Academic Digital Life(style)

Tweet Impact for @biblesummary #biblefresh

In July, I started working for CODEC (University of Durham, although thankfully I only have to commute to Premier Radio in London!).  My brief is to work with the text “Matthew for Everyone” by Tom Wright (former Bishop of Durham), to produce “blended learning” material (i.e. online/offline) to work with this text,  with the potential for future texts.

The Vision
Over Lent 2010, “The Big Read” was carried out in Durham, and it was so successful, there was a clear need to make this national, and the project for 2011 ties in with Biblefresh: “Our vision is to make 2011 a year of the Bible to help individuals and the whole church gain greater skill in handling the scriptures and a greater passion for hearing and obeying the Bible.” Biblefresh was partly inspired by the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, the first time that the Bible was translated into English (rather than Latin). I have spent the first month talking to various people about ideas for the project, and we’re planning on doing a crowd-sourcing project… as a Twitter addict, one of my first ideas was to do “something with Twitter” (we have an account: @bigbible)… and then this week decided that one idea was already going to happen much better (although of course there’s potential for more than one person to do this, people will have different interpretations)…

Seven days ago, Chris Juby sent out his first tweet via @biblesummary:

I was alerted to the project through a Tweet from @pmphillips (director of CODEC!), and immediately followed (one of the first 80!) & Tweeted about it, as well as posting comments on the website, suggesting that Chris use, e.g. ‘&’ rather than ‘and’, but apparently he’s a ‘glutton for punishment’. Wonder if I have any part to play in the success story… I got quite a few retweets from various tweets sent throughout the week… but really, the project is genius in its simplicity and stands on its own feet:

A Success Story
A lot of which I reckon is down to good old fashioned press coverage…  and of course plenty of Tweets:

The biggest coup, however, is getting @Mashable to talk about it, the most influential man on Twitter: “One Man will Try to Tweet the Bible over Three Years“.

When I started this article 25 minutes ago, he had 999 followers, he now has 1084 followers (9:52am), and I expect his numbers to shoot sky high. A real success story – congratulations!!

How can I get involved?
Follow @biblesummary on Twitter, a stream which is PURELY for Tweeting the Bible – to comment & interact go to the website.


[BOOK Review] Tom Wright ‘Paul for Everyone’


Part of a series Tom Wright is working his way through – to provide guides to all the books of the New Testament, using a fresh translation of the entire text, accompanied by 1-2 pages of thought. Wright comes from an academic background, but has deliberately written in an approachable and anecdotal style.

Designed for personal or group use, I have used this for daily study in the past. Use it so long as it is useful, then move onto other styles of daily study (every time I try and re=invigorate my Biblical knowledge). I think I would have found it more useful if I had actively engaged with the text using a notebook –but this remains an aim for the future.

I like these books as they are recently written, so still relevant, and still fresh. Wright is quick to note that there’s a place for books debating the exact meaning of Greek words, full of footnotes, and his new translations are built upon such works. However, Wright is keen that the message should get out to everyone, and these books are written for those “who wouldn’t normally read a book with footnotes and Greek words in it.”

This book covers Paul’s letters to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. Here’s an extract, dealing with Colossians 3:12-17 (p181)

Nor are the people Paul is describing in this section a bunch of weak-willed, wimpish people without much to say for themselves. Anyone who thinks that simply doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Have you ever seriously tried to forgive someone who’s wronged you? Have you ever seriously tried to be compassionate and patient? Have you ever tried to let Christ’s peace, Christ’s word, Christ’s name be the reality around which you order your life? If you have, you’ll know it’s not easy. It takes serious prayer and real moral effort. And people who engage in that effort tend to be people who are also capable of taking difficult decisions and engaging in challenging activities in other spheres as well. Christian behaviour, in other words, makes you more human, not less. Self-indulgence and habitual anger and lying may seem like fun for a while, but they destroy you sooner or later – often sooner.