About the Canadian Bible Society

Recently I was talking about stuff on WikiGodPod, a podcast out of the Greater Toronto Area (I live close to GTA in Kitchener) centred around our stories and how that shapes how we understand God. I’m not somebody who speaks well without preparation, so the potential questions were sent in advance and I spent a few hours the night before and morning of planning. I figure since I already spent those hours writing notes, I may as well clean them up a bit and publish them here.

The second question:

Tell me about the Canadian Bible Society – what is it and what do you do there?

Canadian Bible Society. The Word. For Life.To paraphrase our mission statement, the Canadian Bible Society works to promote and encourage the use of Scripture all over the world, without doctrinal comment. That last bit is an important one and possibly the biggest reason why I love it there. There is definitely a slant toward Protestants and Anabaptists over Catholics and Orthodox in our staff, but we are an ecumenical organization.

Our ministry can be broadly grouped into four categories: translation, publication, distribution, and engagement. My title is Digital Development Coordinator and I work in the Communications department. I take care of the main website. I take care of the platform that we use for publishing eBooks, called PressBooks, and I do the publishing of eBooks. I use a devotional tool developed by the American Bible Society called Bible Journeys to publish devotionals. I maintain the content of our mobile app. I do some writing and editing for eBooks and some other resources like our recent Bible Week.

Beyond what I do, though, I need to pitch the work of some of the others in the Kitchener office because this was the selling point when I first heard about CBS that made me want to work there. To run through the process really quickly, there’s a software tool called Paratext used by translators. There are lots of features built in for the translation process itself like seeing how it has been translated in other versions, scholarly notes on the source text, and more.

Beyond that, it also preps everything for the next stage of publication, helping keep all of the text properly coded. Translators can push from there to another tool called Publishing Assistant to help them prepare print publications, or can submit it to the Digital Bible Library. The Digital Bible Library, which also has a significant portion of its development happening at our office in Kitchener, is what the name suggests: a large repository of biblical texts. In December we got word that it had broken 1000 available translations.

The DBL is then accessed by partners like bibles.org, a product of the American Bible Society, and YouVersion, which I imagine many readers here have on their devices. It’s an incredibly streamlined process with a few organizations being involved, but the Kitchener office of CBS plays a very large part in order for things like accessing lots of translations in YouVersion to happen.

To learn all about the Canadian Bible Society, visit biblesociety.ca (currently undergoing significant revision, so it does have some problems but hopefully they’ll all be gone soon).

Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.

  • I just got the book, Ryan. Thanks, once again!

    >>It sounds like you’re in an awesome spot both professionally as well as spiritually with your position at the Canadian Bible Society.