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.