Posted by: jmark | September 22, 2005

Words of Christ in Red

Over at Shall we sing a song for you, Stevie Steele is surveying whether he should get a ‘words of Christ in red’ bible.

I suppose I wasnt just being provocative in my comments in his blog. I was saying what I really feel!

This really gets my goat!! I appreciate that it can be helpful to see what Jesus said (helpful for those who can’t see the phrase “And Jesus said”!), but I find it theologically and physiologically offensive.

Three reasons why I don’t like it:

One – It seems to suggest that the rest of scripture is somehow less inspired than Christ’s actual words. This works out in practice with people saying things like, “Yes, I know that Paul says that but Jesus says this” as if the two were in conflict, and as if Paul’s instructions on something like church discipline, for example, are somehow unbiblical! Believe me, I’ve heard this happen.

Two – It’s harder to read. See this slightly tongue in cheek article. It concludes:

According to Wheldon’s study, to print the words of Christ in red is to ensure that they will be poorly comprehended by 81% of readers! It is difficult indeed to see how this does him honour. To be sure, it makes his words stand out—it’s just that it’s almost impossible to read and remember them. I trust that little further needs to be said. Out of reverence for the Lord Jesus, we must put a stop to red-letter Bibles. They are rendering his words largely unreadable, thus affecting the spiritual well-being of who knows how many unsuspecting Bible readers. In the interests of Christ’s words being read, we must ensure they cease being red.

Three – its hard to get plain text editions of bibles in a format you like without having the words of Christ in red.

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