In the beginning was the text message - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
October 10, 2005

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In the beginning was the text message

-10/10/05

Following hot on the heels of the new 100 Minute Bible, which generated both gladness and sadness for condensing the Christian scriptures into sound-bite sized chunks, the whole Bible has now been translated into text message-speak.

The Bible Society in Australia announced last week that the entire 31,173 verses can now be downloaded for free and transmitted by mobile phone. ìIn da Bginnin God cre8d da heavens & da earth,î it begins.

ìThe old days when the Bible was only available in a sombre black cover with a cross on it are long gone,î declared Michael Chant, executive director of the Bible Society in South Australia.

Described as ìideal for church leaders, youth leaders, teachers and home group leaders to send verses of encouragement, reminders of Bible study themes and reminders of Sunday sermonsî, the SMS version sells itself as a faithful rendition ìwith a modern twistî.

Bible Society in Australia scripture director George Rodriguez says that only the spelling of the Contemporary English Version (CEV) translation had been changed, not the language.

ìItís a logical step. Our aimÖ is to get the Bible out there among the people and this is a very effective way of doing it,î Mr Rodriguez told the French news agency AFP.

ìDa Bibleî for the text and cell phone generation is one of a bewildering array of options now available for people who want to get to grips with the Christian scriptures.

In Britain the 100 Minute Bibleís initial print run of 10,000 copies had already been sold and it knocked popular Christian bestseller ìThe Purpose Driven Lifeî, by Rick Warren, off the top spot in the online Eden bookshop's bestsellers list.

Another accessible Australian Bible calls Mary the mother of Jesus ìa pretty special Sheilaî. And in 2002 the Surfers Bible was published complete with a picture of a barrelling wave on the cover, four-colour graphics and faith testimonies from nine Christian surfers (ìgrommetsî).

Other popularized renditions include The Message (Eugene Peterson), and As Good as New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures (John Henson) ñ which has a forward by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and caused controversy over its translation of passages concerning sexuality.

Bible Society in Australia recently worked with PR expert (and atheist) Angus Kinnaird of FutureBrand on its ëJesus. All About Lifeí campaign to re-pitch Christianity to an increasingly disinclined audience.

Why Jesus? ìBecause that was the only place we had to go,î Kinnaird told The Australian newspaper in September. His research showed that the church was almost an insurmountable obstacle to the campaign. ìThe church was seen as the problem, not the solution,î he explained.

Another church representative admitted that in many peopleís experience ìthe church is hopeless but Jesus is cool.î

The aim of the Oz ëtext Bibleí seems to be to return some street credo to the basic message.

Find books now:

In the beginning was the text message

-10/10/05

Following hot on the heels of the new 100 Minute Bible, which generated both gladness and sadness for condensing the Christian scriptures into sound-bite sized chunks, the whole Bible has now been translated into text message-speak.

The Bible Society in Australia announced last week that the entire 31,173 verses can now be downloaded for free and transmitted by mobile phone. 'In da Bginnin God cre8d da heavens & da earth,' it begins.

'The old days when the Bible was only available in a sombre black cover with a cross on it are long gone,' declared Michael Chant, executive director of the Bible Society in South Australia.

Described as 'ideal for church leaders, youth leaders, teachers and home group leaders to send verses of encouragement, reminders of Bible study themes and reminders of Sunday sermons', the SMS version sells itself as a faithful rendition 'with a modern twist'.

Bible Society in Australia scripture director George Rodriguez says that only the spelling of the Contemporary English Version (CEV) translation had been changed, not the language.

'It's a logical step. Our aimÖ is to get the Bible out there among the people and this is a very effective way of doing it,' Mr Rodriguez told the French news agency AFP.

'Da Bible' for the text and cell phone generation is one of a bewildering array of options now available for people who want to get to grips with the Christian scriptures.

In Britain the 100 Minute Bible's initial print run of 10,000 copies had already been sold and it knocked popular Christian bestseller 'The Purpose Driven Life', by Rick Warren, off the top spot in the online Eden bookshop's bestsellers list.

Another accessible Australian Bible calls Mary the mother of Jesus 'a pretty special Sheila'. And in 2002 the Surfers Bible was published complete with a picture of a barrelling wave on the cover, four-colour graphics and faith testimonies from nine Christian surfers ('grommets').

Other popularized renditions include The Message (Eugene Peterson), and As Good as New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures (John Henson) - which has a forward by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and caused controversy over its translation of passages concerning sexuality.

Bible Society in Australia recently worked with PR expert (and atheist) Angus Kinnaird of FutureBrand on its ëJesus. All About Life' campaign to re-pitch Christianity to an increasingly disinclined audience.

Why Jesus? 'Because that was the only place we had to go,' Kinnaird told The Australian newspaper in September. His research showed that the church was almost an insurmountable obstacle to the campaign. 'The church was seen as the problem, not the solution,' he explained.

Another church representative admitted that in many people's experience 'the church is hopeless but Jesus is cool.'

The aim of the Oz ëtext Bible' seems to be to return some street credo to the basic message.

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