NLT Live Teen Bible
Live is a Bible geared and marketed for teenagers. It is probably one of the most unusual Bibles I have encountered.
Let’s start with the criticism. Live comes with a free poster and stickers. I believe such marketing talks down to teenagers. Posters and stickers will get my elementary school kids excited, but this is certainly beneath teenagers. I cannot envision a teenager at the bookstore or online, deciding between Bibles, and the poster and stickers are what makes the decision. Also, Live is not printed on white paper. It seems to be a high quality newsprint type paper. These are my two measly objections.
The marketing angle could have been the social network that Live is trying to create. They created a website where teenage Christians can write, upload art, and converse with other teenage Christians. This is a great idea. With all of the interest teenagers have in Facebook and other social networks, this is a brilliant offering. My teenager brothers can hardly be pulled away from Facebook. They live on Facebook. Why not give teenagers another place to connect with other Christian teenagers? I really think communicating this social networking ability would cause many to purchase Live.
The Bible itself is well done and will especially strike a chord with creative teenagers. It is filled with images and poems from other teenagers. The poems and pictures are spiritually centered and attempt to cause reflection within the teen. This offers subtle encouragement from people their same age.
The best feature of Live is the book introductions. Each introduction offers a who, when, where, and what, which summarizes the setting and main characters of each book. A key verse is also given for each book introduction. There is also a short summary about the message of the book. Live does an excellent job in this section of the book introduction making the book relevant to the teenage reader. The reader will understand that the message is useful to them and not just a book about people who lived a long time ago. Another great feature found in the book introductions is the “7 Degrees of Jesus.” This is a short paragraph explaining how Jesus is reflected or seen in the book. For example, the book introduction to Jeremiah points out that both Jesus and Jeremiah spoke messages that were not full of fluffy good feelings. They spoke “challenging, convicting, and occasionally harsh” words to their audience. Jeremiah’s 7 Degrees of Jesus also points out a place where Jesus quotes Jeremiah. The book introductions are really fantastic and will have great value to its target audience.
Interspersed throughout Live is a section called “Text Message.” These Text Messages contain relevant facts to reveal a greater understanding about the background or message of the book. For example, there is a Text Message in Acts 27 which reads, “Paul often experienced rough waters while sailing (Acts 27:13-44). Storms, a common occurrence in the Mediterranean Sea, made travel hazardous for wooden trading ships. Today, one Greek island, only nine miles long, has four hundred churches that were built by sailors who were fulfilling vows they made to God in the midst of perilous storms.” Interesting information that relates the danger of Paul’s travel to Rome and his shipwreck.
“Try This” is another great feature to Live that is found throughout its pages. The feature does what it says…encourages the reader to try something new or think a different way. Concerning the parable of the good Samaritan, the Try This feature encourages the teenager to consider how he or she can be a neighbor to those at school who get overlooked.
Overall, this Bible is really well done. I wish the paper was a higher quality for the eyes and for the fingers. But it certainly does a good job in trying to be encouraging to the teenager on nearly every page. It is the right size for a teenager, who wants a Bible to be small and portable. The NLT is a readable translation for teens. I look forward to giving this Bible to a teenager who could use the encouragement.