Technology that helped Scripture Engagement before smart phones

Scripture Engagement consultant, Peter Brassington already knew some of the answers, but asked ChatGPT, “how did technology help people access and make sense of the Bible before smart phones?

Before reading further take a moment or two to think how you would reply.

Here’s what ChatGPT said. Peter’s comments are at the end.

Before the widespread use of smartphones and digital technology, people accessed and made sense of the Bible through a variety of traditional methods. Here are some ways in which technology played a role in this process:

Printing Press: The invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century revolutionized the distribution of the Bible. Prior to this, Bibles were copied by hand, making them rare and expensive. The printing press allowed for mass production, making the Bible more accessible to a larger audience.

Books and Libraries: Printed Bibles were collected in libraries, monasteries, and churches, where people could access them for study and reference. Libraries became repositories of knowledge and provided a space for the study of religious texts.

Study Bibles: Over time, specialized study Bibles were developed. These contained annotations, commentaries, and references to help readers understand the text. They also included cross-references, maps, and concordances, aiding in Bible interpretation and study.

Religious Art: Technology allowed for the creation of religious art, such as paintings, sculptures, and stained glass windows, which illustrated biblical stories and served as visual aids to help people understand the Bible.

Audio Recordings: As technology advanced, audio recordings of the Bible, including dramatic readings and even full audio versions, became available. These were distributed on records, cassettes, and later on CDs, providing an auditory means of engaging with the text.

Radio and Television: Religious broadcasts on radio and television allowed for the dissemination of Bible teachings, sermons, and discussions. This made it possible for people to hear and engage with the Bible in an audio-visual format.

Film and Cinema: Bible stories were adapted into films, with cinematic technology helping to bring these stories to life for a wider audience. These adaptations often included visual effects and realistic depictions of biblical events.

Internet and Online Resources: Before smartphones, the internet made it possible for people to access the Bible online through websites and digital libraries. Online Bible study tools, commentaries, and discussion forums facilitated collaborative interpretation and understanding.

Educational Institutions: Traditional schools, colleges, and seminaries used technology like projectors and audio-visual aids to enhance the teaching of the Bible. This allowed for more interactive and engaging lessons.

Bible Study Software: Before smartphones, Bible study software, such as programs like Logos Bible Software and BibleWorks, were available for computers. These applications provided access to multiple versions and translations of the Bible, along with powerful search and study tools.

Before smartphones became ubiquitous, technology played a significant role in making the Bible more accessible and comprehensible to a wide range of people. These technological advancements enhanced the study, interpretation, and dissemination of the biblical text, facilitating a deeper understanding of the scripture.

Article generated by Chat GPT Oct 24

Were there any surprises? Any things you hadn’t thought of or things that you would want to add to a longer list? The question asked was not just about how technology helps with Bible translation, because as important as Bible Translation is, it is part of a bigger goal of helping people engage with God through Scripture.

Technology can help in many ways with some of the other aspects of publishing and distribution, but the tools themselves are never the real focus.

As it says on
“It’s not enough to translate the Bible; it’s not enough to distribute the Bible. Our desire is to see real Scripture Engagement: people encountering God’s Word in life-changing ways.”