Gaming the Bible

Popular Bible app youVersion have just announced that they are holding a 21 day challenge. All users who follow (and stick to) a reading plan concistently for the next 21 days will earn special badge – like an achievement in a computer game. They will also go into the runing for various prizes. This is a good example of gamification – a concept that I have written about before (Games to change the world).

I can just hear the objections of some people to applying gamification to Bible reading. Reading the Bible is not a game, it’s serious. The word of God is a vital living word. You shouldn’t need cheap gimicks to motivate you to read it, it’s life-changing power is enough on its own.

Now I agree with all of those statements, but I have no problem with this gamification. Here’s why. As Christians we know we should develop a strong healthy Bible-reading habbit. We know it is good for us. We know that it will impact our lives. We know we’ll feel inspired when we dig deep into the word. The thing about people is though, we’re busy and lazy. We may know what’s good for us, we may even know that we’ll be really glad we did it, but it’s all too easy to say “not today, I’m too tired. I have too much else on.” The thing a challenge like this does is give us a litle gimmick just to trick our mind long enough to overcome those little hurdles that hold us back. Workout enthusiasts understand this. That’s why fitocracy is so popular.

A friend of mine one told me of a plan she used to build her devotional habbit. She’d write incremental numbers in the corner of her journal each day. If she missed reading her bible one day she’d have to reset back to 1. Whn she was tempted to say “not today” she’d think of that number and realise she really didn’t want to go all the way back to 1. By the time she sat down with her Bible it was no longer about the number, but that’s what got her going.

So why not take the challenge and re-vitalise your Bible-reading habbit.


About Adam David Collings

Adam Collings is a writer of speculative fiction who works as a software engineer during the day. He lives in Tasmania, Australia with his wife and two children. Adam is currently working on a science fiction novel.
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