Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Youtube Study Bible

Photo Credit: tartanpodcast via Flickr

When I was young we walked uphill to school, both ways, and we liked it. Oh, and we also read the Bible from a physical book. Yes, like actual paper that you could hold in your hands.

Nowadays the idea of "text" has shifted. We watch movies on our phones, television on our computers, and satellite broadcast one-time events on our movie screens.

Online text is patched together between video clips and images. We have no problem going through a text in a nonlinear way, clicking hyperlinks and traveling in and out of textual jumps. Or reading a text layered upon another text [one screen in sync with another].

And in all of these cultural shifts, we haven't stopped reading. If anything, we're reading more. We have no problems switching genres or mediums, we just want to read good narrative in whatever form it comes.

So while believers in the Judeo-Christian tradition will always be "people of the book," is it so wrong for our biblical commentaries to evolve? I have seen e-reader Bibles (or Bible apps) where I can add my personal commentary. Or read scholarly commentaries. That's a start.

But what I have yet to see is a digital Bible that links to quality multimedia. How amazing if I could click on a verse and see youtube clips of artistic expressions inspired by that passage? How encouraging if I could share a link of an amazing sermon clip with a friend who is currently reading through that same passage?

In a way, a multimedia commentary would draw us back to the oral cultures of ancient times. Those first century listeners heard Scripture read out loud. We could too.

I know the multimedia exists out there. I know the technology exists. Yet we don't have an aesthetically pleasing, easy-to-use platform that would appeal to an average High Schooler. I just think it would be amazing if a platform like that existed. Maybe those who waste time surfing Youtube would be persuaded to spend time surfing the Bible.

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