Red-Letter Bibles

Comment: I saw this today at a friend’s blog and pass this on.

Origin of Red-Letter Bibles

Red-letter Bibles have become so common that it’s easy to assume they have been around for as long as Bibles have been printed. Not so! The first red-letter New Testament was published in 1899, and the first red-letter Bible followed two years later.

The idea of printing the words of Christ in red originated with Lous Klopsch, editor of Christian Herald magazine. Klopsch was a close friend of such contemporaries as T. DeWitt Talmage, D.L. Moody, and Ira Sankey. Klopsch was an early supporter of Moody’s Bible Institute in Chicago, rallying Christian Herald readers to send in contributions for the financially strapped school. In his eighteen years as proprietor of Christian Herald, Klopsch raised more than three billion dollars for relief work throughout the world.

No cause was dearer to Klopsch’s heart, however, than that of Scripture distribution and reading. Through Christian Herald Klopsch published more than 60,000 Bibles and Testaments annually during much of his tenure. But he wanted to do more than get the Bible into people’s hands. He wanted people to read the Bible and understand it—particularly what it says about Jesus Christ.

Klopsch conceived the idea of printing some of the biblical text with red ink. When reading Jesus’ words, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20), he thought of printing all of Jesus’ words in red, the color of his blood.

“Modern Christianity,” Klopsch wrote in an explanatory note in his red-letter Bible, “is striving zealously to draw nearer to the great Founder of the Faith. Setting aside mere human doctrines and theories regarding Him, it presses close to the Divine Presence, to gather from His own lips the definition of His mission to the world and His own revelation of the Father… The Red Letter Bible has been prepared and issued in the full conviction that it will meet the needs of the student, the worker, and the searchers after truth everywhere.”

HT: Darrell Dow: Where Did the Red-Letter Bible Come From?

Of course the important thing for the believer is to read it! Note the link between Christian growth and being “in the word”:

  • Jesus: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17)
  • “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27)
  • “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12)

Kathee and my reading plan is this: We read two chapters a day aloud together. I’ll read a chapter, and then Kathee. Right now we are in the Psalms.

I have a small New Testament at my office and sometimes (not every day) I will take a short break to read a passage of the Scriptures.

The following link has a variety of reading plans: Bible Gateway: Reading Plans

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