I never really thought about it much, but I do something that for some who practice my faith, might be alien. Much like my friend Dan, I use either apps or eBooks to do most of my Bible studies.
Why It’s Better
The app that I use the most when doing my Bible reading on my Android devices is Youversion.com; it’s also available for iOS. I took to using it because I like to read from different translations. Sometimes I will read the same verse in three different versions of the Bible, and I can do this within seconds using a digital setup. To do this with paper Bibles would take a lot longer, because I would have to find the book in the next translation and then the chapter and verse. To do this in the Youversion app, it’s a couple taps and I am there. This really helps me to get multiple perspectives from the different translations easily. If I want to share a verse, it’s another couple taps and it’s on my Facebook and tweeted.
I also use the app during services. It makes it easy to follow along in the Bible as they do the reading, and it allows me to take notes which are then digitally attached directly to the verse.
Why It’s Not Better, and How to (mostly) Fix It
One problem with using tech while studying the Bible is it’s so easy to just hop on over to Facebook (or other apps) that it can be a distraction. So if I am trying to stay focused, I may switch to the Kindle versions of the Bible that I have. While it’s not as convenient, it still lets me easily find the book, chapter and verse that I want to look up.
Since the Kindle doesn’t have apps to notify you of posts on Facebook (or other social media sites), the temptation to be distracted is gone. If you don’t have a Kindle in addition to your tablet, you could always make sure you are using a local copy on your device. Youversion makes this easy with several translations available in an offline mode; once you have an offline copy, you can put your device into airplane mode to eliminate data distractions. Sorry, I can’t do anything to fix your temptation to play Angry Birds in Church!
Why You Shouldn’t Let It Bother You
Technology is an ever changing thing. At one time, printed Bibles would have been considered tech and alien. However, now they are considered the standard. So what is considered high-tech and alien today will be commonplace in the near future.
I can imagine one day when you’ll be able to attach memory directly to your brain (or whatever is eventually invented that will make the iPad and other tablets irrelevant), so that you could instantly look up the verse in less than a second. Some will still say that they still prefer the Bible on their 10 year old iPad 7, as it is more “traditional”. But as my friend Bryan Eley has put it: Technology is a means to an end, not the end itself.
With that said, Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it! I hope that your celebrations are joyful and full of family!