Tuesday 16 August 2011

Notation-free Bible reading

One of my biggest frustrations when reading Scripture has always been the notations. I find footnotes, cross-references, and even verse numbers to be distracting when I'm reading large portions of Scripture (although, of course, they are very useful for more in-depth Bible study). It feels to me as though they break up the text, inserting unnatural pauses and distracting from the bigger picture. The English Standard Version (ESV) in particular, my preferred translation, includes an enormous number of footnotes and cross-references; I often give up and revert back to the relatively-less annotated NIV translation when reading long passages.

Since beginning the 30-day Scripture reading challenge, I have found myself using BibleGateway.com more often than usual in order to get my daily reading in when I can. (Whose bright idea was it to start the challenge on the first day of our two-week family vacation, anyway? Oh right, it was mine.) As my eyes started swimming at the sheer number of extra characters on the screen, I started to wonder...

...And sure enough, you can make BibleGateway.com notation-free with just a few quick clicks. The joy!

Chances are you already knew this. If not, and if you too find the extra verses, footnotes, and cross-references to be a distraction when reading large portions of Scripture, then read on!

Here we are, Romans 2, ESV, on BibleGateway.com. Oh, the annotations! The distractions! How can anyone get through this?

Easy, nearly-smacks-you-in-the-face fix. Click on the Page Options button beside the translation selection.

Choose your options. I removed footnotes, cross-references, and verse numbers. I left the headings because I don't find them distracting, and I turned on red letters because I was raised with a red-letter Bible and I like it. Even though, of course, Romans contains no red letters.

VoilĂ ! Notation-free Bible reading. Ahhhh, so much easier on the eyes.

Now what to do about my two more noisy Bible-reading distractions...hmmm. I don't suppose any has discovered a mute option on children, eh?


  1. Ahhh....thank you! I use BibleGateway and that has always driven me crazy! ESV is my favorite also! I'm going there now to make the change!

  2. Can I tell you right now just how much I Love you for this discovery? I mean. L.O.V.E. Thank you. :)

  3. YES! Thank you! I really love using Bible Gateway, too, and I'm equally annoyed! :) I would LOVE mute button for the kids! But I've also realized (recently!) the importance of our kids seeing us purposefully studying the word (not a screen). Though I don't feel like I get *much* out of these times, I think they do! :)

  4. Beth, so glad you found it helpful too!

    Maria, I'm blushing!

    Sarah, what a great point. Thanks for mentioning that! I used to use lunch as my opportunity to read aloud from one of the Gospels while the kids finished eating, but we haven't got back into that since our summer vacation ended. I'll have to start that up again tomorrow!