Preface to the ‘Easy-Read Study Bible
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.
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
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
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.
Different Reading Approach
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.
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
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.
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'.
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.
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.
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.
in the Bible
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.
any teacher of basic Bible Study will tell you, there are some
simple things to be aware of. Here just a few:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
who or what is God?
who are we?
what is history involving
God, and what can it teach us?
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.