A number of unique Bible editions and translations offer the faithful uncommon tweaks and extra-added benefits when it comes to reading and studying scripture.
From telling traditional Bible stories through emojis to pinpointing prophetic references to Jesus in the Old Testament, these editions offer up a different way of looking at biblical texts.
Rather than altering content, though, some versions are more focused on delivering a Bible that can survive harsh temperatures or terrain, offering up waterproof products for use in the military and other such rugged endeavors.
Below, learn about just five of the available Bible versions that take an uncommon approach to presenting scripture:
"The Israel Bible"
First, let's consider "The Israel Bible," an online resource that allows users to explore the Hebrew Bible, while giving special attention to the nation of Israel.
According to an official description, "The Israel Bible" is the "world's first Bible to highlight the Land of Israel, the People of Israel, and the unique relationship between them."
This is accomplished through original commentary, with a focus on explaining God's scriptural relationship with the Jewish people.
TheIsraelBible.com offers text from the 24 books of the Jewish Bible in both Hebrew and English, with the latter being presented through the JPS English translation. Readers can also experience the "proper Hebrew pronunciation" of the people and places presented in the text.
"Through our outstanding staff of leading rabbis and biblical scholars, 'The Israel Bible' provides original commentary along with thought-provoking questions and discussions that focus on God’s special connection to the Holy Land, its people and the depth of the Hebrew language all in a fun and enlightening package," Rabbi Weisz, editor of "The Israel Bible" told Breaking Israel News.
"The Jesus-Centered Bible"
Another effort to bring the faithful a more robust Bible-reading experience comes from GROUP editor Rick Lawrence, who teamed up with fellow editor Ken Castor to produce "The Jesus-Centered Bible" — a Bible edition that pinpoints and highlights in blue all the places in the Old Testament that seem to reference Jesus.
"There’s red letters in the New Testament where Jesus speaks — what if we highlighted in the Old Testament with blue letters any place that points to Jesus or is connected to Jesus in the New Testament?" Lawrence told "The Church Boys" podcast last year, recalling his first proposal at the start of the Bible project.
The two were able to find 700 instances in the Old Testament that they believe refer, to some degree, to Jesus. It was an experience that led both men to tears.
Lawrence said that there were other potential instances that they couldn't include for fear of making a Bible that was too long to publish.
Listen to Lawrence discuss the project at the 21:30-mark below:
"(We) couldn’t believe how seamless the Old and New Testaments are when you really slow down and consider," Lawrence said.
The "Bible Emoji"
While some people are focusing on illustrating and more deeply highlighting content within scripture, another person recently launched a Bible that is anything but traditional. In fact, it's mainly composed of emoticons.
Titled, "Bible Emoji: Scripture 4 Millenials" (a title that intentionally misspells Millennials for irony's sake), the Bible translation is based on a Twitter feed that has routinely shared scripture via emoticons, The New York Times reported.
The "Bible Emoji," which is now on sale on iTunes for $2.99, also has a translator at BibleEmoji.com that allows users to place text from Bible verses into a tool that will then convert it into an emoticon-driven version.
The "Bible Emoji" hasn't come without its criticism, though, with the editor asking The Huffington Post that his or her name not be publicized, saying that abusive comments from atheists and conservative Christians have created concern.
But the translator said that he or she is hoping that people see the project as lighthearted and fun.
"I hope that they view it as fun. I hope that it has people on both sides go and maybe look for themselves and what’s in the Bible and what it says," the individual told the outlet. "The book has a lot of human history in it, a lot of really good things and also negative things. I hope it helps everyone on both sides of the argument to see it for what it is."
Military and Waterproof Bibles
While many printed Bibles are beautifully bound and delivered, there are certain environments in which copies of the books likely wouldn't fare too well.
Consider Christians in the military who often face tough conditions on the ground — conditions that might not be too conducive to keeping a delicate Bible on hand. That's why companies like Bardin and Marsee Publishing have created waterproof Bibles aimed at bridging the divide.
The publisher boasts that its Bible editions are "100 percent worry-free," and are stain resistant, waterproof and highly durable.
"The durability of the Waterproof Bible gives you the freedom to take God's Word with you anywhere — lounging, traveling, camping, missions ... with worry-free confidence that your Bible will withstand the test of time," Bardin and Marsee pledges.
On a related note, there's also the Military BibleStick, which is an audio player that is sent to troops abroad, allowing them to listen to the New Testament and a collection of Psalms that are specifically geared toward "warriors," according to the product's website.
The Modern English Version
There are a multitude of Bible translations available on the market, but one of the most recent versions to emerge is an update of the popular King James Version; it's called the Modern English Version, which publisher Passio recently published and dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II.
Some are likely wondering why a publisher would update a revered version of the Bible rather than simply create an entirely new translation — a question that is answered in-depth on the MEV translation's website.
"The purpose of the MEV is to make a good translation better," reads the description on a FAQ page. "Realizing the need to update the King James Version for the twenty-first century, forty-seven scholars serving as professors, or chaplains to the Armed Forces of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and to the United States Armed Forces, comprising the Committee on Bible Translation under the leadership of the senior editorial advisor Dr. Stanley M. Horton and the chief editor Dr. James F. Linzey, have joined forces to produce a more updated edition of the King James Version called the Modern English Version, which is based on a modern English vernacular."
The central goal was to end up with a final product that was "accurate and responsible," comporting with the original text.
So, there you have it: just a few of the intriguing takes on and presentations of the traditional biblical text that have emerged in recent years.