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January 24, 2008


Jacob Douvier

I bought Ecclesiastes at Powell's in Portland the last time we did camp out that way, and found Job at a used bookstore here in Phoenix. I think its a brilliant idea to make each book available individually. My english professors in college both decided to forego the usual Norton anthologies in favor of individual volumes. Not only were we spared the excessive weight in our backpacks, but I find anthologies to be more intimidating and individual volumes much more inviting.


I really like the cover photography, very intruiging, they did a nice job with that.

Also interesting that by breaking the Bible up into the individual books the way the Scriptures always were before the Protestants bound them into a single anthology caused such a stir.

I will also put in a plug for those interested in a single paragraph style Bible: Check out the Third Millenium Bible www.tmbible.com I find the layout to be exceptionally readable.
However, I will forwarn the members of this forum to not bother with their "leather bound" edition, it is very unsatisfying. I'd go for getting the hardcover and sending it off for a re-bind instead.

J. Mark Bertrand

I don't know why packaging the books individually would be controversial. Commentaries are written on individual books, and no one raises a stink about that. There are New Testament editions that only include a portion of Scripture, and some publishers do one-offs of, say, the Psalms or the Gospel of John. As Jacob points out, it's a very convenient format for readers.

Michael Swoveland

To my taste, an edition like this is nothing short of appalling! I strongly dislike cheap paperbacks and that is true if we are talking about the Bible, Homer or even The Hobbit. I am the sort of person who would rather not buy a book as have it in some cheap mass market edition in which the pages will begin to bio-degrade before I am done reading it.

If there is a book that I really care about, I look for a Folio Society edition, if that can't be found a well made hardback will do. At the very least I would want a well made paperback that I can expect to last longer than a pair of socks.

I also fail to see how publishing the Bible in a format like this somehow makes it more accessible to the general public. I refuse to believe that the average person has been so dumbed-down by our public education system that they will not read a book that is properly bound. Am I being naive?

I think a lot of Bono, love his music and admire him for using his success to try to make the world a better place. However, whaen I read that one of the books of the Bible had an introduction by Bono I was reminded of a Homer Simpson quote: "Rockstars, is there anything they don't know?"

I hope all of that didn't sound like a rant. If you like this edition, I am fine with that and I do have a few positive things to say about it. First the cover photographs are striking, the ones for Job, Isaiah and John I think very much capture a moment in those books. Second, I think using the King James Version for what in many cases could be a person's first exposure to the Bible is a sound idea. Such a person would have been exposed to a few sections of the Bible and I believe that if they were to read John 3:16 or Psalms 23 in some other version they might be just a little put off when they discover it is not worded quite the same. Third, the publisher does seem to have the idea of placing the Bible in the hands of those who have not yet read it, that is always a noble goal.


I got a boxed set of these last night at a used bookstore for seven bucks, and started with Corinthians, which we're currently reading in a lay theological formation class I'm taking. I find it remarkable how much that simple change in form already makes.

First, the paragraph layout is really much more readable. I do have trouble sometimes with my Allan Longprimer with its traditional verse layout. I often read the same passage over and over again, because the words on the page don't sink in, my eyes somehow glaze over them. I thought my trouble was the language, but it turns out it's largely the layout. I don't know what it is, but I wouldn't have expected paragraphed text to make such a difference.

Breaking the Bible up into individual books also has a remarkable effect. It reminded me that the Bible ultimately consists of a long series of documents written in many disparate times and places by many people, and were only collected together between two covers very late in the game. The Old Testament was a pile of scrolls, and the "canon" to some extent depended on which ones one happened to have on hand. Witness the Apocrypha. One group of Jews had them, another didn't, and in the end it was decided to leave them out. The collection of books in the box is incomplete. I'm guessing that few places had a full collection of the Scriptures, give how rare and expensive scrolls were. The Epistles were of course letters, a single document that the recipient(s) got "in the mail," which they read by itself before much of "Scripture" had been written. It does seem to make a difference reading Corinthians in a little booklet by itself, without the weight of the rest of Scripture in the hand to refer to, wedged between Romans and Galatians. Today I'm only carrying Corinthians; the Corinthians only had "Corinthians." The Bible was a library before it was a book, once a series of scrolls any one only loosely connected to others on a shelf, just these booklets are loosely connected in a box.

I'm not questioning the integrity of scripture of course, or saying that they shouldn't be collected together in some exquisitely bound tome (I certainly now have enough of those). However, having the books of the Bible in a random pile on my bed and rearranging them in the box gave me a different relationship to the Scriptures (plural). I reflexively put them back in the box "in order," but then thought, why? And then, why is that "the order" in the first place? These certainly won't replace my tomes, but they've already open a different way of looking at the Bible. I have no idea how successful they were at popularizing the King James Bible, but for me they've already been a good, cheep experiment.


Can anyone comment on the status of this series? There's the 1st boxed set with 12 "volumes" and a 2nd with 10. Are more coming? The Wikipedia entry hasn't been updated for a while and the grovepress.com website is not cooperating with me.


This looks very cool. Is there any way to buy individual Bible books in other versions, such as ESV?

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  • J. Mark Bertrand is the author of Back on Murder, Pattern of Wounds, and the forthcoming Nothing to Hide, crime novels featuring Houston homicide detective Roland March. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and lived in the city for fifteen years. After one hurricane too many, he and his wife moved to South Dakota. Mark has been arrested for a crime he didn't commit, was the foreman of a hung jury in Houston, and after relocating served on the jury that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.

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