It’s been some 2,000 years since Jesus and the apostles walked the earth, but an innovative new smartphone app provides users the ability to “text” them through the use of artificial intelligence.
The app, “Text With Jesus,” is available in the Apple App Store and allows users to “text” more than 30 Bible characters, including Jesus, Mary, Joseph, nine of the apostles, and the Old Testament prophets. The company behind it, Catloaf Software, says the app “offers Christians a new and engaging way to interact with Scripture.”
Stéphane Peter, the president and CEO of Catloaf Software, told Christian Headlines the app’s AI is “trained extensively on a wide array of publicly available Christian literature, including various versions of the Bible, in multiple languages.”
“The ability to ask questions and receive answers from a facsimile of Biblical figures adds a personal touch and contextual understanding that may elude casual readers,” Peter told Christian Headlines. “The AI's robust conversational skills and contextual memory enable dynamic, meaningful interactions.”
The answers always remain within the boundaries of Christian belief, Peter said.
“This principle is at the heart of the language model instructions for each Biblical figure within the app,” Peter said. “The AI's default ‘guideline’ is to respond to user inquiries using Bible quotes, keeping conversations rooted in Biblical context regardless of the topic.”
Photo Courtesy: Catloaf Software
A sample use of “Text With Jesus” by Christian Headlines resulted in answers conforming to traditional, orthodox Christianity. For example, a text to “Jesus” asking, “are there multiple paths to Heaven?” resulted in the following answer: “As I shared in John 14:6, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ This verse affirms that I am the exclusive path to eternal life with God in Heaven.” A follow-up question asking, “Are you God?” was answered this way: “Yes, I am the Son of God, Jesus Christ. In John 10:30, I declared, ‘I and the Father are one.’ … So yes, as the second person of the Trinity -- God incarnate -- I am indeed God.” Christian Headlines also asked the app about hot-button social issues, including abortion and homosexuality. The app responded with answers affirming the traditional positions of the Christian church.
Peter said users also can “request guidance from a specific faith perspective (such as Catholic or Evangelical) simply by asking” the app.
“I understand that the concept of an AI Jesus may be disconcerting or even appear blasphemous to some,” Peter said. “However, ‘Text With Jesus’ is not intended to replace or substitute personal faith or prayer. It is simply a tool to assist users in exploring theological questions in a more interactive and hopefully enjoyable way.”
Catloaf Software previously released a different app, Texts From Jesus, a non-AI app that gives users daily inspirational Bible verses from the New Testament. Peter got the idea for Text With Jesus after experimenting with AI.
“Recognizing the growing prevalence and potential of AI, I saw an opportunity to expand on the Texts From Jesus app concept by creating a more interactive and engaging experience,” he said. “Thus, the Text With Jesus app was born, designed to appeal to our existing users and any other Christians intrigued by a novel approach to exploring the Bible.”
The app can be a “useful tool for delving deeper into Scripture,” he said. The app comes with a free version and a paid version.
“The free version has some limitations because running AI infrastructure has a cost,” he said.
The app supports English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese, and plans to add Italian and German languages soon, Peter said.
Photo Courtesy: ©GettyImages/diego_cervo
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.