Bible App: Blessing or Curse?
When Solomon, the inspired author of Proverbs, suggested that you should write the Lord’s commands, “on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 7:3) I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean the iPad kind of tablet…
That being said, is using the Bible app on your phone, tablet, computer, etc. instead of reading the Bible the old-fashioned way a benefit, or a hindrance? Is it a blessing or a curse?
BLESSING: Now you can have your Bible with you anytime and anyplace! Oh yeah, you already could have done that if you carry a bag, backpack, purse, or have a pocket, but now the Bible isn’t going to take up any extra space or add weight to you bag/pocket, since you are probably going to be carrying your phone everywhere anyway.
CURSE: You risk looking extremely unengaged and rude when you whip out your phone during church or Bible study. As more and more people are making use of the Bible app, this stigma might eventually go away. But right now, I’m sure at least someone is wondering if you are looking at the Bible or Facebook, and if those “notes” you are taking are really a text to your friend. You also lose the ability to set an example of daily Bible study to others (your roommates, friends, kids, etc.) if they don’t know that you’re reading the Bible.
BLESSING: You now have access to many different translations of the Bible all in one place…for free! If you want to see what a certain passage is like in The Message instead of NIV, you can do so without going to the bookshelf, or the bookstore.
CURSE: You risk letting a lot of distractions creep in to your time with God. If you read a daily devotional on your phone, you might be tempted to stop partway through to check text messages or Facebook notifications. Also, you will miss out on reading the rest of the Bible if your devotional only talks about a verse or two each day. I don’t know if it’s very possible to have a good daily Bible study and prayer time using only your phone as a tool.
BLESSING: Scripture memory just got a whole lot easier with the audio feature! For me anyway. I like to memorize passages rather than individual verses, and one way to make this easier is to listen to the passage over and over. I can listen to my memory passage on my phone while sitting in traffic, or getting ready in the morning. I can bookmark the passage and practice it while waiting at the doctor’s office.
CURSE: It’s harder to look at multiple passages at once, make notes in the margins, or read commentary. If you’re like me, flipping around is part of how you read the Bible. You want to know more about a verse, so you check the notes in the commentary section, then flip to the reference, then flip back, then write your own note in the margin, or underline something. I wouldn’t really want to have my school textbooks in digital format (once again, maybe one day this will just be normal) and I don’t know if I want my Bible this way either.
Ultimately, the best place to have scripture isn’t in a paper Bible or a digital Bible, but in your heart! Know it, memorize it, keep it on your mind all day. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says:
These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them upon your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and gates.
Though in these verses Moses was talking about the Old Testament Law, I think these principles still apply to how we should treat all scripture. We should know it, so that we can follow Jesus’ commands, and teach others about Him. The way to really know something is to immerse yourself in it!
So what’s the verdict? Is the Bible app a blessing or curse in your life?