Chris Juby

Every chapter of the Bible in 140 characters or less.

I summarised the Bible on Twitter between Aug 2010 and Nov 2013 - one tweet per chapter, one chapter per day.

The @biblesummary account peaked at over 30,000 followers, and was featured in the news all over the world.

Find out about the project here, or feel free to get in contact.

Interview with Kent West of @140bible

This is part of a short series of interviews with people who have summarised the Bible on Twitter. I'll ask each person the same set of questions.

Kent West was another contributor to @140bible. I posted Nathaniel Jones' responses yesterday, which Kent was commenting on as he answered.

Why did you decide to summarise the Bible on Twitter?

As I recall it, Chris and Nathaniel started the project, and recruited me shortly thereafter.

Did you prepare the summaries in advance?

Oftentimes I'd read a chapter in preparation to summarize it, and would then start to read the next to see how it related, and discovered that the story was bigger than just the one chapter, so I'd have to read three, four, seven chapters to get the overall view, at which time I would then summarize each of the pieces in one sitting while the big story was fresh on my brain. Sometimes I would have already created a tweet for that initial chapter, only to realize I needed to scrap it and start over after realizing the next few chapters changed the significance of that initial chapter.

Occasionally, I'd read a chapter and realize it continued the story from the day before, which day's tweet didn't quite relate to that story, and would then have to figure out how to word today's tweet in such a way as to re-steer the previous day's tweet into the story.

As a general rule, we'd email each other our prepared tweets, so that if anything seemed glaring we could suggest corrections. Seldom were corrections needed, but this method allowed us to know that someone had prepared the tweet for the day, and kept us all in the loop prior to the tweets going out.

Did you ever miss a day?

Sometimes it was human failure; there were a few times when I just missed a day. But we'd do two the next, to make up for it.

It really helped to have multiple people working on it. Although it was very rewarding, it was a chore to get a chapter tweeted every day.

Which was the hardest book, and why?

I honestly don't remember. I remember a few times when I was frustrated that a chapter had *so* much information that simply couldn't be fit into <140 characters (a few characters were "lost", of course, for providing the passage reference).

Which was your favourite, and why?

I don't recall having a favorite. I do recall being surprised a few times at what the text said, either because I didn't know that message was in there, or I thought the text said something different than what I discovered it to say, or occasionally because of the sheer shock value of the text (a pornographic chapter of Ezekiel comes to mind).

I think more than having a favorite book, I had a favorite experience: seeing a bigger story as it spans several chapters, a story which I had never seen before. I now better realize that our modern-day divisions into chapters and verses, although valuable in many ways, has done damage to our Biblical understandings.

What kind of responses have people have to your project?

We had a little write-up in the local news, which we had hoped would increase our readership considerably, but we never quite seemed to gain traction with any significant following.

Sometimes I would follow-up on Facebook (we had it set so that the tweets were echoed to our FB page) with further commentary on the chapters. I wanted to do that with many of the chapters, but I just couldn't keep up. I was hoping it would spur additional conversation on FB, but I don't recall it ever doing so.

I suspect the preparation of the tweets did far more for us three who prepared them than the reading of the summaries did for our followers.

I know that even amongst us, if I hadn't prepared the tweet, when I read the tweet by Nathaniel or Chris (or occasionally a guest-tweeter, like Chris' wife), I'd find that it didn't really resonate with me unless I had read the chapter myself. From the beginning, we encouraged our followers to compare our tweets with how they would summarize the chapter, but unless they actually read the chapters themselves, I suspect their reading of our tweets was little more than a taste of ice cream on a Spring day (as compared to us who had read the chapter, and who were thus getting the whole ice cream cone on a sweltering Summer day).

How has summarising the Bible affected your faith?

I think the biggest effect for me has been to realize the Bible probably doesn't say what you've thought all your life it says. When you read the Bible for what it actually says instead of to prove a point you've believed all your life, you get amazed at how we've sometimes twisted the Scriptures to make it say what it doesn't say, or to miss what it does say.

How much have you read the Bible since you finished?

Like Nathaniel, I find that I'm not reading it as much as I was. I have a "rule" to read at least one chapter a day, but since finishing the project, I find that I break that rule a lot, mostly because Life has gotten so full of other ... cruft.

I agree with Nathaniel, having the responsibility to get the tweets out every day really forced me to get into the text.

How can we get hold of your complete summary?

I've thought of a simple "Chapter a Day" booklet, like those coffee-table books that have a nice thought per day. A 3-year+ calendar might also be a good thing to put together, although I don't know how practical a 3-year+ calendar might be for most people.

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