New Testament Gets a Hip New Look ; in a Bold Attempt to Woo Teenage Girls to Spirituality, a Magazine Packages Biblical Writings and Advice in the Style of CosmoGIRL

Article excerpt

For teenage girls, the Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John closest to their hearts may be guys at school, not the books of the Bible. But one publisher is aggressively trying to change that.

Transit, the publishing arm of Thomas Nelson Inc., has produced Revolve, a complete New Testament that's printed in magazine form. It bears a striking resemblance to popular teen publications such as Seventeen and CosmoGIRL. On the cover, three ebullient young women, framed by bold-colored stripes, flash their pearly whites.

Think of it as the Holy Writ in hip new clothing. The words of the New Testament (New Century Version) are all there, but they're packaged around eye-catching sidebars of relationship tips, advice on a variety of topics of interest to 12-to-17-year-old girls, and teaser headlines - including "Are You Dating a Godly Guy? and Other Quizzes" and "Beauty Secrets You've Never Heard Before!"

Other editorial extras include bios of women in the Bible, a Learn It and Live It feature on applying Bible verses in everyday life, and calendars that include suggestions to pray for "persons of influence," i.e. celebrities. There are also top-10 lists, which offer, among other things, ways to have fun on a date or to be a Revolve girl ("Revolve girls don't call guys").

"What we wanted to do is show girls that God is all about meeting you where you are," says Laurie Whaley, an editor of Revolve.

To that end, Revolve is casual in its presentation, but its approach is clearly evangelical. "Your job is to introduce [a friend or acquaintance] to Jesus" is a consistent message. And in sections called Blabs, the editors answer questions such as "Can someone who has sold their soul to the devil be a Christian?" and "I have a friend who has a friend who doesn't believe that once you are saved you are always saved and don't have to do it again. I was wondering if you could tell me where I can find Bible reference for that."

The magazine, which sells for $14. …