Using this Bible

Using the Bible
Turn the pages yourself

Making a Start

We invite you to begin reading the Bible by using the sample pages on this website / Turn the pages.

The book starts with the first page of Bible text, which has the heading “GENESIS” and a short introduction. There is a subheading “How the World Began”.

Then the words that mark the beginning of the story: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Many readers know how the full Bible is organised, but others will be coming to the text for the first time.

The whole Bible text of sixty-six books is presented in the hard copy edition now available, but on the website we present a small selection to help all readers understand how the design works. We do feel it is our place to guide readers in the way and order that they should read the Bible. Instead we aim to make it clear as to how to recognise the narrative or story. As you turn over the first few pages of the book of Genesis the layout becomes familiar. Text is neatly arranged across the page and between sub-headings. From time to time there are illustrations, and in the margins there are short notes or summaries of the story.

By page 8 we have found that readers are comfortable with how the Bible feels and works. Then there is a surprise: on page 9 the text is set in two columns. And the obvious question is, “why should there be such a change?” The reason is that page (beginning at Genesis chapter 4, verse 17) contains family trees. The story has paused for a summary of family information. If the reader wishes to delve into this material it is readily available. If however the reader chooses to continue with the main narrative it is found on the next page, once more in single column (that is, across the page).

The pattern all through

And that is how the whole Bible is arranged. You will always find the story set in single column. Anything that is not the main story is set in two columns. In this way the reader always knows how to trace the narrative amongst all the other very important writings.

This gives everyone a simple way of reading through the whole Bible. If you want to discover the Bible story for the first time, then you might well concentrate on the single column passages, coming back to the rest of the material afterwards. But this is a choice for you as an individual or a group of readers.

The quality of paper, binding and the placing of illustrations mean that it is easy to flick through the pages to find where the story continues.

Illustrations and maps

Illustrations are spread all through the Bible, whatever the type of writing. They are a reminder to the reader not to miss any part of the Bible. They do not have titles or labels and so to understand them better it is important to read the text beside or around them. They invite readers to study the text and are intended to evoke a response.

If the story or writing refers to a journey or particular part of the world then there is a map exactly at the point where it will be most helpful. You will find the first of these maps on page 19. Abram (later known as Abraham) sets out on a journey and the map records the places referred to in the Bible text.

Connecting with users and their context

We have kept the traditional divisions of the text, using chapters and verses, so that this Bible can be used for study and worship in a group context.

When explaining how the Bible works to people of all ages around the world it has always become clear as long as they start at the beginning and work through the first few pages.

This is why we strongly encourage readers to get to handle the Bible using Genesis.

About one third of the Bible is the main narrative, and two thirds is made up of family trees, laws, poetry and songs, census data, historical chronicles, prophecies, letters, stories, and treaties. This Bible is designed to make it clear what is what.

There is no suggested track or pathway through the Bible: that is up to the individual reader or group.

Our task is to help those who handle the Bible to recognise the sort of material they are reading.

If when you start to use the Bible you have suggestions as to how it could be made even more user-friendly, please let us know.

Turn the pages and see for yourself!