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Science + Tech
The Bible In a Technological Age
This year marks the 400th birthday of the most widely distributed and most widely read translation of the Bible ever. Begun in 1604, the King James version was completed, approved and sent to the royal printer in 1611. Such a hallmark in history undoubtedly warrants attention. How has the Bible changed throughout history? How will it go forward in a technological age that’s moving beyond the printed word? Gruenewald, Innovation Leader for the YouVersion online Bible, explores the possible futures for our sacred text.
This past year I read The Book: A History of the Bible (
) and I wonder if we in the Western (largely literate and educated) world are fooled by thinking that having the Bible in close proximity to individuals (through various mediums) will increase biblical reading, understanding and hopefully more faithful living. As I think about the past (pre-Gutenberg Press) most people were illiterate and couldn't afford books, let alone technology like smart phones, yet the communal nature of the people of God and even the reliance on a few to read the bible aloud led to faithful living for many. As we scan the global movement of Christianity in the 21st century, isn't this still true today in places like Africa, Asia and Latin America? What does the church in educated and literate cultures have to learn from people who are in the developing world?
This should be a "both. . .and" rather than an "either. . .or." We shouldn't say that since people aren't applying the word faithfully, we shouldn't work to make that word more available. It is the transformitive water that God uses. How many vessels can we pour it out of even if one is seemingly more effective in one place than another. It is hard to understand the word unless you have it--either it will be heard or it will be read. Ultimately it is the work of the Holy Spirit that engages hungry hearts with God's word. God is a God of new wineskins and we need to creatively use whatever medium can best be used in varieties of contexts. Maybe we should be continually asking the question of how best should we facilitate putting the Bible into peoples hands so God can melt it into their hearts.
It is heartening to see young people moved to match and exceed the impact that the invention of the printing press had on the distribution of God's Word. It was also encouraging to hear that modern methods are being applied to translating the Bible into many more native language. With God's help, these efforts will result in an EXPLOSION of unprecedented proportions. I look forward to seeing the results. GOD BLESS YOU!
I agree it is both/and and yet I have this lingering doubt that availability of the bible will actually change the way people live.
One example of this is found in the story of Jesus' appearance on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:13-35). The disciples knew the story; Jesus even explained all the scriptures to them but it wasn't until they broke bread together that "their eyes were opened and they recognized him." (v.31).
There is something important that happens when a group of people (community) break bread together and see/experience the scriptures lived out among them.
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