3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated Book Cover

  • By Donald Knuth
  • Publisher: A-R Editions, Inc.
  • ISBN #0-89579-252-4
  • 268 Pages

This is one of the most interesting Bible study books I’ve read in a LONG time. Donald Knuth is a Computer Scientist, arguably the godfather of modern computer programming. He literally wrote the book on it. He’s also a Christian, and loves to apply his knowledge of mathematics and statistical study to his faith.

For 3:16, he did a study of chapter 3, verse 16 of every possible book of the Bible. Some books don’t have 16 verses in chapter three, so he continued counting up into chapter 4, so there are a few of 4:4, and 4:8 etc. Very short books like 2 John, 3 John, and Jude are skipped.

Each verse gets 4 pages of the book. The first page is dedicated to a review of the book in general; history, authorship, general focus, etc. The third and fourth pages are dedicated to a study of the verse itself.

The second page dedicated to each verse is one of the things that makes this book special. Renowned calligraphers from all over the world illuminated the verses. Each verse had a different calligrapher, so each verse has a very distinct style. They aren’t illuminated in the sense that they have pictures etc, but there’s definite art involved here.

Knuth wanted to be as sure as possible he was dealing with actual scripture texts, so rather than choose a modern translation, he researched the earliest known texts we have available, and with the help of excellent books and Smart People made his own translations of the verses. This allows him to speak authoritatively on the various possible English interpretations, and often does.

I think one of the reasons I loved this book so much is that he follows good hermeneutical processes in his studies of the books as a whole, and the verses individually. I honestly can’t think of a better way to study the Bible than spending time immersing oneself in it from the ground up, and researching how everything relates together.

This is an amazing book, and i highly recommend it to anyone. Each verse is only 3 pages of regular text, which makes it easy to read just a big and not feel like you’re left hanging. The downside to that is that I often felt like I had time for just one more.

2 thoughts on “3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated

  1. You might also like another book by Donald Knuth, “Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About.” However, I can’t find a link at which I can buy it. I bought extra copies and lent them friends. If you hit me up, I’ll try to get one of them back to lend you.

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