The Kiwi Bible
Good readable versions
Harder to read versions
How to buy a bible


Let’s take as an example the story the Kiwi Bible calls ‘One hell of a storm’ (Mark 4:35–41).
Here’s how the Kiwi tells it:

Day’s over, night’s here. Jesus says to his mates, ‘Hey guys, let’s go across the other side, eh?’ So they took off, leaving the crowd in their wake, with the odd observer boat tagging along. They were out in the middle when one hell of a storm hit them. Water everywhere, and seemingly forgetting what side of the boat it was supposed to be on. Talk about sink – man, they were that close. While this went on, Jesus, believe it or not, was having a bit of a kip down the back. Well, his mates didn’t think too much of that, and shook him awake.

‘Listen boss,’ they said, ‘we’re about to drown and you give all the appearance of not giving a stuff!’

Jesus was rather unimpressed with that remark, and equally unimpressed with the weather. He got up, turned to face the elements, and quite simply said, ‘Shut up!’ And just like that, the wind did shut up. End of story.

Turning to his mates, he said, ‘Well lads, now what do you
say? Still don’t trust me?’

They sort of freaked out at that. ‘Good grief!’ they blurted out. ‘Who on earth is this guy? He tells the wind and waves and stuff what to do, and they do it.’


If you like informal language, you can’t do much better than check out The Message version. It’s not unlike The Kiwi Bible, except that it’s very different, quite a few Americanisms etc, but nevertheless told well.


Late that day he said to them, "Let’s go across to the other side." They took him in the boat as he was. Other boats came along. A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping!

They roused him, saying, ‘Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?’

Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, ‘Quiet! Settle down!’ The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass.

Jesus reprimanded the disciples: ‘Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?’

They were in absolute awe, staggered. ‘Who is this, anyway?’ they asked. ‘Wind and sea at his beck and call!’


This is another fairly contemporary version, and widely available. It’s also got a slightly updated format called Today’s New International Version – some minor modifications include more gender neutral
language. If you buy this one Rupert Murdoch (yep, the media baron) will be pleased – he seems to have a good investment in this one through one of his outfits.

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.

The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’

They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’


Another contemporary version, this one slots something like part-way between The Message and the New International Version.

As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.’ He was already in the boat, so they started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion.

Frantically they woke him up, shouting, ‘Teacher, don’t you even care that we are going to drown?’

When he woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, ‘Quiet down!’ Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.

And he asked them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still not have faith in me?’

And they were filled with awe and said among themselves, ‘Who is this man, that even the wind and waves obey him?’

Two other versions worth a look are the Good News Bible (sometimes known as Today’s English Version) which came out in the 70s so is getting a bit dated – but was written very much for readers with English as a second language. A sort of an updated version of that is the Contemporary English Version – again, very readable.


Here's how one of the real old Bibles tells it. This is from the King James Version, also known as the Authorised Version - the one written way back in Shakespeare's time.


And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Hey what did you think of the King James Version? Do you actually talk like that? If so I reckon you must be approaching your 400th birthday.

Some years ago some people decided to do what amounts to a King James Version 2.0. It's improved, but still not how we talk nowadays. Read the hell of a storm story in the New King James Version :


On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, ‘Let us cross over to the other side.’ Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow.

And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

But He said to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’

And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!’

I’m assuming you don’t often talk about multitudes of people, fearing exceedingly and stuff. But in fact this is the version you are likely to find in hotel rooms around NZ. And it’s the one that still gets given out around schools in NZ.


You’d think BUYING A Bible should be a pretty straightforward task eh? But sorry, it aint. If you go into the average market-place bookshop and ask for a Bible, they may offer you a New King James or a New International Version. Most bookshops don’t have much more than that.

However if you go into the average Christian bookshop and ask for a Bible, they’ll immediately lead you to a corner of the shop with umpteen options. You’ll feel like a kid sent by Mum to the supermarket with instructions to buy a loaf of bread, or some meat. Where to start! Many of the different versions I looked at above come in umpteen varieties. You can get leather-bound, paper-back, hard-back editions. Then there is the kids version, the teen version, the leaders version, the women’s version. Ask the shop assistant to show you some plain simple straightforward budget-priced Bibles – and you can make your choice from that. Tell them what version you are interested in – print out these pages and take ‘em with you to help!

If you’re wanting an easy-to-read one, I reckon go for The Message. If that’s a bit beyond your budget, you can get a New International Version for a good price, 20 bucks or less.

How do you find a Christian bookshop? The biggest chain nationwide is Manna Christian Stores, with 15 shops. Look up the phone book is see if there is one near you. They’re working on e-tailing but aren’t quite there. Alternatively http://www.cba.net.nz/retailers.htm helps you to find any bookshop which is a member of Christian Booksellers Association. That will cover just about everywhere.