Bible: Red Letter Old Testament


Here a few years ago a friend asked me if I had ever seen a “red letter” Old Testament. I told him that I hadn’t and he recommended that I get one. So I bought Words For Living from GEM Publishing. I was very familiar with a “red letter” New Testament (the words of Christ being in red print) and had always felt that it was beneficial when reading and studying in the Gospels. However, I wasn’t sure about a red letter Old Testament that had God’s words in red letters. Well, I have found it to be the same blessing. God’s actual words jumped off the page and drew my attention to what He said in a special way.

That brings me to today. I was preparing for an upcoming sermon on 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” As I reflected on all scripture being God-breathed I found myself wondering just how many OT verses were actual words spoken by God in my red letter OT. I was sure they would have that info in the front of it. Guess what? NOT! I was just going to forget it, but I couldn’t. So after a few moments I decided to turn through every page and count the number of OT verses with red letters.

About 2 hours later I discovered that there were 5,715 red letter OT verses. That number overwhelmed me. I knew it would be a lot, but would never have guessed it to be that large. It was a reminder that in the Bible God made it a point to not only say that the scriptures ultimately derived from Him, but that He actually spoke much of it with His own words. I knew in my heart that ignoring the Bible was even a greater offense than I had realized.

Then I ran the math. Out of the 23,145 verses in the Old Testament, 25% (1 out of 4) were words spoken directly by God. It seemed even clearer to me how desperately God wanted to communicate with us humans. He not only inspired some 30 different writers over 1,000 year span to pen the Old Testament books, but He spoke much of it Himself. What a communicator Jehovah is. What good news that is to us humans. God wants to communicate with us because He wants a relationship with us; a relationship of Father and child. WOW!

So the next time you pick up your Bible and open it up to the Old Testament and find yourself beginning to yawn, just remember that 1 out of every 4 words in that Old Testament are words that came from the very lips of Jehovah God Almighty. That should get your juices flowing and zip a new supply of oxygen to your brain.

“Thank You, Father, for loving us enough to communicate with us. Thank You for Your personal involvement in the communicating. I’m sorry for too often taking Your words for granted. Sharpen my focus on Your words in my Bible. Amen.”