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How Page Layout Impacts Bible Reading

For years, my favorite bible to read had a page layout something like this:

NASB

Note:  each verse stands out, separated from what came before it and what comes after it.  For years, I found such a layout to be both easy on my eyes and an aid to bible memory.  After all, when every verse in the text stands alone, it is that much easier to focus on and memorize.

But now I realize that such a page layout has a downside as well:  while it may help bible memorization, it weakens the sense of Scripture contextualization.  In other words, such a page layout can subtly — or not so subtly — deprive the reader of the ability to read each verse in the context of what precedes and what follows.

And remember: the authors of Scripture did not write with chapters and verses (they barely used punctuation in the modern sense), as those reader prompts were added centuries later.

So these days, my preferred page layout for the bible looks more like this:

NIV

Perhaps this is a small matter.

Unless it’s not.

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