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Multimedia Bible takes aim at digital generation

For a generation growing up with digital media, the written word printed on paper has little appeal – even if it’s the word of God.

It’s for them that an Orlando, Fla., company came up with the multimedia digital Glo Bible.

“If you look at Bible literacy among younger generations, it’s dismal,” says Nelson Saba, founder of Immersion Digital.

A 2000 Gallup poll found that about a quarter of people ages 18 to 29 read the Bible weekly – about half the rate of those 65 or older.

The Glo, released in October, recently won Bible of the Year award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, the first digital Bible so honored.

It sells for $80, about the same price as a leather-bound Bible or an illustrated study Bible.

Immersion Digital is working on an application that will allow Glo to go mobile. By the end of the year, Glo software will be available on iPhones and iPads, Saba says.

“The paper Bible, you have to carry it with you,” he says. “The biggest advantage of Glo is you can access the Bible through whatever device you have in your hands.”

Technology has always been a means of bringing the word of God to people. The first use of the printing press was to publish the Bible.

The Glo includes a series of interactive buttons that allow users to explore the Bible through text, a timeline, an atlas and specific topics. Users can select a topic such as “parenting,” and the software will produce all Scripture referring to parenting.

You can click on the atlas button, see an aerial map of Jerusalem, zoom down to a specific spot such as the Dome of the Rock, and take a virtual tour inside the shrine.

The Glo contains 7,000 articles, 2,000 high-definition images and more than 500 virtual tours.

“You can get a feeling for what it was like in Christ’s time, what Jerusalem looked like, what the streets looked like,” says Skip Brown, customer-service representative for Long’s Christian Book and Outlet store in Altamonte Springs, Fla.

The downside of the Glo, Brown says, is that it takes a more powerful computer with a faster processor and the visual-memory capacity of a video-game system.