If you’re old enough, you remember the unmistakable dark green padded hardcovers of the Living Bible. My father had one; my grandmother had one, too. For a generation or so, they seemed to be everywhere; and they were distinctive when read aloud back in a day that was still dominated by the King James Version. Long-requested by our users, we’re pleased to announce the Living Bible available for the Accordance Library beginning today. It’s about time!
The Living Bible was the brainchild of Kenneth Taylor who created the paraphrase from the 1901 American Standard Version of the Bible, primarily as a means of making the Bible easier to understand to his children. The Living Bible was published in its entirety in 1971 and transformed Tyndale House into a major Christian publisher.
When I was a child, my grandmother gave me a copy of The Children’s Living Bible for Christmas, 1975. It was the same text as the Living Bible, but with occasional pictures spread throughout the volume. I carried it with me to church up until the point a buddy of mine made fun of my carrying a Bible with the word “Children” in the title. After that, I went back to the King James Version for a while.
I still remember sitting in a Sunday School class one day as we studied Romans 7:14-25. I was reading from the KJV, but frankly even my friends who had the NIV or NASB were having difficulty. Out of respect, I’d like to assume my Sunday School teacher understood the passage, but the rest of us definitely did not. By itself, the lesson was not that fruitful on that day.
However, when I got home, I pulled my copy of the Living Bible that my grandmother had given me off the shelf. I looked up the passage in Taylor’s paraphrase; and suddenly, the words of the Apostle Paul made sense to me! Feel free to compare the two versions for yourself from the screenshot below. From that point forward, I still didn’t carry my “Children’s” edition of the Living Bible with me to church, but I confess that I did often refer to it when I got home—especially for the passages that were difficult to follow.
Click/tap the image above for a larger view.
The stated purpose of the Living Bible is to say as exactly as possible what the writers of the Scriptures meant and to say it simply, expanding where necessary for a clear understanding by the modern reader.
This text requires Accordance 11.2 with the new missing verse feature.
The Living Bible
Photo of the Living Bible courtesy of E. L. Orren.