Bible and technology guest post: Reading experience

  • Digital Bible media should be similar to the traditional reading experience. I think the success of devices like the Nook, Kindle, iPad, or Android tablets is due in part to the fact that they kind of feel as if one is reading a book. Both the form factor and the page metaphor are roughly similar. The biggest problem has been citation when the concept of page numbering gets lost. The Bible comes with a handy book, chapter, verse system, but it’s a system that has been criticized for imposing a structure on the text that isn’t necessarily there. Considering that the digital device you hold in your hand is not just a Bible but capable of holding a host of Bible versions, and there is a clear advantage for digital.
  • Digital Bible media should emulate the engaged reading experience. I have a few Bibles sitting on my shelves from my younger days that are rather extensively marked up with margin notes and highlights. I was so familiar with those Bibles, that I knew on what part of the page to look for a specific text. If digital Bibles are going to succeed, they will need to have a similar capability.
    Most Bible software and apps have been working toward this end by providing bookmarking, highlighting, and notetaking. The advantage for digital here is that I won’t lose all my annotations once I move to a new Bible or version.
  • Digital Bible media should transform and revolutionize the overall reading experience. You, Tim, had the foresight long ago to start thinking about what this might mean with the hypertext Amos project. The Glo Bible is another recent, more popular-oriented attempt. Beyond just linking to dictionaries and graphics and sound files, I am imagining that someday we will be able to make Bible reading a dynamic and nearly immersive experience. This is happening already with other interactive books (here are some examples), and eventually the Bible will receive simliar innovative treatment. This approach should hopefully go a long way to making Bible reading appealing, even compelling.

One comment on “Bible and technology guest post: Reading experience

  1. tim

    The Scripture Tools for Every Person (STEP) project out of Tyndale House in Cambridge is one that seeks to make such resources widely and freely available…