A manuscript is a printed passage with nothing but the Bible text itself. There are no titles or study notes or even paragraph breaks. It is meant to be written on, so it is often double-spaced and has wide margins.
You can take it a step further by removing the chapter and verse numbers. (When InterVarsity prepares longer manuscripts in this style, we add page and line numbers for easy reference.)
Why Would I Use One?
- A manuscript is paper instead of a screen. We read a lot of casual material on our phones, so working with something physical helps us give it our full attention.
- You can write on and highlight a manuscript. Many people think best when they can interact with what they’re reading, or remember things better when they can write it down.
- Using a manuscript takes out all of the “helps”, like titles and study notes. Sometimes that’s helpful because that’s how we learn to process the Bible for ourselves. It’s like the difference between always buying processed foods and learning how to make something at home.
How Do I Make One?
Here is a fast way to make a manuscript.
- Go to https://www.biblegateway.com/ on your computer and enter your passage and translation at the top of the screen. We recommend the NIV or ESV translation.
- Look for the orange ‘gear’ icon at the top right of your passage. That’s for your “Page Options”. Uncheck everything, or just leave the verse numbers if you want to keep those.
- Next to that gear icon is a printer icon. Use that to format the webpage for printing.
For an even better study experience, instead of using the printer icon, highlight the passage and then copy and paste it into a program you can use to edit it. There you can remove the paragraph breaks, make it double spaced, and use wide margins.
If you’d like a prepared manuscript of an entire book of the Bible, please visit https://intervarsity.org/bible-studies/manuscripts.
Part 1: How to Lead Observation