Hey, God fans. Here’s an interesting experiment: it’s called The Story, from the Bible publishers at Zondervan. It’s the Bible–Today’s New International Version–edited down to its basic narrative so, in theory, you can see Christ emerging naturally from the rest.
Now, I can already hear some of you harrumphing. Stop doing that. Then, after I hear you harrumphing, I hear you say, Well, why can’t people just read the Bible as it is? But I do read the Bible as it is, and still found this interesting. I liked them clearing away a lot of the Levitican brush and so on and letting me get right to the historical core of the thing. I also liked the translation, which I’d never read before and which I found strong and reasonable without being inelegant.
Necessarily, they took out some parts I wished they’d left in–and suspiciously, they were often sexy or difficult passages, like the part about Lot and his daughters or the putting away of the foreign wives after the return from exile. This smacked of silly bowdlerizing and lessened the overall effect. Also, the short passages written by the editors to link Bible sections had the tone of self-satisfied preaching, something I particularly dislike. But for long portions, the editing was strong and seamless. And the story, you know, is kind of good!
I have powerfully fond memories of Pearl S. Buck’s Story Bible, which I loved when I read it myself, and loved again when I read it to my story-loving daughter. The Story has the benefit of using the original text, but lacks Buck’s excellent craftsmanship. Still, I thought it a cool idea, not badly done.