Smooth Reading Format ‘Flat Bible’

image showing bible being flattened out A Bible without chapters or verses:

A Bible in a format with no chapter divisions and no verse numbers presented to be read in a conventional book style.

Free Download (Translation Version has no copyright)

Updated 16 June 2014 to include PDF file with bookmarks

Updated 3 July 2015 to include E-reader formats: .epub and .mobi

Updated 9 August 2015 to fix a stray footnote in-line with text problem (all formats updated)

(For regular computers right click and "save as" is probably the best option; reader devices may work from a direct click)

PDF files are fine but only allow for a fixed page arrangement. I recommend the .epub or .mobi format as you can always change your reader's settings to make the reading more comfortable. You don't have to have a Nook or a Kindle to read them; there are free reader programs for them on both regular computers and hand-held devices. ** Note: There can be considerable variation in appearance depending on device and program used to read the .epub or .mobi formats; try a different reader if one doesn't appear to work.
As mistakes are found new versions will be loaded here. Because of this, please don't directly link to the files; link to this page. Thanks

The Smooth Reading Format Version of the Bible (which I also call a “Flat Bible”) that I am making available here is just a particular way of formatting the Bible so that it reads more like a conventional modern multi-chapter book. As such the text is presented in a single column and all the chapter and verse numbering have been removed to make the reading as smooth as any other book. All paragraph divisions and punctuation marks follow what was produced by the translators. However, no changes were made to the words of the translation that was used.

Why? Because regardless of how massively useful the divisions can be for reference, a printed page containing all these numbers just doesn’t read like a regular book. The original biblical texts from which we get our translations did not contain any chapter and verse divisions and despite my best intentions I know I let the divisions subtly influence my understanding the overall context.

The translation used in this formatting project is the World English Bible (WEB) available at

Why use the “WEB” translation instead of some other more popular English translation? I would like to do this same thing for my favorite translation but as they say at the “WEB” website (and in the introduction to the translation):

“There are already many good translations of the Holy Bible into contemporary English. Unfortunately, almost all of them are restricted by copyright and copyright holder policy. This restricts publication and republication of God’s Word in many ways, such as in downloadable files on the Internet, use of extensive quotations in books, etc. … Because the World English Bible is in the Public Domain (not copyrighted), it can be freely copied, distributed, and redistributed without any payment of royalties.”

This presentation of the World English Bible is merely a particular formatting of the way the text is presented on the page. No changes to the wording of the World English Bible text were made so it is still the same translation. I decided to keep the glossary and the translation footnotes in this version. (Note that the E-reader format versions,.epub and .mobi, do not contain footnotes.)

Note about printing: If the whole file were to be printed and bound into a book to make one complete printed Bible, the margins would have to be changed to accommodate the center binding and other print consideration. The margins in these file were just set by me to look good to my eyes on a computer screen and for small stacks of paper prints. If I or someone else gets interested in printing and binding the whole thing, the margins can be changed at that time.

I wanted to complete this project for several years but thought I might be the only one interested so I put it off. Several comment I have heard and things I read in various places on the internet over the last several months gave me the idea that there might be more interest in this kind of therefore I completed it.

I want to make it clear that I am not against Bibles with chapter and verse divisions. If there was any danger of that format disappearing I would be against it. I think, however, that there is a niche for this sort of thing; maybe in the future the publishers of some of the major English translations might get interested in producing some of those versions in this kind of format.


Ray L. Cross, image containing address (email address will need to be hand typed)

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Page Information Last modified on: Tuesday 31 May 2016

formatting changes include adding links to .epub and .mobi files
new file links on 4 July 2015 for files that fixed display format problems for poetry in .epub and .mobi files