(RNS) Ever wonder what the Bible has to say about praise hands and tears of joy?
Now you can search the Bible using emoji on Bible Gateway.
Bible Gateway — which touts itself as the internet’s most visited Christian website — has rolled out the ability for visitors to use more than 330 emoji in keyword searches of Bible passages on its website and app ahead of World Emoji Day on Sunday (July 17).
“We’re not changing any words in the text of the Bible — we’re simply letting people search using emoji that they type themselves,” said Stephen Smith, senior director, digital products for Bible Gateway, in a written statement.
The “praise hands” emoji, for example, returns search results for the word “celebrate”: 80 Bible verses in the New International Version, many regarding festivals God commanded the Israelites to observe. The “tears of joy” emoji produces 242 passages about joy.
A search using the “clapping hands” and “tree” emojis together displays Isaiah 55:12, Bible Gateway pointed out:
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
The ability to search the Bible using emoji comes after Bible Emoji, rendering all 66 books of the King James Version of the Bible in word and emoji, was published in May in the iTunes store. Other Bible “translations” inspired by the internet include the LOLCat Bible — rendering Bible verses into “lolspeak,” the language of LOLCat memes — and The Twible, in which RNS columnist Jana Riess wrote a tweet summarizing each chapter of the Bible in 140 characters.
About 3 percent of public notes on Bible verses in the Bible Gateway app and 2 percent of tweets linking to Bible verses contain emoji, according to Bible Gateway, and those numbers increase every year.
“Praise hands” is among the most commonly used emoji with Bible verses, it said. Others include the “praying hands,” “heart” and “open book” emojis.
The “alien face” emoji, sadly, returns no search results.