Thursday, March 19, 2009

Red letters

Mark Bertrand on the origin of putting Our Lord's words in red letters in the Bible and the not necessarily beneficial implications:
The red letter edition doesn't go back as far as you might think. .... [A] guy named Louis Klopsch came up with the idea. ....
On June 19, 1899, the now Dr. Louis Klopsch was writing an editorial for the Christian Herald when his eyes fell upon Luke 22:20 and the words: "This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." Dr. Klopsch realized that these were the words of our Saviour when he instituted the Lord's Supper. Reasoning that all blood was red, he asked himself, "Why not a red letter Bible with the red words to be those of our Lord?" Dr. T. Dewitt Talmadge, pastor of the Brooklyn Temple where Louis and his father worshipped, encouraged him greatly by saying, "It could do no harm, and it most certainly could do much good."
.... Printing Christ's words in red ink is a pious and helpful thing to do, since it calls the reader's attention to the really important parts of the Bible. Well, yes and no. Depending on your view of inspiration, that dichotomy between the best bits and the rest can be truly unhelpful. If you believe that all Scripture is equally inspired, and that instead of opposing one passage to another, it's necessary to read them in harmony, then privileging the red letters above the rest is a tricky thing to do. You end up reinforcing the idea that the red sections teach something essentially different than all the others.

Now, obviously, if you believe the words of Christ are more authoritative than the rest of the Bible, and even at odds with other parts, then a red letter edition makes perfect sense. ....[more]
Bible Design and Binding

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. I will gladly approve any comment that responds directly and politely to what has been posted.