Red Letter Bibles

The red letter edition doesn't go back as far as you might think. According to the Wikipedia entry, a guy named Louis Klopsch came up with the idea. A fuller account of the event has been posted elsewhere, and it goes like this:

On June 19, 1899, the now Dr. Louis Klopsch was writing and 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."

Whether Talmadge was right or not is open to debate, but the fad certainly caught on. What's interesting to me, assuming this story isn't apocryphal, is how one man's rather eccentric and literal-minded notion came to be embraced to such an extent that there are people today who believe that not to print the words of Christ in red is somehow a sacrilege.

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Above: Red letter editions. Much good and no harm? You be the judge.

Compared to most books, the Bible features a text more footnoted and cross referenced and subdivided and interrupted than most, with an accretion of "helps" that assist (either greatly or not at all) with study at the risk of detracting from the reading experience. Whenever I hear people complaining about the difficulty of understanding what they've read in Scripture, I always wonder whether a de-numbered, de-referenced, uncluttered, uninterrupted experience of the text itself would have made a difference. 
Red letter editions seem to me to be an example of how misplaced piety can get in the way of what's really important — in this case, a readable text. Don't get me wrong, compared to some of the other insertions, red ink is a minor distraction. Used tastefully for emphasis, the combination of black and red is a typographical classic, so I have no complaint on aesthetic grounds. But it's the sort of innovation I can really do without, because (a) it doesn't achieve a positive benefit and (b) in practical terms, it can go terribly wrong.
RED SCARE
Surely I'm wrong on my first point. 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. But I don't think that's what Klopsch was getting at. It's just another example of how design choices can influence the way a text is read — or not read — or for that matter, red. 
PRACTICALLY SPEAKING
Part of my antipathy no doubt stems from the number of pink-letter and even orange-letter editions I've seen, the result of uneven printing. A nice dark crimson can look attractive on the page, but even at its best, four columns of tiny red print can be a bit of a strain. At its worst, it can be a disaster. These days, it's hard enough to get a nice dark imprint on decent paper. The nice thing about a black letter edition is, that's one less thing to get wrong.
THEN AGAIN . . .
Having said all this, I have to admit that, while it may shock the traditionalists among us, I can't help admiring the use of color in today's student Bibles. I'm not arguing that black text on white paper is the only acceptable option. What I am suggesting is that design choices be made with a certain end in mind, and where the Bible is concerned, that end ought to be a pleasant reading experience. Enhancements that contribute to this goal are worth exploring, while those that detract from it — no matter how pious or well-intentioned — ought to fade away.
I'm not against red letter editions, not with the same vehemence I have toward verse-per-line ones. But I do think it's worth questioning whether this is a tradition we ought to let go of. What do you think? Am I wrong here or what?

46 Comments on “Red Letter Bibles

  1. Mark…This is an issue that I have pondered and I rather like red letter bibles. I own maybe twenty bibles and they fall 50/50 red letter. I have never thought that the words of Christ were any more inspired than say those of Moses or Elijah, but He is, after all, the Creator and the Word. His words are important in the fact that He is God on earth speaking and fulfilling the promises of the God the Father. I see the emphasis of red letter in that context. I think you’re right about the pink and orange lettering and I have been fortunate enough not have any bibles with that problem. All that being said, I do not use red letter as a criteria for bible purchases. I do, after all, own four Allan’s bibles and several vintage bibles that are black letter. In short, I really don’t see red letter as an issue of contention as others might.

  2. I don’t think you’re wrong. Red letter bibles are nice when you are looking for something Jesus said. It isn’t necessary, though, and can cause some unpleasantness when it isn’t really red but some other hue, especially smaller print bibles. A bible isn’t more holy because it has red letters.

  3. Mark, I have a question: what Bible is that picture of above? It’s a beautiful looking text-setting. Thanks for your response.

  4. Random question… which Bible is pictured above? I like the layout very much (regardless of my unstated preference or no for red letters).

  5. Have you ever reviewed Barry Moser’s Pennyroyal Caxon Bible? I don’t remember that Christ’s words were in red, but there were red highlights, which were just about perfect

  6. Mark… You’re back with a vengeance. Glad to see it. How’s the book? Does this mean it’s at the printer?
    Your comments about red letter editions make for an interesting discussion. In my early days I use red letter editions routinely – I think primarily because that’s what everyone else had. But I went through my own personal journey of reading the bible where I rejected even referenced editions in favor of determining my own unbiased understanding of the scriptures. I’ve since relaxed my position on reference and study editions realizing that they have merit and value. But the primary onus is still on the reader to study for himself or herself. Some of the best of these have a theological bias which the reader should be aware of.
    As for red letter editions I have to ask the reader what they are looking for in a red letter edition. What do the red letters mean in a theological sense? Are the scriptures in red more important in some sense? If so, how so? I believe all scripture is inspired – equally inspired (2 Tim 3:16). If one desires the words on Christ in red just to be able to identify what Christ said I guess I can appreciate that but on a subconscious level is there a risk of intimating these are more holy/divine/important? I’ve actually had individuals suggest that’s the case – a precarious position to take if you ask me. This leads to the obvious question of what about the words of God or of the Holy Spirit? Where are they in this scheme of important or critical words? Should they then have a special color attached to them?
    I happen to prefer black letter editions. If one prefers red letter editions for their aesthetics I can appreciate that. If, on the other hand, there’s a theological significance implied then perhaps that position should be further examined. My thoughts…

  7. If I have a choice, I’ll always get an all black letter text.
    Red letter editions seem more popular in the US than elsewhere, for no reason I can comprehend.
    The red type is more difficult to read than the black, and as noted, it’s often pink rather than red, and worst of all, the red print is often, even usually out of register with the black print, so that the form of the page is disrupted by lines of red type being marginally higher or lower than the black type!
    Unfortunately, some Bibles offer no choice but a “red letter edition”.
    The Cambridge Pitt Minion NASB and NIV for instance, come no other way.
    Therefore I do own a few red letter Bibles, but only because I have no other choice.

  8. I also prefer a Bible with black letter text simply because it is easier to read. Having been brought up on nothing but red letter Bibles I thought there was nothing else, but upon reading my first black letter edition I was an instant convert. For me it allows the words to sink in better without the added distraction of color changes in the text.

  9. To those of you wondering what the Bible in the photo is, all will be revealed … tomorrow.

  10. My $0.02 (no cents key any more, surely that’s a sign of something?).
    I used to think: better dead than red, for all the reasons everyone is familiar with.
    In contrast, as I get older (>50 as of January 2009), I recognize that color can be a useful way to help “decocde” visual material – but I don’t believe this has much functional relevance when reading a bible – possibly to the contrary.
    My personal bottom line for now, having bought my first red letter bible within the past year: it probably is a non-issue, with one big qualification (see next paragraph).
    If publishers insist on printing red letter editions, PLEASE make sure they are really red or crimson, not pink! Many red letter editions are almost unreadable to those with aging eyes because the text is just not dark enough.
    Off-topic footnote: do you remember Bob Ayala’s song, Red Letter Edition?

  11. I love red letter Bibles but not for any theological reasons. Purely for the extra ease it lends for a quick verse look up. But problem is, often the printing is not consistent or done poorly (faded or blurry). So I am definitely leaning towards “black letter” now myself. Anyway, its about time for me to not just memorize the chapters but also the verse number :)

  12. I say ditch the practice… I have many red letter bibles and only about one of them is what I would consider a good printing with dark red text. The rest are a light/faded red or pink.
    I would argue that there are enough difficulties with just getting a decent printing with dark text and limited bleed-through, let alone adding red.
    I just recently saw the Green Bible (in the NRSV) which has a green font color for verses on creation…it is pretty bad IMO. I have good vision and found it difficult to read the “lime green” text.

  13. I sometimes wonder if red-letter Bibles were a Protestant response to liturgical books like Missals, Sacramentaries, and Breviaries that had rubrics printed in red.
    It’s only a hunch. But long before Dr Klopsch’s ‘epiphany’ while reading St Luke, red and black text lived side-by-side in two column settings via the church’s worship life. After all, the ritual instructions called ‘rubrics’ got that very name because they were ruby-colored.

  14. My understanding is that some early examples of red-letter Bibles not only had the words of Christ in red, but also in the Old Testament printed in red those verses later quoted in the New Testament. I would have to double check my source on this: perhaps others have more definitive information?
    However, like many others, I would always go for a black-letter Bible. Unfortunately, in some translations (e.g. NLT and HCSB), there simply isn’t any choice.

  15. I don’t support red lettering in bibles because it continues the harm done by the introduction of verses: making people think each verse or group of verses is its own “chunk” of meaning that can stand on it’s own, apart from the surrounding text. Sometimes it can; sometimes you get awful “prooftexting” that reflects not God’s revelation but ones own bias.

  16. I’d prefer a verse-per-line edition to a red-letter edition, on the basis of your first point. That said, I would love to see a translation like the ESV printed in the original New English Bible format: single column, with verse indices printed in the outer margins.

  17. While I am not a red-letter fan, I think that such editions may offer some theological and literary benefit in studying the gospels. For instance, the gospel of Matthew seems to be structured around five or six groupings of Jesus’ words. Flipping through a red letter edition one can more easily see this. Further, there seems to be purpose and intent with the groupings. Consider the end of the Sermon on the Mount with the audience amazed that he taught as one with authority. Then the following series of miracles Matthew records futher validate his authority. While one doesn’t need a red-letter edition to discern that or other literary features, it may be of help to some.

  18. How I would have loved to have given Louis Klopsch a smack upside the head when he came up with this! As a child this red-letter silliness used to make me avoid the gospels since reading the bright red letters gave me a headache.

  19. I encountered the red-letters for the first time in my 45-year-old-life on your blog and didn’t quite get it. When I received my NLT Study Bible I was even more exasparated. Hopefully this will never show up in German Bibles as it is just detracting, hard to read and puts a not justified focus on the words of Christ as if they were the only words in Scripture that matter.
    BTW, I enjoy your come back very much and even more so as I finally found out that I love to see and touch the high end Bible featured here but have no use for them myself. Due to my reading habits (lying on my side in bed) it is easier to me to hold a hardback. This takes the “oh-have-to-have-this” out of looking at the beautiful items displayed on this side and gives my wallet a little rest. :-)
    Thank you for putting all this hard work into this site!
    Regards Yasmine

  20. “is there a risk of intimating these are more holy/divine/important? ”
    Yes, I think the words of Jesus Christ are holier and more divine than the words of the Devil, which are also in the bible.
    When someone other than Jesus / God speaks in the bible, they could be wrong, and often are. Sometimes they are lying, as the bible tells us that Peter was lying when he denied Jesus 3 times.

  21. Mark, I recently purchased a hardback book called “The Story”, in fact it wasn’t just any book it was the Bible in the TNIV version. It has not chapter or verses, and it is intended to be read like any other book. I have to say that it is so much easier to read with out all of the distractions.

  22. I’m for black letter only since every red letter I’ve ever seen makes the words of Christ HARDER TO READ! The last straw was when my wife and I went into my dying father’s hospital room to read to him from the Gospel of John. Given the low-light situation of the room the red letters virtually disappeared from the page. Since then I look for black text only.

  23. Just picked up the black goatskin/red letter version of the Pitt Minion ESV last week which I had been contemplating for 4 months. I’m really enjoying the nice dark red letters – it brings back fond memories of my first Bible which I got from my parents as a Christmas gift 40+ years ago – very typical traditional black leather, double column, red letter KJV with red tinted page edges.
    Just curious. Are those who are opposed to red letters on theological grounds also opposed to underlining or highlighting certain passages? Doing so would also seemingly place more importance on those passages to the reader.

  24. My 2 cents (which is all I will have left if I keep reading Mark’s reviews),
    When I got serious about Bible study, I started with the New Inductive Study Bible. With the black-letter-only, it really made me pay attention to the conversations that take place, to follow who said what, and it was a great help for study. Having now gone to a Wide Margin from Cambridge, and I like the NASB, which is only in red-letter, it was a good transition back to red-letter, not that I now know it all, but I am now studying at a deeper level, and I can use the red-letter as a good visual reference looking at the text as a whole.

  25. I have flipped back and forth on this issue for years. At one time I liked the red letter not I would much prefer black. I see no valid theological reason to go either way.
    I do noth think that arguing which Scriptures are “more inspired” is worth any serious consideration. In my opinion 2 Timothy 3:16 (and associated passages) puts this firmly to rest. (Unless of course you don’t believe Paul was inspired which is a different argument.)
    One can argue that people will be likey to take Christ’s words out of context if they are in red but I don’t think this is a good argument against red lettering. If someone wants to take passages out of context, history has shown that they do not need red lettering or verse format to do just that.
    All that said the reason I have come to prefer black lettering is because I have been recently getting into Bible marking and I would rather have the text be a neutral color so I can color code topically. (I am in the process of starting my own blog so perhaps I will share that once I get it developed a bit more…)

  26. As always, a most interesting topic is found here. Scott, super good point! Now that is a “can of worms” for sure! I think the red letter thing is simply up to the reader. As is print type, layout, paper, calfskin/goatskin, two/three ribbons, semi/full yapp, brown/black/tan/red (in Marks case), big/small, thin/thick, hard/sofr cover, it is all subjective stuff. We are Blessed we just have our choices.
    Me, I was raised on red letter, so I like them. Now don’t tell anyone, but my first Bible had red letters AND pictures. Yet, if I have only light red, pink, orenge-red, atomic red and the other poor choices used by many printers to choose from, I would be forced to take my drink black.
    Cambridge seems to be the most consistant at using a dark, readable red in a good text/layout, with Nelson next – to me anyway. The reds in older publishings seemed more consistant – and real red! They used completly different methods for printing tho. It will be, and is, very interesting to see how things “play out” with our publishers going to Eastern countries for print now. Maybe they have their own “version” of red we haven’t seen.

  27. As someone who is red-green colorblind, redletter Bibles fall into two categories for me:
    Either the red is so light that I have trouble seeing it at all…
    …or it is so dark that I have trouble telling the red text from the black.

  28. I grew up with a red letter edition Bible and so it’s never been a distraction for me. I don’t give more weight to the red letters as you suggest; it’s simply a nice gentle way signify that Jesus is talking. I found it interesting that you wrote about this becuase I just got done creating a personal reading Bible for myself to “just read”. And I did rip out all the things that I find distracting in Bibles… the verses.
    I deleted every single verse and only left the chapter numbers in… I may even tear out the chapters. I wanted a Bible that just read like a book. I copied the whole Bible into MS Word. Deleted all the superscript verses; and I deleted all the carriage returns (CR) and wrote some macros to format the Bible exactly how I wanted it.
    I put a CR before and after every single double-quote and indented that section–this made it read like a book, especially distrinquishing between what is quoted for a person talking within the quotes vs. just plain text.
    I just love my Reader’s Bible because it makes reading the Word so effortless now. Before I always found myself looking back to figure out where a quote begins and ends.

  29. I might feel differently if my eye-sight were poorer, but I’ve never had a problem reading the red-letters, and I will always buy a red-letter edition over one that is not. In fact, *part* of the reason that I’ve not picked up a personal size reference ESV yet is that there is no red-letter edition. Why? Well, old habits die-hard, and it’s what I’m used to. Beyond that, though, I find it helpful for reference purposes–if you’re looking for, say, the Sermon on the Mount, or someone asks “where did Jesus say _____?” the red letter text is a huge help. I guess I’d never thought about it being theologically misleading (as though the words of Jesus were more inspired), but I can see how one would get that impression. Yet any heuristic help printed in the text can be misleading–section headings, verse numbers, etc. I certainly don’t think that we should expurgate them as the words of man imposed upon the words of God. Taken to its logical conclusion, an impulse to remove all human interpretation from the publishing process would lead to Bibles in the original languages, without spaces or punctuation, without accentuation on the NT, and without vowels or accentuation in the OT. So, concerning possible misunderstandings of heuristic helps, including the red-letter text, what’s needed is not to get rid of them, but to make sure that pastors and teachers are doing their job and educating people concerning what is part of the original text and what is not.

  30. Red letters drive me nuts. It is not so much the theological issue as a practical one. I am with the guy who said that we have several other misleading helps in our bibles, why should this one be any different? For me the transition while reading is difficult. I don’t mind the red letters (so long as they are dark red) in for instance the long discourses of Matthew. It is when the text goes from red to black to red to black 34 times in one page that my eyes really get annoyed.

  31. Ryan (and others who have expressed the same concern), I suspect that now, as I get older, I’ll be more and more sympathetic to those who complain of the red letter hurting their eyes. Just the day after writing my post in favor of red-letter text, I was reading a Bible off the shelf at a Barnes and Noble’s while sitting in their Starbucks (“kicking the tires” on the Bible as it were), and, for perhaps the first time in my life, had trouble with the red-letter text. Maybe I’ll need to start stocking up on the Super-Giant-Print black letter Bibles sooner than I’d hoped! lol.

  32. Mark,
    1.) Have the different red letter editions been standardized?
    2.) Are there official names for these different red letter editions?
    3.) Would you consider summarizing key product descriptions at the beginning of your bible reviews as a quick reference for your readers? Red/black letter, dimensions, binding, ribbons, print size, column format, etc.
    Like you, I think many of us look for very specific features in a bible under consideration and a quick summary of those features would greatly reduce confusion when comparing two similar bibles.
    Thanks for running this blog. I wish more people were providing detailed reviews on bible publications!

  33. Todd F is onto something with his point #3. Something as critical as red-letter-edness is not always spelled out in a product’s web description and I suspect most of us don’t find it a pleasant surprise. We’d probably do each of us a favor to always note such things on this blog. Let’s see…what other gotcha’s have bitten me?
    1. self-pronouncing text–yuck, although it’s tolerable if done sparingly. I just got a delightful World Publishing compact NRSV–CBD was practically giving them away–and was a bit surprised to find it was self-pronouncing. I’d never seen that in an NRSV. Lesson learned: don’t assume anything.
    2. KJV italics…I thought EVERY setting included italics for the implied words, but it just ain’t so.
    3. Verse-by-verse settings when you thought you were getting paragraphed. Like, wouldn’t you assume that ALL Peterson Message’s would be paragraph-formatted?!?!?
    4. Sewn bindings that aren’t really Smyth-sewn (ie sewn in the folds of the signatures) but just punched through the full block. Sure they’re more durable than all-glued “perfect binding”, but they never open as nice, and sometimes can’t be broken in well at all.
    5. Leather- or imitation leather-covered Bibles that aren’t gilt-edged. Not a big deal, but if you’re spending over $40, you kind of assume… (Similarly, leather bibles without ribbons. What’s up with that?)
    6. What else am I forgetting? (Presentation pages, rounded edges or lack thereof…)

  34. I personally cannot stand red letter….not for theological reasons..I simply have difficulty refocusing to read the red letters.
    It really irritates me that publishers do not give us a choice. Kirkbride’s Thompson Chain Reference and Cambridge’s Pit Minion are two examples of nice bibles that only come in red. Kirkbride’s are the worst because they are bright lipstick red and are out of line with the surrounding black text.
    All I ask is that I be given a choice.

  35. How about a piece on other coloured letter editions, like the ghastly Jesus Seminar Gospels with the four (I think?) colour letter coding designating the historical reliability of Jesus’ words. Or, the recently published “Green Bible” with relevant environmentally friendly words in green. Thanks for all your work Mark. :)

  36. I am all for the red-letter editions. As a matter of fact, I wish that someone would publish a version with red letters when God speaks directly even in the Old Testament. I do believe the Bible to be entirely inspired by God. I would like to see the highlighted text when God spoke directly with Adam or Job or quotations of “The Lord says” from the prophets, etc. I have always thought a little different than most I guess. For instance, I really like reading modern versions such as the NIV or the NKJV but would much prefer to keep some of the old Kings English when referring to God. Examples of this are “Thine” and “Thou” instead of yours and his. I see my Creator as Holy or set apart and I think the text in a modern Bible should reflect the respect and honor that we should have toward our Creator.

  37. When I open a bible and see red letters, I simply see Jesus standing out and walking across the pages of the scriptures. This makes is so easy for me to follow Jesus and His words as He moves through the scriptures. I love it!

  38. I like what AugsburgFortress is doing with red letters, or I should say blue and brown letters.
    Their Peoples Bible uses brown print for the “apparatus”, the verse numbers, and that makes it much easier to read in my mind. (Not as much as just plain getting rid of versification but I think The Message has proven you can’t mass-market a Bible without versification.)
    Also the A.F. Lutheran Study Bible uses light blue type for chapter & section headings as well as to add tasteful line-art flourishes throughout the text. I know there aren’t a lot of takers for Bible artwork on this site, but the added readability should be appreciated.
    Otherwise, I fail to see how red-letter text can be anything but a detriment to reading Christ’s words.

  39. Mark, I have a question: what Bible is that picture of above? It’s a beautiful looking text-setting. Also love the lay-out of it all. Thanks for your response.

  40. I’m finally starting to break in my year-old Zondervan NIV Archological Study Bible that’s otherwise only occasionally came out of its gift box since Christmas, 2008. There’s certainly a plethora of interesting articles in that thing! I find the cream-colored paper quite pleasant for reading…with the exception of the red-letter words of Christ. Choosing to make that edition red-letter seems like such a major blunder. If there’s not enough natural contrast between red and white for easy reading, try putting red on tan and you get a disaster. It’s distracting enough to relegate my ASB to a mere reference volume, not a real “working Bible”. Particularly sad since the single-column typesetting of the scriptural text is incredibly beautiful in the non-red sections!

  41. Another pleasant surprise in the non-red-letter NLT 2ed family is the Mosaic bible. I’m a big proponent of the lectionary and some in my camp may bemoan the modernized, 1-year compilation that’s used here but I think it’s great, even if the readings don’t quite match (make that seldom match) what’s really been appointed for your liturgical Church Body. But where it differs, it’s usually better! For example, this week (2nd S after Epiphany) is the Cana Wedding Feast, which is the historical text for the week, even if it’s only “correct” in Year C of the RCL. But what a classic example of our Lord’s ephiphany! It matches Bach’s cantatas, etc, etc.
    But where this thing really shines is for folks that just aren’t familiar with the lectionary at all and wonder what all the fuss is about. It’s a great introduction to “The Church Year” and how to view the entire Bible around the Life of Christ and the Work of the Church. (Note these are weekly readings, not daily ones. For the really gung-ho types, I’d recommend Concordia Publishing House’s Treasury of Daily Prayer if you really want bulk in your bible-reading diet.) And each week contains a very nice sample (both aesthetically and in quality of reproduction) of Christian art throughout the ages, for those of us that miss “illustrated bibles”.
    My comments thus far relate to the first third of the Mosaic. The actual Biblical text (the 2nd two-thirds of the volume) pleasantly surprised me as well. Yes, for my old eyes, the 9-ish point font is a little small, but it’s remarkably clear and readable and what a joy to NOT have the words of Christ in red in an NLT! It includes a surprising number of references (center column layout) that I’d have gladly traded for a larger font (or even just more words per line!) but is probably a plus for most folks. What I particularly liked about the ref system is that the references are only identified with a bolded verse designation in the center column, so there’s no distracting superscripted letters stuck in the text. But the nicest surprise of all is the Celtic Cross icons that are sprinkled throughout the biblical text showing where that section contains a reading from “The Mosaic Church Year” with a page ref that sends you back to the first third to help you see it in its church year context. Sure, it’s not the (now normal) 3-year lectionary so you’re only getting 1/3 of the bible so to speak, but I’m really liking what I see.
    Yes, the glued binding is crummy and I only found great deals on the hardback, but the design is highly creative and attractive, the typesetting is very nice, and the paper is pretty good too by today’s standards. Give it a try!

  42. I have some study bibles and two of them, the NIV and NASB Zondervan, have red lettering for the words of Jesus.
    In both cases the red lettering is more like pink and has the effect of DE-EMPHASISING the words of Jesus (the surrounding black text is much more readable). This is quite infuriating in leather-bound bibles that are actually quite expensive and where you could reasonably expect better readability.
    While I rather sympathise with the view that red lettering is objectionable in principle because it seems to imply that some parts of the gospels are more important than others, that in-principle objection doesn’t worry me unduly. But READABILITY does worry me.
    If the publishers wish to emphasise the words of Jesus, why don’t they just use emphatic dark black or navy blue print rather than this ghastly pinky atrocity which leaves you straining to read it?
    I should add that I also have a much less expensive Nelson large print KJV in which the red lettering does work quite well, simply because the red ink is reasonably dark, ie nearer crimson rather than pink.

  43. I love my Jesus Words in red,But the ink seems to never be even or red but pink or orangeish.Why cant these companies like Schuyler print the red in the same color as like in their quentel series.If the red was dark it would be more even through out.

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