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Reading the Bible as ... well ... it first was

Posted by Colby Kinser on

A friend of mine lent me one volume of the 5-volume Bibliotheca project - a set of 5 books of the Bible in literary form. The books use the kind of paper you'd find in any quality book, with good cloth binding, a font designed for extended reading, lots of margin on the page, and ... no chapter and verse numbers. Just the text (the American Literary Version).

Most of our Bibles use very thin pages, fonts that may be a little smaller or tighter, lots of footnotes and other helps, plus the chapter and verse markings. The thin pages are needed in order to have the Bible in one bound book ... otherwise, you end up with a 5-volume set! The study tools are helpful, but they are not Scripture. There are no "inspired footnotes."

The project is intended to present the text as a proper literary piece with all the physical layout that makes it easy to read as literature. It is not intended to be a study Bible.

You may be surprised how differently the Bible reads when all you have is the text, with reasonable paragraphing, and a simple title page for each book with absolutely nothing else.

When you think about it, that's how the Bible was read initially - not in a bound book, of course, but just the text without chapter and verse markings. Chapters weren't added until the 12th Century, and verses not until the 16th. So, most of Church history had just the text as their common Bible.

The project, however, isn't cheap. You'd spend almost $200 for the clothbound version, a somewhat less for less elegant versions. That's what it takes for a 5-volume piece of literature.

But there is a pretty easy way to read just the text, although without the benefit of a bound book with good typeface. Many software Bibles allow you to turn off chapter divisions, versification, footnotes, and so on, to get to just the text.

For example, http://lumina.bible.org allows you read 7 different versions without any markings (in fact, without any book divisions, either!). Just load the website, choose the translation you want, click on the "Aa" symbol to turn off all the markings, and there you have it.

And then ... just ... read.


(Image by Deutsche Fotothek‎, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7937949 )

Tags: bible