OLD About ‘The Bible Unpacked’


The Bible Unpacked presents the Bible’s teaching in a systematic form. It uses Bible verses under ordered headings. Occasionally the verses are followed by a comment.

The seven editions of The Bible Unpacked aim to address the needs of non-Christians through to mature Christians, from teenagers to adults. Four of the editions have studies based on them.

Each edition is an abbreviated version of the next longer one. As such, readers can access the Bible’s teachings at an appropriate edition/level and then progress to the longer editions to obtain a deeper understanding.

The Author

Paul Mallison has a BA Dip Ed from Macquarie University, Sydney. He has spent the majority of his working life teaching students from a cross section of ages and backgrounds. In his work he has composed numerous teaching materials.

Paul’s father was the late Rev. Dr John Mallison, a best-selling Australian author and international educator (cf. Christian Mentoring – John Mallison Ministries). Paul is credited with extensive work on the final drafts of the last two of his father’s books.

Paul considers the theology of his The Bible Unpacked material to be “evangelical”. As for a statement of faith, he adheres to the Apostle’s Creed.

Paul lives in Sydney, Australia. He can be contacted by email.

Reason for TBU

The author was originally moved to begin work on the project in an attempt to develop some material based largely on Bible verses, to give to non-Christians who were open to looking at the Bible’s teachings. Additionally, a non-Christian friend had suggested composing some material containing the Bible’s instructions regarding everyday living. These ideas led to a desire to systematically collate all of the Bible’s teaching and present it in forms applicable to non-Christians as well as to Christians.

Development of TBU

This structure has been derived from Bible verses. In developing the In‑Depth Edition, which all the other editions ultimately come from, Bible verses with common themes were grouped together. These groups were subdivided and ordered. A subheading was given to each group of verses, derived from the common theme of the verses in each group. As such the headings are based on the verses, rather than the verses being selected to support the headings.

These groups or subsections were themselves grouped together. The resulting larger sections were given headings reflecting the overall theme of the subsections within them. These larger sections were in turn grouped together, forming chapters. The chapters were also grouped together, into eight parts – giving the structure below. Thus the structure, despite its symmetry and its 40 chapters, was not simply designed by the author, but ultimately derived from the Bible. Likewise the number of major subsections (365) is not contrived.

Basic Structure

The contents of each of the 7 editions of The Bible Unpacked are based on the structure below. (To download a printer-friendly version of the structure, click on: Contents.)

The three smallest editions – the Two-Minute, Pocket and Concise editions – have or reflect the major headings below. The other editions have all of the headings, with the larger editions having further subdivisions. A more detailed analysis of the contents of the 7 editions follows the structure below.

I: What to Know

A. God and Spiritual Powers

  1. God’s Being
  2. God’s Character
  3. Jesus Christ
  4. The Holy Spirit
  5. Angels, Demons and Satan

B. God and the World: Basics

  1. God’s Creation
  2. God’s Sovereignty
  3. God’s Word
  4. The Problem of Sin
  5. God’s Judgment

C. God and the World: Jesus Christ

  1. God’s Promised Messiah
  2. Jesus Christ’s Mission
  3. Salvation Through Jesus Christ
  4. The New Order
  5. ‘The Last Things’

D. God and His Own People

  1. The Standing of God’s People
  2. Keys to God’s Interaction with His People
  3. God’s Transformation of His People
  4. God’s Care of His People
  5. God’s Plans for His People

II: What to Do

E. Relating to God

  1. Being Right with God
  2. Having Faith in God
  3. Loving, Fearing and Obeying God
  4. Connecting with God
  5. Exalting God

F. Church Life

  1. Being One Body
  2. Worshipping God
  3. Serving God
  4. Significant Practices
  5. Church Leadership

G. Relating to Other People

  1. Love
  2. Justice
  3. Wisdom
  4. Common Relationships
  5. Spreading the Gospel

H. Persevering

  1. Standing Firm
  2. Rejecting Sin
  3. Major Pitfalls
  4. Hard Times
  5. Persecution

Contents of Each Edition

The following is an analysis of the contents of the 7 editions, and often refers to the above structure. The number of verses given for each edition was correct as at 1st November, 2010.

The Two-Minute Edition (12 verses*) has just three section headings. The first two contain themes related to some of the topics above under What to Know. The third section heading is What to Do.

The Pocket Edition (53 verses) has ten section headings. These mirror the eight parts (and colors) in the above contents, with the topics above in Part C and Part E being reflected in two of the section headings (giving the ten section headings). Like all the larger editions, it has the two major divisions – What to Know and What to Do.

The Concise Edition (173 verses) has the headings and structure of the above contents (as do the larger editions). The headings numbered 1–40 above are section headings and the eight parts above are effectively chapters.

In the Foundations Edition (837 verses) and in the larger editions, the headings numbered 1–40 above are chapters. Each chapter has its own section headings, under which are the subheadings.

In the Intermediate Edition (2,087 verses) and the larger two editions, each chapter is divided into two halves (cf. Detailed Contents) and there is a greater number of section headings.

In the Comprehensive Edition (5,189 verses) there are more section headings, totalling 365 (cf. Full Contents).

The In-Depth Edition (37,609 verses) has no more section headings than the Comprehensive Edition. It has about 10% more subheadings, but the main difference is that it has more verses under each subheading, usually having somewhere between four and sixteen verses or passages. Because of its size, it is printed in two volumes – Volume I: What to Know and Volume II: What to Do. Using the Electronic Version (a single PDF file) would be a more practical option for most people.

Apart from the In-Depth Edition, there are usually just one or two verses (or short passages) under each subheading. The verses in the Comprehensive Edition – and so ultimately all the other editions – were selected from the original groups of verses under the corresponding subheadings in the In-Depth Edition.

The colors used for the eight parts is consistent across the editions that contain them.

Translations Used

The In-Depth Edition uses the ESV translation (cf. ESV Bible Online). The other editions use a variety of translations. The Intermediate Edition and Comprehensive Edition draw heavily from the NET translation (cf. NET Bible home page). The four shorter editions largely use translations with simple English.

Particularly in the In-Depth Edition, there are numerous quotations of words or phrases from the AMP, CEV, GNT, NASB, NCV™, NIrV®, NIV®, NKJV, NLT and NRSV.

Details of all the translations used are given in the copyright page at the start of each edition of The Bible Unpacked . The author would like to thank the publishers of these translations for their generosity in allowing verses from their translations to be used for this project.