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The Tapestry of Scripture

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Many thanks to Tony Reinke, who operates the Miscellanies blog, for finding this, and then posting it for all to take a gander. I say this up front so that it is plainly evident that I can take no credit for: a. writing the post below or, b. finding the subject of the post below.

Before we get to it, allow me the freedom to promote Tony’s blog. I do not know Tony, he does not know me, we live on opposite ends of the country, we’ve never emailed each other (though I have left a comment on his blog once or twice, which is not a sarcastic understatement, but is in fact an actual reflection of the number of times I have done so) and we’ve likely been in the same state as each other only a handful of times. All of that to say, I am promoting his blog because of content, not because of personal ties (not that there is anything wrong with that).

If you like to focus on the gospel and on the cross, you’ll like Tony’s blog. If you like to see the relationship between gospel centered writing and your life, you’ll like Tony’s blog. If you like quotes and insights from dead men who lived long ago (as I do) you’ll like Tony’s blog. If you like books, book reviews, and discussions about book construction, you’ll like Tony’s blog. This is a weekly, if not more, habit of mine. I could not commend it to you any higher. Read and enjoy.

Now, with that lengthy preamble out of the way, let’s get on with it. Below is the full text of his post, one which struck me visually. Here is the link to that post.

That list of biblical references running down the gutter of each page the ESV Study Bible is a compilation of thousands of cross-references that point to other thematically related parts of Scripture. All told the ESVSB has 80,000 of those cross-references.

There’s a history to who actually made those connections. The references found in the ESVSB were compiled by a team of Bible scholars from Oxford and Cambridge Universities over 100 years ago. Their work was first used in the English Revised Version (RV), a version that appeared in 1881.

A few years back Lutheran pastor Christoph Römhild wondered if an infographic could capture cross-references like these for the purpose of visualizing the tapestry of Scripture. He contacted Chris Harrison, who said yes, and together they created this:

Each bar along the bottom represents a chapter from Genesis (left) to Revelation (right). The length of the bar correspond to the length of the chapter (Psalm 119 is easy to find in the middle). The cross-references are arched and colored by arch length. In all this graphic represents 63,779 colorful cross-references (I’m unsure how they arrived at this number, cross-referencing being something of an art — the Thompson’s Chain-Reference Bible has over 100,000, for example).

Beautiful graphic, isn’t it? This is a wonderful visual reminder of the thematic unity of Scripture, and it serves as a great personal reminder to read every verse in light of the bigger biblical storyline.

You can find a large version of the graphic and more information here.

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