I grew up attending a local church most of my life. Every Sunday we would wake up, get dressed, walk into the church building, attend a Sunday School class and then attend a normal service. Everyone that was there carried their Bible like badges of honor. The larger the Bible and the more worn out the Bible appeared, the holier the person must be.
Large Bibles were in, like really in. Someone even made a music video...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTYr3JuueF4
There is nothing wrong with having a giant Bible, but shortly after that video was made, technology made some amazing advancements. I’ll admit, I may have resisted the technology advancements that allowed me to read my Bible on my phone when it first started.
At the time, I was a student ministries pastor. I was leading a group of tenth-grade guys. One of the guys asked me this question, “is it ok for me to read my Bible on my phone?” I responded quickly and said something like “it’s ok at times, but you should read the Bible on a real Bible…”
A few months after that conversation, I found myself needing to look something up. I realized I didn’t have my ‘real’ Bible but I did have my iPhone in my pocket. So, I downloaded the You Version Bible App and looked something up. I found it so convenient to read the Word of God on my cell phone. I went back to the group of students and told them I changed my mind. I believe that I screwed up and made a mistake when I judgmentally told them to read the Bible on a real Bible.
I’ve been asked several times if it’s ok to read God’s Word on a mobile device. It’s made me think through this whole process of how we ended up with the Word of God in our hands.
I think it’s crucial we realize that the Bible isn’t actually one book. It’s a library of books that have been collected over thousands of years. God spoke through several men (and possibly 1 lady... the author of Hebrews, who knows). The Bible is God’s mega-narrative love story between Him and humanity. While it’s tempting and even possible to try and read the Bible from page one to the last page, that’s not how it’s designed. The Hebrew Rabbis describe reading the Bible and its passages like looking at a diamond. Every time you look at it, the viewer will discover something new.
The early church didn’t have the Bible (in any form that was usable and portable like a book) for several hundreds of years. It amazes me when I think through how these individuals matured and grew into the potential God had for them from the beginning without the Bible.
They learned about Jesus through other humans telling the story of what their lives were like before they knew or met Jesus, how they encountered Jesus and what their lives are like now after meeting Jesus. In spite of not having an official Bible or proper training, Paul, Peter and other church leaders discipled other people and those people discipled others. Eventually, the Bible as we know it was formed, but not for several hundreds of years in a painstaking process.
The method that was used to write and read the Bible was handwritten documents that were copied and dispersed out among the followers of Jesus. It wasn’t until the invention of the printing press in 1436 by Johannes Gutenberg that the ‘real’ Bibles were even possible. This one invention revolutionized humanity and empowered regular people to understand truth and God with clarity. Individuals could actually read the Bible in a language they understood and challenge the authorities and ask questions. This seems so strange to us today. It’s crucial we remember Gutenberg, Tyndale, and Luther among so many other reformers.
I honestly don’t see an issue with using technology of any form to put the Word of God in the hands of regular people. The printing press was the latest and greatest form of technology at one time. Mobile cell phones are the technology of our day.
There are some dark sides of technology. I have found a few things to be helpful in avoiding the dark side of using technology to read the Word of God, however.
If there is a dark side of technology, there must be a bright side of it as well.
Here are some of the most practical ways to use technology and it’s ‘bright side” while avoiding the dark side of technology.
To sum it all up, yes a person can use technology to read the Bible. The ‘real’ Word of God isn’t in a platform or method. It is in the actual text and meaning of the text.
Photo by Hannes Wolf on Unsplash
Photo by Jenny Smith on Unsplash
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RE.THINK Church values being a church that is casual. Casual Church goes far beyond the way we dress, it's more about we expect people to take this journey at their own pace. We are here to journey with everyone. So we've created a blog so people can check us out before they show up for a service.