Gospelthread is a digital media platform for distributing a gospel-centered bible commentary that is concise, curated and crowdsourced.
For most folks, when we say we’re building a digital media platform for a gospel-centered bible commentary, there are two immediate questions: Why do we need another commentary? And what is a digital media platform?
Over the next several weeks, we will be blogging about what makes gospelthread unique, and we start today by explaining what we mean by this “platform” business.
When you think of a bible commentary, what’s the first image that comes to mind?
For me, it’s a thick, hardcover book—perhaps one volume in a set—that thumps when I set it on the desk. It’s thumbing through hundreds of pages to find the one sentence that sheds light on the passage I’m reading. It’s time and money invested in a hard copy reference book. (And I love me some reference books!)
What we mean by “digital” is that gospelthread is designed specifically for online distribution, so yes, we’re ditching the paper. We’re meeting modern believers where they spend the most time—on their smartphones, computers and tablets. This means that gospelthread will be nimble in a way that printed books are not, constantly able to adapt and take advantage of opportunities that come with the latest technology.
Gospelthread is “media” in the sense that the content we produce will be released (initially) as a twice-a-week publication. As we add contributors and staff, we anticipate being able to accelerate the production schedule, but we do not plan on publishing fewer than two new “threads” every week. Another advantage of building a digital media platform rather than publishing a set of books is the additional multimedia content that we will produce alongside our core content, enlivening our written words with compelling visuals.
We call it a “platform” because it’s not only a website and not only a smartphone app, although both will be integral to how we deliver content to readers. A digital platform works seamlessly across devices—think of Facebook, where you can start a conversation at your computer and continue it on your phone when you need to step out.
The digital DNA of gospelthread is also what will be the single most important factor in sending our content out beyond U.S. borders. According to the World Bank and International Telecommunication Union, more households in developing countries own a smartphone than have access to electricity or secondary education. Think about what this means for reaching these people with the gospel. More than 3 billion people currently have internet access, and experts predict that 1 billion more will be online by 2020.
Whether it’s a remote island in the Pacific, an urban hub in Southeast Asia or a closed country in the Middle East, once our content is translated (and perhaps even before, if translation technology allows), it can spread digitally in ways that were unimaginable even twenty years ago. Sending a digital database of gospel content into a hostile nation is a very different scenario than smuggling a case of bibles across a border.
Finally, gospelthread is a digital media platform because this is what’s missing. Gospel-centered bible teaching can be heard from the pulpits of hundreds of American churches every week, but a single resource designed to collect and curate that teaching—and distribute it online for free—did not exist before gospelthread.
There is more to be said about the benefits of digital media, but we think the best way to communicate them is to put this commentary in your hands so you can experience it for yourself. Please pray about how you can help as we make gospelthread a reality.