A fundamental principle of Bible interpretation is to always interpret Scripture in light of Scripture. In other words, Scripture will always be it’s own best interpreter. Therefore, a quality study Bible will have a significant number of cross-references to assist the reader in understanding a biblical text in light of other verses that compliment, supplement, and/or provide vital historical background of that text.
For example, in Genesis 3.15 God says to the serpent, “he [the seed/offspring of the woman; i.e. Christ] shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” A quality study Bible will have cross-references about the “bruising of the head” such as Romans 16.20, Hebrews 2.14, Revelation 21.1-3, 10, signifying the death blow that Jesus Christ dealt to Satan while making atonement for sin on the cross.
My favorite study Bible is the ESV Study Bible. Every page is loaded with tons of helpful study notes and dozens of cross-references. Add all those cross-references together and the ESV Study Bible has over 80,000 of them!
With all these cross-references in mind, Tony Reinke, in a recent blog, writes: A few years back Lutheran pastor Christoph Römhild wondered if an infographic could capture cross-references like these for the purpose of visualizing the tapestry of Scripture. He contacted Chris Harrison, who said yes, and together they created this:
Reinke further explains this beautiful graphic: Each bar along the bottom represents a chapter from Genesis (left) to Revelation (right). The length of the bars correspond to the length of the chapter (Psalm 119 is easy to find in the middle). The cross-references are arched and colored by arch length. In all this graphic represents 63,779 colorful cross-references.
Personally, I find this graphic fascinating. What a beautiful pictorial visualizing the tapestry of Scripture. It’s not shocking though, when you consider the Bible has one ultimate Author, the majestic God of the Universe!