Last year our Content Director Glenn Paauw received a message through Facebook from Jose María De Rus Martínez, a headmaster at a public school in Linares, Spain. Jose told Glenn that he had read Glenn’s book Saving the Bible From Ourselves, and it had inspired him to create and publish an original Reading Bible in Spanish.
When Glenn passed along the news, we were excited and we all had questions. How did Jose find out about Glenn’s book? What does his new Reading Bible look like? How did people react to this new format?
I had the chance to talk with Jose this week via the magic of Skype and hear more about the new Reading Bible he’s created.
Tell me a little bit about your background
I’m the 3rd generation of born-again Christians in my family. I grew up in a Christian context, so my mom and dad taught me to love the Bible — there was always a necessity of reading the Bible and sharing it with other people. I became an elder in a Bible church here in my town, and I’m also a Bible teacher in my home church for many years. I also teach homiletics at a Bible institute online in Spain. So the Bible is a crucial book in my life and my study, and I consider that people need to read the Bible not just as a reference book but also as a narrative book. I’m also the headmaster of a public school here in town, married to Deborah for 19 years and I’m the father of 3 kids – so I stay busy!
How did you hear about Saving the Bible From Ourselves?
I was working together with the IberoAmerican Bible Society publishing a Bible that is based in the Masoretic text, in the Samaritan Penteteuch, Qumran manuscripts, and Septuagint. And for the New Testament it’s based on the 28th edition of the Novum Testamentum. And now this Bible is being sold here in Spain and around the world.
So while working on that, InterVarsity Press sent me a copy of Saving the Bible From Ourselves by Glenn Paauw, and I think the Lord guided me to read this book in that precise moment because together with the IberoAmerican Bible Society we felt the necessity of making a new, fresh, readable, narrative way of reading the New Covenant. So we decided to start working on this publication, which we finished last September. So the Lord used Glenn’s book to guide me in this work.
(Jose held up the New Testament on our Skype call and showed me the beautiful hardcover volume with single-column layout – no chapters or verses)
This is the result of reading Glenn Paauw’s book. It’s called Nuevo Pacto – De Regreso A La Fuente, which means “New Covenant – Back to the Source.” You can see we presented this new way of reading the Bible without numbers, without notes, without subtitles, nothing except a small reference at the top where people can know where they’re reading.
But also, this volume is arranged not in the standard order, but following the most reliable testimony of the primitive church (click here to see the book order in this edition.) We finished this publication in September and within a week it was sold out, so we were very happy about that. It’s a fresh way of reading the Bible, and I would dare to say it’s the first book published in this way because all of the publications for the Spanish-speaking people are arranged in two columns, the standard way.
So I thought that the work of the Institute for Bible Reading and Glenn Paauw’s book was an inspiration for us to do this work.
Is this New Testament still being sold in Spain? Has it expanded to any new areas?
The first edition was printed and sold here in Spain, and now it’s on Amazon. The same book is being used in Central America and South America for a movement called Reading Together where people connect via a platform called Fusi and read the Bible together.
Have you found yourself reading this new edition very much?
This has changed my way of reading the Bible because you can read it as a novel or as literature, and you don’t really know when to stop reading! We read some letters in my church using this book and people found that they understood the meaning of the whole letter, the whole book, because of the continuous reading – Galatians or Philippians, for example. So you can catch the whole meaning and whole concept – why Paul wrote that letter in that way.
People who bought this book told us they found that this edition let them read the Bible in a fresh new way, a continuous way, without the human additives. It was fresh way to read the New Testament, so now we’re working on making the whole Bible into this format, hopefully by next year.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Just to congratulate you and the Institute for Bible Reading. We want to start a similar association here in Spain for the purpose of guiding people to read the Bible in this “real” way. People are struggling to read the Bible here, so we want to make the reading easier for them. So we don’t necessarily want to start our own Institute for Bible Reading, but a similar way of guiding them to read their Bible.
Jose blogs about the Bible and other Christian books at blogdebiblias.wordpress.com