Bible-fetch: get fast, easy access to the Bible from the command line

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Sun Jun 14 22:31:32 UTC 2020

Hi all. As a Christian, I always try to read the Bible. At least a little. As much as my wondering mind can remember to. I find verse numbers just distract me, in speech or braille. So, I tried a few different options, the “flat” World English Bible, or the “New English Translation reader’s edition”. Those were both out-of-date, because haha, who needs a Bible without verses? I mean, you can just look passed them, right? I mean, you can see, right? I mean, blind people are like, given sight by Jesus so they can read the Bible with their eyes, right? Yeah, I’m pretty cynical.

I like the CJB (Complete Jewish Bible”. Not because I’m a Jew, but because I enjoy the freshness of having the original name in all their Jewishness, so that I don’t feel like I’m reading the same old book that our culture has absorbed and made commonplace and, well, ordinary. At least, that’s how it feels to me. But of course, there’s not a verse-number-less version of that translation, at least, not that I’ve found.

What I /have/ found is Bible Fetch, a command-line fetcher for the quite inaccessible Bible Gateway site. Sure, you can read the Bible there, but try changing reading settings, like turning off verse numbers. At least on the Mac with Safari, I found it impossible. If you can get it working on another browser, I’ll gladly use that. For Bible Fetch, you just download the repository <>, install the needed Python 3 scripts, and just run:

#+begin_code shell
./bible gen1 —version cjb

You can even pipe it to a file for easier reading. Note for Emacspeak users, paragraphs are not wrapped, so you may need to M-X fill-individual-paragraphs to make things better. Note that you cannot fetch whole books. I know, it sucks, but I doubt this was designed to be an actual Bible-reading tool, more just a reference tool. And yes, verse numbers are hidden by default; yay! If you need them though, you’ll find the argument for that in the repository’s readme file.

In conclusion, while Bible reading sites are often hard to use, for me at least, and I’m not always on my phone, there are tools that work around this a bit. I don’t like verse numbers either, and none of the Bible apps I’ve used, and no usable Bible site so far, offers the ability to hide them. Bible Fetch gets around this well, and hides verse numbers by default. It can’t download whole books, but for viewing the Bible a chapter at a time, it works well.

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