be used to write and hi-light notes while being read.
The pages are promoted as being a heavier weight, allowing non bleed-through hi-lighting of text, however I’d suggest caution if using hi-lighter pens, some of which may be more prone to soak through pages, depending on the pen’s quality. A test seemed to give good results, but a slightly heavier hand with the pen could have caused problems.
This bible uses the 2011 translation of the NIV, and while sticking with the traditional book order, it also uses the more readable one column per page format of a normal book. A slightly wider edge margin (4.5cm)is provided for note taking.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, the Psalms and other sections of poetry are all printed as if they are prose, losing the spacing appropriate for poetic writings. I seem to recall the promotional material made this seem like a benefit, but in reality it is more of a compromise to help reduce the size of the book by compressing the display of the poetic texts.
I bought two copies of the TYB – one for myself and one for Gloria.
There are several cover colours offered. I chose a navy for myself and Gloria’s was “peony pink”. The different colours are offered as lifestyle choices – but in reality, apart from favouring one shade above another, most of the presentation related to colour is more of a marketing ploy than anything practical.
Unfortunately, despite being well packaged and wrapped for mail delivery, Gloria’s Bible arrived with significant damage across the majority of pages. I contacted the supplier to see what can be done to fix the problem and they quickly replied to apologise and said they would send out a replacement copy.
The TYB also offers access to study notes via the publication website, as well as through a separate TYB Bible Companion.
Each Bible book provides a QR Code to give access to online study materials related to the book.