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I’m excited because this month at Liquid Church we are launching a massive campaign to get up to 3,000 people to read the entire New Testament Bible in 40 days all together as a community.

If you aren’t aware of some of the trends going on with Bible engagement and churches today, take a look at the infographic I pulled together to help share the situation in the Church:

 

Bible Engagement Trends

 

So for 40 days leading up to Easter, we will be reading the Bible in 225 small groups across New Jersey. We even have several church online groups forming so that our community of online worshippers can participate with us. All the details are available at www.40daybiblechallenge.com

Bible reading campaign

 

The program is being put together in collaboration with Biblica, who is the copyright holder of the NIV Bible. We have been able to produce thousands of custom printed Bibles for our campaign through their Community Bible Experience. With Biblica’s help, we’ve also been able to make it available in PDF, Kindle, ePub, and audio formats. In addition, we’ve produced a spanish translation as well as kids versions of the daily bible readings. We’ve got iTunes podcasts. We also have links to the YouVersion reading plan available for your smart phone. And to top it off, we have a daily email devotional that will be sent out every day to keep everyone encouraged and on track. There you go, no excuse NOT to read it with us.

I’m excited to see what happens when our entire community is in sync reading the same portions of text weekly over the next 8 weeks. What is been surprising is the enthusiasm people have shown to sign-up to read together. You would think in today’s day and age that reading the entire NT Bible wouldn’t be a huge draw. But by doing it together, it has brought out the best participation and energy we have seen in awhile.

Have you ever read the Bible together with your entire church? How did it go?

Today, we have a guest post about using the iPhone to access The Bible.  There are tons of great Bible apps out there.  I have a bunch in a folder on my iPhone.  Here’s 4 iPhone apps you might want to download and try out.  If you’re interested in submitting a guest blog post, check out the guidelines I’ve written up to help you get started.


Getting to know about religion or Bible is a top interest for many around the world and now, accessibility is not an issue for anyone anymore. For example, with Apple’s iPhone, looking up verses of the Bible is just a few touches away. Now, the Bible can be carried with ease and can be referred to anywhere and at anytime of the day. There are numerous applications which are available for the iPhone, but then a few stand out to be one of the most preferred apps amongst many:

YouVersion1. The Bible – The Bible app has been developed by LifeChurch.tv and is one of the simplest and popular apps available at the app store. One special feature in this phone is the ability to access hundreds of different versions of the Bible.  A wide array of passages can be selected for future reference and reading plans are easy to follow with this app. Many versions of the bible are present which include the NIV, ESV, NLT, NKJV, NASB and the CEV bible translations. A keyword search facility makes it easy for users to search a particular verse and go through with ease. This app also has few versions of the Bible in Spanish and the German Language.

BibleVerseofTheDay2. Bible Verse of the Day – This splendid app allows a user to take a break from the busy and demanding lifestyle to go through a verse from the Holy Bible. This app is a self-functioning one and does not need any updates or a live connection to the internet after being downloaded. Features of the app include reading random verses from the Bible and e-mailing them to friends on the list. This app costs under a dollar and is available at the ITunes App Store.

HolyBible3. Holy Bible – The Holly Bible app mainly features almost 23 Bible translations. The ability to read the original and the translated text keeping it side by side is truly commendable. Specific passages can be selected and bookmarked for further reference. This app is a free one in the App Store.

The church iphone app4. The Church – This app is known for its features and functionality which can help Christians around the world to start their own prayer journals, receive inspirational quotes, and memorize verses. This app also comes with a tithe calculator and has an offline Bible too.

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Everyone pretty much knows how stinky-winky the NIV Bible can be because of copyright issues.  Yuck.

It’s not like the King James version, whose text we can use freely anywhere, whenever we want. Nope, the using the NIV means you’re up against all the commercial interests of the entity behind that very popular translation.

So can you imagine my excitement to hear that for a limited time only – during a specific 400 hours to be exact – I’ll be able to download the entire NIV legitimately to my iPhone this coming weekend.

Yup, YouVersion has done it again to provide great value, accessibility and practicality by striking the deal.

Here’s the details to get the New International Version of the Holy Bible to go with you wherever, whenever you want on your iPhone. . .

. . .a special 400-hour promotion made possible through a partnership with Biblica and Zondervan. Exclusively through the Bible App™ you’ll be able to download the New International Version (NIV) using an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android device…absolutely free. Downloading the NIV means you’ll be able to read it anytime, anywhere—even when you can’t connect to your service provider or the Internet, and after the 400 hour promotion is over. This special offer only lasts for a limited time, starting THIS SATURDAY, February 12, at 8:00 PM Eastern and ending at 12:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 1, marking the first availability of the NIV update in print.

All you have to do is go into the YouVersion HOLY BIBLE APP and follow these three steps:
step 1 for downloading the bible to your iphone


QUESTION: What Bible have you been relying upon on your iPhone, Droid or smartphone?  And will you be downloading this free NIV Bible during this next week?

Just got my hands on the world’s latest Bible translation of the New Testament: The Voice from Thomas Nelson Publishers – in joint production with the Ecclesia Bible Society, headed by Chris Seay.  For the academics and Bible nerds out there, be warned, you’re in for a ride.

That’s because The Voice is more of a retelling of the Bible for the new generation than a new academic translation of the text.   After the first time you sit down with the Voice Bible, you’ll notice some really distinctive devices that are used:

  • screenplay formatting so that you know who’s talking and with what type of tone, attitude or force of message
  • color-highlighted text to help readers follow along with what’s going on in the passage
  • devotional commentary intentionally using modern day language and concepts
  • explanatory book introductions and notes within chapters gives context and details normally found in footnotes – again put in plain English

Kenny Jahng with The Voice Bible Translation

The “translation committee” drew from traditional academic scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and other artists.  The collaborator list includes heavyweights such as Brian McLaren and Leonard Sweet.  They have the standard ivy tower theologians on the list too so that critics can be satiated, or at least rebuffed.  Because of this unusual cast of characters, the final product captures your attention from the first words you read aloud (which by the way is also one of the assumptions in the writing – that it will be read aloud in public settings similar to the oral tradition of the text) whether in public worship, in more intimate bible study groups, or even when you are reading it by yourself.

But sometimes it’s better to see it than hear it.  Here’s an example of just how differently The Voice audaciously retells the story:

THE VOICE TRANSLATION : John 3:16-17

16 For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. 17 Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction.

THE NRSV TRANSLATION : John 3:16-17

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

See the difference? Personally, I found this translation refreshing.  While the publisher claims it is written so that it can easily be read aloud, I really like how The Voice is attentive to the reading experience. I did not find myself re-reading parts of a chapter over and over as I do sometimes with other translations.

The Voice Bible which Thomas Nelson sent to me as a review copy was a paperback with heavy off-white pages.  It is well laid out visually.  Even though it has screen play foratting, etc, it reads really well — not one verse at a time for reference, but read — as in sit down and read the book just as if it any of your other narrative books in your library.  And unlike the NIV, this translation is pretty accessible in the fact that it is available for 8 bucks on Amazon right now. (Supposedly all profits also go to missions-based activities/ministries too).

If you like The Voice NT, they are working on the OT translation as we speak.  In fact, you can get the [NT + Psalms + Proverbs] during the summer of 2010 (pre-orders already being taken).


Dramatic Translation of the New Testament Bible

Is this a replacement for your NRSV, ESV or RSV Bible?  Probably not just yet.  But is it a dynamic voice you should add to your casual Bible study praxis or study group discussions? Definitely YES.

QUESTION: What translation of the Bible do you own or carry with you?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as a review copy. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

This year, I launched a simple 1-step Bible look-up web app, http://wordof.gd/

This neat little shortcut service allows you to go straight to any Bible text and the specific translation you want right from the browser URL line.

It also allows you to confidently create shortcut url links to any specific passage you want that you can write on the fly for email, twitter, facebook, etc.

Think: Bible links for social media.

Currently the WordOf.Gd supports over 30 different translations including a Spanish version of the Bible.   Just add any bible verse(s) after wordof.gd/_______ and if you want a specific translation, just put the translation abbreviation at the end.

wordofgd-how-to

Because pastors and seminary students are often trying to reference and compare any Old Testament text to the original Hebrew language.  Someone recently commented it would be nice if you could pull up both English and Hebrew texts on the same page to compare using wordof.gd. . . Just like an interlinear bible you would pull off the shelf in hardcopy.

Ok, we can do that!

Continue Reading…

The Bible 1.0

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Most Christians haven’t had the chance to hang out in the local Jewish synagogue or travel to Israel extensively. Thus, you may not have ever seen an original handwritten Torah scroll up close and in person, fully unfurled. Notice the handling of the scroll itself so no fingers actually touch it.

To see the entire Torah written in Hebrew freehand, not by machine was and is awe-inspiring in itself.

Take a quick looksie:

We get so excited about the latest and greatest versions of the Bible that sometimes we forget to reflect about the Bible 1.0.

Pastor Jason has been one of my Twitterati faves ever since I’ve connected with him in the days of Twitter when it really started to take off with the mainstream (this just means 2009ish!). He’s a part of the multi-site BAF ministry in TX, which continues to expand and extend the reach of the Good News. {You can catch the lead pastor’s message on Daystar TV as well.}

Recently, we were going back and forth on which Bible reading plans each of us are tackling with the start of the New Year. Jason told me that he ended up with taking on 2 reading plans simultaneously!!! So I asked him to share with us how he ended up with 2 reading plans. . .what a great little story about the Bible and his church community in Texas!


With the end of the year I did a little evaluation of our campus and found that at Bay Area Fellowship 5 Points, we had seen over 750 first time guests come through our doors on Sunday mornings and over 260 people had prayed to begin a relationship with Christ. For a church 18 months old those numbers told me one thing: We were reaching a lot of people who were unchurched.

With so many people just beginning their relationship with Christ and with a desire to reach even more people in our area in 2010, we set out to create some spiritual momentum to kick off the New Year.

One way I felt would help not only those new to Christ, but everyone at our campus, would be a Bible Reading Plan Challenge. I knew this plan needed to be simple enough to attempt and succeed, as well as kick start new spiritual habits for this New Year. Thus the #NTPin30 plan was developed.

#NTPin30 is actually the Twitter hashtag for our New Testament/ Proverbs in 30 Days Challenge. This plan was simply choose to read the New Testament or the book of Proverbs in 30 days. I opted for a choice, as this would challenge those who may have been stagnant in their reading as well as rewarding for those new to their faith.

bible-reading-plan

The ultimate goal would be to kick start some spiritual momentum in the New Year. Get everyone to open that Bible every day. I actually upped it for myself by telling everyone I would read both if they would choose at least one. The response on the challenge was great as many people are jumping in to kick off an awesome 2010.

As far as specifics to the program, the Proverbs part was simply reading the Proverb chapter that aligns to the date. For the New Testament I broke it down into a 30 day plan…but read out over about 35 days. The plan would be to read Monday through Saturday with Sunday as a catch up day as needed.

You can download and see the 30 day Bible reading plan we’re using for own use.

At the date of this writing we have just kicked off the plan so I hope to come back and share some thoughts when it’s over. WOULD YOU CONSIDER JOINING US FOR JUST 1 MONTH IN OUR READING PLAN TOGETHER? Send a tweet @jasoncurlee with #NTPin30 and let me know how you’re doing with reading the Bible this year.


jason-curleeJason Curlee blogs at JasonCurlee.com and is all about influencing and developing others to make a difference in their world. He is currently the Campus Pastor for Bay Area Fellowship 5 Points in Corpus Christi, Texas.

His blogs are about creating content that ministry leaders can find practical and inspirational as well as sharing the ministry principles and experiences accumulated since 1995. It’s about being innovative, unique, and creating content that can help you make a difference.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been working on a little web-app to help me look up Bible references quickly.

I used to have to figure out which site had the translation I’d like to look-up; then go to that site; then input the Scripture reference; then use the drop downs to find the translations, and finally submit.

If I wanted to send the link to a friend via email, facebook, twitter, or even in live worship chat during church online, I’d have to take some additional steps – open up TinyURL.com, bit.ly or some other favorite URL shortcut services out there. Copy the long URL from the Bible site, paste it into the shortcut generator. Submit. Copy the short-cut url, and viola. FINALLY, I had something I could pass on.

This just didn’t seem efficient. I simply thought that there must be a better way.

I couldn’t find anything much better, so I decided to just create it.

So here I am introducing the “BETA” version of www.wordof.gd/_____ No more searching, waiting, submitting, copy/pasting, etc. whenever you are looking up Bible verses online.

This new web app is a 1-Step Bible Look-Up Web App. Basically, find the Scripture reference you want in the translation you want IN ONE LINE — straight from the URL.

Here’s how it works:

wordofgd-how-to

Just add ANY Scripture after the main url:

  • http://WordOf.GD/+BibleVerseHere and you’re done.

Just TRY IT to understand how this works. Try clicking on some of these:

If you want a specific Bible translation see how all you have to do is add the abbreviation after the verse? Over 30 different popular translations are supported right now and more to come.

Speaking of abbreviations, it will accomodate most common abbreviations for books of the Bible too. ie. Matt, Mk, Lk, Jn, Gen, Rev, 1cor, 2cor, etc.

One you get the Bible verse, you’ll notice in the header bar, an EMAIL LINK, TWITTER LINK, (and FACEBOOK LINK to come). In addition, a short-cut URL is automatically generated for the specific verse ranges and translations you just looked-up if you want to copy/paste for any other use.

This has been pretty useful for mobile web browsing since connections are not as zippy as on a desktop usually and you want to minimize as many steps as possible.

NOTE: This *IS* a beta version – we’re continuing to update it as we go along and there might be some glitches while we polish it up. If you come across any issue, please leave a comment here or send me a tweet (http://www.twitter.com/kkcoolj) with the details.

Let me know what you think! Please leave a comment below with your thoughts.

The Bible has been around for ages.  It’s worked just fine in print.

First, people tried to bring it alive with audio.

Then others said, hey, while we’re at it, why not dramatize it!

And now we’ve apparently arrived at the next iteration of experiencing God’s Word. . .

Finally, some one has brought the Bible into the present Web 2.0 world.  Or have they?

Here’s my wish list for a Bible 2.0 that would embrace all

  • We live in an Internet world, put it online! A multi-media Bible should be available on-line, all the time, from anywhere.
  • Instant Community – We should be able to interact live with other people that are reading the same portion of the Bible at any given time.  If it’s on the internet, it would be easy to know who’s invovled with which parts of the Bible in real-time.
  • The Power of User-Generated Content – We grow by hearing each other’s testimonies.  By sharing our own.  By identifying with the common struggles we are all going through.  The next generation Bible will allow individuals to contribute their own stories, their own viewpoints, their own insights and joy.  Content shouldn’t be limited to ivory tower authors.  Wikipedia is more accurate than the Enclyopedia for a reason.
  • Don’t Let Sermons Go To Waste – Preachers generate TONS of content weekly, easily tagged to a specific anchor verse.  Imagine being able to open the Bible and gain access to thousands and thousands of sermons of different flavors on the same portions of scripture.
  • FAQ + SAQ – By aggregating the masses, you could assemble the most robust set of answers to FAQ’s as well as the Seldom Asked Questions.  Just imagine how many more questions would be sparked by a resource like that!
  • Tour Guides – You could have live or multi-media guided tours of the Bible.  With virtual tours of Biblical landmarks, drama, art and other great content, real value can be created by taking people different journeys that bring new meaning to Bible Reading Plans.

Those are just some wish list ideas off the top of my head.

But I guess just like the Web 2.0 is waiting for the next big thing to bring us to Web 3.0, the Bible 2.0 is a step in the right direction.

What other features would you want in the Bible of the Future?