Digital Bible: Library of Congress, Washington, DCIn an effort I can only label as “putting lipstick on a pig,” a company called Digital Immersion is releasing its own version of the Bible … as a package of multimedia software. In an article that reads suspiciously like a press release, the Orlando Sentinel reports on this development (WebCite cached article):

For a generation growing up with digital media, the written word printed on paper has little appeal — even if it’s the word of God.

It’s for them that an Orlando company came up with the multimedia digital Glo Bible.

“You have entire generations of people that don’t engage paper very well,” said Nelson Saba, founder of Immersion Digital. “If you look at Bible literacy among younger generations, it’s dismal. This is designed to be a digital alternative to the paper Bible.”

This is necessary, because apparently, not enough young people are picking up and reading Bibles in its traditional dead-tree format:

A Gallup poll in 2000 found that about a quarter of young people ages 18-29 read the Bible weekly — about half the rate of those 65 or older. Part of that, Saba contends, is the younger generation’s aversion to the printed word.

“There is nothing wrong with paper. I have lots of paper Bibles, but it’s just not the media they engage,” Saba said.

Unfortunately there’s nothing new about this; interactive multimedia Bible software has been around for a while now. Some of these include multiple Bible translations as well as its “manuscript” forms (i.e. in their original languages). According to the company’s own Web site, the Digital Glo Bible contains only the NIV translation and nothing else. So from my perspective as someone who’s familiar with many Bible translations, it’s not even as good as some of its forebears.

At any rate, the makers of this “new” Bible appear to think that all they have to do is repackage the Bible in a modern, hip, high-tech format, and young people will read it and convert in droves. I’m not sure it’s going to work out that way.

Oh, and I’m not sure how “hip” the Digital Glo Bible can be, since there’s not yet a Mac OS version. Just saying.

Update: Things have changed a bit since I posted this 5 years ago. The software is now also available for Mac OS and iPhone & iPad. And it includes the ESV, KJV, and The Message translations in addition to the NIV.

Photo credit: drhenkenstein

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