Bible and technology guest post: Bible reading as personal

Digital Bible media should be both personal and communal. Bible reading can be an intensely personal experience, but the technology really enables it to be a communal one as well. I taught one Greek class where we connected with the Lutheran Seminary of Hong Kong. It was both informative and exciting to be colloborating on translating Greek into English when we were enriched by another culture’s perspective as well as the challenge of making sense to students for whom English was a second language. This aspect relates to my previous point of interactive reading, and I dream of someday participating in worldwide Bible study groups. I think this will be one of the greatest ways Christians will be able to see a global Christianity that transcends parochial or national boundaries.

3 comments on “Bible and technology guest post: Bible reading as personal

  1. tim

    I’m puzzled, as you say Bible reading has both personal and communal aspects to it. Electronic media offer unparalleled opportunities for communities to “gather” round a text, yet so far this hardly seems to happen. Except the fragmentary “gathering” round a “verse of the day” on Facebook and the divisive Fundies versus Skeptics “debates” of the bulletin boards…

  2. Mark Hoffman

    I’ve been frustrated by the communal possibilities. I don’t really want to run everything out in Facebook. YouVersion (http://www.youversion.com/) has a community feature, but it was really hard getting a group set up. Great Treasures (http://greattreasures.org) is another one and also has a Facebook app, but I couldn’t coordinate a group there either. What did really work well (and it was the means I used w/ the Hong Kong group) is the now defunct Google Wave. Once students got the hang of it, it worked beautifully. My hope now is that Google+ will work, but I haven’t had time to work it out.
    Note that I’ve mainly been thinking in terms of composed/invited groups, not open groups where anyone can just jump in. Much more civil!

    1. tim

      There seems to be a disconnect between the technologies, like discussion forums and blogs (and even more adaptations of blogging that allow comments on each paragraph) that would seem ideally placed to offer conversation for a group around a Bible passage, and what actually happens. Blogging appeals to a few, but there are almost always more comments and interaction around Facebook. However, because of the nature of that medium almost all the interaction is trivial, or trivialised. (See Vinoth Ramachandra’s post Network Selves for a fine opening of that discussion.)