TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition


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The aim of this book is to present a compilation of the Bible’s teachings in a clear and readable order, using the Bible itself – i.e. verses taken from the Bible. The structure provides a practical framework for assimilating the Bible’s teachings. Volume I: What to Know covers basically the same themes as a theological text. Volume II: What to Do is more like a manual or a “practical theology” text – mainly giving directions on how to relate to God and to other people.

Each chapter is divided into two parts. Both of these parts contain Major Headings Lists, which in turn contain groups of subheadings. Each subheading states a teaching derived from the common theme of the verses that follow it. (Thus the subheadings are based on the verses, rather than the verses being selected to support the subheadings.) The parts of the verses that the subheadings reflect are in italics. Many of the verses are followed by a comment, which are indented.

The Selection and Order of Verses

Rather than including all pertinent verses under each subheading, if two or more verses say something using the same or very similar wording, often only one has been used.

Under the subheadings, the verses (or passages) have been ordered according to content, with biblical order being a secondary consideration. This has been done to attempt to produce a smoother flow of thought from verse to verse.

The listing of verses under some subheadings begin with a verse/s that is right on the subheading’s theme, followed by others that expand on the theme. Often where subheadings contain a command or instruction, the initial verses contain comparable instructions – with latter verses containing examples of people following the instructions or outcomes of following or not following the instructions.

Contemplating Verses and Checking Context

Much care has been taken to interpret the verses both in the context of the passage that they are from and in the light of Scripture as a whole. Nevertheless, if you have doubts about the usage of a verse then:

  • read the section in the Bible from which it is taken, and consider how it is used in its context. For this purpose, the Bible reference immediately preceding each passage contains a link to the passage in its chapter on the ESV website.
  • consider how the verse fits in with Scripture as a whole. (For example, interpret OT teaching in the light of NT teaching.)
  • read commentaries on the verse and its passage.

Abbreviations in comments denoting quotations from Bible translations other than the English Standard Version are identified on the copyright notices page, at the beginning of this book.

Abbreviations for books of the Bible are standard ones. “OT” is used for “Old Testament” and “NT” for “New Testament”.

Where a comment was notably influenced by a particular commentary or study bible, the source is acknowledged with an abbreviation. (Further publication details for each of these are available in the Bibliography, along with other books that have influenced the author.) These abbreviations are:

  • BBC = Believer’s Bible Commentary
  • BKC = The Bible Knowledge Commentary
  • ESB = ESV Study Bible
  • NBC = New Bible Commentary
  • NEL = The Nelson Study Bible
  • NSB = NIV Study Bible
  • ZBC = Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary

Note that occasionally “. . .” appears at the end of a subheading and at the beginning of the following one. This indicates that the teaching in the second subheading’s verses follows on closely from that of the first. (Likewise when a subheading begins with a phrase or word like “As such” or “Thus”, the implication is that its teaching follows on closely from that of the previous one.) In such cases the reader may at times find it beneficial to first reread the preceding subheading.

Questions for Bible Studies

Although there are no questions for Bible studies included in this the In-Depth Edition, note that there are in the Comprehensive Edition, Intermediate Edition, Foundations Edition and Concise Edition. See the Foreword in each of these editions for an explanation of the relationship between the questions and the main text.


Note that some of the following endorsements are for The Bible Unpacked series in general or for editions other than this one.

The author has done a great job in collecting and arranging texts under doctrinal and practical headings.

Dr Paul Barnett, Bishop and noted author

I highly recommend “The Bible Unpacked” for its use both in evangelism and helping people grow in their Christian faith.

Dr Peter Ralphs, Former Principal of Bible College of Queensland

Paul Mallison has compiled an excellent resource for the seeker through to mature Christians.

Glyn Henman, CEO of Young Life Australia

I am a big fan of the Intermediate level one. I carry it everywhere with me.

Gary Irvine, YWAM Leader

About the Author

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

Paul is a son of best-selling Australian author and international educator, the late Rev. Dr John Mallison. He is credited with extensive work on the final draft of the last two of his father’s 20 published books.

He 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.

Paul wishes to thank the publishers of the ESV for their generosity in allowing such a large number of verses from the ESV to be used in this In-Depth Edition.

Pray for persecuted Christians