Chicago Catholics, does the bible speak to you, personally? If not, there’s a Chicago pastor who’s working to change that in the most literal way. Rev. Gregory Ijiwola, of The CityLight Church in Chicago, Illinois, has launched a new Bible app that alters bible passages so the text is customized to the reader.
For example, if I were to download the app – named ToYou Bible, and customize it for me, John 3:16 would read:
“For God so loved William, that he gave his one and only Son, that William believing in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
Naturally, this latest technological innovation has caused controversy. Those who criticize the app note that reading The Bible in this fashion will totally remove a verse’s historical context, and could even change its overall intended meaning. In his defense, Pastor Gregory says the appl will allow readers to “enjoy a more personalized experience in their Scripture readings and meditations.” He added “While the Bible contains thousands of wonderful promises to be trusted, believed and appropriated in the life of the reader, when these promises are read, they often sound generalized and distant.”
Pastor Gregory and his wife (who serve as co-pastors of The CityLight Church) launched the app with ads touting it was “The Bible that reads in your name!!!” One example in their ad, showing a modified version of Micah 6:8, read “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does God require of him but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” The ToYou Bible app also allows allows the user to input their spouse’s name, if married, and then instantly customizes all relevant biblical passages on marriage with both spouses’ names. Additionally, the gender specific language of the bible can be changed to be customized to whatever gender the person identifies as (making the app a useful tool for “Caitlyn” Jenner).
All in all, the ToYou Bible app seems like an interesting concept and might make for a fun diversion, or even be helpful for getting people to read the bible who might otherwise take no interest. However, for really getting to know the message of the bible and engaging in serious bible study, perhaps my readers would be wise to look elsewhere.