Bible Typography Manifesto


I’ve released a manifesto, and I invite you to sign it. “Manifesto” sounds a whole lot nicer than “private opinion,” and that’s my only excuse for using such a grandiose word.

The format is slightly tongue in cheek, but the upshot is serious. I’m a Bible curriculum author by day and, often, a graphic designer by night. I care about the intersection of those two sciences/arts. And I decided to do something about a significant problem I see at that intersection—a ten-car pile-up caused by drivers too old to keep their licenses, if you ask me. So I’m offering a constructive solution.

Read and sign!

Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.


  1. Don Johnson on November 29, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Well, I can’t totally agree. For personal reading, I like paragraph Bibles. For preaching, I like verse by verse format. It is far easier to find your place when you glance down for a quick reference to what we are talking about.

    And paragraph format is a real pain for listeners also. When the preacher says, “do you see that in verse 8” and its right in the middle of the paragraph, the preacher has often moved on by the time the listener finds the verse. I think paragraph formats could do a much better job at making the verse divisions obvious, while still retaining the advantages of paragraph format. The tiny little numbers in light weight superscripts just doesn’t cut it, especially for aging eyes. (Speaking of aging eyes, I wonder if you will think the same thing by the time you hit your late 40s.)

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  2. Mark L Ward Jr on November 29, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    May I humbly suggest that I failed to be clear (or humbly suggest that you failed to read clearly =)?

    What you’re speaking of would fall into the “Study Edition” format I mentioned. Hopefully, however, church people are spending more time in their Bibles outside of church than in. And a lot of that time is—or should be—just reading. For that a “Reader’s Edition” is what I propose.

    I do, however, have a crazy dream that one day I’ll pastor a congregation which will accept my proposal to use a straight-up Reader’s Edition together for one year, even in church. What we lose in ability to track where we are on the page will be gained in reading flow and comprehension. And if we all have the same edition, finding our place won’t be so hard after all.

    Like I said, a crazy dream.

    Good point about aging eyes! I have no defense there!

    So go ahead and sign! =)

  3. Jeremy Patterson on December 1, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I have only one small problem: is this really a manifesto, or just a petition? A mere petition would seem very proletariat and vulgar.

  4. Mark L Ward Jr on December 1, 2011 at 10:56 am

    “Manifesto” comes from two words, maní, meaning “peanut,” and festus, meaning either “party” or “fester.” Because a manifesto, if successful, is more like a peanut party than a festering peanut, I choose the former etymology. And I believe the term will be accurate if I can get a few more signers to create a full party. We’re close.

    “Petition,” on the other hand, comes from Greekish words meaning “petty” and “shun,” as in shunning petty people who raise issues that aren’t important. Clearly that’s not what’s going on here.

  5. Jeremy Patterson on December 2, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Haha! That is a phonological representation of how I laugh.

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