This week my copy of "Inspired by... the Bible Experience" arrived in my mailbox sent directly from Chapters-Indigo online bookstore. For those of you who have never heard of it, "The Bible Experience" is a new, fully dramatized reading of the TNIV New Testament done by an array of over 200 "all-star actors, musicians, and personalities." I have not had a chance to listen to all of it yet, but what I have heard is really, really good and definitely worth listening to over and over again. This series of high quality audio recordings brings the New Testament to life and has the potential of making the Bible accessible to a whole new group of people who may never have read it or heard it before. In my opinion, the TNIV is the most readable of the current crop of English translations, and the multi-media format of this presentation makes it easy to use in car audio systems, computers, and personal electronic devices such as IPods and the latest generation of cellphones.
One concern that will no doubt be raised in some of the more "precise" quarters of the evangelical church is the use of some performers whose Christian status and testimony is questionable to say the least. My response is two-fold. First, it would be wonderful if everyone who participated in this project and other ones like it was true and genuine in their profession of faith. But that is unlikely to ever happen until such recordings are made in glory itself! In the meantime it is great to have music like Handel's Messiah and recordings like "The Bible Experience" available for us to enjoy. Secondly, I would rather have a recording like this well done by the most talented people available (within reason of course), then have them poorly done by well-meaning but less talented believers who know how to dot all the "i's" and cross all the "t's". I know, of course, that not everyone will agree with me, but I would rather have the best possible presentation of the Bible available for people to listen to and then pray that God would use it in the lives of the performers themselves and their audience.
Whatever you think... check it out... and think about adding this top-notch bit of work to your list this Christmas!