The TNIV and The Books of the Bible

I’ve seen the power that preaching with a sound hermeneutic can have. Just one effect of a pulpit ministry based on solid exegesis is that listeners develop skill in reading the Bible for themselves.

But most printed Bibles do good hermeneutics a disservice. Good hermeneutics says, “Always read the context!” Printed Bibles, however, make that difficult by making every verse its own paragraph:

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Bolding the verse number at the head of each paragraph, as some Bible editions do, doesn’t help much. It’s the visual cue of paragraph-size (instead of verse-size) paragraphs that best serves good hermeneutics.

So many Bibles now are printed in paragraph format with verse numbers included. That’s a great step in the right direction, but I still think the flow of thought is being interrupted unnecessarily.

A few years ago I saw a single-column KJV New Testament printed in the 1930s which had no verse numbers. And I have an old NEB which tried to include the best of both worlds (in a beautiful edition) by putting chapter and verse numbers in the margins.

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Finally, however, the International Bible Society has produced an edition of the TNIV called “The Books of the Bible,” which has elided all chapter and verse numbers (except for one little hint at the bottom of every page). I snapped one up as soon as I could and I’ve decided to go on a crusade for it—because my life is already a crusade for good hermeneutics.

Here’s a picture of the layout:

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A few more notes on this new TNIV are to come (DV) in a later post.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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