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Smart phones interact with new study Bible

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- A new high-tech study Bible is using QR (quick read) codes to connect readers via smart phones to video teaching by noted pastor and Bible professor Gene Getz.

The Life Essentials Study Bible relays 1,500 key principles Getz has drawn from Scripture over the years -- principles relevant to Christians young and old as well as every people group throughout the world.

A QR code in the study notes for each of the 1,500 principles in the Life Essentials Study Bible links readers to an expanded video teaching segment by Getz of 15 minutes or less.

"These are applicational principles that tie together the entire redemption story," Getz said.

The B&H Publishing Group of LifeWay Christian Resources is the publisher for the Life Essentials Study Bible, which is subtitled "Biblical principles to live by: Learn to apply God's word in your life." The HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) is the translation used for the biblical text.

Getz has long been a forerunner in media communications. In 1968 he set up the first audio/visual center on a Bible college campus -- at Moody Bible Institute -- where he was teaching. Today he illustrates his sermons by using two rear-screen projectors which he operates from the pulpit.

Getz also is a prolific print and media author. In addition to writing more than 60 books, many printed in multiple languages, he has completed a 12-part video series on spiritual maturity that has been distributed worldwide.


Getz was approached by B&H about undertaking the Life Essentials Study Bible.

"They had published 12 of my 'character' books," Getz said in an interview with Baptist Press, referring to books on Abraham, David, Elijah and other biblical figures.

"In those books, I end every chapter with principles to live by," Getz continued. "B&H asked me to do for the whole Bible."

B&H was interested in a study Bible that brought together a seasoned Bible teacher with today's technology, said Tim Jordan, who provides marketing support for the Life Essentials Study Bible.

"This study Bible is going to expose people to a new way they can have devotions, because of the technology," Jordan said. "I'm 41, and didn't grow up with a phone in my hand, but this generation has that. ... It's an exciting part of the future, to connect with people in the way they're accustomed to reading content.

"Our heart is connecting people to God's Word," Jordan continued. "We want to articulate the Gospel and God's Word in a language people are used to hearing. The QR codes are a quick and easy way to share what the Bible is all about."

The Bible frequently has been termed as a how-to guide for living in relationship with God and others, and Getz refers to each how-to as a principle.

"A principle is a biblical truth that is enduring and is applicable at any moment in history anywhere in the world," Getz said. "It's supra-cultural. If you can't apply it anywhere in the world, it's not a biblical principle."


In the Life Essentials Study Bible, Getz has identified 1,500 biblical principles. (Principles repeated in other Scripture passages are merely cross-referenced with the original).

"There's a lot of repetition in the Bible, by God's design," Getz said. "Mark has 28 principles in addition to the ones that are in Matthew. There are 51 principles in Luke you won't find in Matthew or Mark. There is so much in Luke that is brand-new."

Among the 51 principles Getz has noted, for example, in Luke: A Witness in the World -- Luke 10:1-24; Obedience: Luke 11:27-28; Persistent Prayer: Luke 18: 1-8.

But to start at the very beginning, Getz lists 70 principles from the Old Testament book of Genesis, with Chosen in Christ -- Genesis 1:1-25 as the very first principle in the Bible.

"All Scripture is inspired by God, quoting 2 Timothy 3," Getz said. "The Word of God is the means of spiritual growth; it's the foundation of spiritual growth."

Living in the will of God, from Romans 12, is the most important principle to him, Getz said, "because of what God has done for us. Ephesians 4 is similar. These are the top principles for believers. For unbelievers, have to do with salvation.

"The Bible virtually teaches itself," Getz said. " comes out of my years of experience as a teacher, professor and pastor. You can see the pedagogical principles. It's like a built-in curriculum, a plan of study."


Highlighted blue text in the Life Essentials Study Bible relays Getz's support for the principles he identifies.

"Then," said Jordan of B&H, "you can scan the QR code, and now you have Dr. Getz expanding on that principle. It's another way of reinforcing what you're reading.

"It's like Dr. Getz is sitting on the couch next to me," Jordan continued. "He's a great teacher. He has a heart for shepherding people.

"This is a unique study Bible that's breaking some ground by building in 1,500 QR codes. Who knows where technology will take us, but God's Word will certainly be there."

Karen L. Willoughby is managing editor of the Louisiana Baptist Message.

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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