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Archive for May, 2015

A Sixteenth-Century Bible Study Flowchart

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Many printings of the Geneva Bible after 1579 contain the following flowchart by T. Grashop. This flowchart reflects the Renaissance obsession with ordering the world using tree diagrams and presents a systematic approach to studying the Bible. I share it here to show that “mind-mapping” Bible study isn’t a new idea; it has extensive historical roots.

Scan of the Grashop page from the Geneva Bible.

Below is a reproduction I created with modernized spelling and design. I particularly want to note the reference to Isaiah 29:36 in this chart. This verse doesn’t exist. If anyone knows what verse Grashop might have meant, especially as it relates to “Superstition be avoided” when studying the Bible, I’d be interested in correcting this 400-year-old typo. Sean Boisen in the comments presents a plausible case that it should be Isaiah 2:6.

Revised version of Grashop's flowchart.

Also available in PDF: 8.5×11 inches or 8.5×14 inches (full size).

I consider all these Grashop-related files to be in the public domain; if you want to reuse them, you don’t need to credit anyone.

Heralds of the Emojipocalypse

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

The final slide of my presentation (.pptx, .pdf) at last weekend’s BibleTech conference half-jokingly argued that 100% of digital Bible notes would contain emoji by the year 2028, up from 1-2% in 2015:

An exponential curve extends from 1% in 2015 to 100% in 2028.

Unknown to me, the previous day, Instagram had published an analysis showing how 40% of Instagram posts contained emoji in April 2015. Already they’re well on their way to over 50% of all posts including emoji–some countries (Finland, France) are already there, which in turn means that the emojipocalypse may arrive sooner than expected.

Instagram’s analysis ascribes consistent meanings to certain emoji. For example, they provide several religion-related meanings for the so-called* “praise the Lord” emoji:

🙌: … #yeslawd, … #stayblessed, … thou

“Thou” in particular suggests that people are sharing KJV-based Bible verse pictures with this emoji attached to them.

The Instagram study, with its high emoji percentages, indicates to me that people use emoji when they’re already primed for images and especially when they’re sharing a photo. This explanation makes a lot of sense to me, and I feel silly for not thinking of it earlier, especially considering that a whole section of my talk discusses how people approach the Bible differently when images are involved. Let’s look at the data:

Percent of Tweets with Emoji

Bible verses shared on Twitter Links to Bible websites on Twitter
All tweets Excluding retweets All tweets Excluding retweets
With image 14.7% 13.3% 24.8% 6.2%
Without image 2.4% 3.0% 2.7% 2.4%

There are two datasets here: one tracks all the Bible verses shared on Twitter (for one day only: about 200,000 tweets), and the other tracks links to Bible websites on Twitter (for all of April 2015: about two million tweets). In both datasets we see that people are far more likely to include emoji when their tweet includes an image than when it doesn’t.

So there you go: emoji usage correlates with image usage, at least on Twitter and at least with Bible verses.

Separately, the Bible-verse Twitter tracker now keeps a daily total of emoji shared with Bible verses.

* No one actually calls it this.