Steve Jobs: The Gutenberg of our time?

Paul Sakuma AP In this Sept. 1, 2011 file photo, Apple CEO Steve Jobs with an iPhone, left, iPad and … Continued

Paul Sakuma


In this Sept. 1, 2011 file photo, Apple CEO Steve Jobs with an iPhone, left, iPad and iPod Touch, right, are displayed at an Apple announcement in San Francisco.

In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg first shared his concept for the printing press. By the early 1450’s, he had put his ideas into action, printing the Bible faster and for far less money than the only option previously available: hand-copied versions that took years to create. Through a series of unfortunate events, Gutenberg lost his printing presses to a creditor a few years later. In 1468, he died, having never achieved financial success. There was no way he could have foreseen at the time how his amazing invention would go on to change the world.

Today, of course, we recognize how this early Bible printing device ultimately gave birth to modern publishing. Gutenberg’s contribution was the spark that made possible the vast proliferation of knowledge and information that the rest of us have benefited from over the last 571 years.

In our generation, many inventors and technologies have dramatically shaped the landscape of our everyday lives, reaching into every corner of society and every industry. Arguably, the greatest innovator and creative genius of this generation has been Steve Jobs. His ideas, leadership, and life’s work influenced the direction of entire industries: broadcast media, motion pictures, music, publishing, communications, and of course, computing.

Jobs was able to achieve the financial success that eluded Gutenberg, leading Apple to become the highest-valued company in the world shortly before his passing. And although he was fortunate to actually get to witness the massive growth and adoption of his inventions, Jobs was likely unaware of just how his creations have helped to further the vision of Gutenberg.

Using the Bible App on their iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches — to say nothing of the countless other devices influenced by Steve Jobs’ ideas — 30 million people now have free access to the very book that Gutenberg started printing.

Many people now know the Bible as the Bible App, primarily because Jobs envisioned a new kind of communication device. Just as research was indicating a rapid decline in Bible reading and engagement, millions of people all over the world are now spending billions of minutes reading, listening to, and sharing the Bible-using mobile devices that Jobs either created or influenced.

Once again, history repeats itself. When Gutenberg set out to print the Bible, he unknowingly sparked a revolution that changed the world. Jobs turned publishing, media, entertainment, and communications upside down through his iNventions. And in so doing, he unknowingly sparked a revolution in Bible engagement that we believe will change the world.

Bobby Gruenewald is creator of YouVersion.

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  • Mark_Ahrens

    I love using the Bible App created by It has so many different Bible translations/languages and the daily reading plans are very helpful in allowing me to build my relationship with God daily. Thanks Bobby and team…and Steve Jobs…for making this possible.

  • jlrlee99

    Steve Jobs was a great strategist, but by his own admission he was a liar and a crook. He lied in a deposition about his first daughter not being his and he stole from Steve Wozniak on their first job. And if you believe Apple employees, he was an unbearable tyrant. He may be mentioned in history classes, but not because of his being an honorable human being.

  • Vimalphillip

    Very low standard article to be published in such a platform. Neither Mr. Bobby is sole person who published digital Bible nor Mr. Steve alone transformed the modern media. Mr. Bobby come out from your cocoon and see world is lot bigger than you think. And Mr. Bobby Lord’s Word don’t need your or Steve’s apps. to be spread.

  • PleaseStopHim

    As long as he’s not the Steve Guttenberg of our times. That would not be so cool.

  • noexisto

    haha, Im reading right now the process from Gutengerg to Erasmo, and Lutero in Schism times (Paul Johnsons history book) and its true, we dont know how can change our world taking the world in our hands. With the Bible too, even christians, dont know the real power of this e-times. Good and powerfull. Just an opinion.

  • pr0filer

    I have a recollection that the tyrannical Mr.Jobs tried to block many apps that had Christian content. I imagine YouVersion had to work pretty hard to get this app on apple. Sticking with Blackberry and loving YouVersion!

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