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TECHNOLOGY: Marketplace competitors, united with one goal

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The development of language, writing and our interaction with it is a fascinating study. Whether the culture is moving from oral histories to tablets, scrolls to books, or placing, for the first time, spaces between words, the impact that language has upon a culture is undeniable.

If there is any truth to Benjamin Lee Whorf’s suggestion that “Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about,” and we introduce Marshall McLuhan’s famous phrase the medium is the message, how do we as humanity in the 2000s discourse upon the medium, the message and the very language itself?

If these elements are so core to our understanding, the building of ourselves and our culture, how do we relate them to the most important
message: the Good News of Jesus Christ?

In March Logos Bible Software hosted the fourth annual BibleTech conference. First, I have to thank Logos Bible Software for being so boldly Kingdom focused. Every year Logos invites their competitors and partners in ministry to share stories, secrets and what they’ve learned with each other. It is so exciting to be a part of a community of believers who have the freedom not to worry about how our products might compete against each other, but instead, how we can all learn to better support the Kingdom through sharing of knowledge and technology. Many thanks to Logos for making this yearly event happen.

This year’s BibleTech was host to around 150 attendees and more than a dozen makers of Bible software — from mobile software specialists Olive Tree, to veterans like WORDSearch, to companies just entering the game with specialized tools, like LifeWay’s MyStudyBible.com (full disclosure: I am a part of the MyStudyBible.com team). Of course, the largest presence was from Logos officials, who openly discussed their experiences and what they’re working on to make an even deeper study experience.

A few of the highlights from this year’s BibleTech included:

— Neil Rees from the British & Foreign Bible Society challenging the gathered technologists to find a better way to build digital Bible tools for the deaf using various sign languages. The room was admittedly humbled as we all learned the challenges present in the sign languages and were encouraged to find that there are ways to do it better … if the church and digital experts are willing to invest in the resources to do so. You can read a deeper review here:

— Stephen Smith from Zondervan presenting a stunning data set, giving insight into how people search on BibleGateway.com. Smith’s analysis was incredibly compelling, diving into the most popular verses and search terms — information that is the digital equivalent of gold.

— Tiffany Chase of Project Ebenezer introducing us to her concept of theology training through a TED-like model of scholars presenting short, understandable video segments tackling core topics of our faith. Project Ebenezer aims to be a place for all denominations to have a conversation and can be visited at https://www.projectebenezer.com/.

— Eli Evans of Logos basically stealing the show with his presentation on “A Life in the Clouds,” paving the way for the future of Logos Bible Software. After walking through the struggles and designs that Logos went through to start moving their tools and resources to an online environment, Evans introduced us to ProclaimOnline.com, a church presentation software running off the Internet.

It’s safe to say that simply because technology is changing, the way we study the Bible and ingest learning is changing, too. Few will ever recognize the power and majesty and honor of unrolling a scroll to read the Torah; instead, our children will grow up touching a screen to jump between Hulu and their favorite Bible study tools.

So long as we have this continued sense of unity, that we as marketplace competitors can come together and share in the mission of spreading the Gospel and sharing the Good News as partners in ministry, it will be oh so exciting to see what new tools and experiences arise. Never before have the possibilities and tools for understanding, communicating and simply reading the Word been so limitless.

For such a time as this we were born; let us study with the riches around us and share these tools with the nations however we can.
Aaron Linne is executive producer of digital marketing for the B&H Publishing Group of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. He writes a monthly technology column for Baptist Press.

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  • Aaron Linne