If you visit your local Christian bookshop, with a view to buying a bible, you will see many different options available to you. There will be various translations and versions aimed at particular groups of people. It is fair to say that you will be spoilt for choice! Most of these bibles will have one thing in common, they will contain chapter and verse numbers in the text.
However, The Books of The Bible is an NIV translation where the chapters and verse numbers have been removed from the text (with the exception of the Psalm chapter numbers). This version also contains single-column settings, like you would find in a novel or biography. Section headings have too been removed from the text. The books of both the Old and New Testament are also in a different order to the normal one. Additionally, books that were originally joined together, but had to be separated due to the length of the scrolls, are shown as one book. For example: the two books of Samuel and Kings are shown as one book.
But does this actually make any difference to the reading of scripture? Is this just another gimmick which gives an excuse for another version of the scriptures?
Well actually I have found it does made a difference. Whilst chapter and verse numbers can be useful references when using a commentary or concordance, they can influence the way that we read passages of scripture. When they are removed the text flows more naturally. Although it might seem strange at first reading a bible without chapter and verse numbers we need to remember that they were not in the original text and were only added afterwards. The publishers have instead made breaks in the text at what appears to be more natural places.
The single-column setting makes for a much cleaner layout, which in turn I have found helpful when reading longer passages of the bible. Whilst section headings and footnotes can be useful, they can also be distracting too whilst reading the bible.
Should you buy this version? I purchased The Books of The Bible a few years ago and have found it a very helpful addition to my library of bibles. It is one I certainly recommend.