Uncluttering the Bible

One of the first posts I ever did on this blog was about Bible design, that is, how the Bible is arranged and presented, and why we need to pay attention to it in order to enhance our reading experience by allowing the Bible as a literary document to be itself. Personally, when I am reading the Bible I use versions without chapter or verse numbering or at least ones that push them out of the way. It makes it easier and more enjoyable for me. It might not seem like a big deal but Bible design is very important but unfortunately a lot of the design philosophies do not maximise the text but rather how to sell it. I came across an interview of someone who also feels very strongly about this. His name is Glenn Paauw and he is the Executive Director of the Biblica Institute for Bible Reading, a think tank dedicated to studying trends in Bible reading and design.In this conversation he discusses the history of how the Bible got cluttered with such a mess, how it negatively impacts our reading and ways the text can be rescued.

You can find a full transcript of the interview here.

For those who are interested there are some options for those who want an unhindered Bible reading or hearing experience. There is the ESV Reader’s Bible, NIV’s The Books of the Bible and at the ESV Bible site they have a text and an audio version with an option where you can eliminate chapters and verses in both. You can also get the free “Flat Version” which is based on the WEB. As it turns out the WEB does not have the copyright restrictions of other translations so you can freely modify it.

I highly recommend that we explore new ways of reading the Bible to get the optimum experience of scripture. Whether you are convinced or not to go the referenceless route, let us make sure we honour the scriptures in the way we read it.

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. – 1 Timothy 4:13 ESV


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