Book Review: NIV Once A Day Bible

NIV Once A Day Bible: A Chronological Edition, edited by Chris Tiegreen

[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Zondervan Press in exchange for an honest review.]

There is precisely a very targeted demographic that would most appreciate this particular book. In order to wish to purchase this book, one would need to want a book that would be very difficult to bring along to services because finding a given verse (especially in the Psalms) would be a challenge, but one would at the same time not want too many scholarly footnotes to add to the size or clutter on the bottom of the page. This is a Bible version that is relatively small and portable without being too hard to read and is divided chronologically into 365 portions for reading a day at a time. This means that the Bible will likely be used by me for this purpose one of these years as I seek to add a little bit of variety to my Bible reading. That said, this is not a Bible that is really useful for study purposes as it lacks the footnotes that I would use as part of my research and writing. Basically, it will be most appreciated by someone who wants to keep abreast of the narrative flow of the scriptures (including parallel accounts of the same events) without having to resort to reading a far less faithful version like The Voice [1].

This is the second NIV Bible I have in my collection [2], all the more remarkable in that I had gone over 30 years without one in my personal collection and now I have two. They represent an interesting approach to the marketing of Bibles. It appears, not only from the Bibles I have but those I have seen and do not have, that selling Bibles is not so much a matter about seeking to find the most accurate translation, or even to seek the best tradeoff between such concerns as ease of understanding and fidelity to the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic, but is rather a matter of adding the sort of materials that can market a very narrowly focused book to a very narrowly targeted demographic at minimum cost (given that one is dealing with the same translation or version) with maximum potential satisfaction. There is, in other words, far more marketing and packaging than there is scholarly biblical work at stake with a book like this. That said, if this book encourages people to actually read the Bible and think about it, and get some grasp of the flow of the biblical narrative by being able to tie together psalms and historical events, place Job in the time of the patriarchs, and appreciate the harmony of the Gospels as well as Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, that would make this a worthwhile project.

This particular version of the Bible is very straightforward-365 segments of the Bible in generally chronological order, each of them followed with a short paragraph or two that often comments on the most memorable verse in the particular chapters in question along with occasional references to the writings of other believers (like C.S. Lewis) or other scriptural passages that cast light on the particular day’s reading. As is usual with the NIV, those who appreciate the textual apparatus of the NIV, based as it is on the Alexandrian texts, will find much to appreciate, and those who do not appreciate those texts and who (like me) prefer the Byzantine M-Text or the Aramaic Peshitta will prefer other Bibles [3]. That is the way it is, as this Bible at least has some purpose in my library, possibly even as a source of daily reading and reflection for the sake of variety, even if I do not think it is a Bible I would ever consult for my own frequent and scholarly Bible studies.



[3] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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