Dr. Gene Getz M.A. ’58 was recently seated in the dining hall in Hong Kong when he witnessed a remarkable sight. He had traveled there to teach a group of house church pastors from mainland China. A Chinese brother from Singapore had opened a Bible and gathered several house church pastors around him. Using an iPhone, he scanned a small, square QR code printed in the Bible’s pages. Seconds later, the group was watching on the phone’s 3.5-inch screen a video of Gene teaching from Scripture.
QR code technology for Smartphones was not available when Holman Bible Publishers first approached Gene to create a “Principles to Live By” Bible in 2004. Gene, the founding pastor of the first Fellowship Bible Church, was known for his approach to principalizing from Scripture, a methodology he developed under the tutelage of Dr. Merrill Tenney hon, dean of Wheaton’s Graduate School. Gene’s thesis on “Audio-Visual Media in Christian Education” led to his establishing the first audio-visual media departments at Moody Bible Institute and at Dallas Theological Seminary.
The Bible project took seven years to complete. Gene prepared 1,500 “Principles to Live By” with more than 500,000 words of commentary. “From the beginning,” he says, “I knew that I needed not only to research and write this material, but also to teach it to a live audience.” The sessions were recorded on video to make them available online.
Five years into the project, QR technology for consumers with Smartphones became a reality. “Providentially,” Gene says, “we had already produced the video presentations. The publisher immediately saw the potential of including a QR code with each of the principles, providing readers access to more than 250 hours of my teaching.”
The result is the Life Essentials Study Bible (2011), the first multi-media Bible ever published. Its built-in curriculum with video presentations is accessible to anyone with a Smartphone—from pastors in Bangalore, India, to small groups and elementary school children around the world.
by Ruby Thomas