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How to make the Bible look good (and why it matters) May 23, 2022

Posted by Pete B in Scripture Engagement.

Before you read the post (you could) watch this video about how to sound smart in a Ted Talk. (or not)

The video is worth watching (and also says very little) because it is about how style and presentation make a difference.

It is a lesson that has been learned in the world of Bible translation and in the related, but not always respected, world of Bible marketing. The big difference?

The Bible is full of amazing content!

It’s stories have resonated throughout the centuries and its truths continue to transform lives for good. When people open and engage with the Bible they discover that “Good News” isn’t just marketing hype. This book really will change you life!

But the challenge is that people do continue to judge a book by it’s cover. They judge the Christians and the church and the Bible by what they see.

did the picture help grab your attention?

Some see an old book with a lot of pages that doesn’t fit with their view of life in the 21st century. They’ve seen it on TV waved by people who use it as a weapon, they’ve seen it held up in a court of law in a system that effectively uses it to call down a curse if they tell a lie.

Some see it as foreign and alien to their culture.

Some see at something to be respected, but not necessarily read at home.

Some see it marketed differently …and still don’t like it because the marketing looks like sales hype.

I’m not a fan of all of the options for Bible covers and bits to make it look attractive (see earlier post on “Is this a real Bible?“), but neither do I want to go for the lowest cost printing options with no thought to design.

I’m also not a fan of all the things we do to try and make church attractive to outsiders. I was once part of a church that had an old poster insider that said “Our church is about the people, not the building” – which was and is true, but from the outside the building looked very uncared for. Cleaning the windows, tidying the garden, repainting, updating the sign and noticeboard, were all part of the process of refreshing the building and the people, ready to welcome new people. At least one person who joined us in the months that followed told us, “I’d never noticed there was a church here”.

Looking ‘good’ is only one element of design in Bibles, Church buildings or events (or anything else). Design is about how well it works not just how good it looks.

The attractive looking “Digital Strategy Guides” at internationalmediaservices.org/strategy-guides have a few things to say about design and I hope to follow up with a few more posts over the next few weeks.


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