As a pastor’s kid and someone who is currently active in the church, I have always had issues with the Bible. Not in content, per se, but in format. As someone who is highly visual, I tend to take in as much as I can at once. If you are familiar with the traditional formatting of the Bible, you know that it just doesn’t work for me. I am an avid reader and am extremely used to the single column format where you go from left to right across the entire page and then go down from there. However, for those of you who are not familiar with the Bible’s traditional format, each page is divided into two columns, not unlike your typical newspaper. I thought that this was the reason why I had such a hard time reading the Scriptures for an extended period of time, so I bought myself what is called an Illuminated Bible which, in addition to some gorgeous artwork, disposes of the two-column format and centralizes the text. While this was helpful, I still had difficulty reading. I realized there were two reasons: First, I was still holding a large tome that amounted to nearly one thousand pages. Second, I was constantly distracted by the separation of chapters and verses.
Then I found Bibliotheca.
The idea of the Bible being separated into different volumes is not a new one, but you would be hard-pressed to find anything better than Bibliotheca. The combination of the pure cotton book cloth from Holland and the acid-free mineral paper made of limestone chalk from Austria along with many other fine details put into this collection makes it not only a wonderful piece for your shelves, but also for consumption. When holding one of the five volumes, I feel like I am holding a normal book. The spine is firm and the pages are smooth, making it easy to hold with one hand and turning the pages with the other.
As you may know already, the traditional Bible is split between books, chapters, and verses. Bibliotheca rids itself of those, making the only thing on the page the Scriptures itself.
As you can see, this makes the writings read as the singular piece of writing that they were written as instead of a bunch of separate writings pieced together. A Bible in a regular format, with chapters and numbers, sometimes feels disjointed to me. Sure, the chapter divisions make some sense, but sometimes one will read a sentence that is divided up into not one or two, but three verses and, like me, they may get stumped by why this is so. What was the point in dividing a perfectly readable sentence? With the absence of chapters and numbers and the custom typeface, Bibliotheca offers a pleasurable reading experience.
Once again, if you are familiar with the Christian Bible (I should mention here that this set does include the Apocrypha in its own volume), there are many different versions. Bibliotheca utilizes The American Literary Version which is an updated version of The American Standard Version. According to Bibliotheca’s website, “While archaic language has been updated (thou to you, doth to does, etc.), the exceptional accuracy and literary quality of the base translation has been carefully preserved.”
There is much more to say about Bibliotheca, but words I do not think are enough to express them. What I can say, however, is if you ever wanted to find a luxury, easily-accessible Bible set, I would look no further than Bibliotheca.