I have an iPhone, but I don’t have a Bible App on it. Yes, you read that right! I’m a Christian author, speaker, trainer, freelance editor, evangelist, and mentor... and that’s precisely why I don’t have a Bible on my iPhone. Admittedly, it would be useful for looking up Scriptures when I can’t remember the exact wording, or I’m in a discussion about something Jesus or Paul said at a particular time and place, and for that reason I might consider adding a Bible App to my phone… someday. I do have Bible programs on my computer to locate and research Scriptures for my writing, but these are not my “Bible.”
I’ve trained, mentored, and spoke to thousands of women, and led numerous Bible study groups—including studies with my grandchildren—without ever picking up my iPhone. However, I could never speak, teach, mentor, or lead without my personal Bible in my hand.
1. Mentoring the Next Generation
Parents often lament that their children spend too much time on electronic devices. Yet, many Saturday mornings probably look like this in thousands of homes: Mom and Dad each have a cup of coffee in one hand and are scrolling through their iPhone in the other hand. The children come out sleepy-eyed, see Mommy and Daddy “playing” on their phones and pick up their own electronic device to let the Saturday morning games begin.
Mommy or Daddy actually might be having a quiet time and reading the Bible on an iPhone, but their children don’t know that! Picture the same scene with the kids seeing Mommy and Daddy each with Bibles open on their laps. Now the children know that Mommy and Daddy start the day reading the Bible, and if the children have Bibles, they may sit next to their parents and read their Bibles too. Our children want to be just like us. If parents are on electronics—kids are on electronics. Show them it’s cool to read the Bible—they’re going to read their Bible.
2. Evangelism and Witness
When I walk down the aisle of an airplane and see someone with his or her Bible open, I know I’ve found a brother or sister in Christ and comment on his or her great reading material, and vice versa. I don’t read my Bible in public for attention, but it does give me an opportunity to share the Gospel with someone who just might need to hear the Good News right then. If I have my face buried in an iPhone reading my Bible, it looks like I’m reading a book or playing a game and others dare not interrupt. I want my open Bible to be an open invitation for discussion and interaction.
3. Avoid Distractions
We all know how hard it is to stay focused while reading our Bible with all the distractions around us. In fact, I leave my iPhone in another room when I’m studying my Bible so I’m not tempted to check email, texts, Facebook, or receive phone calls. But when you’re reading the Bible on your iPhone, new messages pop up at the top of the phone even if the sound is turned off, or it’s too easy to swipe over to another screen... then it’s time to go… as you close your Bible App to try again another day.
4. Inconsiderate to Speakers and Pastors
Not only is it inconsiderate and rude to browse your phone while someone is speaking, Satan can use your iPhone to disengage you from the message God has given a speaker or pastor. When I’m speaking and see in the audience heads bowed over glowing phones with fingers furiously typing long after I’ve mentioned a Scripture, I know I’ve lost those iPhone users. They’ve logged out of God’s Word and logged into the world’s word.
Back to mentoring… your children are sitting next to you in church while you look up a Scripture. Then you receive a text and answer the text while your child you just told not to play electronic devices in church is looking over your shoulder.
5. The Holy Bible is Living, Timeless, and Worthy of Respect
Having a supplemental Bible on your iPhone is good for use as a reference, and could be the only way some people will ever read the Bible. It’s better to read a little Bible on a phone than not read the Bible at all. But a physical copy of the Bible is truly irreplaceable.
2 Timothy 3:16 reminds us that the Bible is the living, breathing Word of God. A bound Bible with paper pages, where you see at a glance the text in context, engages your sensory senses of touch, sight, and smell. You can engage and interact with a physical Bible—make notes in the margins, underline relevant words and verses, and even color. Your family can pass down your well-documented, well-worn, well-engaged heirloom for generations to learn how God spoke His wisdom and insight to you. No one passes down their iPhone, except to get a newer model and let their kids play games on their old one.
Yes, you can take notes on specific Scriptures on your iPhone, but it isn’t convenient and the notes don’t stay visible in the margins. You have to click on the exact verse to see them. There’s something about opening up the pages of your Bible and seeing at a glance everything important to you in those passages. I sat next to a woman at church last Sunday, and her well-used Bible—with the binding held together with tape—had notes sticking out all over and each page had comments she had written and highlights she had made over the years. She had a new Bible, but couldn’t part with all the history in her old Bible. That will never happen on an iPhone.
No one learns from an iPhone that when you open your Bible to the middle, you find the Book of Psalm. When you can just tap in the Scripture on an iPhone, how will you ever know the order of the books in the Old and New Testament? You can’t put your finger in Genesis, while flipping back through your Bible to compare a Scripture in Revelations.
Do you take pride in your digital Bible? Do you consider it your personal Bible? Or is it just another convenient app?
The Holy Bible should have a treasured place in our homes and in our hearts.
We should know how to use our Bible better than we know how to use our iPhones.
Don’t delete your Bible App, but don’t let your iPhone become your default Bible.
Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 18 books including, new release Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, and The Team That Jesus Built, Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?, Dear God They Say It’s Cancer, Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, and the Face-to-Face Bible study Series. She is also the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. Visit Janet at: womantowomanmentoring.com.
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