The New Living Translation
Thinking about the Bible on Facebook

Did you know that the NLT is on Facebook? We mainly use it as an opportunity to share a verse or two from the NLT with our friends every day. While it is certainly great to be sharing Scripture with so many people in this way (and the comment threads sometimes get pretty interesting), there are also a number of questions raised about how we are handling the Bible when we post it in chunks of no more than 420 characters.

In March, I will have the privilege of exploring some of those questions in a presentation at BibleTech: 2011 in Seattle. Here is the abstract for my presentation:

In this presentation, we’ll look closely at the presence of the Bible on Facebook, especially through Pages. We’ll look at the opportunities, limitations, and challenges posed by engaging people with the Scriptures in this medium. I’ll explore some of the more popular Bible-centered pages on Facebook and discuss the different ways that they are engaging the text and mention patterns that emerge.

I manage the page for the New Living Translation, and I will be sharing some specific, detailed data from that page. I will share trends, statistical analysis, and anecdotal observations from the different ways people respond to different kinds of Scriptural and Bible-related content. I will also offer some reflections on the theology behind the phenomenon of sharing the Bible on Facebook—both the theological implications of using the Bible in this medium, and the theological approach that is often exhibited in actual posts and interactions. How can we ensure that the Bible is influencing people through Facebook, rather than allowing Facebook to influence how we are interacting with the Bible?

Click here to add banner to your site!It is still a work in process, so if you have any thoughts on the issue or questions you’d like to see addressed, please let me know in the comments.

Better yet, why don’t you join me at the conference! If you are at all interested in the intersection between the Bible and technology, you won’t be disappointed. This will be my third year in attendance, and I’ve learned a ton each year–but more importantly, I’ve met a lot of cool people. I’d love to meet you there this year.

3 Responses to “Thinking about the Bible on Facebook”
25th January, 2011 at 10:08 pm

First of, I would love to join you in Seattle but that is to far and expensive for me.

Ok, so now I will give you my 2 cent about Facebook. I think it is a great Idea to share the Gospel with a lot of people. Your reach a big group there. Old, young, poor, rich, believer and unbeliever and that from all over the world.You never know, you even might get somebody saved that way. Through NLT on Facebook I found a lot new brothers and sisters in faith from different countries too. We share our life and gospel over Facebook. About the 420 characters in the posts; yes sometimes it is to much ripped out but did you ever thought about the note funktion? I use it on my site and you can write a lot more and still share it! You find it under your profile, note, write a note 🙂 Hope I can help you out with this information.

You know special in times where it is so hard to reach the younger people we have to go with the time and try to reach them with whatever they use, and that is electronic devices like the Internet. So I guess it is the right thing.

Don’t forget about the Note function.

God bless you,

4th February, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I think one of the keys to using Facebook or Twitter or any other social media platforms is to always remember that they are just that – platforms. I don’t use Facebook because I like Facebook. I use Facebook because I like the interaction it allows me to have. The same can be said of a phone. I don’t use a phone because I love the phone. I use the phone because I love talking to people. So often companies misunderstand that. They begin using social media like megaphones or billboards. They assume that Facebook is the end goal, instead of assuming that Facebook is a way to achieve a goal.

How do I see that applying to sharing the Bible on Facebook? I think it’s important to look at posting the scripture as the beginning, the platform, not the end. Just posting a passage and moving on is the modern equivalent of a street preacher standing on the corner of a busy intersection throwing verses out at random. The passage is the beginning of the conversation.

I think we need to look at ways of engaging people more and more. I’m not quite sure how this plays out, but I think there is huge potential. How awesome is it that we have an online community of literally thousands who can experience The Word together? (Where two or three are logged in, I am there…) The church can share scripture in a way that it has never shared scripture before. It’s awesome. Just awesome.

Well, sorry for rambling so much. I have no idea of any of this comment makes sense. I look forward to seeing what God does through this. I wish I had the resources to attend the conference. It sounds stellar.

Linda Warren
11th February, 2011 at 6:56 am

I did not know that you had a facebook page. I have been using your daily devotional for some time now. You used to have a link to facebook that I could share the articles that have touched me with my friends. I do this with almost all of my morning devotional. Many of my friends who do not have a relationship with God or those who do not do a regular devo time will comment to me how it touches their lives and enjoy me sharing with them. I will join your page, but then I will probably take my name off of your email list.

Please bring back your link. I have found that I am better at really focusing on my devo if I am not on facebook.

Thank you for your contribution to my Devo. Thank you for helping me to focus my thoughts and life to God, My Father.

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