Bible Byte

The Intersection of Faith + Technology

Sharing Scripture with the World: YouVersion

Current Events

When the earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan, I found myself wishing I could share a message of hope to people in Japan. One problem…I don’t know Japanese! I wanted to share verses that speak to the situation in Libya to people in Libya…but I don’t know Arabic! Because the Bible provides both guidance and comfort in difficult times. But a free Bible app provides a way to share the hope found in the Bible. YouVersion is a way to share Scripture in other languages.

The Word Goes Out

Begin with searching for passages you desire to share with others. You want to note the verse number. This is a good place to use the handy Bookmark option! Then go to the Version Chooser and pick the Bible in the language you want. The Bible will open up to the same chapter you were at in the English version. Now tap on the verse number, you can then Tweet…Facebook…or Email the verse in a second language.

The Community Aspect

Reading Scripture on our own is important, but there is a community component to faith. The primary purpose of the YouVersion app is to create a mobile opportunity for people to read and interact with Scripture, but it also provides a way to share what God is saying through His Word! But instead of only sharing with your language group, but with the whole world!

Philana
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Listening to God’s Word

If you could travel back in time and visit a church in the first century, you might find something missing, a lot of Bibles. The printing press had not yet been invented, so everything had to be copied by a scribe. This not only was time consuming, but costly. A church might have a copy of the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) and a letter written by Paul or one of Gospels. Not only because of the cost, but parts of it were yet to be written! The books called the New Testament were not completed until the end of the first century.

The only way most people experienced the Bible was through listening to it. Listening to the Bible allows us to hear the voice of God through the Bible in the order He inspired the Bible writer (not jumping from verse to verse). Listening forces us to pay attention, not just skim through what we read, or skip around.

What to Consider
But there are so many choices out there. Not just translations, but dramatized, multiple-voice, or single-narrator. I’ve tried a couple of different types, and found a few considerations helpful.

Pick a translation you will enjoy hearing more than once! An audio Bible is a great way to get into the Bible, but it’s something that does cost, you want to pick one you will enjoy! iTunes has several ones where you can download a book of the Bible to try out, then if you like it get it on an CD (mp3 CD’s are cheaper, and contain fewer discs).

The second consideration is narration type. Single person narration can be nice, and even cheaper at times. But a dramatic multi-cast reading will make it easier to listen and focus your attention span, especially after going through several books of the Bible. A single narrator for the Bible can cause you to loose focus, even if it’s Alexander Scourby or James Earl Jones. The audio Bible is around 70 hours, so multi-voice has the benefit of keeping the attention of the listener.

Types of Dramatized Audio Bibles

Multi-voice by Book
I wasn’t sure what to call this type, it doesn’t have a formal name, but you will find them. They contain a group of narrators, that will each read an entire book, and then a different narrator will read the next one. While it’s not quite the same as a single narrator for the entire Bible, it can be difficult with longer books.

Multi-cast Dramatized Bible
This type of audio Bible is very enjoyable, it’s my personal preference. I use The Bible Experience: Complete Bible on mp3. It’s got a wide range of actors reading the parts, like an audio play. Unlike other types of audio Bibles this type includes sound effects, which truly bring you into the story.

CD, MP3 or Download

CD
A normal compact disc has several advantages. It can be played on any CD player and in many DVD players. This is very helpful in cars that have CD players.

There are some disadvantages as well. First cost, compared to a download version or mp3 CD, it’s much higher. Also toting 60 plus discs can be a pain. Also if you want to copy it to put on an iPod/mp3 player it takes a long time you have to convert it to the proper format.

MP3 CD
This format has several pluses. It’s usually much cheaper than it’s CD counterpart. Especially places like Amazon.com. If you want to copy it to your iPod/mp3 player it just needs to be copied, no conversion is needed. You also have fewer discs.

It does have the disadvantage of not working on every CD player, but many do. If you want to play it in the car there are options.

Download
This option works well if you have an iPod/mp3 player. Three places to do this is:
Audible
Christian Audio
iTunes

Both Christian Audio and Audible have subscription plans. The files from Christian Audio that are specified for Apple products break things up quite well, often by chapters for the Bible.

Just Do It!

Whatever way you choose to experience God’s Word, just do it! Spend time with God’s Word each day and get to know Him better!

How to Choose a Bible

The first step to Bible Study is of course the Bible. In a world where we want choice there is literally a buffet of Bibles. Not only do we have a multitude of translations, but they come in every shape, size and color. It can seem overwhelming. A few months ago I purchased a Bible for a friend, I remember when the choice for a leather or bonded leather Bible was one of the following: Black, Navy, or Burgundy. Today you have duo-tone and every color imaginable. Now I am not going to give any tips on what color or pattern of Bible you might wants, you can figure that one out on your own. But I am going to give some tips on how can you pick the Bible that will help you study it for yourself.

First, there is no such thing a perfect translation. As someone who has studied the original languages of the Bible, translation is not easy. There are many good translations, where godly scholars have worked hard to make the Bible accessible in English. They are very careful and often get more harsh criticism then is deserved or justified. You also want a Bible that is done by a committee that has representatives from many different denominations (or else you will just get a biased translation). You also want a translation done by many and not a paraphrase done by one person (those are helpful for devotional readings, but not studying the Bible).

There are two basic philosophies of translations

  • formal equivalence (an attempt at word-for-word, but none of them are actually able to accomplish that perfectly).
  • dynamic equivalence (a thought for thought). its it actually a good idea to have one or two of each, no translation gets it 100% right so having more than one can help in getting into the Bible. There are parallel Bibles that have more than one.

Some Examples:

  • Formal Equivalence: King James Version; New King James Version; English Standard Version; New Revised Standard Version or New American Standard Bible 1995 Update
  • Dynamic Equivalence: New International Version; Today’s New International Version; New Living Translation or New Century Version

 

So the first thing to truly consider is what Bible you will be able to understand and study. Before going to a store and buying one spend some time reading some of the Bible from each (reading the same passage) a way to do that is using internet Bible sites. Several that include many translations are:

bible.logos.com

http://www.youversion.com

http://www.biblegateway.com

http://www.crosswalk.com

You can sample many different Bibles and find one that you will be able to understand and read.

Next, when you purchase a Bible decide what you need from it as far as helps goes. Do you want a Bible with room for notes? There are Bibles with Wide-Margin or a whole page for each page of text available. Do you need notes that will explain the Bible’s historical context (check out the NIV Archaeological Study Bible) or how to apply it to your life (The Life Application Study Bible is available in many translations). Go to your local Christian Bookstore or even Barnes & Nobles, and then spend some time looking at the different types (paying attention to the options available in the translation you’ve picked).

Then get the Bible that you will understand, read and study!

Why this Blog?

As an avid student of the Bible I have found one of the best ways to engage the Word of God is not only to sit and read what others have written, but share what I’ve learned. My prayer is that this blog will help inspire people to study the Bible and enjoy it.

I also love using computers and so I also combine my love of the Bible with technology by using Logos 4 on the Mac (L4; or L4 Mac) to study (I started using Logos in undergrad and by the time I finished my MDiv I ended up with a large Logos library). I hope to also share tips on using L4 and how to use it to study the Bible. Bible software is not a replacement of actually spending time in the Word or the Holy Spirit guiding as a teacher, it only helps in allowing more time spent in the Word and less time gathering helps. It also allows the student of Scripture to gain wisdom from others who have spent time (often decades) engaging the Bible and learning what the Spirit of God has taught them. I will also include other ways to integrate technology and the study of the Bible.
In Christ,
Philana

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