Hector Avalos was right about one thing, at least, when he said, recently: "Surveys repeatedly show that Christian populations, when left to their own devices, do not seem too interested in Bible reading unless convinced otherwise by their authorities."
But really. Why should Christians read the Bible? Compared to any normal book, the insides of the Bible are ridiculously chaotic! If you don't think so, you've either learned the Bible very well (and forgotten what it seemed like at first) or you've long since succumbed to ouija board style, pick-a-verse-itis.
Then there's clever concept Bibles like the Archaeological Study Bible and Nelson's Chronological Study Bible. These have done well in recent years, largely because many Bible buyers (at least, of those who are actually Bible readers as well!) are desperately wanting to understand the Bible IN CONTEXT. But you pick up the Arch.Bib. and it's just plastered with topical sidebars on every page. And the Nelson's C.B. isn't really much different. It's a rearranged text with a lot of topical sidebars.
Someday we need to do much better, but when we do, it won't be with 'a new version' of the Bible. The Bible's fine just like it is. We simply need a better guidebook on how to read it. And here's why:
Normal Christian folk (who also bravely attempt to actually read the Bible) will never have much sense of context or coherence within the New Testament until we INTEGRATE the CONTENT of scripture together with CONTEXT material into one cohesive Story format. AND it has to be one that is historical non-fiction - not just an imaginative drama, but a rationally reconstructed narrative.
Chronology, archaeology, history, culture, and scripture. Will it ever all come together? Can it?
I pray so. Daily...