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Episode 144 Formatting the Word of God with Dan Wallace

Episode 144 Formatting the Word of God with Dan Wallace

In May 2023 Dan Wallace lectured at the Lanier Theological Library. His topic was “Formatting the Word of God.”  Before the lecture, he sat down to talk with David Capes for The Stone Chapel Podcast.

Who is Dan Wallace?

Dan Wallace is the CEO and executive director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) in Plano, Texas.

Formatting the Word of God

From the beginning, people who hand copied the New Testament Manuscripts put into the manuscripts features which made the reading of Scripture easier.  But these features led to certain interpretations.

The Bible has certain formatting to it. It has to. Every literary product has to. For example, how wide should the margins be for a text? How wide should the text be? Is it going to be on a three-foot papyrus roll? So, there’s some formatting.

Certain features, for example, make it easier to read in public.  Other features of copying indicate respect for and devotion to Christ. 

Dan’s lecture will be rich in imagery drawn from the thousands of photographs of these amazing manuscripts that this organization has taken over the last decades. 

Still thousands of manuscripts remain unphotographed.  But his organization has discovered many other manuscripts not previously catalogued. 

Even the form of the book itself—the codex not scrolls or rolls—has a certain interpretive significance. 

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts

Because these manuscripts and inks are organic, over time they will decay, fade, and become unreadable.  That’s one reason Dan started the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts: to preserve these valuable artifacts. 

But there is another reason.  The goal of the center is to make high quality, digital images available to all people.  If the staff  meet their goal, then in the future anyone in the world with an internet connection will be able to view images of available manuscripts. 

Formatting Today

Modern Bibles continue the interpretive features.  Chapters, verses, columns, italicizing, page numbers, cross-referencing, and interpretive notes are employed by publishers and these guide readers to interpret the texts. 

For the website of the CSNTM, go to

To hear the complete lecture click here.

To hear Dan Wallace’s previous podcast on the history and mission of the CSNTM click here.

Would you like a transcript of this podcast? Click here.

More resources

Want more Stone Chapel Podcasts on some great topics. Just click here.

What’s more, you can get information on upcoming lectures at Lanier Theological Library. Just click here.

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