Bible Illuminated The Book: New Testament is an illustrated (or Illuminated) bible, featuring contemporary photographs and a new text layout. There are no verses – text is laid out in standard paragraph format. Key concepts are emphasized in different ways: boxed, enlarged quotes; red text; yellow highlighting. Nearly every page has a photograph – they come in different sizes, some more than a page, some highlighted with text, and the images can be disconcerting. I was mildly amused by a photo of three young black men in typical rapper pose, with the verse “Where is the baby born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star when it came up in the east, and we have come to worship him.” I was disarmed by the photo of what may be a young boy (difficult to be sure due to the perspective) pointing a gun along with the verse, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” I was downright disturbed by a blank page with the verse “God said, ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you to open the way for you.” followed by photos of Nelson Mandella, Angelina Jolie, Mother Theresa and Bono, among others.
But thinking about it, what better way to get someone’s attention? To make them think? I found myself re-reading passages for context and really considering how the photos might relate to the text. And too often I think people recite Bible verses without really thinking about their meaning, so startling might really be a good thing.
This version strikes me as having a contemporary, liberal stance. There are photos of protestors for women’s suffrage, a section on the United Nations, education for girls, photos of modern kids with headphones and laptops. And that may be exactly what young people need to feel connected to the Bible.
I am excited about getting a hard copy to review; I also plan on getting some other opinons on the book from friends of varying religious backgrounds and practices. It’s hard to get more than an impression from an FTP site. Still, there were photos that made me smile and photos that made me catch my breath. That’s a very good start.
For more information, check out their website atIlluminated World