I’m delighted to report that Crossway have produced the kind of Bible that everyone should read – one without verse numbers! I’m all for using verse numbers as references, but verse numbers (and chapters, more on that later) severely hinder natural reading. Add a double-column layout into the mix and things just get worse. Hence the new ESV Reader’s Bible being designed to help people read the Bible! It has a beautifully simple layout and I am looking forward to getting a hold of one.
Of course, when it comes to deep study, the chapters and verse numbers are (usually) very helpful; but there are many exceptions, and these things only get in the way of reading text in context. Just last semester I had my Romans students read the letter a number of times without any chapter breaks and verse numbers. The text was broken into paragraphs, but that was it. This helped prevent a proof-texting attitude or atomistic reading of the letter. Reading a book of the Bible without chapters and verses in one sitting makes such a surprising difference!
I have high hopes for the ESV Reader’s Bible. The ESV is a great translation, Crossway is a great publisher, and the Reader’s Bible is the best option currently available to fill this need for better reading Bibles. However, I wish Crossway had gone just one step further and removed the chapter markings (though they are put to the side), and re-ordered the Old Testament around the Hebrew Bible order. I’m still waiting for a publisher to release a Bible doing the latter…
Anyway, consider getting the ESV Reader’s Bible! Better yet, win one from Crossway:
Enter to win a Crossway ESV Reader’s Bible (USA only). The competition ends Monday the 23rd of June.
Here’s the promo video:
- A PDF excerpt
- A positive review on the inimitable Bible Design Blog
- The Bible Typography Manifesto and review of the Reader’s Bible