Those Little Numbers and Letters

We recently created a Libronix-based product for a third party company andone of their outside consultants did Quality Assurance testing on it. She had a number of questions about the way things work within Libronix DLS—but the oddest question she asked was, “What are these numbers and letters all over the Bible?”

It took me a couple of tries to figure out that she was talking about the footnote and cross-reference indicators within the text of a Bible such as the English Standard Version.

After further clarification, I realized that she was not confused by the electronic implementation…she would have been equally stymied by the appearance of these littleletters and numbers in a print Bible! I guess it’s one of those things I take for granted as someone who has been around the Bible all my life. And yet surely somebody must have explained it to me, too, somewhere along the way.

People expect a fair bit of documentation with their new Bible software, which is why we include a help manual within the program, ship a free video tutorial disc with every base product, offer training articles, 70+ video tutorials on the web, Morris Proctor’s Tips & Tricks blog, tutorial posts right here on the Logos blog, user newsgroups, the Logos Wiki, and Camp Logos.

But what kind of help do people get when they pick up a print Bible for the very first time? How do they find out what all the little letters and numbers mean?


  1. They can read the information in the front of the Bible that talks about them :)

  2. Daniel,
    I’m guessing that your last paragraph was somehwat rhetorical. Not having grown up “in the church” or knowing Adam from Eve for that matter, I can’t remember NOT knowing what the references were as they seemed to easily noticeable from the use of footnotes in college or other readings…from outside the Bible. But, understandably, does not see things the same as another. For these people: be sure to read the front of your Bibles as it will provide answers to solve the footnoting; cross-referencing; even translation background information.

  3. Mark Smith says

    Not to disparage anything Logos does to train users in our favorite Bible software, but users of print Bibles would probably not be very confused about the little numbers and footnotes since they would see – on the very page the little numbers and letters occur – the references. You don’t see that in an electronic Bible, therefore more need of explanation.
    In addition, there are lots of people who have a print Bible and have already discovered the reference and note feature, people whom a less experienced Bible user could query.
    So this woman probably would not have been asking this question of a print Bible and if she had the question she’d either figure it out pretty quickly herself, or ask someone.
    Keep creating the training tools Logos users need, including the little letters and numbers stuff. Logos users may need it more than print Bible users.

  4. The link for “Logos Wiki” does not work. Can you supply the correct address?