Biblica’s Narrative Orientation in the NIV

Biblica is the publisher of the New International Version of the Bible. I was pleasantly surprised to find the following on the title page when I opened a recent copy of the NIV.

Creation, Life and Beauty
undone by death and wrongdoing
regained by God’s surprising victory

as told in the books of the Holy Bible
New International Version

The next page begins with a large print invitation:

The story of God and the world, inviting you to take up your role in the drama of the Bible

A quote from Peter’s speech in Acts 3:18-21 completes the page.

The Old Testament title page begins:

The story of God’s creation of the world,
its fall from his intention,
and the calling of Abraham
and his descendants
– the people of Israel –
to be God’s instrument
for bringing blessing
to all peoples on earth.

The New Testament title page reads:

Israel’s continuing story and its climax in
the life, death
and resurrection of
Jesus the Messiah
the announcement of
God’s victory over humanity’s
enemies sin and death,
and the invitation for
all peoples to be
reconciled to God
and share in his restoration of all things.

Biblica’s 12-page introduction to the Bible is entitled “The Drama of the Bible in Six Acts,” and is subdivided as follows:

  1. God’s Intention
  2. Exile
  3. God’s calling Israel to a Mission
  4. The Surprising Victory of Jesus
  5. God’s Renewed People
  6. God Comes Home

Biblica’s introductory material is kingdom-oriented. It is rooted in the story that one might call the kingdom narrative, the rule of faith or the covenantal history. It presents Jesus as the victor over sin and death (i.e., the Christus Victor point of view). The salvation it presents is both communal and personal.

While I have quibbles with some of the wording – and I would add a greater empasis on catholicity, ecclesiology and the sacraments – I think this is a tremendous way to introduce the the holy scriptures. It is miles ahead of the self-congratulatory blah-blah-blah one normally finds on the introductory pages of the Bible.

Well done, Biblica.

Rule of Faith
McKnight’s King Jesus Gospel

* * *

Note: This post refers to a version of the NIV that is mass produced for use by military personnel. The referenced notes and titles do not appear to be part of the military-themed pages added to the front and back of the Bible, but I don’t know if they appear in all the editions published directly by Biblica (formerly the International Bible Society).

The “military pages” contain psalms, hymns and prayers adapted from the Book of Common prayer. They also include an order of worship with prayers and acclamations adapted from the old “Book of Worship for United States Forces.” The Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles Creed are also included. This material enables the book to be used in personal and collective worship in the field when no other resource is available. The Bible fits in the cargo pocket of the utility unfiorm and in the side pocket of a rucksack.

Additionally, there is a section on “Jesus, the Son of David, the Wouded Warrior King” which compliments the Christus Victor, kingdom orientation of the other introductory material.

The final pages of the military edition are “Basic Spritual Training,” which covers a variety of themes: God, Creation, Humanity, the Holy Spirit, God’s People, Jesus the Messiah, the Final Battle, Forgiveness, Faith, the New Creation, the Body of Christ, Reading the Bible, Prayer, Obedience, Giving to God and Others, Tell a Friend, Priorities, Relationships, Family and Work. This brief material is generally evangelical in tone, but still consistent with the kingdom theme of the earlier text.

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