Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Book Notice: Evangelicals and Digital Bible Use


I’ve just ordered the new book by John Dyer from OUP titled People of the Screen: How Evangelicals Created the Digital Bible and How It Shapes Their Reading of Scripture. John is a longtime evangelical and has been programming Bible software for years (for example). He’s also written a very well received book on the theology of technology. This new book is a version of his PhD thesis, I believe. I’m sure our ETC readers will be interested in this. Here is the description: 

People of the Screen traces the history of Bible software development, showing the unique and powerful role evangelical entrepreneurs and coders have played in shaping its functionality and how their choices in turn shape the reading habits of millions of people around the world. Examining advancements in Bible software from the first desktop applications to pioneering Bible websites, and later to mobile apps and virtual experiences, this book argues that evangelical creators have a distinct orientation toward societal change and technology called “Hopeful Entrepreneurial Pragmatism” that uniquely positions them to lead the digital Bible market, imbuing their creations with evangelical ways of understanding the nature and purpose of Scripture.

This book offers a blend of historical research, interviews with developers, and field work among digital and print Bible readers, offering a nuanced look at the interconnected ecosystem of publishers, developers, pastors, institutions, and software companies. Digital Bibles aren’t replacing print Bibles, author John Dyer shows. Rather, the future of Bible engagement involves readers using a mix of print, audio, and screens to suit their needs. He shows that sometimes the God of the page seems to say different things than the God of the screen, suggesting that we are still in the early stages of a multimedia approach to scripture.

I would also like to add that this is the first and only book cover I’ve seen that can appropriately use Verdana. It was designed for screen use and was one of the world’s most ubiquitous fonts for at least a decade. Please, publishers, do not use it for other books.


  1. Thanks for the heads-up!

  2. I'm posting a link to this over on the Logos forums. We'll see what all the screen-nerds there have to say. :-)