The New Living Translation
Wayfinding Bible – The Backstory

I love anything that is “behind the scenes.” There used to be a show on the radio called The Rest of the Story hosted by a man named Paul Harvey. Even though I was little I couldn’t get enough of it. I wanted to know more. Whether building a bridge, creating Disneyland or inventing a zipper there is always a situation or personal story to go along with it. The same is often true when creating ideas for Bibles. Here at Tyndale we get the amazing opportunity to partner with people who have a passion to help others connect with God’s Word and want to break down walls that get in the way of people accessing the Bible. That’s exactly what Jeannette and Doris wanted to do with the Wayfinding Bible, eliminate the issues that often caused people to disengage with Bible reading. Here’s the “rest of their story”

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The idea behind the design for The Wayfinding Bible began with a bike ride.

Jeannette knew, from talking with people over the years, that two of the main reasons Christians struggled with consistently reading the Bible had to do with its length and its confusing chronology. If only there were a study Bible that could help people navigate the narrative more effectively, then perhaps they would remain more engaged and invested. But how to do this? Jeannette and her colleague Doris wanted to create multiple levels of reading plans that would follow the storyline of scripture, but they were stuck on how to present these plans in an inviting and compelling way.

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While out on her bike one day, puzzling about this Bible, a word popped into Jeannette’s head. Wayfinding. “I honestly knew right then and there that God had planted that word in my mind,” Jeannette says.

Back at her office, Jeannette researched the concept of wayfinding. One definition of “wayfinding” describes it as a system for helping people navigate a complex built environment such as a hospital, an airport, a college campus or a city. While the architect may have had a plan for the place, anyone unfamiliar with that plan can easily get frustrated and turned around. That’s where wayfinding signs come in. They help people discover the best way to navigate confusing spaces.

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And what is the Bible, Jeannette thought, if not a complex built environment? There is a design and a plan behind Scripture, of course, but it’s not necessarily ordered in the most intuitive way from a reading standpoint. Wayfinding tools could help people find their way through God’s Word.

Building on this wayfinding theme, Doris and Jeannette developed three different ways to travel through the Biblical narrative. From “flyover” to “direct” to “scenic,” these routes would guide readers along their way and keep them on track.

Young man planning travel on vacation trip with map. Top view.

From there, the ideas continued to flow. They created “Getting Your Bearing” articles for key turning points in scripture, “Historical Markers” to provide helpful cultural information, and “Scenic Overlooks” when a map or diagram or infographic would be useful.

“I tell people The Wayfinding Bible wasn’t my idea or Doris’ idea. It was God’s idea that He graciously gave us to help people read His Word and not get lost or frustrated.”

The foundational verses for The Wayfinding Bible perfectly outline this Bible’s purpose:

Show me the right path, O Lord;

    point out the road for me to follow.

Lead me by your truth and teach me,

    for you are the God who saves me.

    All day long I put my hope in you.

                                           Ps. 25: 4 & 5

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Learn more about the Wayfinding Bible

You can follow the Wayfinding Bible on Instagram and Facebook too.

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