A Bibliomancy Script

Bibliomancy consists of selecting a random passage from a book such as the Bible.  It may be hard to select a random page, especially if you are familiar with the contents.  The following script allows you to select a page, chapter, and verse at random from whatever Bible you use.  The pages, chapters, and verses are distributed throughout the selection fields with a random offset; click anywhere in the field to make a selection.

First, enter the beginning and ending pages of the text.  If you get a page without actual text, such as an introduction, just select another page.
Pages to
click to select
If the selected page has more than one chapter on it, enter the first and last chapters that have verse numbers appearing on the page.
Chapters to
click to select
Now enter the first and last verse numbers that appear in the selected chapter, or on the page if there is only one chapter.
Verses to
click to select
Advanced mode — enter the chapters and verses that appear on the page, in the form:
6:14-21
7:1-25
8:1
 —
click to select

Advanced mode


For example, in the .pdf version of the World English Bible with Deuterocanon/Apocrypha (as of 30 Oct 2017), the text starts on page 3 and ends on page 1242, so we would enter these numbers and select a page.  Page 450 has parts of Psalms 18, 19, 20, and 21 on it, so if we got that page we would enter 18 to 21 and select a chapter.  The verse numbers of Psalm 18 appearing on the page are 43 to 50, so if we got that chapter we would enter these numbers and select a verse.

Should a page include chapters from two books, enter 1 to the total number of chapters on the page to represent them as the first, second, and so on.

Advanced mode is another way to select a verse from a page with multiple chapters.

Alternatives include limiting the selection, such as to the New Testament; or selecting a chapter and verse from a specific book.

It is common for scripts like this to let the computer generate a random verse in response to clicking a link.  The script above allows you to make the selection yourself from all the possible options (as long as your Bible has fewer than 25,200 pages, the number of pixels in the selection fields).  It also allows you to use whatever version of the Bible you wish, such as with or without the Apocrypha or “missing” verses; or other books such as the epistles of Seneca.  To use a book without verse numbers, such as the Nag Hammadi Library, you may have to count the lines on the page.


When I asked about this script, I got Isaiah 8:2.

“. . . and I will take for myself faithful witnesses to testify: Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.”


From The Confessions of Saint Augustine, Book VIII, tr. by Edward Bouverie Pusey, [1909-14], at www.sacred-texts.com/chr/augconf/aug08.htm:

So was I speaking and weeping in the most bitter contrition of my heart, when, lo!  I heard from a neighbouring house a voice, as of boy or girl, I know not, chanting, and oft repeating, “Take up and read; Take up and read.”  Instantly, my countenance altered, I began to think most intently whether children were wont in any kind of play to sing such words; nor could I remember ever to have heard the like.  So checking the torrent of my tears, I arose, interpreting it to be no other than a command from God to open the book, and read the first chapter I should find.  For I had heard of Antony, that coming in during the reading of the Gospel, he received the admonition, as if what was being read was spoken to him:  Go, sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me; and by such oracle he was forthwith converted unto Thee.  Eagerly then I returned to the place where Alypius was sitting; for there had I laid the volume of the Apostle when I arose thence.  I seized, opened, and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell:  Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, in concupiscence.  No further would I read; nor needed I; for instantly at the end of this sentence, by a light as it were of serenity infused into my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away.


© 2017 by Russell Cottrell.
Please visit russellcottrell.com.