@ESVDaily Bible verse: abusing Scripture with Twitter

ESVMy Twitter home page invites me to join 22,583 followers of ESV Daily Verse. No, thank you. This service would send me just one Bible verse each day, out of context. It jumps around the Bible – recently in Proverbs, Deuteronomy, Lamentations and Mark in four successive days – with no sign of day to day coherence. This abuse of Scripture encourages the worst kind of proof texting, the basis of all kinds of theological errors. Crossway, publishers of the ESV Bible and apparently also of this Twitter feed, ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Twitter encourages us all to reduce our thoughts to 140 character soundbites. It is a useful service for distributing titles and links – this is how I use the account @Gentle_Wisdom. But content snipped to the length of a tweet tends to be as meaningless as a bird’s tweet.

Long term readers of Gentle Wisdom will remember that I have various issues with ESV, as with other literal Bible versions. Some of these issues relate to the way in which its translation choices are justified by proof texting. But my point here is not against ESV as a translation. Other versions could be presented in just the same way on Twitter. Indeed very likely they already are. But my objections would be the same.

0 thoughts on “@ESVDaily Bible verse: abusing Scripture with Twitter

  1. Or it is a simple reminder to jump into scripture for the day and read a larger portion. If you use it to proof text, then you have poorly used this tool. If you have used it for greater, more frequent scripture engagement you have used this tool for its intended purpose.

  2. Peter, please see lately on “Anthropology and Theology, Angelology and Demonology” – for those of us who would ask our en-Spirited questions in a positive and productive, rather than in a satirical mood – no need to reply! Alas, ~ Jim

  3. Thanks Peter. Actually, the word “abusing” is a very strong word – offensive perhaps to those of us who worked on the ESV and ESV related apps. I’ll use the word “absurd” to describe the idea that those who created the apps intended them to be used as their primary means of Bible consumption. Thanks for hearing me out.

  4. Geoff, I never suggested that anyone intended these verses as anyone’s “primary means of Bible consumption”. But I don’t think they are healthy even as a small part of a balanced Bible consumption diet.

  5. Wow. Pretty radical view. I’m not sure that I understand your rationale, nor do I feel the need to press this further. May our Savior bless you richly as you seek to honor Him by what you write on this blog.

  6. Geoff, you think it is “Pretty radical” to suggest that random Bible verses are not helpful, even for those who read the Bible in other ways? I wonder, have you considered that the Bible was originally written as books, sometimes subdivided into smaller self-contained units, and not as collections of separate verses? Who divided the Bible into verses, and when?

  7. Geoff,
    You’re right that it is a radical view. Sorry, Peter, but I do think he’s right about that. For a while now, our primary method of consuming the Bible is a verse or a few verses at a time.

    Having said that, I do think that this radical view is correct despite its unpopularity. I work for a publisher and we’ve done quite a bit of research when it comes to biblical literacy and what we’ve found is that the soundbite approach is at the root of much of the Western churches illiteracy.

    We’re trying to combat this now and are even getting resistance within our own publishing house. This is understandable since God has done great things despite our approach to Scripture. There’s no denying that. But how much greater will the Scripture’s impact be on our lives when we engage it as the authors intended it!

    Peace to you both…

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