My wife carried the same Bible for ten years. It’s the Bible she carried when she first got saved.
That thing is tore up. Falling apart. Chunks of Genesis are missing. I finally convinced her to commit to a new copy of the Word of God. But her attachment to that Bible was special.
There is something about a well-worn Bible.
It is familiar.
Marked up and creased.
Perhaps tattered in places.
I also like the YouVersion app on my iPhone. I use it regularly, as well as BibleGateway, ESV Study Bible online, and Christianity.com for personal study and prepping for the occasional preaching situation. Logos just came out with what looks to be a terrific iPhone app. During worship. my church projects scripture on two large screens. I acknowledge and rejoice in the obvious advantages to these applications.
However, in my mind, virtual scriptures can not replace a physical Book, even as the number of worshippers that hold up their cell phones when a certain guy from Dallas says, “This is my Bible…” are growing.
It is a matter of preference. Here are a number of reasons why I prefer to do the majority of my reading from a physical copy of the Word of God…
- A paper Bible doesn’t crash. Anyone else have huge issues with YouVersion (iPhone) before the most recent update?
- A paper Bible doesn’t require a network connection.
- A paper Bible can be distributed to the poor and downtrodden in foreign lands at relatively low monetary cost (but see #9).
- A paper Bible is personal. I mark it the way I see fit. Underlining. Circling. Drawing. Whatever works. Are my notes searchable? Maybe not. But how many notes have I taken in my Bible that I need to search out?
- A paper Bible, for the preacher, allows for spontaneity (read: the Holy Spirit’s leading). Can you imagine a pastor preaching from a laptop, pausing, stating that the Holy Spirit was leading him to read from I Peter but his screen wouldn’t refresh?
- A paper Bible has a singular purpose. A cell phone or laptop has many opportunities for multi-tasking when one should be singular of purpose (I speak from my own failings in this area).
- A paper Bible is identifiable to the young. My three-year-old daughter knows, when she sees my Bible, that I am doing “Bible study.” When she sees me with my phone, she sees me, well, on my phone.
- A paper Bible is identifiable to the non-young. NOTE: I AM NOT A LEGALIST AND UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF LAW VS. GRACE AND NOT DOING GOOD SO OTHERS WILL NOTICE. But I have been to church services where I saw a member of a church staff with no Bible whatsoever during a service, and it bothered me. I believe that, if I walk into a church service with my Bible in my pocket on my phone, an unbeliever, visitor, or a skeptic will see someone walking into church with no Bible. And that is not the impression I want others to get. We should avoid a casual approach to the importance of Scripture in every way possible.
- A paper Bible is illegal elsewhere and a privilege and honor to display here. Believers in other countries are executed daily for carrying and distributing a book that some of us hesitate to crack open.
What do you use for personal Bible study? What do you carry to church?