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  "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." - Mark 16:15 


Bible Apps or Bible Books

Mobile Phone Bible Apps

There is an increasing use of Bible applications on tablets, mobile phones and so forth.  The use of Bible apps has increased to the point where I personally know people up to and including in their early 20's who do not own a paper Bible at all, but rely exclusively on the Bible app on their phone, as their only source for scripture.

At first, this surprised me.  I just assumed that everyone would have a Bible in book form.  When a young lady told me that she only had a Bible app on her mobile phone and did not own a Bible in book form, nor any books at all, I was somewhat surprised.

The questions are, should people have a Bible in book form?  Should people have a Bible app?  Or should people have both?

My case for not relying exclusively on Bible Apps

Bible Apps Picture

When we look at a situation, not just a technology situation, but any situation as a Christian, it's a good idea for our minds to be considering, how will this does this glorify God?  I would say especially when it comes to accessing God's Scripture, which is the Bible.

Taking into account, how is the best way to do honour to God when making our decision on how to access His word, I am against the exclusive use of Bible apps as the means for a Christian to read Scripture.

For the simple reason that, in order to spread the Good News - that is, the Gospel, if one only uses technology such as a Bible application, then spreading the Good News, that is, witnessing to people the Gospel, becomes a much more difficult task to perform.

If one relies only on the information on a screen, such as a mobile phone, or tablet, how is one going to be able to:

  • Hand out Gospel tracts?  One is not able to hand out Gospel tracts to strangers, if one does not have any.  Ignoring the use of paper to instead utilize only mobile phones/tablets, and so forth, greatly limits this soul winning tool, in fact albeit prevents it.  Few people would be willing to give a stranger their mobile phone to keep, hoping they'd read a tract on the mobile internet, and rightly so.  You can however give a stranger a Gospel tract easily.

  • Use their Bible to show Scripture? If you have a Bible, you can show someone scripture.  Not just a Christian brother or sister, but people who you are evangelizing to.  With a Bible, it's easier to show a person a Scripture verse (for instance John 3:16) and see the context of other verses too, when using Bible in book form.  With a tablet or cell phone, it's much more awkward, because, unlike paper, it can't be bent to the angle which best catches, or avoids, the sun.  Furthermore, on a bright day, some phone screens are unreadable unless in the shade.  This problem does not exist with a Bible in book form.

Further Concerns with Mobile Bible Apps

I have dabbled with Bible programs which send a daily scripture to my email account, although, I rarely if ever have read them.  I prefer to read my Scriptures from the Bible, or in the context of a sermon, rather than a seemingly random Bible verse.

On curiousity, I looked to sign up to a mobile Bible application, however, I declined without completing the sign up.  The application requested access to:

- my phone contacts
- my pictures
- my messages

Quite why a program which presents to me the Bible on my phone, requires access to my personal information is beyond me, however, with increasing concerns with online privacy, such as the controversy over Facebook, I declined the invitation, and did not download the Bible app.

Using the Bible App at Church

Another concern is, if a Bible app is ones only way of accessing the Bible, is it the best way to access the Bible at a public sermon, such as at church? 

A person may be disciplined enough not to check their social media, or other pages, whilst the Pastor is preaching, but, that aside, how does the Pastor know this?  It can be a bit unsettling to see people glancing at their phones when you're talking to them.  If a person is looking at a Bible, where they are supposed to be, and you can see this, it can be reassuring, regardless of whether they really are listening or not!

Using both a Bible app and a Bible book

Aside from concerns of privacy with the use of Bible mobile applications, or potential issues with attention focus whilst using a mobile phone, with its other distractions at hand, such as games, messaging, or other apps, or at least to look this way if you are using it at a public service, for instance at church, rather than private study, I can't otherwise see any reason not to use a mobile Bible app.

That said, the Bible in physical book form is still required, simply because using paper means that one can evangelize, that is, present the Gospel to the lost.  Without using physical paper at all, we can't hand out Gospel tracts, nor is it particularly convenient (sometimes almost impossible) to use a cellphone to show someone you're witnessing to, quotes from Scripture.  Showing quotes from Scripture can be done with the Bible in physical book form far more conveniently.

When to use

A Bible mobile app would be best suited for private study, but it's no great substitute when it comes to a public study situation, and especially, when the opportunity presents itself to evangelize to the lost.

So, if it is a choice between the two, the somewhat now old fashioned, physical Bible book, wins.

Bible App Smart Phone

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." - Mark 16:15 



15/05/17 and counting....


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