A new so-called “Twitter Bible,” which summarizes the over 31,000-verse Bible into nearly 4,000 short-form tweets, is being released at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week.
Formally named And God Decided to Chill, the German language book is the compilation of tweets by more than 3,000 German Christians who participated in the church project earlier this year.
In honor of the Pentecost holiday, German Christians used the micro-blogging service Twitter to summarize 3,906 Bible sections into 140 character messages, according to Berlin-based newspaper “The Local.” Though the project was scheduled for May 20-30, it was completed 37 hours ahead of schedule and achieved a world record.
The tweets were sometimes entertaining, such as the tweet describing God’s day of rest after creation: “Thank God! It’s Sunday!”
Melanie Huber, portal manager of the Protestant Web site www.evangelisch.de, which launched the project, said about the initiative: “We want with this action to encourage a debate about the Bible and to simultaneously show the modern possibilities that exist to receive and make known the Word of God,” according to Ecumenical News International.
Similarly in the United States, many Christian leaders have found Twitter to be an effective ministry tool to share the Word of God. Popular Christian leaders such as Pastors Rick Warren, John Piper, and Mark Driscoll have tens of thousands of Twitter followers who read their daily updates on Christian insight on daily life, Bible verses of the day, and projects they’re working on.
Some U.S. churches have even embraced the micro-blogging service to the point of flashing tweets from worshippers on large video screens during Sunday service.
Ministry leader Greg Stier, president of Dare 2 Share Ministries, in a column contended that Jesus would have been a Twitter enthusiast and set out to brainstorm possible tweets He would have posted.
Some of the hypothetical tweets from Jesus include: “40 days without food. Satan doing a full court temptation press. Does he really think he can win?” “Just healed ten lepers, only one came back to thank me. Nothing worse than ungrateful ex-lepers”; “5 loaves + 2 fishes x the power of God = Fish and Chips for 5,000! Thanks for your lunch kid!” “Watching my disciples as I ascend to heaven. They look helpless. Will send Holy Spirit soon.”
Jokes aside, Reformed Baptist theologian John Piper in an article this year explained why he engages in social internet media such as blogging, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. He said that while there are many arguments against using these technology, such as feeding into narcissism and weakening discursive reasoning, he leaned towards the argument of filling these media with the Bible and the teaching of Christ.
"We are aware that the medium tends to shape the message," Piper said.
"But it seems to us that aggressive efforts to saturate a media with the supremacy of God, the truth of Scripture, the glory of Christ, the joy of the gospel, the insanity of sin, and the radical nature of Christian living is a good choice for some Christians," he said, adding that they may not be good for all and that some of these media should be abstained from.
Since its launch in 2006, Twitter has grown to over 32 million users.
The nearly 4,000 tweets from the German Christians can now be seen in book form at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which opened on Wednesday and will conclude on Oct. 18.