What exactly does that mean? Hasn’t that already been taken care of? Is it even, well, biblical?
I’m glad you asked. And trust me, I ask the same questions. A lot. We Bible publishers walk a fine line. We take very seriously the privilege and responsibility we have in publishing the Bible. Our goal, and on this I am pretty sure that the folks at the other major Bible publishers would agree, is to get the Word of God into the hands of those that need it (that would be all of us the last time I checked). We want people to pick up and read the Bible, to take it to heart, to hear from God and be transformed by it.
And here is where the line comes in. We are constantly asking ourselves what it takes to get people to 1) pick up the Bible, and 2) actually (here’s the kicker) read it. Sometimes we get it right. Sometimes we get it wrong. It is very easy, even with the best of intentions to inadvertently turn the Bible into a widget. I am constantly asking myself not just can we create a Bible, but should we. I am not perfect, so I know that I have suggested things that I shouldn’t have and have probably turned down others that I should have accepted. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
What does a “Director of Bibles and Bible Reference” do exactly (other than blogging and chasing down endless strings of e-mails)? Basically, my job is a combination of acquisitions and coordination of various departments here at Tyndale to create “new” Bibles and reference products (if you want to have some fun sometime tell someone you meet on a plane that you create Bibles. Interesting responses). This can be as simple as reviewing our Bibles to see if there is a hole (like “Select” a Bible we released last summer in a calfskin leather binding), to something as complex as working from the concept stage forward on a new study Bible. A given project may be a concept developed internally that we then take to writers to flesh out or it may be something that is brought to Tyndale that we review and determine whether or not to publish.
There are a whole lot of steps that are a part of the process: writing proposals, getting manufacturing costs, looking at sales trends, working with the design team, coordinating with the editorial team to make sure that what we intended to create is what we actually got (and if not does it work? is it better?). Thankfully I don’t have to keep track of all of the details, but I am involved in some way in all of these steps.
I want to make sure that in the middle of details and pro formas, of analyzing the “market” (or maybe it’s “THE market”, I’m not sure really) that we don’t lose site of why we are doing this in the first place. Way back when, Ken Taylor started working on the Living Bible for a simple reason – he wanted his kids to understand the Bible. As the father of three, I get that. It matters. More than just about anything else. And it matters for everyone, not just my kids. I have used a whole lot of translations over the years, I still do, but I chose to come to Tyndale because I believe that the NLT offers something unique.
Around Tyndale we use the tagline “the Truth made clear” in reference to the NLT. It’s more than a nice marketing statement, more than something you can remember easily. I believe that it is a reflection of what the NLT aspires to be. It is the legacy of Ken Taylor and I am privileged to be a small part of it.