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FRAMEWORKS: Introductory Preface

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Introductory Preface to the ‘Easy-Read Study Bible




The objective of these ‘Frameworks', in what we hope might be called  'The Easy-Read Study Bible', is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the reformatted text of each chapter to enhance reading experience and aid quicker understanding. We refer to each chapter by these 'Frameworks' because we believe that once the reader sees the structure or framework of the chapter it immediately becomes easier to take in what is there and where it is going. Further explanation of approach is given below.




In the Old Testament we have provided a variety of aids to reading: chapter descriptions, a variety of headings, subheadings, notes, etc. as well as providing an explanatory Introduction to each book, to enable the reader to take in and absorb what the text is saying. 


Please Note: No doubt annoyingly for some, there is  no 'standard' form of layout  but headings, notes, etc.  vary according to the density or complexity of each chapter's content.


Because of the complexity of the Old Testament writings, the reader will find considerably more 'helps' built into each chapter than you will find in the New Testament. For example in the prophets, seeking to get to grips with the heart of the prophet requires a much greater use of explanatory suggestions.


A Different Reading Approach


Instead of reading large swathes of text the reader will find many more headings and subheadings than you usually find in a Bible, as well as notes built into the body of the text. We recognise that for some this will initially be a different and even more difficult approach and will actually require you to read more words, but the goal of the ‘easy read' approach is to try to enable the reader, and especially new readers or those who have historically found the Bible difficult to read, to actually understand what they are reading and thus enjoy it more and, hopefully, encourage them to read more and more of it.


A New Viewpoint


Now we are aware that with some parts of the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, the writing is complex and interpreters and commentators have struggled to determine exactly what the original writer meant, to which the multiplicity of modern versions testifies! We therefore need to explain more fully exactly what our approach has been.


Throughout we have used the text of the New International Bible, copyright Hodder and Stoughton. However those who have used a Bible for any length of time for study purposes will know that even this version has had a large number of ongoing editing and changes.


We appreciate the work of the many scholars who have spent large amounts of time translating from the original Hebrew or Greek and the reader should understand that this is NOT a new translation and NOT a new paraphrase, merely a ‘workbook'.


The approach we have taken – and this is the key thing to understand – is that we have taken the text and sought to reformat it for individual verse reading and study, and then provide headings and notes on the basis of what the existing NIV text presents, i.e. it is seen through the eyes of the ordinary reader and not through the eyes of scholars.


We would emphasize that we do not seek to provide every answer to questions within the text, but simply sufficient to point the reader in the right direction and, hopefully, give sufficient of an overview that a general understanding can be brought to encourage the reader on to greater study.

For much greater depth of understanding we would refer the reader to any one of hundreds of commentaries that have been written on all the books of the Bible, but for the ordinary reader who wishes to gain a rudimentary understanding of what the text says, we hope this approach will bring them understanding that will excite them when they see the wonder of what is here within the text of this book we call ‘The Bible', and stir and challenge them to become more than casual readers of this amazing book.


Confidence in the Bible


The new reader, confronted with a plethora of modern versions and, even more, seemingly constant changes by publishers, may be tempted to ask, “Is there no authoritative version of the Bible, the ONE that is right?” and the answer has to be, “I'm afraid not, for even in the manuscripts, of which there are many with the original language text, there are small variations ….


…. BUT what we would say is that the more you read the Bible, understand it, and digest it, the more confidence you will have in it as the inspired word of God that conveys the truth and which can be trusted in respect of its literary integrity.


Studying the Bible


As any teacher of basic Bible Study will tell you, there are some simple things to be aware of. Here just a few:


1. What did it mean to its original readers? W hat was the writer trying to say to the people of his day? We try to clarify that in the notes.

2. Consider the Basic Questions about a Passage: WHO  wrote it and HOW  did it fit into history and WHY  did they write? We try to cover these in some measure at least in the Introduction to each book in the Bible.

3. Recognise the range of writing that we have in the Bible spans from about four thousand to two thousand years ago, almost certainly in a culture very different to ours, in a part of the world about which we may not be familiar, often using linguistic styles very different from our own. Where applicable we seek to address these things in the notes.


In our own defence, we would add that we have NOT sought to address all these matters but hope we have provided sufficient to set the new reader along a path of reading and learning that once begun will never cease.


In the light of the comments made in the third point above, the new reader may begin to wonder if this is a task worth embarking on, worthy of the effort apparently required, to which the answer must be a resounding, “Yes!” As millions before us have found, this book, so old, has answers within it that satisfy questions such as,

•  who or what is God?
•  who are we?
•  what is history involving God, and what can it teach us?

and so, so much more, and it applies today just as much as on the day it was first written. Sixty-six books written by over forty writers; you have a lifetime of reading ahead of you.