In the excruciatingly abbreviated version, the first line of Genesis is rendered as: "In da Bginnin God cre8d da heavens & da earth". The verse 1 John 4.19 becomes "We luv coz God luvd us 1st".
The project, called "SMSBible", was launched yesterday, accompanied by a press release headed: "It's your Bible calling".
All 31,173 verses are available in text form, and can be downloaded from the website of the Bible Society in Australia direct to mobile phones. Its spokesman, Michael Chant, said the idea was to make it possible to spread the word of God to family and friends by mobile.
"The old days when the Bible was only available within a sombre black cover with a cross on it are long gone," he said. "We want to open it up for people of all ages, backgrounds and interests, and the SMS version is a logical extension of that."
It took one person four weeks to translate the whole Bible - both Old and New Testaments - into SMS form. And, according to Mr Chant, it would require more than 30,000 messages to send it in its entirety by phone - at a cost of 11p per message.
The society used the Contemporary English Version of the Bible, and says it remained faithful to the original text. The meaning and order of words were retained, with spellings only altered in order to accord with the idiosyncratic language of texters.
The new software, which can be downloaded for free, is "ideal for church leaders, youth leaders, teachers and home group leaders to send verses of encouragement, reminders of bible study themes, reminders of Sunday sermons", according to the website.
It calls this latest version of the Bible "the full Contemporary English Version with a modern twist" and adds: "It is our prayer that many can be touched with the Word of God through this programme." People with a mobile phone and data cable can connect to their computer and send messages directly. Otherwise, messages go via the internet to the Bible Society server, which passes them to recipients on the sender's behalf.
The verses cost nothing to access but transmission is on a strictly pre-paid basis. Selected passages can be sent together with a personal message, amounting to a maximum of 150 characters.
Mr Chant said: "The idea is the Bible can be used and be relevant and up-to-date, just like getting a verse of the day or reading a horoscope."
It is not the first time established religions have used modern technology to get their wisdom across. Two years ago, the late Pope John Paul II launched a service sending his "thought of the day" via mobile phones.
His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, sent his first thought of the day - "Let us go forth in the joy of the risen Lord and trusting in his permanent help" - in April. Subscribers who no longer wish to receive daily pontifications are told to send a message reply stating "Stop Pope".
The Word... or da Word
In da Bginnin God cr8ed da heavens & da earth. Da earth waz barren, wit no 4m of life; it waz unda a roaring ocean cuvred wit dRkness
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
Be fair 2 da poor & 2 orphans. DefNd da helpless & evry1 in need.
Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
In da Bginnin waz da 1 who is called da Word. Da Word waz wit God & waz truly God.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God
I giv u peace, da kind of peace dat only I can give. It isnt like da peace dat dis wrld can give. So dun be worried or afraid.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not you heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Wat will u gain, if u own da whole wrld but destroy urself? Wat cld u give 2 get bak ur soul?
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?Reuse content