Speakers & Talks

BibleTech presents a unique opportunity to hear from some of the world's leading Bible study technologists. Amazing work is being done at the intersection of biblical studies, and technology! Just look below to see the diverse topics that will be presented at this year's conference.


Ancient-Future Language

The rise of translation and communication technologies is one part of a networked world and the eschatology reversal of the Tower of Babel. As publishers, programmers, webmasters, educators, bloggers and technologists, does this affect the content and software created? The growing use of Artificial Intelligence daily leads into science fiction where we no longer know if we are communicating with person or machine. God has promised to be known in the world, yet with the very methods of communication changed, are we sure anything is understood? Let’s explore the very human way God continues to speak while rapidly moving into a world where global publicity is unhindered by language.


Transforming Your Engineering Team, YouVersion’s Journey into Agile Development

2014 was a transformational year for YouVersion. The team went from shipping two releases in a single year to 22. This presentation walks through the state of the YouVersion team at the beginning of 2014 and shares practical advice that helped YouVersion begin releasing high quality software at a high frequency.


Paper or Pixels? Bible Publishing in the Digital Age

We are now several years into the ebook-smartphone-app revolution, and digital Bible products are becoming more and more mature. Yet print Bible sales are healthy and actually growing. Wasn’t print supposed to be dead by now? What is going on? How can those of us who live at the intersection of the Bible, technology, and publishing make the most of it? Digging into the strengths of both the print and digital mediums, we will explore some of the ways they can work together to provide enhanced encounters with God’s Word.


Devs & Marketers:  A Love Story?

On some projects, it can feel like the Development team and the Marketing team come from different planets.  They speak different languages, and their priorities can sometimes appear contradictory.  How can developers and marketers work together to build a better product, achieve higher customer adoption and satisfaction, and have fun along the way?  Diane will share insights from her time in both the Enterprise and Startup space.


Tolle Lege! Designing readable Bibles with digital typography

 The Bible has always been a challenging text to display, whether copied by hand or printed on a Gutenberg press, and the task has only grown more complicated in the era of digital text. The challenges are not insurmountable, though. We have the tools to solve them: the principles of good typography, especially careful page design and the deliberate choice and skillful use of appropriate typefaces (fonts). When we apply those principles to the Scriptures—whether in an app or on the web—we can provide people with digital Bibles that are both readable and beautiful.


Seeing the Big Picture: Visualizing Bible Data

For many people, Bible study is about closely and carefully reading small portions of the biblical text. But growing quantities of Bible data, together with data visualization techniques, are creating new opportunities to literally "see the big picture" of the Bible. These approaches uncover larger patterns that can both provide insight and direct personal study. This presentation will review the many datasets that Logos has developed and demonstrate how they offer new ways to visualize the Bible.


Meaningful Engagement through Mobile Technology

On average, people spend more than 2 hours each day using apps, whether for the sake of productivity, staying connected, or merely passing time. It’s changing our habits and we’ve become completely dependent on a lifestyle of “instant”. So, how do we redeem this time and provide people with access to truly meaningful content?
In this talk, you will learn strategies for engaging your audience through mobile technology and hear stories of success from ministries both small and large. There’s much more to a mobile strategy than simply having a presence.


Why Bible Typography Matters

Bible typography carries meaning you are receiving and processing, even without thinking about it. My aim in this presentation is to encourage contextually sensitive and careful reading of Scripture by revealing how Bible typography affects the reading of God’s Word. I will focus on (and give examples of) three levels of typographical meaning: punctuation, paragraphing, and chapter/book level divisions.


4 Revolutions: How technology is accelerating the fulfillment of the great commission

Technology is the combination of the Greek words techne (craft or skill) and logos (the word). Today there are unprecedented opportunities in missions through new communications technology. Cloud-based networks, mobile devices, IOT, APIs even micro-satellites are being leveraged to get God's Word to every human on earth! Find out how even you can be a part of this amazing technical revolution in missions.


A Semi-Automatic Approach to Transliterating Biblical Hebrew

Transliterations are useful to those who are not intimately acquainted with the complex orthography of Biblical Hebrew. When done well, they are also useful to those who research Biblical Hebrew orthography. Ideally, a transliteration allows one to recreate the precise orthography, excluding cantillation marks, of the Hebrew original. In addition, it ideally resolves numerous ambiguities inherent in the Massoretic and pre-Massoretic orthography. That is, maximally useful transliterations identify when consonants serve as matres lectionis and when the letter aleph is quiescent, distinguish between dagesh lene and dagesh forte, distinguish between qamets and qamets-hatuph, distinguish between vocal shewa and silent shewa, and identify syllable boundaries.


Is a radical shift coming to Scripture engagement?

Global collaboration, advances in translation, and new licensing is setting the stage for a radical shift in Scripture translation and access. Let's explore the fringe possibilities of what could be, including the chance of beloved translations being leapfrogged by newer translations and data sharing ushering in a new era of tailored recommendation.


Quality and Consistency in Text Alignment

An alignment of the original text of the Bible with a modern translation is one of the most useful data sources for students, pastors and laity who want access to the Bible in its original languages. 

Such data can be powerfully deployed within Bible software applications for interlinear, reverseinterlinear and searching purposes. Aligned texts are equally valuable for scholars studying translation technique (e.g. CATSS, Hebrew-Greek), textual criticism, lexicography, discourse analysis, and other fields of research. Yet, such data is only as useful as it is reliable, and to maintain a high degree of accuracy and consistency in text alignment is difficult, even for the trained specialist.

With the recent release of ESV HebrewTools on esvbible.org, Crossway, in partnership with Miklal Software Solutions, has tried to raise the bar for consistency in text alignment. This talk will discuss the 
methods that can be used in a text-alignment project to achieve a high degree of consistency


Building a Better Bible Study Experience with EPUB

While a generic e-reading platform may not be able to provide the sort of advanced features that users of Bible study software may want, the EPUB standards used by most platforms is capable of providing a much better experience than what is currently offered.


Are You Ready to Innovate with New gTLD Domain Names?

Domain names in the Internet namespace has expanded through the new gTLD (generic Top Level Domain) program, to over 400+ new domain name extensions, like .NYC, .CHURCH, .PHOTOGRAPHY, as well as non-English domain extensions .公司 .みんな .ОНЛАЙН and many many more, with .BIBLE launching later this year. This session provides an insider look at the innovations and opportunities for increasing Bible engagement, plus an alert for how softwares and apps must be upgraded for this new reality that is already upon us.


Limits to the "Digital Library" Metaphor of Bible Software

The metaphor of the “digital library” (where accumulating more books leads to a richer experience) dominates the design of modern Bible software. The assumptions driving the library metaphor were useful when early Bible software was targeting specialists, but we need to reexamine these assumptions if digital Bibles are to support the habits and practices of a wider audience.

Drawing on historical research as well as recent ethnographic and quantitative studies, I explore how readers and publishers of digital Bibles are repeating patterns from centuries past, with readers in particular revealing a surprising continuity (across time and media) in how they use—or want to use—the biblical text. This exploration unearths alternate metaphors for Bible software beyond the “library” and surveys how these metaphors in turn can lead us to design software experiences that better support people’s actual behavior when engaging the Bible.


BibleGrapeVine: A Website for Dynamic Linguistic Exploration of the Bible


Global Bible Initiative (formerly Asia Bible Society) has been developing a website where the linguistic data created in its Bible translation projects are deployed in web applications for exploring various linguistic aspects of the Bible. 

The linguistic data that are deployed are mainly from (1) morphological and syntactic analyses of the original Hebrew and Greek texts and their English and Chinese translations, and (2) the alignments between the original texts and translations at all lexical and syntactic levels.

The website uses visualization techniques that are optimal for presenting the linguistic analyses, so that the users can view the data and conduct their research in ways that are not available before.


Battling Biblical Blindness: Solving the Problem of Biblical Illiteracy

Biblical literacy continues to be on the decline, even though the Bible has become easier to access. What can we as Bible software companies do to reverse this trend and better equip the church to make disciples using the technology that people already have in their hands. Simply giving people the tools and telling them what to read is not enough, we need to help people understand why the Bible is important and worth reading. This talk will explore the problem and begin to propose steps that we can begin to take as Bible software users & makers to reverse the illiteracy trend. 


Cross Interlinear: A New Way to Compare Texts

Traditional interlinears and reverse interlinears examine texts vertically: connecting an original language text with a translation (literal glosses for interlinears and fluid translations for reverse interlinears).  But what if you want to compare two recensions of an original language text or different translations of an original language text?  Doing a naïve text “diff” doesn’t really do a great job.
Cross Interlinear employs three sets of heuristics and leverages the reverse interlinear datasets to align words across multiple translations (hence the term “Cross” Interlinear).  First it aligns the original language texts the translations are based on.  Then it aligns translation words that are aligned to each original language word, cleaning up inconsistencies in how reverse interlinears are constructed for different translations.
The result is a tool that allows for more detailed and accurate comparison between different translations than “diff” can achieve.  The two translations being compared need not even be in the same language!  A bilingual student can compare, say, a Spanish and English translation word-for-word.
The tool can also compare synoptic parallels (separate passages within a text that may have a literary relationship), such as Samuel-Kings and Chronicles in the Old Testament, or the Synoptic Gospels in the New Testament.


Solving the Locations in E-text Problem

Solving the Locations in E-text Problem

Locating a block of text, whether a word or a few paragraphs, in an E-text is not a trivial matter. Carrying that location info over from one E-text system to another, such as from one Bible software platform to another, is even less trivial. Also when the E-Text changes (for instance with updated versions, or corrections) how do you reliably locate that same block of text again?

Currently, when Amazon updates a Kindle E-book they send an email to the users offering a choice:

1.) Get the update to your resource; however, you will lose all user generated notes, highlights, and bookmarks.

2.) Decline the update—and keep your annotations.

Is this the standard we want for E-Text or can we innovate a better way?


Localizing Bible Data

Innovative tools usually suffer from being bound to the particular language they are developed in. Localization of the underlying data and analysis is, many times, an afterthought. At Faithlife, we have had localization of our products (primarily Logos Bible Software) in mind since at least 1999. And this is useful, because at Faithlife, we are producing more and more tools and analyses of the Biblical text. But with each of them we have the problem of ensuring the localization of the result. This paper uses a few new features and interactives developed for Logos 6 as case studies and attempts to distill some basic principles to assist in localization of data-centric features.


The Power of Face-to-Face Relationships: How Mobile Tech Makes Relationships Foundational Again

The Irony of the Internet Age is that technology connected us more than ever, yet it drives us apart physically. In one of the most impactful TED talks to date, Sherry Turkle described how digital technology has impacted us in our relational environments by making us “alone together”. But there’s a light at the end of tunnel—with the growth in mobile technology, we are now capable of making software that amplifies in-person relationships rather than driving us apart. 

In his talk, Gabe outlines a set of crucial insights for how mobile Bibles and other related mobile products can amplify relationships within a real physical space. He casts a vision for a new breed of mobile products focused on bringing people together around a shared passion and location. He also shares several massively practical technical and strategic tips for creating engaging Bible and discipleship apps discovered during years building successful mobile products.


Putting a Face on Factbook in Logos 6

Factbook is a fantastic new study tool in Logos 6. It brings a wealth of information about biblical people, places, events as well as bible book overviews. It also has entries for notable people in Christian history. Tom Philpot, developer team lead for the Factbook, talks about the key features and some of the challenges in implementing Factbook in Logos 6.


Visualizing Textual Data

Bible software is, at its essence, textually oriented. How should texts and texual data be presented? In this talk, Drayton will present novel ways of visualizing two types of texual data: search results and aligned texts. 


Tag All the Things | Tagging Named Entities for Fun and Profit

When reading or studying, you encounter various people, places and things. You might want to know more: Who is this? What else does this book say about them? What other books discuss the same person or place or idea? What are the most important people and places in this book?

Identifying the specific people, places, things, and concepts (a.k.a. entities) mentioned in a book would enable a new level of search and discovery. But tagging them all by hand it far too big a task. Automated systems can help, but the problem is difficult because names are ambiguous. For example, did you know Josephus mentions twenty different men named Jesus?

I’ll describe how automated named-entity tagging systems work. Using existing systems avoids re-inventing the wheel but skews the results away from Biblical Studies toward pop culture. Hear how we are solving this and what other challenges remain to be solved.