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The Subhead: Use It For Quick Reading, Except In This One Place

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

Study this Book of Instruction continually. (Joshua 1:8, NLT)

A Word For Writers

A subhead allows readers to scan, making subheads obligatory in today’s skimmable content. 

The Subhead - a #devotional for writers based on Joshua 1:8 with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #ChristianWriting #FreelanceWriting

The Bible, too, offers subheads in many of today’s translations. However, these subheads are not part of the original text (with the exception of the Psalms.)  

They have been added by a translation committee or publisher as a way to present scripture in easier-to-digest pieces.

You’ll notice that subheads vary widely between Bible versions. Take a look at these four subheads from four different translations at the beginning of the book of Joshua:

Joshua 1

  • The Lord’s Charge to Joshua (NLT)
  • Joshua Installed as Leader (NIV)
  • God’s Commission to Joshua (NKJV)
  • Encouragement of Joshua (HCSB)

Each of those subheads offer an excellent summary of the content that follows in Joshua 1. Plus, they’re useful in breaking up scripture into consumable sections. Yet it’s a mistake to use biblical subheads as a “quick reading” tool.

These days, it not only acceptable to write subheads so our content skimmable, but it’s an accepted best practice.

Yet the Bible was not written to be scanned, but to be studied.

A Wise Word

Use subheads to make your content skimmable.

A Word To Pray

Loving Father,

Your Word is unique. While I may be tempted to skim other content, Your Word allows me to dig in so I can know You. Forgive me for the times I race over scripture. Let me study Your Book deeply and thoroughly. 

In Jesus’s name, Amen


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