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Why are the Bibles on this site different than the printed versions?

Why is it that the Bibles on this site do  not have the verses where Jesus is speaking typed in red? It makes it MUCH easier to read, and reference when Jesus is speaking, if it is done in such a manner. 

Also, I have come across many instances where a part of the God Head is being referenced, and it is not capitalized. I was under the impression that ANY time that God is mentioned, no matter if it's mentioning our Father, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, that it should be capitalized. 

I believe that these things should not only be standards out of respect for God (no matter what part of the God Head), but that they are helpful tools when studying the Bible as well.  
It would be really helpful if these issues could be addressed. I love the reading plans, and the articles, and the study tools, but it would be awesome if these things were added!!! 

Matthew 1:1

ESV - 1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Clarify Share Report Asked March 27 2015 1432567874 Bridget Casey

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Galen 2 Galen Smith Retired from Multnomah Bible College and Biblical Seminary
Bridget, since I'm not in any way part of the staff that established or operates this website, I'm probably not the best one to answer your question. However, since I've sold Bibles for eighteen years, and taught Bible for about forty years, I think I have some understanding of the issues that relate to your questions.

A good Bible translation will communicate the ideas of the original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek) clearly in the receptor language (like English). It should not add or subtract anything unless it must do so to communicate the ideas of the original, or to clarify them. Printing Bibles in multiple colors of ink is a very recent invention. The original copies had no red letters. Therefore, even if some folks like Jesus' words in red, that feature has no basis in the original language of the Bible.

I can think of at least four reasons that red letters are not a good idea. First, I've met many people who consider the red letters to be superior to the black ones. They feel that somehow Jesus' words are more important or meaningful than the others. But the Bible tells us that "all Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable." To treat Jesus' words as better than the rest is dangerously close to thinking his words are more inspired than others. I've heard some folks say, "When I'm really depressed I just like to read the red words and skip all the black ones." That is not a good way to read God's Word.

Second, it is not universally agreed upon which words should be printed in red. Some red-letter Bibles only use red in the gospels. Others add the letters to the seven churches in Revelation. Others add quotes of Christ in the epistles (like 1 Corinthians 11:24-25) or in Acts (like Acts 18:9-10). There are even places where publishers disagree when Jesus comes to the end of a saying. So which publisher is doing it correctly? 

Third, today we use quotation marks in English to indicate the actual words of a speaker. Nearly all our modern versions incorporate them into their translations. That being the case, why do we need red letters? The quotation marks already indicate which words are Jesus'. Red letters are redundant and unnecessary.

Fourth, studies have demonstrated that red letters are harder on the eyes than black ones. Red letters cause more eyestrain than any other color. For this reason a couple publishers actually tried printing green-letter and blue-letter Bibles. Neither caught on. People want red. I was once told that Jesus' words should be in red, like his precious blood! Why use a red letter Bible that makes your eyes tired, so you have to stop reading sooner?

As for the capitalization of words for God, most English translations do capitalize such words as God, Father, Son or Holy Spirit. Some older translations also capitalize pronouns referring to God (He, Him, His, etc.), but most modern versions have dropped that practice. The earliest Greek manuscripts were written in all caps (uncials), but that is not standard English. Since we want English that is our language, it seems odd to invent conventions that are not natural in English, even if our motive is to respect or honor God.

I know you probably won't agree with my views on these things, Bridget, but I hope you consider them to see if they make any sense to you.

March 31 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

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