Bible Typography

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The TNIV and The Books of the Bible 2

When I showed my truly wonderful, open-minded boss my new TNIV without verse numbers and chapter numbers, he said, “Hmm. This is not a step forward.”

I said, “I think it is.” I explained how with my new Bible you don’t have verse numbers and chapter numbers determining where your mind will place breaks. You’re free to read the Bible in the way most conducive to understanding for a modern Westerner.

Admittedly, the paragraphing and section spacing in my new numberless Bible were placed there by fallible men (TNIV: “people”) just like the verse numbers were.

And Paul and Moses didn’t really use paragraphing.

But by communicating paragraphs typographically we’re at least making it possible for visual stops to coincide consistently with thought-flow rather than guaranteeing that they won’t.

Bible Typography

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The TNIV and The Books of the Bible

I’ve seen the power that preaching with a sound hermeneutic can have. Just one effect of a pulpit ministry based on solid exegesis is that listeners develop skill in reading the Bible for themselves.

But most printed Bibles do good hermeneutics a disservice. Good hermeneutics says, “Always read the context!” Printed Bibles, however, make that difficult by making every verse its own paragraph:

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Bolding the verse number at the head of each paragraph, as some Bible editions do, doesn’t help much. It’s the visual cue of paragraph-size (instead of verse-size) paragraphs that best serves good hermeneutics.

So many Bibles now are printed in paragraph format with verse numbers included. That’s a great step in the right direction, but I still think the flow of thought is being interrupted unnecessarily.

A few years ago I saw a single-column KJV New Testament printed in the 1930s which had no verse numbers. And I have an old NEB which tried to include the best of both worlds (in a beautiful edition) by putting chapter and verse numbers in the margins.

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Finally, however, the International Bible Society has produced an edition of the TNIV called “The Books of the Bible,” which has elided all chapter and verse numbers (except for one little hint at the bottom of every page). I snapped one up as soon as I could and I’ve decided to go on a crusade for it—because my life is already a crusade for good hermeneutics.

Here’s a picture of the layout:

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A few more notes on this new TNIV are to come (DV) in a later post.

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Church websites

I’m designing a new church website and promotional materials for Cleveland Park Baptist Church in nearby Spartanburg, and as part of my preparation I just surveyed some of the work others are doing in this field.

I came across a site which I was impressed with, MyChurchWebsite.com. Their design is relatively spare and clean. It looks a bit formulaic (and I only mean a bit) after you look at a lot of their work, but no one surfing to an individual church’s website would know that.

I have often noted that a church’s website design tells a lot about the church. That’s because a website, like general clothing or decoration or musical styles, is a clear barometers of a church’s (generally socio-economic) culture.

In my years of research for this post (I don’t know how many church sites I’ve surfed in the past five years), I note that there is variation within each category of churches. Not every seeker church has hit the critical mass necessary to include a good web designer. But there are still a lot of messages encoded in every church page. It’s a language you can improve your fluency in.

See if you don’t agree. I made these images smaller so you couldn’t read the words well. Which of the following churches (ok, one isn’t a church) is Emergent? Mainline Protestant? Seeker? KJVO?

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Logos and comps study

Logos has become a daily companion to me in my studies, and I received special profit from it during recent comprehensive exam studies. Here’s a selection of works I used to study textual criticism and New Testament introduction (these works came with Scholar’s Gold, some Theological Journal Library volumes, and the BECNT and WBC sets):

  • Guthrie’s NT Introduction
  • Darrel Bock’s BECNT volume on Luke
  • Bill Mounce in the WBC on the Pastorals
  • JETS and WTJ articles and reviews by Grant Osborne, Moisés Silva, and others
  • Richard Bauckham in the WBC on Jude
  • Timothy George in the NAC on Galatians
  • Richard Longenecker in the WBC on Galatians

I didn’t use Guthrie as a textbook when I took NT Intro, and I was quite impressed with the level of detail he goes to. Carson and Moo (and, when I took NTI, Morris) have a fine NT Intro as well, but it was very good to check other views.

I encourage you to look at the basic Logos packages and add up the value of the books you feel you would profit from. See which package would be most worth your money.

A little note on the North and South Galatia problem: Check out ch. 7 of Silva’s Interpreting Galatians: Explorations in Exegetical Method.

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Kidner on Ezra

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Derek Kidner has been a very helpful commentator for me. I know his works (at least the ones I’m familiar with) aren’t technical, but I don’t always need technical. He’s rare among his breed for having such pleasing prose. His style seems just perfect for the OT books on which I’ve read his comments.

More important, of course, he honors the Lord. I thought this little section from his commentary on Ezra 6 (the story where Tattenai tries to stop the Jews from building the temple by telling Darius about them–only to have Darius tell Tattenai to supply the Jews with all they need for building!) was excellent.