Transmediatization is the presentation of the Bible in electronic formats. Since the 15thCentury, with the advent of the Gutenberg Press, the primary means of distributing and reading the Bible was through the medium of print. Since the development of computers in the 1950’s and the commercialization of the Internet in the 1990’s the print medium has been eclipsed by the digital medium. A new era has dawned in the way we think, speak, see and correspond. Quickly and dramatically, the digital wave has crested.
The implications of transmediatization are far reaching. Printed Scriptures, while yet important, have to make room for hypertext (the digital form of highly interconnected and multidimensional narrative). This generation are seeing with different eyes and hearing with different ears. Change is happening faster than ever before. Over the past twelve months the percentage of Canadians reading books in an electronic format has grown from 5% to about 50% of the population.
Adapting* the Bible to the digital medium is not an option, it’s a necessity. The church (Bible agencies included) requires a fresh understanding and response to how we invite and encourage connections with the Bible. New territory must be explored and settled. This will entail the use of a new creativity, new language, new words, and new ways of using and illustrating words.
The way we provide access and interaction with the Bible may determine whether or not facilitating encounters with God and progressive transformation of people will meaningfully occur in the years ahead. By 2015 it is estimated that 1.4 billion people will own smart phones – making phones the most common devices for accessing the Internet. With this in mind Scripture Union recently developed the SU Canada App for Android and Apple phones. The SU Canada App helps connect people with Jesus and His Story. The key feature of the App is the eDaily Prayers. The eDaily Prayers, uploaded from Monday to Friday, provide reflections on Scripture and ‘scaffolding for meditation’. The App also features the Bible Engagement Blog, Twitter, Facebook, and the opportunity to sign up to receive SU’s free eDaily Devotions (sent through email).
*Adaption does not imply, in any way, the changing of the content or canon of the Scriptures. Adaption refers to the change or modification to the way we provide access to the Bible. That is, adaptation is making the Bible available in ways that are suitable for a new and different purpose.
© Copyright Scripture Union Canada, 2012