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Those pesky Bible editors

I am thankful that the Bible has chapter and verse markers. When I want to tell someone where something is, or rememer where I read something, they are very helpful. Just imagine if the Bible didn't have such markers, and you had to cite where you were reading. We would have to rely on page numbers, and that would mean everyone having the same version. Considering the number of versions and formats, that is an unlikely scenario.

However much I rely on those markers, I have seen that they can be misleading or a distraction. Bill Mounce, in his post yesterday, talked about how incorrect paragraph markers can interfere with the intention of the writer. He mentions in this post about the value of seeing the biblical text without verse and paragraph markers.

I'm going to be taking a class on the Synoptic Gospels in the fall, so over the summer, I am going to be reading those gospels. In May, I am reading Matthew; in June, Mark; and in July, Luke. I hope to read each one in multiple translations, the ESV, NASB, NIV, and NLT. I also want to read each one in a version without verse and chapter markers, so I'm reading the ESV Reader's Bible

As an aside, I know many people who were bothered by the kerfuffle about the ESV's translation of Genesis 3:16, and the fact that Crossway wanted to make it so that the text could not be updated in the future. Many determined never to read the ESV again, and many don't. I like the ESV. For years, I used the NASB, but when I read the Psalms in the ESV, I preferred that translation. I decided not to let those issues deter me. I use both the NASB and the ESV, and I've even warmed up to the NIV. The fact of the matter is that they all get it wrong at times. But considering the alternative, which is everyone knowing Koine Greek well (not just rudimentary understanding), we are lucky to have those translations. And while we get disgruntled about how they are translated, the bottom line is the translators know more about Koine Greek than the average Bible reader.

So, all that to say this: I love the ESV Reader's Bible. I have had it for a while, having purchased it when Westminster Books had it on for 50% off. I have only read Epistles so far, so this is the first time I've read narrative without the verse markers. It does indeed make a difference; and a good one. In narrative, as readers of English, we are accustomed to see a continual flow until the action changes. Having artificial markers can interfere with how the action is presented. So far, reading narrative without verse and chapter markers has been great.

For those who like the NASB, I don't know as if there is a version without verse or chapter markers. I know there is a version of the NIV without markers. I'm pretty sure that if one has Logos software, it's possible to get a text only version of what one reads in the Bible. Barring that, there is always the option of copying and pasting to make your own copy. It really is a helpful way to read the text.

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