The first Bible I ever read--as opposed to using as a dust collector--was The Living Bible paraphrase. I remember the day it came from Christian Book Distributors. The thing got pretty beat up as I devoured God's word for the first time. I marked up pages, wrote all over the margins and end pages, and gave it great weathered look as I lugged to countless InterVarsity meetings and retreats. I gave a copy to a friend when he (after many late night conversations) made the decision to be a Christ-follower.
This is long before I knew about the difference between paraphrases and translations. I didn't know that Ken Taylor created The Living Bible for folks like me. I didn't know that as a result of all the publishers turning him down, he founded his own publishing house, named after William Tyndale. I didn't know about all the brouhaha about the paraphrase that later led to the creation of the New Living Translation. All I know is that God's word was easy to understand and I had a hunger to know what God had to say to me.
Years later, I was at CBA (Christian publishing's annual convention, now called the International Christian Retail Show) and had the privilege of meeting Ken Taylor and sharing with him how his work helped this baby Christian fall in love with God's word.
On Friday, June 10th, Ken Taylor was called Home.