This Sunday, July 17, is World Emoji Day, a recently invented holiday that celebrates using emoji to augment digital communication.
Bible readers have also embraced emoji to a certain extent. About 3% of public Bible notes and 2% of tweets linking to Bible verses contain emoji, with the percentages increasing each year. The most-common emoji associated with Bible verses on Twitter are 🙏, ❤, and 🙌.
People generally use emoji to express an emotional response that would be cumbersome in text. You can see this use in these three emoji–people are reacting via emoji to what they’re reading.
At the same time, however, some emoji do have specific meanings: a 🐎 can mean a literal horse in addition to any emotional associations you have with horses.
The Bible Gateway search engine focuses on these representational emoji–it translates ❤ as heart, for example, not love, even though people generally use ❤ to express love for someone or something.
It’s important to note that we’re not changing any words in the text of the Bible–we’re simply letting you search using emoji that you type yourself.
Emoji search also works in the Bible Gateway app if you have a wireless connection.
To search for an emoji, just enter it into the Bible Gateway search box using the emoji keyboard on your device.