Many people believe that we are quickly approaching the day in which the Bible no longer exists...at least in book form. Lisa Miller of Newsweek writes about the digital bible phenomenon in her story, Goodbye to Gideon? Digital Bible Could Hasten End of Bound Scriptures.
Her encounter with two digital Bible salesmen convinced her that "the leather-bound Bible on every household bookshelf may soon--like records and videocassettes and newspapers--be endangered, if not extinct. Already, millions of people are storing Bibles on their cell phones, for use in church or in an airport lounge. Already, those Bibles let you bookmark favorite passages, scribble notes, link to favorite commentaries. Imagine if they also talked, sang, and moved."
Technology has contributed to the availability and viability of the Scriptures in culture throughout history. For many years, the Bible existed in parts, but soon the "codex" emerged. A codex is a bound book like we have today. The invention of the printing press also proved critical, both for mass distribution of Bibles as well as information delineation in the Protestant Reformation. The question we face now is whether this current innovation is positive or negative, whether something is lost or much more is gained in the digital version of the Bible. Either way, I think change is coming and people of faith need to prepare for it.
Jonathan Merritt is a faith and culture writer and author of Green Like God: Unlocking the Divine Plan for Our Planet. He blogs regularly at http://www.jonathanmerritt.com.
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