Monday, April 23, 2012

Adventures in Scripture Checking by Andy Scheer

This past week I got a reminder of what editing was like in the good old days, and I sure didn't like it.

At the end of the book I was editing, the author had thirteen pages of Scripture references—easily 250 verses to check. As I began the task, I remembered my approach to Scripture checking when I started work for Moody magazine in the mid-1980s.

I'd place the paper manuscript in the middle of my desk (this was before the magazine bought its first computer), with the needed Bible versions spread around it. Then for each Scripture reference, it would be “sword drill” time. (I'd sometimes cheat by putting paper bookmarks in frequently cited chapters.)

When the words of the verse didn't quite line up, I'd have to check other translations one by one, looking for the one the writer had used. And when the cited verse reference was completely wrong, I'd have to scan the chapter and hope I wouldn't have to drag out the concordance. Remember how heavy concordances were? There's a reason one was called Strong's.

But thanks to, those good old days were only a memory. Until last Thursday and my massive Scripture checking project.

Whether it was my internet service provider or a problem with the website, something was wrong. I'd type in the verse reference, click “enter,” and wait—and wait—and wait. Sometimes the verse would appear. Sometimes I'd get an “address not found” error notice and have to try again.

And so it went—for nearly 200 verses. I finally dug out an ink-on-paper Bible for the most commonly used version, but for a couple others I was stuck. She was citing ones I didn't keep on my shelf.

I wrapped up work a little early that day. Friday morning everything was working again and I breezed through the final four pages of references—much more grateful for a resource I'd taken for granted.


Heather Day Gilbert said...

So glad you decided to go "old school" and saved time on a difficult task. Wonder if kids do sword drills anymore?

Cheryl said...

I like Biblegateway, but I usually use it as my second choice. When my daughter had a tough time looking up words in a dictionary, I knew it was time to get back to basics and teach her how to do things the way I used to.

Rick Barry said...

I got a good laugh out of your comment on why one concordance was named Strong's, Andy.

I'll also mention the time I was freelance editing a magazine article by a theologian. I couldn't figure out which Bible version he'd used for one Scripture quotation. Turned out he'd paraphrased it from memory and placed quotation marks around it. Sigh.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh, dear. You earned your fifty cents for that day!

I appreciate these peeks into an agent's life. We appreciate you all the more becuase of them.

Sharon said...

I LOVE Bible Gateway. I stumbled on the site when I first began writing and needed to look up a scripture with just a couple of words. It’s bookmarked on all my computers.