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In today’s age, technology has been replacing many different traditional avenues. Technology can be a huge blessing in the church- with being able to put the song lyrics up on a screen to pastors using slideshows to correspond with their sermons. Sometimes also technology is used in placement of the physical Bible. Many will bring their iPads or smart phones to church and use a Bible app or website to reference the Bible if needed. Do you still bring your Bible to church? Here are 4 reasons as to why you should still carry your Bible to church in the technology era:

Omit Distractions

We have all done it: turned on a personal electronic device with the plan to check one thing and ended up getting side tracked with other websites or apps. Time passes and eventually we forgot to do what we indeed set out to do in the first place. The good thing about the Bible is that it doesn’t have other apps, websites, or advertisements to distract us from what we initially set out to read. When following along with a sermon we can keep focused on the topic at hand even if we need to look up a Bible verse or passage. The risk of missing a lot of the key points of the sermon is lessened because the temptation to check out email or social media while looking up the verse is eliminated.

Footnotes

I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually see footnotes on the internet when I look up a Bible verse. I personally love the footnotes that Study Bibles contain. It is nice to be able to have an insight blurb explaining what it is I am reading. To be able to have at hand a list of other related verses is also nice when reading out of my Bible. The information provided by footnotes is such a blessing that technology lacks.

Reminders From Personal Notes

A Bible can serve as a personal reminder of life events when a person writes notes in the margins. Maybe key phrases are underlined or highlighted, notes on the sermon are jotted down, or dates of awesome “God moments” are penciled in. If this is the case, a Bible can serve as an awesome personal testimony and reminder to whom it belongs to. Can technology allow the penciling into margined of such moments/events/blessings? A Bible, filled with notes, and full of reminders can be a powerful tool when used!

Letting God Speak

The Bible is God’s living word. God loves to speak to us when we dig into passages and even when we are randomly glancing at verses. He also loves to give us verses for other people to encourage them. How can God speak to us any easier if we are flipping through websites or using apps on our electronic devices? If we are focused and looking to communicate with God, using the Bible is one of His main ways to converse with us. I know I would rather hear all of what He has to say than just bits and pieces while flipping through electronic apps, don’t you?

Conclusion

We all know technology can be beneficial in many aspects regarding church, but when it comes to focusing on the pastor’s sermon using the good old fashioned hard copy Bible has even more advantages. The user can stay better focused and maybe even more informed (if using a Bible with footnotes). Past notes written in a personal Bible may serve as important reminders of past testimonies or favorite sermon points. Bring that Bible of yours to church this Sunday and let God speak through His word- to you and to others as you dive right in. Dive into that place that is free of advertisements and other distractions and keep your nose pointed towards the Living Word.

Lights UP North writes from deep inside the great Northern Woods in hopes of bringing inspiration, encouragement, and hope to others. Ministering to those who are suffering from eczema and allergies is another strong passion for Lights UP North.

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2 Responses

  1. Craig Rairdin

    Thanks for posting your thoughts on this question. I appreciate the fact that you are digging into the Bible and encouraging others to do likewise, whether on paper or on screen. But I don’t believe you have an accurate understanding of what the on-screen Bible study experience is like.

    You worry about distractions. We will be distracted by whatever we allow to distract us. Whether it’s quickly checking Facebook on our phone or connecting all the periods in the bulletin to see if we can make a dot-to-dot picture, we are easily distracted during a sermon. For almost all of us these days, our phone is our companion everywhere we go, even if we don’t use it for Bible reading. So if our phone is going to distract us, it’s going to distract us whether we’re reading our Bible on it or not.

    One person I know puts his phone into “airplane mode” to silence the ringer during the church service. This has the side-effect of also disabling updates from Twitter and Facebook, and disabling text messages and email notices. Whether he uses his phone to read the Bible or not (he does), this simple act of enabling “airplane mode” means his phone is no longer a distraction unless he chooses to make it one.

    Your comments on footnotes are interesting. I assume you carry a study Bible to church. A study Bible gives you brief notes on the most important points in a passage. That’s nice. When I’m reading the Bible in my PocketBible app, I have those same study Bible notes. But I also have the complete 12-volume Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vine’s Expository Dictionary, and all six volumes of Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament. I also have a couple of Bibles that include cross-references to Strong’s Concordance so that I can get to the Greek and Hebrew words that underlie the English without needing to be a Bible scholar. Obviously I don’t have to read ALL of that material on every verse we read during the sermon, but like you, I think it’s nice to have it at my fingertips. I just have access to a lot more without complicating the reading experience at all.

    My personal notes are there as well, just like you have in your printed Bible. I’ve been using PocketBible on multiple devices and platforms for the last 20 years (starting with the Newton MessagePad, Windows CE, then Palm OS, Pocket PC, iOS, and Android). I’ve even taken my Windows laptop or MacBook with me to church. My notes, highlights, and bookmarks follow me from device to device, operating system to operating system as technology evolves. Meanwhile, if someone does the same with a printed Bible, it quickly becomes cluttered or begins to fall apart. (I went through a half dozen printed Bibles in the days before it became practical to carry a mobile device to church.)

    Admittedly, this is easier because I’ve stuck to one product over that time, but PocketBible has continued to grow and meet my needs, so no need to switch.

    I think God speaks to me through his Word regardless of medium. If you search the Bible for references to the “Word of God” or “Word of the Lord” you’ll find that it is mostly “heard” and “spoken”, not “read” and “written”. We are blessed to have the Bible in our language and manifested in a form that we can carry with us wherever we go. This has not always been the case. It has only been relatively recently that we have been able to each own a copy of the Bible and read it for ourselves. God speaks through his Word regardless of the medium by which it is transmitted.

    As far as ads go, I know there are Bible apps that are ad-supported but frankly I don’t know which ones those might be. You won’t be interrupted by ads while reading PocketBible.

    If you really wanted to criticize Bible apps, you might start with those that require you to be connected to the Internet to read the Bible. I think that is very short-sighted. Your Bible app should download its Bibles and reference books to your device so that you don’t have to count on your church having WiFi or the access point being up-and-running during the service.

    You might also want to note that some apps offer only the Bible — no “notes” or reference books. While it’s certainly the case that our Bible study should be Bible-focussed, as you point out in your article, the insights we gain from scholars and Christians who have gone before us and recorded their thoughts in commentaries and reference books are invaluable. Not all Bible apps offer a wide selection of reference titles. Some, believe it or not, offer none at all.

    Again, thanks for your insights and for the opportunity to comment.

    Craig Rairdin
    President
    Laridian, Inc.
    Makers of PocketBible
    https://www.laridian.com

    Reply
  2. Michael Olajubu

    Dear Lights Up North,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. This article is indeed timely and I am also of the view that the era of technology and use of several Bible-apps shouldn’t displace the use of a physical Bible in the church.

    A friend and I recently discussed about this and my take was: as beneficial as Bible-apps can be, they are, in my opinion, not so apt for use giving the shortcomings of devices such as IPads, Android phones, etc.

    Mr Craig does have a valid point in favour of embracing technology in the church. But how objective are his (Craig) views on this matter being the brain behind “PocketBible” – a Bible-app? (Frankly, I am neither fanning the embers of controversy nor argument here).

    Agreed, God speaks through his Word regardless of the medium by which it is transmitted. And whether it’s Bible-apps via mobile devices or the physical Bible, I suggest that the believer stick with whatever works for them as long as it doesn’t bring about a disconnect with God and what He wants to communicate per time.

    And let’s look at this scenario for example:

    I went to church with my Android phone (90 percent battery level) having my bible-app on it. The phone was in silence mode and I barely receive calls on Sunday mornings. Besides, I wasn’t really expecting a call that faithful Sunday and none came.

    Sermon was up and my bible app was put to test. The first 20 minutes into the sermon was effortless and smooth with the app; without distractions whatsoever. And suddenly, my Android phone went off.

    What could be wrong? Definitely, it wasn’t battery and neither was my phone faulty. Just like that it simply went off and the sermon was still on. Turning the phone on, activating the Bible app again and all took another 3-5 minutes, but then, I had missed a part of the sermon.

    I wouldn’t know about yours or what you have experienced but I guess that was Android phone for me. And truly, that wasn’t the last I had of similar experience. Thus, it became my physical Bible and I – as of old – ever since while my phone takes the back seat on Sunday mornings.

    Finally, as earlier said, it all boils down to what works for the believer. For Craig it’s is devices, for me it’s my physical Bible. What do you think?

    Reply

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