Posted by: Hugh Griffiths | June 22, 2007

A bible without the extras

openbible.jpgopenbible.jpgopenbible.jpgopenbible.jpgYet another bible edition is on its way. Although there already seem to be endless types of bible on the market, The Bible Society is releasing another more unusual version. Whereas most new editions celebrate the extra featres – notes, commentary, cross-references, study tools etc – this one deliberately pares back the text alone.

Based on an existing translation, the editors have stripped out some of the additions that we normally take for granted. For example:

  • Articificial divisions between books are removed (eg between 1 and 2 Samuel etc)
  • Summary section or chapter headings are not included
  • Chapter and verse numbers are not present
  • Footnotes and other additions are removed
  • Layout is spaced in a single column rather than forced into the more usual two-column layout

In principle, I think this will be a welcome addition to the choice of bibles available – particularly since it should encourage reading the Scriptures in a fresh way. My only reservation is the choice to use the TNIV (Today’s New International Version) as the text. Personally, I am not a fan of this revision to the NIV and would much rather The Bible Society had used either the original NIV or the ESV.

You can check out the ‘bible without the extras’ at the publisher’s website which even includes some sample bible books for you to try.



  1. Out of interest, never having read TNIV, why do you not like it?

    Is it simply not a very clear translation or does it have fundamental problems?

  2. That’s nice for approaching the Holy Text in it’s Poetic and Structural sense, but I wouldn’t use in trying to clarify or understand my relation to God or the text itself. The words aren’t transcedent or “stand-alone”, they need some sort of context to provide meaning, hence the notes and study-tools. As for who provides these notes and study-tools…………..

  3. Justin – the main reason why I would prefer other versions before the TNIV is that the translators of this version chose to generalise the meaning of some passages rather than seek to accurately convey the original language.

    The biggest concern for many evangelical scholars is that it frequently omits male-orientated language in favour of non gender-specific terms. For example, Heb 12:7 in the NIV reads “What son is not disciplined by his father?” whereas the TNIV ‘neutralises’ the text to read “What children are not disciplined by their parents?”

    This may not sound like a big deal except that it appears to subject the biblical text to a sort of political correctness that causes it to be distorted.

  4. Writeitoutplease – good observation: who writes the notes? Bibles such as the Schofield reference bible have long proved that the notes can heavily influence the reader or even whole generations of Christians – for better or for worse.

    The Bible does stand alone – yet thankfully that does not negate the gift God has placed in the church – the many generations of faithful Christians whose preaching, teaching and writing are vehicles for God’s revelation to us.

    Do you have a preferred version of Bible edition?

  5. Cheers for explaining Hugh. In many ways sounds like it’s only step away from talking about ‘The Parent, The Offspring, and The Holy Spirit.

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