Category: Articles

Should We Hack the Bible?

A recent article in Christianity Today, titled Hacking the Bible, discusses the use of technology to pick and choose verses from 30 translations and placing them together to build your own version. This means that everyone, with no knowledge of Greek or Hebrew, can build their own translation. Everyone from common people, to celebrities, to preachers, to atheists, can build a version of the Bible. The article gives some examples: choosing among the many translation possibilities for each phrase in 1 Corinthians 13:2— “understand all mysteries” vs. “know all mysteries,” and “have not love” vs. “do not love” This raises many questions and concerns. Do we do this anyway? We all choose a Bible translation for ourselves, our families, and our Churches based on our own beliefs. Some choose the KJV because they like the poetic language; others choose the ESV because of its popularity among scholars, while others choose the NIV because of its readability. Aren’t we already choosing a translation based on our own tastes? Would it be any different to choose individual verses based on our personal beliefs or agendas? Not all translations are created equal. One of the greatest problems I see with this is not every translation has rendered a verse accurately or with the same purpose.  What could happen if we take a verse from a literal translation and blend it with a...

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Red-Letter vs Black-Letter

I own and use both red-letter and black-letter editions of the Bible. I don’t really have a favorite between the two for several reasons. I use one for reading and another for serious study. Also, red-letter is usually not done to my liking. There are different versions of red-letter printing. For example, Cambridge prints the words of Christ on Earth in red, while other publishers print all the words of Christ in red- including from Acts to Revelation. I prefer all of the words of Christ in red, not just while Jesus was on Earth. One problem with this is that there is some controversy with a few verses (particularly in Revelation). I’ve only seen one Bible that has the words of God in the OT in red (maybe it was blue). That would be nice too. There are many shades of red that publishers use. Kirkbride’s red-letter is closer to the pink range. Other publishers use a faint print that is hard to see. Still others use a shade that looks more brown than red. My hat goes to Cambridge. Red-letter text in Cambridge editions are a bold red.  Cambridge has by far my favorite shade of red. LCBPs red-letter edition looks to be on par with Cambridge (from the pictures I’ve seen). Another problem is consistency. This goes for both black and red-letter. Some Bibles have dark...

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Writing in an Expensive Bible

Many of us don’t feel comfortable writing in our Bibles. The more expensive the Bible the harder it is to take a pen to it and start writing. Many times I write something barely legible and try to fix it only to make it worse. I used to struggle to come up with something to write, and when I did finally write something it was almost irrelevant.  Sometimes I would write an observation that was so obvious that the note didn’t help me. Here are a few tips that may help you if you want to write in your...

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Bible Marking Pens and Pencils

One of the most popular questions I’m asked is what kind of pens and pencils I use for writing and marking in my Bible. There are many good markers, highlighters, pens, and pencils available. I’ve used many of them with various marking methods. Here’s my favorite: I use Pigma Micron markers to write notes in the margins of my wide-margin Bible. They are archival quality and have almost no bleed-through and they don’t smear. They come in several tip-sizes and colors. I use 005 for notes. I use black for chain references, blue for headings, red for textual notes,...

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Active Reading through Highlighting

One of the most valuable active reading methods is highlighting. Highlighting is a good way to identify the main points of a text. Some of the most useful things to highlight include words, phrases, and sentences. This helps to understand the thought of the writer. It also helps in determining meaning, and is a great help in memorization. For me, highlighting is one of the best memorization tools. I use highlighting differently than I use color-coding. For color-coding, I color topics. You can also use color-coding for memory verses, verses that speak to you, and many others. In highlighting,...

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