Why isn’t the TNIV available on BibleGateway?

Q. Do you know why BibleGateway does not have the TNIV?

The TNIV (Today’s New International Version) was officially “folded into” the updated NIV in 2011. The TNIV, published in 2005 and produced by the same translation committee as the NIV, was essentially the third edition of the NIV, after the 1978 and 1984 editions. Previously Biblica and Zondervan were publishing the TNIV alongside the 1984 NIV, but now only a single edition of the translation, the 2011 update, is being published.

Harper Collins, which owns Zondervan, also owns BibleGateway, and in keeping with this policy it does not make the TNIV available on line. For those who still want to use the TNIV online, however, it can be found at BibleStudyTools.

I have to admit that the translation remains a favorite of mine for its accuracy, readability, and especially its careful work in the area of gender accuracy, and I use it often.  The Books of the Bible made its debut in the TNIV in 2007 before being reissued in the latest update to the NIV.  The TNIV was used for other notable projects such as The Bible Experience, an audio recording of the Scriptures by leading actors. The 2011 update to the NIV incorporates most of the changes the TNIV made to the 1984 edition.



Why is Daniel not among the Prophets in The Books of the Bible?

Q. I have two questions. Our group has read all The Books of the Bible series that are available to date and we are just finishing The Prophets. Why is Daniel not in the Prophets book and instead is slated for the Writings?

Second, Ezekiel is constantly referred to as “Son of Man.” Since this is a reference often used for Jesus, why is it that Ezekiel seems to singled out for same designation?

We have found The Books of the Bible to be an incredible read and one that I feel everyone should experience. Your blog is also a great source for thoughtful answers.

I’ll get to your questions in just a moment.  But first, let me thank you very much for your appreciative words! I’m glad your group is having such a great experience engaging the Scriptures in The Books of the Bible format. We’ve heard the same thing from countless others–when the Bible is presented in a way that allows readers to recognize and engage its fascinating variety of literary forms, it indeed becomes “an incredible read.”

You’ve probably noticed that in my posts I often refer to the Understanding the Books of the Bible study guides.  These were actually designed to accompany the new format and provide a “next step” for people who “read big” through large portions of Scripture using The Books of the Bible.  After you “read big,” the next thing is to “go deep” by returning to one or more of the books in that part of the Bible to study in more detail.

For example, after you’ve “read big” through The Books of the Bible New Testament, you can “go deep” by using the study guides to John or to Paul’s Journey Letters.  After reading through the Covenant History (Genesis-Kings), you can look at some of its material in more detail with the help of the Genesis or Joshua-Judges-Ruth study guides. Once you’ve read The Prophets, you can study Isaiah or the Minor Prophets Before the Exile.  Ideally a rhythm of reading and studying, of “reading big” and “going deep,” will help a group become deeply steeped in the Scriptures over the years and steadily transformed by the power of God’s word.  So if you’re enjoying the discussions here on this blog, I hope you might find the study guides just as helpful in understanding the Bible, but in an even more systematic way, and using the new edition you’re enjoying so much.

But now let me get to your questions.  I’ll answer the one about Daniel and The Prophets in this post, and the one about Ezekiel in my next post.

As I describe here, I was a member of the team that created The Books of the Bible. We put the biblical books in a non-traditional order because we realized that the customary order can actually hinder readers’ understanding in many cases.  As we explain in the Preface to The Books of the Bible (found in Biblica editions but unfortunately not in Zondervan ones), Paul’s letters “are badly out of historical order, and this makes it difficult to read them with an appreciation for where they fit in the span of his life or for how they express the development of his thought. . . . James has strong affinities with other biblical books in the wisdom tradition. But it has been placed within a group of letters, suggesting that it too should be read as a letter.”

Placing Daniel among the prophets is another way in which the traditional order leads us to have the wrong expectations about a book.  Daniel is actually unlike the prophetic books, which consist largely of poetic oracles.  Instead it’s made up of six stories of Judeans in exile, similar to the book of Esther, followed by a series of visions that have many characteristics of apocalyptic literature, like the book of Revelation.

In the Hebrew Bible, Daniel is not placed among the Prophets, but among the Writings.  It was moved to the prophets in the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament), whose book order our English Bibles largely follow.  We felt that the the distinctive kind of literature represented in the book of Daniel could be best recognized if that book were once again placed among the Writings, which we grouped according to literary type in The Books of the Bible.  (For a broader discussion of the distorting effects of the traditional book order in the Bible, see pp. 67-75 in my book After Chapters and Verses.)

I hope this explanation is helpful, and thanks again for your encouragement!

“The Books of the Bible: The Prophets” from Biblica

How can I know when I’ve “covered” a given book as I study the Bible?

Q. I have an ongoing Bible study project that I keep developing and refining. It’s the sort of thing that would probably take longer than my lifetime to finish, but I like to keep it moving forward anyways. I prefer having a pre-established plan of action before going too in depth on these sorts of huge projects, so I’m trying to distill a list of items to study for each book of the Bible to say that I’ve more or less “covered it.” The list below is a rough sketch of what I’d ideally like to study for each book of the Bible and I was just wondering if you could either add to the list or make some suggestions in terms of what I should prioritize. Thanks so much!

– Author (along with main theories about authorship of the book)
– Intended Audience
– Date written (Main theories about date)
– Culture and social setting of the text (People, economy, government, religion, world situation, worldviews and philosophies, gods, etc.)
– Geography / Topography of the area and any bearings this might have on understanding the text.
– Literary Genre of the book and any implications this has on understanding the text
– Word Study of key words in the book (Etymology, Variant Connotations, Ellipses, Difficulties in Translation, Technical Usage, Repeated Words, etc.)
– Key point being made by the author in each literary segment of text
– Distinctions in the text (Unique concepts, descriptions, words, theological points, etc.)
– Passages elsewhere in the Bible this text clarifies or that clarify this text.
– Theology that can be derived from the book (explicit or implicit)
– Outline of the book (Main arguments of the author and natural literary breaks in the text)
– Historical views / evolution of understanding of key theological points made in the text throughout church history.

Tools for study: Interlinear Bibles, Hebrew/Greek Lexicons, (Expository) Bible Dictionary, Bible Atlas, Strong’s Concordance, Various Commentaries, Church History Books, and Ancient History and Culture Books.

This is a really excellent project you’ve got going!  What I like most about it is that you’ve recognized that you really need to study the Bible book by book, and that you need to know the answers to some foundational questions in order to understand each individual book.  It’s amazingly like what I taught in my course at the Regent College Summer School a few years back (whose story I tell here), which ultimately led to my being invited to join the group that produced The Books of the Bible. (You can now see the intentionality in that title!)  Here’s an excerpt from my course lectures:

– – – – –

It should be clear by now that even though we should indeed approach the Bible on the book level, the book names, order, and (in some cases) boundaries we are accustomed to are, like chapters and verses, traditional factors impeding an objective reading of the Bible. We therefore need to take a new approach to the Bible, one that is informed and guided not by tradition, but by the structures and emphases inherent in the biblical text itself. And in order to do this, we may need to remind ourselves all over again how to read a book.

How to Read a Book is, in fact, the title of a classic text by Mortimer Adler (which he later updated with his colleague, Charles van Doren). Their text explains that we cannot meaningfully read smaller sections of a book (the way we typically approach books of the Bible) without first attaining an appreciation for the whole. Specifically, we need to know the answer to four questions:

– Why was this book written? What specific situation was the author speaking to? That is, what problem or problems gave rise to the book in the first place? In biblical interpretation, this is usually referred to as determining the “circumstances and occasion of composition.”

– What kind of book is this? Is it a novel, a textbook, a collection of poetry, a biography? The kind of book we are reading should determine our expectations in reading. For example, should we ask whether everything the author describes really could have happened? We would not apply this test to a James Bond novel, but we would when reading something purporting to be the true account of an ascent of Mount Everest. The different kinds of writing are commonly called “literary genres”; we determine literary genre precisely in order to have the right expectations when we read.

– How is the book put together? What are the major parts, and into what parts are these divided, and so on? When it comes to modern books, it is usually the case that the chapters and larger divisions correspond to the argument or story’s essential parts, because these divisions are the work of the author. In the case of biblical books, however, we need to be aware that the chapters and verses are not the work of the original authors; they were added centuries later, as we have already explained. While it is theoretically possible for them nevertheless to correspond to a biblical book’s essential parts, in actual practice, they more often do not. So we must make it another piece of preliminary business to determine what we might call a book’s “literary structure.”

– Finally, we must ask what overall idea or purpose unites all of the parts and aspects of the book. We might speak of this as an attempt to express its “thematic unity.”

– – – – –

You can see how the program for understanding biblical books that I sketched out in my course, and which was built into the “DNA” of the format for The Books of the Bible, overlaps almost entirely with your list of “study items” for each book.  Yours could easily be organized under the four categories I list: circumstances and occasion of writing, literary genre, literary structure, and thematic development. Each of these four key background items is discussed and explained in my series of study guides to the books of the Bible.

The main thing I’d say you’re missing, and it’s a very significant thing, is a knowledge of the languages in which the Bible was originally written.  From my own experience, I’d say that an ability to read the Bible fluently in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek has contributed at least as much to my understanding of the biblical books as a knowledge of all the other factors you list combined.  It’s one thing to try to make sense of Greek or Hebrew syntax with an interlinear Bible, or to try to do comparative word studies using Strong’s Concordance; it’s quite another to read the biblical author’s words and thoughts as they were originally expressed, to do word studies using a concordance to the original-language text, etc.  So if you are going to invest all of this time and effort in a lifelong program to understand the Bible, I’d encourage you to learn the original languages.  This investment will be richly repaid.  (And for each language you would then want a critical text of the Bible as well as a language textbook, lexicon, analytical lexicon, grammar, and concordance, at least.  I also really appreciate having a textual history, textual commentary, and theological dictionary.)

And let me mention one more thing.  There are some tremendous electronic resources out there these days, including software and web sites, that make searches, textual studies, etc. fast and powerful.  Some of them will link a text to much of the history of the interpretation of that text, which you said you were interested in.  So I’d encourage you to become familiar with software such as Logos, Accordance, Bibleworks, etc. and find the best fit for you interests, as well as with online sites such as BibleGateway.com (my favorite), BibleHub.com, BibleStudyTools.com, etc.

Once again I commend you for this thorough and ambitious desire to know the Bible well by understanding each its books.  You’re definitely on the right track!  Keep up the good work.  What you’re after is worth a lifetime of study.

Referencing the Bible without using chapters and verses

Readers of this blog will have noticed that in my posts I never reference the Bible by chapter and verse.  That’s because the original purpose of this blog was to be a resource for individuals and groups who were using the Understanding the Books of the Bible study guides from InterVarsity Press.  Those guides were designed to be used with The Books of the Bible from Biblica, an edition of the Scriptures that takes out chapters and verses and instead presents the biblical books in their natural literary forms.

This blog’s readership has now expanded well beyond the circle of the users of the study guides, as others have been reading along and asking their own questions.  I’m very glad to have everyone aboard.  But I’m sticking with the original format of no chapters and verses for some very important reasons.

Chapters and verses are late and artificial additions to the Bible that distort our understanding of the literary structure and genre of its books.  By making all the books appear to be look-it-up reference material, they suggest the wrong answer to the question, “What is the Bible and what are we supposed to do with it?”  They make it only too simple to zip in and out of the Bible, looking at statements without regard to their literary and historical settings.  (I explain much more about this in my book After Chapters and Verses.)

For all of these reasons, I reference instead by content and context, which I find much more meaningful and more respectful of the Bible.  In this recent post, for example, I refer to how Paul in 1 Corinthians “applied the law about not muzzling an ox to his own right to receive support as an apostle.”  This kind of referencing encourages greater biblical literacy: once you learn even a little about 1 Corinthians, you can find that place without difficulty, whether or not your Bible has chapters and verses in it.

This is actually how Jesus and the apostles referenced the Bible.  For example, when disputing with the Sadducees about the resurrection, Jesus referred them to a particular passage by asking, “Have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush . . .?”  And in Romans, Paul refers to “what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel” before he quotes Elijah’s words at Mount Horeb, ““Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars . . .”

And when it comes to referencing the Scriptures by content and context, we today enjoy one great advantage that Jesus and the apostles didn’t: hypertext.  If we are writing online (or in any other format that supports hyperlinks, including even email), we can link our descriptive references directly to the actual text of Scripture on an online Bible site. (When I do this, as you can see in the preceding paragraph or in any of my previous posts, I choose a key word or phrase in my context-and-content reference to serve as the link.)

There are many good Bible sites out there to choose from; I’ve always linked my blog posts to BibleGateway because it’s my personal favorite for online Bible reading, searches, and so forth. So far, over the life of this blog, readers have clicked through to BibleGateway many hundreds of times to read the actual text of the passages I’ve been discussing.

Here’s what I hope will happen when they do, so that we don’t perpetuate that zip-in-and-zip-out mentality.  I try to provide as much of the immediate context as possible for each reference.  However, if a statement might be hard to locate, I may cite it alone.  Either way, I hope that readers will use the “expand” button in the middle of the BibleGateway toolbar just above the text, to call up an even wider context.  And I also hope they will use the “Page Options” button to turn off verse numbers and headings.  That way they will be reading the Scriptures as this blog has intended to present them from the start, as they appear in The Books of the Bible.

I encourage all of you to get into the habit of referencing the Scriptures by content and context and then providing hyperlinks to the actual text in your own writings about the Bible.  This will be more meaningful and respectful, and still allow the same ease of access as chapters and verses, but without endorsing them as if they constituted the real structure of the Bible.

Full disclosure:  I was already planning to write this post when I received an invitation to become a charter member of the Bible Gateway Bloggers Grid.  Its members are asked to link the Scripture references in their posts to Bible Gateway—something I had already been doing from the start.  They’re also asked to put in a good word for the site from time to time, which is also something I’d been doing already (as in this post). It’s something I’m happy to do because, well, I’m a fan.  In return, BibleGateway will promote my posts from time to time, particularly when they have some direct connection with the site.  I’m very pleased to have this new association.

Sample page from BibleGateway with "Page Options" used to turn off chapter and verse numbers.  The "Expand" button (four horizontal lines) is in the center of the toolbar just above the text.
Sample page from BibleGateway with “Page Options” used to turn off chapter and verse numbers. The “Expand” button (four horizontal lines) is in the center of the toolbar just above the text.

Should Psalms 19, 40, and 66 be divided?

Q.  Since The Books of the Bible combines Psalms 9-10 and 42-43, why doesn’t it divide Psalms 19, 40, and 66?  I’ve heard that each of those were originally two separate psalms that were later placed together.

One essential goal of The Books of the Bible is to help people read the Scriptures with greater understanding and enjoyment by presenting whole literary compositions as the Bible’s fundamental units of meaning and authority.  That’s why the edition removes chapter and verse numbers and section headings–they send the wrong message about what those units are.  That’s also why it recombines individual compositions such as Psalms 9-10 and 42-43, as well as longer, more complex compositions such as Luke-Acts.

There’s clear internal evidence that those psalms should be recombined:
–  An acrostic pattern runs all the way through Psalm 9-10, in which pairs of lines begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.  (This pattern has become corrupted in the Masoretic Text, but it can be restored by reference to other Hebrew manuscripts and ancient versions.  The NIV translation reflects a restored acrostic pattern.)
– A three-fold repetition of the same refrain ties together Psalm 42-43. (“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”)  This is like the threefold refrain in other psalms, for example, Psalm 80 (“Restore us, O God make your face shine on us, that we may be saved”).

There’s also external evidence, in the manuscript tradition, that Psalms 9-10 and 42-43 are originally unified compositions.  Psalm 9-10 is a single psalm in the Septuagint and Psalm 42-43 is a single psalm in many Hebrew manuscripts.  So they should indeed be recombined.

But it is not similarly the case that Psalms 19, 40, and 66 should be divided.  The argument for dividing them is based what is known as form criticism, the idea that the history of a composition can be determined by identifying the literary genres of its constituent parts.  (There is no manuscript evidence that Psalms 19, 40, or 66 ever circulated in separate parts.)

The case that some scholars make for dividing these psalms is based on the distinctive conventions of the different psalm genres:  supplication (or lament), thanksgiving, and praise.  (I introduce and explore these genres in my study guide to Psalms.)  Some scholars feel that they can discern two different types of psalms living together uneasily under a single number in these cases, and they want to pull them apart.

For example, Psalm 40 appears to contain a fully articulated psalm of thanksgiving, acknowledging God’s deliverance, and then a fully developed psalm of supplication, asking God not to “withhold his mercy.”  These seem to be two separate occasions of composition, and so it appears that two different psalms have been put together here.

However, in his book The Message of the Psalms, Walter Bruggemann demonstrates (quite convincingly, to my mind) that Psalm 40 is not simply a psalm of thanksgiving to which a separate psalm of supplication has become attached.  Rather, the psalm of supplication has been crafted expressly to be added onto the (likely pre-existing) psalm of thanksgiving, resulting in a new integral composition.  The supplication intentionally echoes the specific language of the thanksgiving in several places, for example:

At the end of the thanksgiving it says, “I did not conceal your love (hesed) and faithfulness (‘emeth)”;
At the start of the supplication it says, “May your love (hesed) and faithfulness (‘emeth) always protect me.”

In the thanksgiving: “I speak of your . . . saving help (teshua‘)”;
In the supplication:  “may those who long for your saving help (teshua‘) . . .”

In the thanksgiving: God’s deeds are “too many to declare” (they are “beyond numbering”);
In the supplication: “troubles without number [“beyond numbering”] surround me”

These deliberate echoes of the language of the thanksgiving in the supplication show that the psalmist has used the occasion of celebrating one deliverance as an opportunity to pray for rescue from a further trouble.  So Psalm 40, as we know it, is an intentional, integral composition.

Similarly, Psalm 66 is not, as some have argued, a psalm of praise for God’s historical deliverance of the nation at the time of the exodus, to which a psalm of thanksgiving for God’s deliverance of the psalmist personally has somehow become attached.  Rather, the whole psalm is a thanksgiving that begins with a “song of victory” that harkens back to the exodus as the archetypal event of deliverance.  (Compare the ending of Psalm 77, a psalm of supplication that similarly invokes the exodus.)  Claus Westermann discusses the role of the “song of victory” found in many psalms of thanksgiving in his book The Psalms: Structure, Content, and Message.

Finally, some scholars consider Psalm 19 to be two psalms of different genres that have been combined, the first a psalm of praise for God’s glories in creation (like Psalm 8) and the second a “poem of the law” that extols the value of meditating on God’s word (like Psalm 1).  It’s possible that the first part of this psalm did once circulate independently.  But as we know it today, it has been intentionally paired with the second part to create a meditation on the “two books” that reveal God: creation and the Scriptures.  It is an integral composition, even if it may incorporate an earlier song, and it would not be proper to pull it apart.

We can witness a similar process of composition at work in our own day as songwriters have take traditional hymns and add their own original material to make new integral compositions, for example, Todd Agnew’s “Grace Like Rain” from “Amazing Grace” or David Crowder’s expansion of “All Creatures of our God and King.”  We would not want to pull these songs apart, nor should we pull apart the psalms that have been created by a very similar process.

The initial page of the Leiden St. Louis Psalter, an illuminated manuscript of the book of Psalms. The “B” is the initial letter of Psalm 1 in Latin, “beatus” (blessed).

What order would you put the books of the Bible in?

You walk in to your adult group at church and the leader gives you a collection of paper strips with the names of the books of the Bible written on them.  “What order would you put these in?” the leader asks.

A friend of mine actually did this in the group he leads, and he got some interesting responses.

One person said immediately, “Well, THE order, of course!”  For that person, custom and use had already fixed the books of the Bible in THE order, and there could be no deviation.

But others felt freed by the exercise to think about some possible alternatives.  One person put books like John and James first and the “hard stuff” last.  Why?  They said they were thinking about people who were new to the Bible; they wanted to make it more accessible to them.  Another person put the books in chronological order so a reader would progress sequentially through time when going through the Bible.  And someone else tried to put books together that spoke to the same audience, so readers could see how they addressed similar situations and concerns.

There’s nothing improper about doing an exercise like this.  Book order was actually quite fluid for the first three quarters of the Bible’s history.  “THE order” that we know today only appeared around 1500 with the advent of printing.  Before that, a variety of orders were used, in pursuit of different literary, historical and liturgical goals.  So there’s nothing that says various orders can’t still be used today.

The non-traditional order of the biblical books in The Books of the Bible, it should be specified, is not intended to create a new fixed order, another version of “THE order” to replace the conventional one.  Rather, that order was chosen because it served the goals of the edition, which were to encourage the reading of whole books with an appreciation for their historical and literary contexts.  But other orders could legitimately serve other goals, such as the ones just described.

How about you?  What order would you put the books of the Bible in?

A “periodic table” of the books of the Bible created by Tim Challies. Note that if you go from top to bottom and read straight across from left to right, rather than reading down the left column and then down the right column, you get a non-traditional order that helps you appreciate books of similar literary genres in both testaments.

Didn’t Jesus and the apostles quote verses to support their teachings?

People ask this question from time to time when they hear about The Books of the Bible, because it presents the biblical books as whole literary works, without any chapters and verses.  The questioners wonder how anyone would be able to quote verses if all Bibles were like this, and since quoting verses seems to be something Jesus and the apostles did, they think it should be possible for everyone to keep doing it.

A friend of mine blogged about this very question a while back and I’d like to share how I responded to his post at the time.  John Dunham, a member of the Bible Design Group that created The Books of the Bible, explained on his blog Quibbling how an article by W. Sibley Towner helped him become much more comfortable with the “versejacking” that the New Testament authors appear to engage in.

We can define versejacking as taking statements from the Scriptures and applying them to contexts that are different from (and, in the worst cases, contrary to) the contexts to which they originally applied.  In other words, it’s the practice of non-contextual or counter-contextual application of isolated biblical statements.

The fact that the New Testament writers appear to do this in many instances has long been troubling to interpreters.  Until recently the only recourse was to draw a contrast between so-called “inspired subjectivity” and “hermeneutical objectivity,” in the words of an essay by John Walton that’s cited in the Quibbling post.  In other words, the biblical writers can get away with this because they’re inspired, but don’t you try this at home.  You need to be objective and carefully contextual.

More recently, however, there’s been a realization that the New Testament writers are themselves being objective and contextual.  They’re actually making valid applications of statements originally spoken at one point in redemptive history to corresponding points later in that history as it unfolds.  For example, things that are originally spoken of Israel can be applied to Jesus as he embodies the people or work of God on earth.  What is spoken of Israel can also be applied validly to the community of Jesus’ followers as the new people of God.

This typological principle accounts for what happens in places like the ones at the beginning of Matthew where the gospel writer describes Scriptures such as “out of Egypt have I called my son” as having been “fulfilled” in the life of Jesus.  This statement was originally a historical description by Hosea of the exodus, not a prophecy about the future career of the Messiah.  So this does seem to be a case of versejacking.

“The Flight Into Egypt,” Bartolome Esteban Murillo. Is this what Hosea meant by “out of Egypt I called my son”?

However, “fulfilled” in cases like this doesn’t mean that a future foretold has come to pass.  Rather, it means that a statement spoken earlier in redemptive history has taken on a fuller and deeper meaning in the light of later redemptive-historical events.  Jesus embodies the new Israel and his flight to Egypt and return from there is like a second exodus.

This promising new understanding is articulated in Towner’s article and in other articles such as Greg Beale’s “Did Jesus and His Followers Preach the Right Doctrine From the Wrong Texts?” and Peter Enns’ book Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament.  (Dr. Beale later updated his article to interact with Dr. Enns’ book.)

While appreciating, and carefully emulating, apostolic typological hermeneutics may feel like condoning “versejacking,” it’s actually very consistent with the overall vision that inspired The Books of the Bible.  We wanted to format the Bible in such a way that people could appreciate its grand sweep and see how the overall story unfolded.  With such an appreciation, which the apostolic writers had themselves, valid typological applications can be made.  In fact, one unexpected benefit of The Books of the Bible may be to equip people to make applications that are closer to the New Testament ones in their actual essence, even as it steers people away from non-contextual, non-typological applications that only appear coincidentally to be like the New Testament ones on the surface.

None of this supports or condones a very different kind of versejacking, which begins with the premise that there’s such a thing as a “Bible verse.”  This other kind of versejacking sees the Bible as a collection of some 11,000 discrete propositions that are jumbled together and need to be sorted and connected topically.

The very premise that there is such a thing as a Bible verse, and that our goal as readers is to get as much as possible out of a single verses at a time, is contrary to the true character of Scripture.  Hopefully taking the verses out of the Bible will enable people to recognize what the Bible really is, a collection of complete literary works, and help them begin to approach it on its own terms.

But I’m afraid that habits built on “Bible verses” are deeply ingrained and may need some time to change.  That being the case, I would suggest that we keep using the term “versejacking” to describe the approach that takes up “verses” in isolation. We should use some other term to describe what the apostles are doing when they understand Jesus and the community of his followers as the continuation of the story that begins with Israel and they use the language of the earlier part of the story to tell its later parts.

Enns calls this “christotelic interpretation,” in which Christ is understood as the goal (telos) of the story.  Other terms would be Christological or typological interpretation.  I’d go with any of those.  And, as I said, The Books of the Bible might just promote the wider use of this approach in our day.