What does the Bible look like when condensed into an infographic? Well, that depends on the which source you're consulting. In today's tech-savvy era there are countless tools for exploring the Bible through imagery -- and each has its own unique purpose.
The Guardian recently collected 11 of the most fascinating visualizations. Here are TheBlaze's five favorites:
1. The Multi-Colored Arc Diagram
This first infographic was assembled by Christoph Römhild, a Lutheran pastor, and Chris Harrison, a visual artist. They put together a multicolored arc diagram to show what they believe to be the Bible's beauty and complexity. Here's how they describe the image:
The bar graph that runs along the bottom represents all of the chapters in the Bible. Books alternate in color between white and light gray. The length of each bar denotes the number of verses in the chapter. Each of the 63,779 cross references found in the Bible is depicted by a single arc - the color corresponds to the distance between the two chapters, creating a rainbow-like effect.
Photo credit: Christoph Römhild and Chris Harrison
2. The Color Grid
Then there's the color grid, which is a tool that anyone who has interest can use over at OpenBible.info. The unique and useful element here is that the interactive image allows you to see which verses are related to one another.
"This grid is arranged by book, showing cross-reference sources on the y-axis and targets on the x-axis. Within each square, the first verse in the book or section is at the top, and the last verse is at the bottom," a description on the website explains. "Blue indicates cross-reference targets in the Old Testament; red in the New Testament. Green indicates a section. Purple indicates cross-references in the same book; gray in the same chapter."
Photo credit: OpenBible.info
3. Gospel Spectrum
If you're looking for a fun tool that let's you explore Jesus' life, consider the Gospel Spectrum, a website that allows you to see, visually, the key events in Christ's story. To peruse all the functionality, you need to go to the Gospel Spectrum web site, but the below image showcases each major life event in bar graph form.
Here's how the project is explained:
The Gospel Spectrum explores the convergence of technology and theology by examining how computational media can be applied to narratives using principles of data visualization and data-mining to deconstruct and then visually reconstruct the story of Jesus as presented in the Bible.
Including verses from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (the Gospels), the tool includes colored bars that each represent major events in Christ's life. Their length is dependent upon the number of verses; the colors correspond to each book.
Photo credit: Thirteen Squares
4. Word Frequency
Another intriguing tool allows users to search the Bible for a word (say, "Jesus" or "forgiveness"). The search provides the number of overall occurrences in the text and also offers up the opportunity to include synonyms to ensure that all related mentions are counted.
Then, comparisons are made between the word's presence in the Bible (Old and New Testament) and the Koran.
TheBlaze tested the word "Jesus" and here are the results. While the word Jesus occurs 983 times in the Bible, it only appears 25 times in the Koran (all things considered, this is to be expected):
Photo credit: Pitch Interactive
We'll leave you with Pitch Interactive's explanation of the tool's intentions:
Without going deep into personal interpretations, we built a simple linguistic toolset that allows you to search for a word and similar variations of that word to visualize its frequency in both texts. Radical Christians claim the Quran is a book of terror. Type in the word 'terror' or even an act of terror, such as 'behead' and see which book discusses this more. Try words of peace, such as 'forgiveness' or 'friend' to see the results. Roll over any rectangle in both text to read a verse. If you have it in you, roll over all rectangles to read the entire texts. More importantly, after you enter a word and see the verse highlighted that uses that word, try reading the verses before and after that word to better understand it in context.
5. Sentiment Analysis
Many atheists regularly critique the Bible, claiming that it is too negative and that the themes presented within are generally unpalatable. While believers might explain that this criticism is unfounded, as even the negative events, from adherents' perspectives, have lessons to teach believers, both sides can tinker around with this unique sentiment analysis tool to find key patterns of both negativity and positivity.
This in mind, OpenBible.info explores the "ups and downs" of events in the Bible, offering a book-by-book analysis or one that simply looks at the book in its entirety. Here's more info about how it works:
Things start off well with creation, turn negative with Job and the patriarchs, improve again with Moses, dip with the period of the judges, recover with David, and have a mixed record (especially negative when Samaria is around) during the monarchy. The exilic period isn’t as negative as you might expect, nor the return period as positive. In the New Testament, things start off fine with Jesus, then quickly turn negative as opposition to his message grows. The story of the early church, especially in the epistles, is largely positive.
Sentiment analysis involves algorithmically determining if a piece of text is positive (“I like cheese”) or negative (“I hate cheese”). [...]
I ran the Viralheat Sentiment API over several Bible translations to produce a composite sentiment average for each verse. Strictly speaking, the Viralheat API only returns a probability that the given text is positive or negative, not the intensity of the sentiment. For this purpose, however, probability works as a decent proxy for intensity.
Photo credit: OpenBible.info
For more Bible visualizations, check out the Guardian's additional highlights.