October 15th, 2009

Newsweek: “Goodbye to Gideon? New digital Bible could hasten decline of bound Scriptures.”

For an hour on Tuesday I was able to imagine a world in which the Good Book no longer existed—at least not in book form.

Two men arrived in my office to show me their new product, a digital Bible called GLO (pronounced “glow”). Unlike other digital Bibles—which look, well, like Bibles—this one is cool with a capital C. Designed for people who prefer to read while they’re watching TV and texting and downloading music, GLO is to the Bible what SimCity is to the comic book: an interactive scriptural immersion experience. Go to Exodus 25, for example. There, you can read, in the New International Version translation, the description of the Tabernacle the Hebrews built in the desert, where they sacrificed animals on altars to the Lord and, more importantly, where they stored in an ark the stone tablets upon which God had inscribed the Ten Commandments.

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11 Responses to “Newsweek: “Goodbye to Gideon? New digital Bible could hasten decline of bound Scriptures.””

  1. Rob Holding says:

    No, I think you’re right. A world in which the Good Book no longer existed. As much as I enjoy utilising new technology and love the layout of the GloBible. I think it will simply be another distraction that will inhibit people’s Bible reading. Sure some people will be right into it and grow through Glo, but in all reality, how many people can you see reading a whole book on line in this format? Or even just a couple of chapters in a row without getting distracted by some fancy pop up in pop in or whatever.

    No, give me a solid paper Bible and a quiet space to read it in.

  2. Phil Faris says:

    The hype is getting in the way of persuasion, I think. (Not in this article, but in the general media coverage of hi-tech progress.) Many “conservative” people are worried that progress will lead to kids with cell-phones texting sex messages during Sunday School–and progress HAS done that!

    So we’ve got to present GLO and other breakthrough products in ways that show our “base” that we can now deliver MORE control and content and steady, intentional Bible reading/learning/worshiping–not less.

    I haven’t used paper Bibles in over 20 years. They are truly “less” than the instant access, always with me, exhaustive library of Bibles in the original languages and dozens of translations along with reference materials that I now carry with me at all times on my PHONE, let along on my notebook computer.

    I listen to fulltext well-read Bibles, in any version I choose, directly from my Smartphone while driving, riding bikes in the mountains or mowing the lawn.

    I prepare exegetical Bible lectures at my desk with a multipel screen workstation instantly linking me to thousands of reference works that are indexed to allow searching for exactly the answers I need–something that my heavy library purchased in the 70’s while in Seminary could never do.

    I can Blog with other scholars that never visit my remote corner of the world.

    I can mentor indigenous pastors in remote Asian villages that I meet on mission trips and to whom I can give a complete library for NO COST AT ALL.

    There is no question–not even close–that digital books are infinitely superior to paper ones and infinitely cheaper. Let alone all the other “connections” that come through the net to the same devices.

    The other day in the hot tub, my wife and I read Keats’ poetry to each other from our Smartphones. We’d never let our hardback library be used for such a session. Then we finished it up with a discussion of Bible passages that relate to Keats’ line of thinking, reading the expanded passages from the phone. Try that on the spur of the moment with even a paperback library you’re willing to ruin in the steam! (Yes, we have children; we’re not 100% digital.)

    And I have this gung-ho attitude about digital books even though I have the best library of acid-free, leather-bound books of any friend I’ve ever had. I KNOW the pleasure of reading real books. That pleasure is out of this world! But the pleasure and value of digital books is EVEN BETTER!

    20 years ago I helped a huge military language school develop digital versions of course materials designed to replace their books. You know what the language instructors were afraid of? Not that this would threaten the hallowed place of books in the world; they were afraid that the computers would replace THEM, the teachers! The result of this “progress” in the end proved that the Army needed MORE teachers to work doing more enjoyable tasks with the increased number of language students that grew from the better, faster learning that was achieved through progress.

    If you want to get thrown under the bus and disregarded in any discussion about the future, just keep on trying to argue that hi-tech books and media are by themselves bad for society. Everywhere you go you’ll flash the big “L” for loser that everyone will see and laugh at–though out of pity they won’t let you know what they think.

    And GLO is just a micely done “glossy” full-color, but still tiny example of what is already available. Soon every product will have to come up to GLO’s media standards; and then something even BETTER will be invented.

    Our real problem isn’t with technology; it’s with the uniformed citizenry that votes for the demise of competition and the subjugation of all to some committee of intellectuals that haven’t actually had a single real job in their lives. People who drop the word “Blackberry” when the technology in Blackberries is 10 years old and inadequate for our times.

    But all this is just “my” opinion…

  3. Billy Daly says:

    Hi – great blog you have here. I love reading sites about religion – they are so educational. Thank you for having this one. The internet can be a real blessing, even though some people don’t realize that and use it badly. I am always interested in reading online about spiritual thoughts and beliefs and your site is very inspiring. I don’t have time to read everything right now, I found this site when looking for something else on beliefnet.com, but I’ve bookmarked your homepage and will check back soon to see the latest news. What is your preferred translation of the Bible? I think they are all good, don’t really have a favorite myself. I have a web site with Biblical passages on it. Please bookmark it – it as at http://www.GotTB.com. I just redesigned the site with a new look and feel, please let me know what you think of the new layout. Have a great week. God’s Peace!

  4. scooter97 says:

    I know this will not get published. I am in aw this Bible Glo is Awesome. That is I have trouble reading the text book paper back anyway. This new stuff is so readiable and very interesting. It is so easy to use and broken down very understandable. Although, I have to agree with the writer on this one. With just only 11 % of the just the half of the world who honestly believe they are Christians. Only they are headed to eternity of death. These God fearing, commited soldiers of God, these 11.7% active Christians. Why do we need something more readable. We know this will not help anyone to come to reality. MATT 5:13

  5. I suppose I’m going to have to read up some more but this is a good spring board.

  6. Geri Brewster says:

    If one is really searching for the truth of God and the Holy Scriptures then one will come to the means that best helps understand the scriptures. One can read the scriptures regardless of what version of Bible translations used and then use media technology like Glo for further enhancement. Some people have difficulty with words and visualization. Others’ like words (written Scriptures) plus private meditation for understanding. Yet, others’ may need assistance for understanding geographical locations that will better enhance a Bible story. A good example of this is the YouTube of the Birth of Christ, ‘In His Shoes’ on this site. The example here is virtual visualization of the Church of the Nativity built by Helena, mother of Constantine, against the backdrop of the manger scene like what it would have been like in Jesus’ birth. The media visualization does enhance an understanding of the ‘then’ and ‘now’ circumstances and thus helps provide teaching tools to students or listeners of those presenting Biblical teachings.
    It does seem that whatever source is used if one is sincere and through faith and prayer, believe they are honestly teaching the truth of scriptures, media resources can be an asset to use.

  7. Hi, i found this blogg on google. I really think its very interesting and i will definitely come back to read more. Just want you to now that you are doing a fantastic job.

  8. [...] James version is considered by Mormons to be the most accurate English translation of the Bible. …Newsweek: Goodbye to Gideon? New digital Bible could hasten …New digital Bible could hasten decline of bound Scriptures. For an hour on Tuesday I was … A world [...]

  9. Josh says:

    I laughed at the Mario rearrange that someone did. Oh those cheeky gamers!
    Regards, Joshuah
    Examine – my age as understandably

  10. Solar Panel says:

    Well can I use a bit of of your post to my web site. I will definitely give a attributable link to globible.com if i use any info. Tell me if you don’t have any kind of problems with it. Best wishes :)

  11. Nice post about Newsweek: “Goodbye to Gideon? New digital Bible could hasten decline of bound Scriptures.” « Glo Bible: Glo Blog. I am very impressed with the time and effort you have put into writing this story. I will give you a link on my social media blog. All the best!