The Living Bible’s stated purpose 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. Here’s an example of a passage from the Living Bible:
Once again an immense crowd gathered around [Jesus] on the beach as he was teaching, so he got into a boat and sat down and talked from there. His usual method of teaching was to tell the people stories. One of them went like this:
“Listen! A farmer decided to sow some grain. As he scattered it across his field, some of it fell on a path, and the birds came and picked it off the hard ground and ate it. Some fell on thin soil with underlying rock. It grew up quickly enough, but soon wilted beneath the hot sun and died because the roots had no nourishment in the shallow soil. Other seeds fell among thorns that shot up and crowded the young plants so that they produced no grain. But some of the seeds fell into good soil and yielded thirty times as much as he had planted—some of it even sixty or a hundred times as much! If you have ears, listen!” — Mark 4 (Living Bible)
This conversational, storytelling style is a hallmark of the The Living Bible. It makes it an ideal Bible for children. In fact, making the Bible accessible for children was one of the main motivations for the Living Bible in the first place, as can be seen in this 1979 interview with its creator, Kenneth Taylor:
“The children were one of the chief inspirations for producing the Living Bible. Our family devotions were tough going because of the difficulty we had understanding the King James Version, which we were then using, or the Revised Standard Version, which we used later. All too often I would ask questions to be sure the children understood, and they would shrug their shoulders—they didn’t know what the passage was talking about. So I would explain it. I would paraphrase it for them and give them the thought. It suddenly occurred to me one afternoon that I should write out the reading for that evening thought by thought, rather than doing it on the spot during our devotional time. So I did, and read the chapter to the family that evening with exciting results—they knew the answers to all the questions I asked!” — Kenneth Taylor, in a Christianity Today interview
The result is a very readable Bible paraphrase that will be appreciated by children, non-fluent English speakers, and anyone who finds other Bible translations difficult to understand. We’re grateful to Tyndale House Publishers for making it available on Bible Gateway. Take a look at the Living Bible for yourself online or in the Bible Gateway app. Print copies are available at the Bible Gateway store.