In the beginning it was hand-written on papyrus, then Gutenberg printed it with movable type, later people browsed it on their pc, and now the Word of God comes to you in SMS format.
The Australian Bible Society has translated both the Old and New Testaments into text-talk so that “Church leaders, youth leaders, teachers and home group leaders can send verses of encouragement, reminders of bible study themes, reminders of Sunday sermons through mobile phones.” The Society has also made the entire 31,173 verses available for download free of charge.
I have downloaded it myself some thirty minutes ago and read my favorite texts. The first verse I checked out was John 1:1 and it read: “In da bginning waz da 1 who is called da Word, da Word waz wit God, & waz truly God.” Some people would laud the Bible Society in Australia for providing an easy, cheap and effective way to spread God’s Word while purists might cringe at the degradation of Biblical language.
One of the interesting facts I learned when I studied the Scriptures as a seminarian was that Hebrew, the language used in writing the Old Testament, did not use vowels. As in people who were fluent in the language did not need vowels to read Hebrew. A good example is the name of God, which was only written as YHWH. Vowels were only introduced as aids to proper pronunciation for non-native readers of Hebrew. In other words, text-talk is closer to the original way of scribbling the Bible than our modern system of writing.
I don’t really have problems with making the Biblical manuscript into mobile-savvy texts messages, although I have reservations as regards the Australian Bible Society’s translation of the Bible. John chapter 1 verse does not read “In the beginning was the one who was called the Word…” but “In the beginning was the Word.” There is a big difference between “the one who was called the Word” and “the Word” as much as, say, “God who is called love” from “God is love”. Jesus was not the one called the Word but He was the Word. He was the message and He was God.
But that’s only one example. I’m sure Catholic exegetes and other Christian scholars who study the Bible intelligently would not agree to many of the translations found in the Australian Bible Society’s version of the Bible.
My recommendation is to use the mobile phone to spread God’s Word rather than sending green jokes or other mindless messages to your friends and enemies. And please do not depend only on the Australian Bible Society’s version. Just because it is easier to use does not mean it is the best. The best is still to open The Book, read each verse in its biblical context, pray and send as 150-character snippets the passage that inspired you. And lastly, the most effective way to make God’s Word come alive is to do that which Jesus commands: “dat u luv 1 another, evn as I hav luvd u, dat u also luv 1 another.” (Jn 13:34, The Revised Standard Version)