“The Story” is an attempt to make the Bible more accessible to a wider audience. Most people are afraid that reading the Bible is an impossible challenge for “real” people — only theologians and pastors can (or even should) attempt such a herculean task. While I certainly don’t believe that, there are certainly very real obstacles to the average person succeeding. Among them (as I see it)
- There is a lot of discontinuity. The story line is broken up into chapters which jump back and forth chronologically.
- Some passages, especially early in the Old Testament, are very repetitive lists of information, which are difficult to work through
- The “wisdom literature” chapters, while some of the most beautiful poetry, don’t do anything to move the story forward, and can get the reader bogged down
- And, of course, it’s very long
“The Story” tries to work around these issues
- The content is arranged chronologically, so that the reader encounters events in the order in which they happen
- Those portions of the text which don’t move the story forward are skipped completely. That includes the wisdom literature
- The content is reduced to 31 chapters, each of a “readable” length to make sure that the reader doesn’t feel they’re getting in too deep
From what I’ve seen so far, the editors of “The Story” have succeeded in their goal of making the Bible more accessible. However, I think it’s important to be aware of the cost of that accessibility. I have only read the first chapter thus far, but I’m already aware of what I feel are significant omissions. For instance, in the story of Noah, there is no mention of what happens after Noah and his family leave the ark, when Noah gets drunk and passes out. While I understand why this may have been left out, I think it’s important to realize that there may be significant nuances that we lose in the “Reader’s Digest” condensed version.
That’s not to say I don’t find value in reading “The Story.” I do. I only wanted to make sure that we understand the limitations of what we’re doing.
My hope is that, as we move through this time together, our discussions can and will bring in some of those nuances that the editors of “The Story” had to leave out.