How Social Media is Shrinking the Bible

The following short article from a “Christian” source recognizes and addresses a modern day problem associated with Bible engagement and technology.

Though technology has played a major role in the availability of the Word of God in ways unimaginable just a generation back, today an estimated 50% of Americans read their Bible digitally on computers, phones, and Bible apps. In addition, computer programs quickly and efficiently present the Bible in multiple translations, readily available for reading, copying, and saving with the click of a mouse; while essential tools which Bible students depend upon such as concordances, lexicons, commentaries, etc. are equally available on line.
Yet… what impact has technology had on Bible engagement in this digital age?

Studies conducted by the Barna Group and The American Bible Society show that there is a growing Bible literacy problem despite the technological advantages, concluding,

“today’s technology is doing as much, if not more, harm than good to overall Bible literacy.”

Scriptural sound bites and snippets necessarily reduce not only content, but also meaning and impact. There is simply no replacement for Bible study. When one repeatedly reads the Bible with the sincere desire to understand and embrace it, one becomes familiar with its themes, its teachings, and its contexts.
We are admonished to

“study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

– Editor of the Christadelphian Advocate

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Harper-Collins-Bible-best-Bible-apps-for-Android – the Word of Promise telling: The NKJV Study Bible, Second Edition, is the most comprehensive study Bible available!

It turns out that electronic Bible providers are employing “a data-centric model” which regularly regurgitates those verses which are already the most tweeted or shared by their user communities. The result is basically a repeating loop of “verse of the day” Bible balm. This means those who get their Bible online will receive plenty of I can do all things through Christ… (Philippians 4:13), and, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace…(Jeremiah 29:11), but not so much of the rest of the Bible. Apparently no one is intentionally choosing a wide selection of verses to more adequately convey the wider range of biblical teaching… The prognosis is not good… the less-than-hopeful question:

“Does this mean that we lose out on doctrinal or propositional input into our Bible reading online”?

And if we do put more than therapeutic Bible verses out there, will they all merely land on “deaf ears, blind eyes, and dead screens”?
The concern is appropriate.

Constantly engaging Bible verses that make me feel good is perilously close to turning the Bible into a prophet that tells me only what I want to hear. This is the kind of prophet the real prophets warned us about. But is simply adding more verses – propositional ones – to the playlist really the solution? Isn’t there a deeper problem here?

Exposure to a wider variety of Bible verses might offer me more than therapy, but the entire approach is still based on providing would-be Bible readers little more than a morsel. The bigger issue is that we can’t rely on tweets, Facebook posts or “verse of the day” deliveries to our inbox to fulfill the promise of Bible engagement.
The social media channel as a communication medium has built-in limitations. The Bible itself is so much more than a collection of verses, so much richer than a sourcebook of one-liners… The Holy Scriptures are a gathering of complete literary works, meant to be read as a whole. These books come together to tell a story that can only be taken in, understood, and lived if it is fully encompassed, apprehended at length, and deeply embraced. Sound bites can’t do this. A constant diet of atomized fragments is a disservice to the Scriptures that God gave us.

Let us rather respect and read the Bible holistically.
Let us honor the Word of God by giving it our time and full attention.
We don’t need a shrinking Bible delivered to us with a diminished set of expectations. May we rather welcome back a full-sized Bible – the stories, wisdom, instruction, and visions overflowing with all that God has for us and all He expects of us.
Words to encourage and inspire us, yes: but also to instruct, correct, and welcome us wholly into this long and winding narrative that in the end leads us where we need to go. Only the complete Bible can do this. So read big.

This article originally appeared on Institute For Bible Reading organisation under the title “Verse of the Day‘Therapy’ is Shrinking the Bible,” October 10, 2018.

Stepping Toes 2014 in review

For the Belgian Christadelphians 2014 was not the ideal year. But it was not a a year they consider waisted and where they waited and wanted to see how everything went without doing something new.

Having transferred Stepping Toes from Xanga to WordPress, we had to start all over again and continued in the same way we had done on Xanga, though did not find so  many articles of like minded people to reblog. We had also invited many Christadelphians to join us here on WordPress but shamefully did not receive many  positive replies. We regret that there have not yet presented many volunteers to help preaching the Good News.

From Guestwriters 2014 Jan 1Also for the new lifestyle magazine From Guestwriters there have not many people presented themselves to help to bring more awareness into this world or to talk about life matters. We also had hoped some photographers would have be willing to share their work to show the beauty of nature, the creation which more people should come to respect more.

Perhaps the received 3100 viewers for the 228 posts in the first year of From Guestwriters can convince others to join the team to reach even more people.

As founder of the lifestyle magazines Stepping Toes and From Guestwriters, I came to close down my other foundation Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelestudie, Bible Scholars the association for Bible Study, because it turned out always to be the same persons to be doing all the work and not really many interested to put their hands out of the sleeves. Though I still believe in the free sharing and of the necessity of giving our values and assets also to others I was negatively surprised to find that not many are really willing to take up the action of sharing for nothing in return. Our society is still so directed to speak in terms of money and personal gain that we still have to go a long way before we can find enough people willing to share what they have with others for free or for not asking anything in return.

For this website Stepping Toes

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,300 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Having most visitors came from the United States, Australia & U.K. were not far behind, we only received 330 visitors from Holland and only 223 viewers from Belgium, the country we are based.

Our busiest day of the year for Stepping Toes was March 20th with 59 views. The most popular post that day was Reblog: Happy International Happiness Day!.

For 2014, having not so many people willing to contribute we only had 156 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 307 posts or 310 on December 30. For a Christian blog about not such easy subjects it is perhaps not bad, but to be honest, we could not be so happy, because we would have loved to have found many more contributors.

We also did not manage to get many followers, though at one time we had 56 but got it fast reduced to 16 when we spoke about the Holy Trinity. Now we are back to 51 followers.
We are thankful for those who followed us from the early hours, like Clay J Mize who is our longest member, 1 year, 2 months, with ethicsbeyondcompliance, The Semifeminist, Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger, Raluca Stoica, The CoF, AConservativeEdge, Joxua Luxor and purpleraysblog

We are grateful for those who clicked on the ‘Like’ button or shared a link to one of our articles on Facebook or Twitter which brought us 128 and 41 readers respectively.

We are also thankful we could get 27 extra views by referrals from Tasmedes.wordpress.comTaede A. Smedes and  20 views from James Paulgaard his WordPress site:Farewell to Shadowlands.

He like us, does know that there is a better future coming and how we need to prepare so that we are ready to get on board when it comes. At the moment it is really a shame that we do not see more Christians involved in sharing the Good News. Like the author of People Get Ready writes:

We want, with every fibre of our being, to fully engage with the mission of Jesus Christ. We want all people everywhere to come to life through faith in Jesus Christ. This means, as we seek to engage with the mission of Jesus Christ, that everything is on the table.

What we are going to have to face is too important to ignore or to let it in the shadow.

It’s not about you or me and what we like. It’s about the missio Dei, God’s mission of saving people from an eternity of condemnation and suffering apart from God and bringing them to a life of meaning, purpose and joy with Jesus that will last forever. God’s mission has a church that exists to carry out that mission. If we abandon our mission, we lose our reason to exist.

Today there are still too many Christians who think once saved always saved and that they do not have to do any works. They forget that faith without works is dead. We may find lots of readers and people in our ecclesia who believe that Jesus existed, that he died or even that he was risen; but are they willing to show their love and show their works of faith? We do know that by works of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. And through the faith in Jesus people should follow his teachings and orders, like going out into the world to preach the gospel of the coming Kingdom. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ,we should show others our faith in him and live according our faith (= a work)

( Habakuk 2:4; Romans 2:13; 3:20-22; Timothy 1:14; Galatians 2:16; 3:11 +)

“17 Even so faith, if it have not works, is dead in itself. 18 {1} Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith apart from [thy] works, and I by my works will show thee [my] faith. {1) Or [But some one will say]} 19 Thou believest that {1} God is one; thou doest well: the demons also believe, and shudder. {1) Some ancient authorities read [there is one God]} 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 {1} Thou seest that faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect; {1) Or [Seest thou…perfect?]} 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which saith, {1} And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness; {2} and he was called the friend of God. {1) Ge 15:6. 2) Isa 41:8; 2 Ch 20:7} 24 Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith. 25 And in like manner was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:17-26 ASV)

“Faithful is the saying, and concerning these things I desire that thou affirm confidently, to the end that they who have believed God may be careful to {1} maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men: {1) Or [profess honest occupations]}” (Titus 3:8 ASV)

We would like to see many others joining in doing such good work of preaching and sowing plus showing others the way to God.

We did try to do our best to reach more people and got the most views in 2014 for following articles:

Hopefully these results shall be able to inspire others to join us and to be active preaching people on Stepping Toes or on From Guestwriters. We could do with some help in the preaching-work, soplease do not hesitate to become a contributor.

Click here to see the complete report.

Subway tracks on the Williamsburg Bridge in Ne...

Help us to get on the right track and carrying enough good articles to as many people as possible. -Subway tracks on the Williamsburg Bridge in New York City, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Find also:

From Guestwriters 2014 in review

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Additional reading:

  1. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritualy
  2. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  3. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  4. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  5. Faith and works
  6. Being Missional
  7. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  8. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  9. Good or bad preacher
  10. What Should I Preach ? (Stepping Toes article) + What Should I Preach ? (From Guestwriters)
  11. How should we preach?
  12. Asia Cahaya Conference focusing on preaching
  13. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  14. Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach
  15. Different approach in organisation of services #1
  16. Different approach in organisation of services #2
  17. Different approach in organisation of services #3
  18. Holland Week of billing
  19. Record breaking preaching in Mount Dora
  20. When discouraged facing opposition
  21. Dealing with worries in our lives
  22. Our openness to being approachable
  23. Not many coming out with their community name
  24. Belonging to or being judged by
  25. Words to push and pull
  26. Who are the Christadelphians
  27. Christadelphian people
  28. Dissolution of Bijbelvorsers (Bible scholars), Association for Bible study

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