ImmerseBeginnings NLT - Flipbook - Page 351
history, its books were not arranged in any fixed order. Instead, they were
placed in a great variety of orders, depending on the needs and goals of
each presentation. In some cases, books from the same time period were
put together. In other cases, similar kinds of writing were set side by side.
And often the Bible’s books were organized according to the way the community used them in worship.
The order of books that we know today didn’t become fixed until near
the time of the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century. This
ordering has many drawbacks. For example, it presents Paul’s letters in
order of length (longest to shortest) rather than in the order in which he
wrote them. Also, in this order, the books of the prophets are divided into
groups by size, and the smaller books are then organized based on phrases
they share. This arrangement puts them out of historical order and sends
the reader swinging back and forth between centuries. And there are many
other similar concerns in what we know as the traditional order.
This edition returns to the church’s longstanding tradition of arranging
the Bible’s books to best meet the goals of a given presentation. To help
readers delve deeper into the Story of the Bible, it places Paul’s letters
in their likely historical order. The books of the prophets are arranged in
similar fashion. Furthermore, the collection of prophetic books is placed
immediately after the story of Israel because the prophets were God’s messengers to the people during the unfolding of that story. The remaining
books of the First Testament, known traditionally as the “Writings,” are
placed after the prophets and arranged by type of writing. The introductions to the various groups of books in this Bible will explain more about
how they are arranged and why.
Finally, some complete books of the Bible were broken into parts over
time. The books of Samuel and Kings originally made up one long book,
but they were separated into four parts so they would fit conveniently on
ancient papyrus scrolls. The books of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah are
similarly the divided parts of an originally unified composition. In this edition, both of these two longer works are put back together as Samuel–Kings
and Chronicles–Ezra–Nehemiah. Luke and Acts were written as a unified
story of the life of Jesus and the birth of the community of his followers.
These two volumes had been separated so that Luke could be placed with
the other Gospels. But since the two parts were meant to be read together,
they have been reunited here as Luke–Acts.
All of this is presented in a clean, single-column format, allowing each
of the Bible’s basic units to be read like the books they are. The lines of
Hebrew poetry can easily be seen, and stories, proverbs, letters, and other
genres can readily be identified. In short, Immerse: The Reading Bible takes