Yes, an Emoji Bible should work

As Christian churches in the west fret over the increasing numbers of young people who are leaving institutionalized religion, they have tried various ways to lure them back in. A novel idea is to produce a new Emoji Bible at the low, low price of $2.99

“Bible Emoji: Scripture 4 Millennials” was released Sunday in the iBooks store. It’s exactly what it sounds like: an adaptation of the King James Version of the Bible using internet slang and emoji, the adorable emoticons frequently used in text messages and tweets. Translated over the past six months by a person who identifies himself or herself only as the sunglasses-guy emoji, the objective of the emoji Bible is to make the text more appealing to people of various backgrounds and age groups.

“[Emoji are] language-agnostic — they allow you to convey an idea to anyone, regardless of what language they speak,” the creator told the Memo exclusively. “A major goal of this whole process was to take a book that I think is very non-approachable to lay readers and try to make it more approachable by removing a lot of its density.”

The 3,282-page emoji Bible includes interpretations of all 66 books in the Bible and advertises itself as a “fun way to share the gospel.” But it’s already causing controversy, pointing to a larger challenge facing modern Christians: How do you engage millennials without being cheesy?

I think the real problem is that these people think that young people are drawn to gimmicks. Sure, they use texts and emojis and all the other novelties that technology brings. But that does not mean that they are shallow and seek them out for when they want to discuss serious things and by trying to adopt these methods, the proponents may actually find they are repelling the very people they hope to attract.


  1. says

    This emoji craze is getting a bit creepy: in the world of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, picture-symbols had replaced text. The rise in illiteracy and growing reliance on pop media is what allowed the government to move in and criminalize books.

  2. grumpyoldfart says

    It’s an old trick but it just might work…

    Back in the 1950s they tried to woo the rock’n’rollers back to church with the Hep Talk Bible. God was renamed “Daddio” (and Jesus was real cool cat).

  3. Rob Grigjanis says

    “Updating” the bible is an old story, and at least in my humble opinion, is always doomed. In English, the King James Version abides, and will continue to do so, LOLCats notwithstanding.

  4. kestrel says

    Fascinating. So what’s the emoji for “kill everyone, women, children, old people and even the animals”? :-0

  5. grendelsfather says

    Meh. I’m not impressed. The Brick Bible is the only bible anyone needs, especially if they are looking for a good reason to go atheist. It just tells the plain unvarnished version of biblical events in a such a straightforward way that even kids can tell how messed up it is.

  6. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    An emoji version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas would be more interesting.

  7. says

    An emoji version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas would be more interesting.

    I don’t think there are emojis for some of that.
    Or, at least, I hope not.

    I just gave it a shot with the toaster in the bathtub scene and I just don’t think it’s possible. Which we can probably take as proof that Thompson wrote at a higher plane than the authors of the bible, or something.

  8. johnson catman says

    The 3,282-page emoji Bible . . .

    Over three thousand pages of emoji?! I don’t think the attention span of millennials is generally that long. ;-P

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