Good Interview about Bible Clutter

Interesting: Tony Reinke talks to Glenn Pauw of Biblica about my Bible Typography Manifesto. Well, okay, they never mention it by name, but you can tell it’s what they have in mind… Do give it a read.

It’s so funny to me that ideas like these come in waves. Why didn’t anyone say this stuff in 1976? Or 1946? Or did they? I did find a reader’s edition of the KJV NT from the 1930s once. So someone else in the history of the church thought about “Bible clutter” at some point. I guess modernism really is this powerful force that shaped us all without anyone realizing how much it shaped us?

I can’t be sure that my interest in removing chapter and verse numbers from the text of Scripture arose independently. I think I may have heard a small comment about it from a professor, a seed which grew into something of a personal project. I know I picked up a verseless and chapterless Bible edition—and then a whole case of them to sell to friends—around 2006. And I have evidence on my computer that I was doing something like this to the book of Romans in 2004. Why would this hit me the same time it’s hitting so many others? I just don’t know.

Bible Editions are Tools

A highly respected and faithful friend of mine heard me deliver this lecture on “Why Bible Typography Matters”, which aimed at getting people to read “reader’s editions” of the Bible, printings with no verse or chapter numbers. The presentation also included a call for future help: “Would you,” I asked the congregation, “let me know how it goes if you try reader’s editions?”

This highly respected and faithful friend of mine was the only person out of my 500 or so hearers to really do this. Many others provided fantastic feedback during the Q&A, but he set the Chinese Bible as a reader’s edition and has sent me valuable thoughts months and months later.

Here’s one of those valuable thoughts:

I have a bit more feedback from reader’s editions of the Bible.

Personally, I’m finding that memorizing from a reader’s edition isn’t as effective as from a Bible with the verse divisions. Yes, I can make myself aware of where the divisions are and what portion I need to memorize, but there’s something about having the verse numbers there that liberates me to focus on that one verse. This is true even when I’m committed to learning the entire passage. When the verses are in separate paragraphs, it’s even better. For some reason, it makes the effort of memorizing seem just a bit more manageable. When memorizing from a reader’s edition, I seem to get discouraged and quit a bit more easily.

That’s valuable feedback, because I never said that reader’s editions of the Bible should replace study and other editions. I said they should be introduced as a complement. Bible editions (like Bible translations) are tools which are useful for certain purposes. For reading big chunks of Scripture, reader’s editions are best, I think. For memorizing, stick with versified editions.

Thanks, highly respected and faithful friend.

Insights from Cool People that Know Stuff About Things

I like working with cool people who know stuff about things. I was talking about Bible typography with one such person at my office recently, an editor at Lexham Press, and he made a little comment that belongs on my Internet weblog:

It’s wrong to say that if you can’t articulate something, not only can you not understand it but you haven’t really experienced it.

What he meant, in context, was that there is a real difference between the experience you have with the Bible when it looks like this…


…and when it looks like this:


That difference is significant even if you can’t explain it and indeed have never articulated it, even to yourself.

One must needs be careful going around and telling others that things they haven’t realized are true nonetheless. But in this case I’m prepared to make a case. Bible Typography Matters.

ESV Reader’s Bible, Six-Volume Set

So excited! The ESV Reader’s Bible is coming out in a Bibliotheca-like edition! As one of the top fifteen redheaded Bible typography enthusiasts in the nation (see my Bible Typography Manifesto and assorted other resources here), I can only go on record as saying, “Yes, yes, yes!” Take note, especially, of the fact that chapter numbers will not be included—those numbers were a flaw in the otherwise excellent ESV Reader’s Bible.

No word on price. The typeface, however, is Trinité, which is a creation of Bram de Does, the designer of Lexicon (which was used in the ESV Study Bible and the ESV Reader’s Bible). Super classy.

Buying a new Bible never proves to help my Bible reading for very long. But, empirically speaking, reader’s editions of Scripture have helped me get through the whole Bible better than any other kind of edition. The thick paper and attention to detail that I’m sure will be present here will be very welcome.

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HT: Andy Naselli

Speaking at BibleTech Conference

static1.squarespaceI’ve always wanted to go to Logos Bible Software’s BibleTech conference, and this May I get to go and speak on Bible typography! I’m really excited.

And you can come! We’ll be exploring the intersection of faith and technology in Seattle, April 30th–May 2nd.

I’ve got a promo code for 30% off the ticket price, if anyone’s interested.

Why Bible Typography Matters copy