GLO Digital Bible released today

Today is the release of the new GLO digital bible. Many of us are hoping to get a chance to see it “up close and personal” to find out more than what the promo material tells us.

Lisa Miller at Newsweek had just that chance (for an hour, when the GLO reps brought it to her office). She writes about what she saw in GLO here.


In addition to all the chapters and verses of the canon, GLO has Bible commentary and a Bible dictionary, as well as 2,300 photos, 700 paintings of Biblical scenes by well-known painters (Michelangelo, Chagall), 500 virtual tours of the Holy Land, and a timeline that runs through “creation” through the first century. It can be sorted chronologically, geographically, or thematically, and all of its moving parts are cross-referenced. GLO is an indisputably evangelical Bible, but its point of view is designed not to provoke. It takes no hard-line positions on evolution, divorce, or homosexuality.

It’s not perfect. GLO, which launches today, is available only for the PC. Other applications—crucially, for the cell phone—are due out next year. With all the bells and whistles, GLO is too big: it uses 18 gigabytes of memory and needs two gigabytes of RAM to run. At $90, it’s too expensive. But it does convince me that the leather-bound Bible on every household bookshelf may soon—like records and videocassettes and newspapers—be endangered, if not extinct. Already, millions of people are storing Bibles on their cell phones, for use in church or in an airport lounge. Already, those Bibles let you bookmark favorite passages, scribble notes, link to favorite commentaries. Imagine if they also talked, sang, and moved. Imagine if you could post and share your own snapshots of your trip to Jerusalem—or your baby’s baptism—in your Bible, alongside GLO’s digital deconstruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

GLO is the brainchild of Nelson Saba, a Brazilian evangelical Christian who was once, before his conversion, a technology vice president at Citibank. Three years ago, he joined forces with Phil Chen, a Taiwanese businessman whose family-owned company, HTC, manufactures handheld wireless devices designed to compete with the iPhone. Chen, 31, comes from generations of devout Christians and is a Christian minister himself, trained and ordained at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. He was in Afghanistan building schools and orphanages for poor kids when he started thinking about the ways in which he could use technology for a good cause. “If I give this,” he told me, gesturing at his cell phone, “to a child, I’m not giving him a book. I’m giving him a library, a university, a future.”

I still want to take a closer look at the content and editorial perspective. I’m sure someone will have a copy in hand soon and will review it.

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