In the Beginning: Soul Survivor ‘Bible in One Year’ starts today

Bible in One Year

Soul Survivor Bible in One Year

Have you done it? Read the entire Bible within the space of one year?

If not then perhaps now is the time to start, joining in with the thousands of young people across the country who have committed themselves to the Soul Survivor Bible in One Year project.

Even if you don’t plan to join in yourself, at the very least you should think about stocking this Bible, available from STL UK (hardbackpaperback) or, of course, direct from HodderFaith; and if you’re not sure what it’s all about, here’s Soul Survivor’s Andy Croft on a mission to persuade:

I confess that I have my reservations about the project, and I tweeted as much from the LST Bookshop:

Finding it difficult to get enthusiastic about the Soul Survivor ‘Bible in One Year’ scheme when it’s based on the NIV *sigh*

But back came a reply in very short order, from @bexp66:

be enthusiastic, my kids are talking bout readin the bible!! Tho they wanted The Message version! What wud you suggest?

Said I:

I just wish Soul Survivor had got together with a range of Bible publishers instead of going for something as flawed as the NIV


This could have been such a wonderful opportunity for Bible publishers to work together!

Said she:

agreed, esp. with the flawed comment. Inclusive should have been essential as well.

There’s no doubt about it: the NIV is, to quote Tom Wright, “a visibly and demonstrably flawed translation”, biased in its translation “to make sure that Paul should say what the broadly Protestant and evangelical tradition said he said” — not only on justification, the particular topic Bishop Tom is referring to here, but also in terms of reinforcing misogyny rather than encouraging equality and inclusivity. If it had to be NIV-based, why not at least get into the early 21st Century with the TNIV??

But setting those reservations aside momentarily, it can surely only be a good thing for these youngsters to get to grips with the whole Bible rather than the decontextualised snippets most daily devotionals tend to offer. One can only hope that rather than spoon-feed them pre-packaged evangelical perspectives, the organisers will encourage their young (and not-so-young) conversation partners to read Scripture critically and intelligently, with their eyes wide open to its human origins and foibles: to not blindly affirm, “This is the Word of God” but to ask, “Is this the Word of God?” — and if it is, to ask, “What does it mean for us today?”

Andy Croft’s comments on today’s readings have even got Emma Jane going, and that’s definitely no bad thing. Nice one Emma!

17 thoughts on “In the Beginning: Soul Survivor ‘Bible in One Year’ starts today

  1. I travel a lot and use my ipod nano all the time. I listen to the “Daily Audio Bible” which follows a yearly plan. It has helped me greatly.

    God Bless

  2. Saying you will read the whole Bible is like saying you will read the whole shelf 1 at the library. It does not make sense.

    Most people can read the Genesis and the Gospels.
    Few people can read Job complete.
    And even fewer can do Isaiah, though as far as I know only Saint Augustine admitted it.

  3. If you want to be “traditional” or “old fashioned” depending on your point of view, the Lectionary used in mainstream churches, gets you through the Bible in a year, indeed the NT more than once in the year, and you can use whichever version of the Bible you want to overcome any problems with a particular version. The Lectionary has been used for donkeys years, so really there’s nothing new under the sun.

  4. I have read the whole bible in about 7 months.

    We followed a very good scheme, which a friend of mine found online, and edited to make it fit into the time-frame we had.

    I had previously tried “cover to cover” and Chronological schemes, but this was much better, a very similar scheme to the Soul Survivor one.

    Every day you read a little OT History, a little Prophesy or Wisdom and a little NT, and it works brilliantly.

    Reading every part of the bible is so helpful, far more than I ever thought it would be. I was certain that I had read “most of what maters” prior to doing it all, but skipping over genealogies, some of the OT Laws (like the ‘boring’ second half of Exodus or Leviticus) and confusing parts (like chunks of Daniel, Isaiah and Revelation) was to be expected, right?

    Boy was I wrong. It’s only when you read it all, that you realise just how wonderfully harmonious the 66 books of the bible really are.

    Plus a national campaign by people as well respected as soul survivor, has really captured the minds and imaginations of youngsters, which regardless of translation (you can follow it online in your own preferred translation of the bible without buying the NIV book anyway), as you say, has to be a good thing.

    Shame, really, that there was so little fandfare leading up to the start of it. Like many, the first i heard of it was when a few people came in, three or four days before it all kicked off, and asked why we only had one HB copy of it in stock (they wanted one for practically everyone in their youth group). Maybe their was, but we certainly missed the promotional messages leading up to launch, which is a shame.

    As for the NIV being “demonstrably flawed” and “Biased” all I say is this, show me someone who claims to have a (translation of the) Bible which isn’t, and I will show you a liar.

    The NIV is still, in spite of it’s flaws, the most widely read english Bible in the world, and while I can not say I like, or use it very much (I must confess a soft spot for both the NLT for it’s modern, easy reading approach, and the ESV for it’s transparency and faithfulness to the original text in my personal devotions) It does make sense to select the bible which sits in the pews of the majority of churches in the country.

    To pick the bible MOST people own, means that people can engage, and join in reading the identical passages as their friends and people around the country without investing in another Bible, is, i think, the fairest choice.

    As lovely an idea of a co-operative “best translation of each passage” bible would be, it would mean that to really take part, you would NEED to buy the “Bible in a Year” bible. At least by selecting the NIV, and making the daily reflections available online, most people can get involved with no further investment, if they don’t want to.


    • Are you not on Hodder’s trade emailing list, Luke? Ian Metcalfe (@147metcalfe) sent out a trade update back on August 23rd… mind you, even that’s a bit late for a Sept 1st launch. I think (and I stand ready to be corrected) they probably didn’t expect it to do much through B&M shops — the biggest sell was at Soul Survivor itself; we’re just picking up the crumbs from under their table.

      The fact that the NIV is the most popular doesn’t justify its use anymore than the fact that unfairly traded chocolate is still most popular would justify an event based around unfairly traded chocolate. The sad fact is that the NIV has got a big PR machine in the form of the former IBS (I wonder why they abandoned those initials?) now Biblica. Thousands of church leaders — even Tom Wright himself — were suckered in by the NIV promise of reliability etc which has proven so false.

      No: these kids need weaning off the NIV. It misrepresents the original languages in the same way that unfairly traded chocolate undermines the livelihoods of cocoa farmers.

      • If the point of the project is to sell bibles, then yes, absolutely, a better translation of the bible could, and perhaps should, have been selected, and your argument about fair trade holds water.

        If the point of the project is to be ACCESSIBLE, then I disagree.

        It’s much more akin to EOn encouraging us to recycle more, no to waste energy and make better, wiser decisions with what we already have.

        Yes it would be lovely if we all used 100% renewable resources which do not pollute, had solar panels on our roof and only ever drew electricity when we absolutely, definitely needed to. It’s a noble goal, and one they are working towards, but that doesn’t mean that in the interim we shouldn’t try to do better with what we already have.

        Since you can follow online, with what you already have, without having to spend money on the actual soul survivor branded Bible, then the most logical thing to do is pick the bible most of them already have… and given the choice between the NIV and the NCV Youth Bible, surely even you must agree that the NIV is the better choice.

        The point of the project, as i understand it is that thousands of young people will all be reading the exact same thing, on the exact same day for the next 12 months, and joining in the discussion online.

        At one of our churches in Walsall about 60 people are doing it, but only about 3 so far have actually brought the bible, and only about a dozen are expected to. I don’t know if that is common, but even if (say) half of the people who are joining in buy a bible, that still leaves half who are doing so in their own bibles, and if that is the case, surely, surely popularity has to play at least a part in decision making.

        Our job, as responsible retailers, and Church Leaders, is to try and educate our customers and congregations towards better translations, Soul Survivor’s job, at least in this project, is to get as man young people as possible excited about reading the bible, any bible… they have succeeded.

        For nearly 400 years, all we had is the (dare i say it) highly flawed KJV version of the bible, but that didn’t stop the Church from using it to great effect.

        I understand your desire to see more people reading more accurate bible translations (I keep ESV at eye level, even though others sell much better), but, if we’re honest, do we think that the bible in one year project would really be a success if the only people who were really able to take part were the small percentage who could afford to shell out 15 + quid for a new bible in whatever translation was chosen?

        And, purely out of interest, which translation would you all suggest? I see lots of criticism of the NIV, though no consensus about what should replace it. I wonder if there is any agreement, even here about the “best” available translation.

    • The Soul Survivor Bible in one year programme was presented to retailers at the High Leigh conference.

      I really enjoyed working through the Cover to Cover complete. Because it has Job right near the start it gives you a real sense of what you have let yourself in for at an early stage. If you can get through that bit then you can make it through the rest! I found what I tended to do was if I got stuck on a particular passage I then did a bit of extra study on that bit before moving on. So after I read Isaiah I realised I hadn’t understood a word of it so have been working through a commentary on it. Its taking me quite a bit longer than a year but its still all good!

      I wonder if there is a translation they could have chosen to use that wouldn’t have resulted in criticism?! Maybe the American Patriots bible?!

      • Love it, Joy 😀 … though APB isn’t a translation, of course…

        Time we took a leaf out of Islam’s book: if you’re going to be a Muslim, you learn Arabic and study the Qur’an in Arabic. Trouble is, most Christians are wimps: they look at another alphabet and run away screaming: they want it all neatly sliced and diced and served up with cookies & cream — no effort necessary.

        If a fraction of the energy invested in coming up with more variations on English language versions were spent on simple education, we could all of us be studying the Bible in Greek and Hebrew (and a wee bit of Aramaic for good measure). Then next time a JW came knocking at our doors declaring their New World Translation is the best thing since cookies & cream, we’d be able to offer them the real deal…

        Mind you, I guess we’d then spend our time arguing about which Greek manuscripts etc were the most faithful to the originals. It’s a bit of a no-win situation when the originals fell apart so long ago…

        • Really… Follow the Muslim Example… Really.

          We tried that once (we had a single, latin translation of the Bible) and it leads (as it does in Islam) to wild, horrible, bloody distortions of the scripture, because only the educated elite are able to read and understand it, which, of course, gives them the right to dictate to us pleb’s what the bible (or Qur’an) actually says… and then War… always war.

          The reason we have atrocities like September 11th is because most Muslims actually CAN’T read and understand Arabic, and a few are able to distort it’s words.

          While English translations of the bible are not perfect, they are close enough that it is (hopefully) not possible to twist it’s words to such devastating effect any more.

          I’m not saying that learning Hebrew and Greek are not beneficial, and I continue to try and teach myself the latter because i am certain that it is of benefit, but alas, we are not experts in biblical languages, culture, traditions etc, and learning just original languages often allows us to impart our own understanding of the words, and distort just as much as, if not more than, and english translation allows us to.

          Back to the Muslims, in britain only about 5-15% (Depending on which stats your read) of muslims under 35, (who’s first language is not Arabic) can actually read Arabic at all. Of those, most can ONLY read it, (that is to say, see letters, and form sounds) with most acknowledging that beyond a few learned phrases that they do not actually UNDERSTAND it.

          It’s the same as me saying i know german, because i recognize the letters, can probably read aloud most of the words, and know by heart a few words and phrases… like Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, Polizei Gebäude and dummkopf.

          I went to a school (Blue Coat Comp. in walsall) which is roughly a 40/20/40 split between White / Black / Asian kids.

          During ramadan, a few of my friends would read the Qur’an cover to cover. One day duting form time, I asked a friend of mine (Trev) who’s table I sat on, what he was reading. He couldn’t tell me. In our whole class, no-one could tell us.

          It took us the best part of the day to find out (it had become somewhat of a quest, Trev was the sort who criticised christianity a lot because the Bible had become distorted, and he wouldn’t let me throw this back to him) It seemed that no-one in the school really understood what it said… eventually, we got the answer in (of all places) the school library, where there was an english translation of the Qur’an (go figure.)

          He didn’t see the irony… after all, he was still reading the words the prophet Mohammed gave him. It didn’t matter that he didn’t understand them, he could READ them, and his Imam would tell him what it meant.

          And we Really think that this is a better way?

        • Luke, my friend… I didn’t say follow the Muslim example, I said take a leaf out of Islam’s book. Muslims are our brothers and sisters and there’s plenty we can learn from one another if we’re willing to make the effort … and in this instance I think it’s an important lesson: the determination to take their scriptures seriously, to the point where if you’re serious about your faith you commit to studying your sacred book in its original language.

          The fact that many Muslims don’t live up to that standard no more invalidates that as an approach to Scripture than the fact that many Christians don’t live up to the basics of Jesus’ teaching invalidates Christianity.

          It’s not Islamic ignorance of Arabic that led to 9/11 — that’s a gross oversimplification if ever there was one; and Christianity is guilty of at least as many atrocities as Islam, probably more — let’s face it, we’ve got several hundred years head start on Islam and we should hang our heads in shame at the crimes against humanity committed by our forbears … ours is an inglorious history with the Crusades and the Inquisitions, witch-hunts, burning of heretics and anti-semitism to name just a few areas where Christians have got it horrifically wrong, and continue to get it wrong to this day.

          I am not suggesting an educated elite: I’m suggesting education for all. That’s the way forward. In dialogue with and showing mutual respect for other faiths whilst we’re at it.

          The criticisms you level against your young Muslim friends could be just as easily levelled against many Christians who simply accept what their pastors and ministers tell them as gospel truth when all too often it’s gospel distortion. Have you listened to the Christian nutjobs proclaiming a so-called gospel of health and wealth? And people swallow it! Why? Because they either haven’t studied the Scriptures or have studied distortions of the Scriptures.

          Let’s read our Bibles intelligently! Look back at my original post: I’m not condemning the SS initiative (though those initials are a tad unfortunate, like IBS). It’s great! But we need to face the facts: there isn’t a Nearly Infallible Version — the only way we’re going to get close to what the original writers intended is to learn their languages; and if a dork like me can begin to get to grips with biblical Greek and Hebrew, so can anyone else with more than two brain cells to rub together.

          (and check out 7/7: Muslim Perspectives for an intelligent Muslim response to Islamic atrocities, btw).

  5. Ίσως θα έπρεπε να διαβάζετε πάντα την ελληνική νέα tesament στην αρχική ελληνικά;

      • I could say that it was all the Greek that I learnt from Ian McNair at LBC all those years ago but actually it was that clever Google translator and a copy and paste job (plus an unnoticed spelling mistake of mine that even Google couldn’t translate.) I don’t think Google does Koine Greek, just modern

  6. So, out of interest, bearing in mind that no translation will ever be perfect, and that many participating in this project will be teens with little or no bible knowledge, what translation would you suggest?

    I’ve been trying to re-teach myself NT Greek with none other than the McNair I had at LBC/LST!

  7. Having racked up study notes of almost 50,000 words on this topic, I would disagree somewhat with the citation linked to Tom Wright. By and large the NIV is unflawed, yet though the best of the pack, it only racked up 64% of what we deemed the biblical benchmark. Translation is never ideal.
    Some stats based on the pack leader, the TNIV:
    Overall, the 1984 NIV rated only 64% to the TNIV. The NJB (98%), NLT (95%); NAB (88%), NCV (84%), HCSB (80%), ESV (79%), NRSV (78%)…even the NKJV & Message, scored better. The EOB & CJB scored lowest. These scores are combined totals under columns about Marriage, John’s Gospel, God’s Name, Deity of God’s son, & Gender/Age.
    Following stats based on maximum possible:
    For gender/age, only the NCV (92%) scored higher than the TNIV’s 88% (the MSG only 57% and the NIV84 3%!). Joint silver, the CEV (88%) has an over-inclusive itch.
    For marriage theology the KJV1769 came best (100% – some allowance for archaism), then NAB, NJB, NKJV, ESV, even the NWT. The TNIV (43%) & NIV84 (36%) are pretty misleading but the MSG, CEV, & NLT are dire.
    The other Gold/Silver/Bronze winners were John’s Gospel (NET/TNIV&NIV2011/NLT); God’s Name (NJB & WEB/NWT (not for NT)/NLT & HCSB); the son’s deity (ISV/NLT & all NIV flavours/ESV).
    The current NIV (2011) falls back only a little on gender/ageism, but has made gains in other ways (uncharted). A spread of English Versions are good for study. looks good. The NIV84 has little value in the West.
    Dr Steve H Hakes (

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