Cornerstone Baptist Church, 4930 Old Lohman Rd., Jefferson City, Missouri, 65109

Friday, November 21, 2008

Visualizing the Interconnectedness of Scripture

The interconnectedness of Scripture has been visualized in a stunning new graphic created as a collaboration between two men using the more than 63,000 cross-references in Scripture. The graphic they created is above in small form, and the explanation below. Be sure and go here for much more, including a much larger version of the graphic:
This set of visualizations started as a collaboration between Christoph Römhild and myself. Christoph, a Lutheran Pastor, first emailed me in October of 2007. He described a data set he was putting together that defined textual cross references found in the Bible. He had already done considerable work visualizing the data before contacting me. Together, we struggled to find an elegant solution to render the data, more than 63,000 cross references in total. As work progressed, it became clear that an interactive visualization would be needed to properly explore the data, where users could zoom in and prune down the information to manageable levels. However, this was less interesting to us, as several Bible-exploration programs existed that offered similar functionality (and much more). Instead we set our sights on the other end of the spectrum –- something more beautiful than functional. At the same time, we wanted something that honored and revealed the complexity of the data at every level –- as one leans in, smaller details should become visible. This ultimately led us to the multi-colored arc diagram you see below.

The bar graph that runs along the bottom represents all of the chapters in the Bible. Books alternate in color between white and light gray. The length of each bar denotes the number of verses in the chapter. Each of the 63,779 cross references found in the Bible is depicted by a single arc - the color corresponds to the distance between the two chapters, creating a rainbow-like effect.
This outstanding work visualizes for us the fact that the Bible is a unified whole that carries forward the story of God's love and redemption from beginning to end. It is composed of 66 individual "books," but God inspired each to be written, and the many books truly make up His unified Perfect Word conveying His mind and heart from beginning to end.