Emoji Bible and some words of wisdom

By May 30, 2016

USA (MNN) – Emojis, artwork, drawings, you name it and it’s more than likely been used by human beings to express themselves. But now in the age of information, emojis are being used to write Bibles.

(Photo Courtesy Frank Behrens via Flickr)

(Photo Courtesy Frank Behrens via Flickr)

As of May 29, the emoji Bible app was released in Apple iBooks. The creator of the app has insisted the new Bible translation is to help individuals engage with what has been coined, a complicated text.

Yet, as this new Bible enters the app world with the potential to take over millennials’ phones and iPads, Christians are seemingly faced with an ethical question. Is the emoji Bible a viable option to engage with scripture?

Greg Jao with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship shares some thoughts, “At one level, any tool that helps get students into scripture is a win. I want students to encounter the Bible in all of its glory and challenge and hope. And so, I think of the emoji Bible, a little bit in line with what people have done from the very beginning; which is to draw pictures and write notes in their Bibles. So whether it’s The Book of Kells, as an example of great art, people [have been] drawing pictures to help illustrate part of what’s going on with scripture.”

But don’t rush out to replace that all words Bible yet.

“One of the challenges I think, of the emoji Bible, is that they’re actually replacing words with emojis. And so I think that’s a little bit challenging because you don’t want to lose the words of scripture. Words have power. And emojis, by definition, already interpret the scriptures for you, because they’re giving you emotional reactions rather than filling it will content,” Jao cautions.

As for InterVarsity, Jao is sure there will be students who find interest in the emoji Bible and bring up conversations about it. And, as InterVarsity works to engage students in God’s word, Jao is open to how the emoji Bible will help do this. He has stated though, he does not expect this Bible to take over college campuses nor fulfill the deep desire he sees in students to critically study God’s word. Rather, it seems the emoji Bible will serve as a catalyst to student engagement with scriptures.

(Photo Courtesy BibleGateway)

(Photo Courtesy BibleGateway)

“Our students will find [the emoji Bible], and they’re going to use it like they use other apps. They’ll send each other quick messages, ‘look at this, isn’t this funny’ or ‘this was though provoking’ or ‘I felt exactly that way.’ And then our task is to say, ‘excellent, let’s go back to the scriptures themselves.’”

For InterVarsity, many of their students yearn to know Jesus better, and a big way they do this, is by studying the hard passages of scriptures alongside InterVarsity leaders. In fact, over the summer, InterVarsity holds week-long leadership camps for students where, during this time, students do exactly that. They meet Jesus in His scriptures and learn to feed themselves spiritually with His word.

So when it comes to the Bible and the new emoji Bible app, Jao offers three ways to cautiously approach this new text.

  1.  Look at it as a tool, not the Bible itself.
  2. Emojis communicate emotions, remember what’s written in this app is the author’s emotional interpretation of God’s word.
  3. Remember, it’s dangerous to subtract words from scriptures. Words are powerful and they have specific meanings to communicate God’s authoritative truth.

In all, Jao sees the emoji Bible app as a tool to engage the students, and others, with the Bible. But, the app does have its limits. As Christians, it’s also an opportunity to connect with individuals interested in the emoji Bible, and to point them to the truth found in the worded scriptures.

To check out the emoji Bible download, click here!

To learn more about InterVarsity’s work on college campuses, click here!

8 Comments

  • Master says:

    Bible is the only way for salvation

  • Gayla says:

    I have a hard time with this. I can see making emojis to put in texting back and forth, but replacing words in the Bible with them just hits me wrong.

    God’s word is just that, His word. He didn’t speak in emoji. He didn’t put a smiley face when he was saying something good. He didn’t have them draw a cross, they had to describe the cross in all it’s horrible ways.

    Tell me, how can Revelations be done in emoji? Will it have the same punch to the heart and soul as an emoji? No, it won’t. The Bible isn’t a game to be played with or cause a discussion. People have taken enough of our rights to serve God, now you want to change how we see the Bible! Just make it easier for people to not take His word seriously.

    So Wrong!!

  • Sue says:

    I agree, itnis wrong to alter Gods word , it wouldnt be the same as reareading the true word .

  • Edward says:

    Master,
    Jesus is the only way for salvation. The Bible just helps us strive to live like him and do good things.

  • Messiah says:

    The word of God never changes and doesn’t need help from Emoji’s. I believe by adding Emoji is changing it!

    The bible tells us not to conform to the things of this world. God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

    The Holy Bible does not need emoji’s for college kids to interact. Once they read such powerful words in the Bible it will penetrate there hearts and they will forever be changed and filled with wisdom, strength and joy only God can deliver.

    There is no coincidence that we are here in the 21st century and the Bible is the best seller book of all time. Gods word does not go void!!!

    He doesn’t need help from Emoji’s as cute as they are!

    I agree totally with Gayla!

  • Crystal says:

    My thoughts on the “Emoji Bible: Scripture 4 Millenials”?

    What purpose does it serve? I am 32 and a part of Generation Y/Millennium (roughly those born between 1983 and 1999), and I find this deeply disturbing!

    I fear we are raising a generation of people who will not be able to read a book, research a topic, or write a simple business letter! We should all be concerned with the message this simplistic approach to communication sends to our youth! It (the emoji movement) is just lazy, and it portrays us (Americans -yes, all of us) as incompetent, as we ALL have a hand in the growth albeit degradation of this nation and its youth!

  • Colton says:

    It’s called the Word of God, not the emoji of God.

  • Susan says:

    It is wrong to alter the Bible in this way, its another way of putting way of putting worldly things in place of God. Everyone should read Gods word as it is written. There is no need or reason to use Emojis!!

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