We are a part of a generation that is digital savvy. All our resources, utilities nowadays come in digital packages. Even physical Bibles have now found way to Bible apps and softwares.
Although I am a great fan of using technology that makes life convenient, here are FIVE reasons why I still prefer taking my physical Bible to the church and study meets rather than opting for a e-version:
1. It affects the way it ministers to me
The way I personalise my Bible, the way it feels, smells, looks, the fonts – all have an impact on me. It may be subtle, but it does affect my reading experience. All this, I find terribly missing in a Bible app thumbnail on my phone screen.
2. Digital Bibles are more distractive
Most churchgoers prefer carrying Bibles in phones, (more than dedicated readers), and it is so easy to get distracted. You may suddenly find yourself checking your WhatsApp messages, Amazon deals, or social media feed. So while the seed is being sown in your heart, the ‘Twitter birds’ are quick to take it away!
3. It affects my memory retention, making me over-dependent
Research shows scrolling and swiping dislodge data from our short-term memories more than page-turning. We’re all so multitasked and attention-fragmented that our brains are losing the ability to focus on long, linear texts. A scrolling screen is just a stream, and it takes extra effort to find ourselves when we get lost, forcing eyes to search for a new starting point and re-focus, whereas a printed page has those landmarks that help us orient ourselves
The problem with reading digitally is that it is a medium that encourages us to keep going, to scroll forward, to page forward…not to have a sense – let me go back and see what was the context, whereas print gives us the leeway to pause and think.
Also digital Bibles makes me over-dependent on ‘search’ – whether it is searching a scripture or book of the Bible! I don’t think any passionate student of the Word would like that. It’s like choosing between two photographers for your wedding shoot – one who uses auto-focus for every snap of his versus the other who is well-adept in all the functions of his camera.
My physical Bible may not have a search functionality, but do I really need that? It’s double fun when the Holy Spirit brings to my remembrance the Scriptures I need.
4. E-Bibles are more difficult to interact with
I looo..ve writing notes! It is one of my favourite pass times and more so when I read my Bible. I highlight, circle, underline and fill my margins with what God is speaking to me through that passage. A lot of it can be done digitally as well, but it’s not as fluid. The notes don’t stay visible in any margin. You have to click on the exact verse in order to see what you were thinking.
I can also have my fingers or bookmarks holding open three different spots in Scripture simultaneously during a sermon, but I can’t do that in my Bible app! It is impossible to jump back and forth in a Bible app.
5. Option versus Need
Finally, for me, the Bible in my phone or reading device is just AN OPTION. There are many things stored in the phone and Bible is one of them – one of the option. Where as Bible in my hand is MY NEED. I want the Word of God to be my NEED and not an option.
God is always interested in the motives – not how we do things but the why of it. It is good to pause and ask ourselves: Why do I prefer a digital Bible? Is it a matter of convenience? Is it because all others are doing it? Has it made me hunger and love His Word more?
I feel Bible apps, with its unique features like reading plans, different version options, commentary etc, are an excellent tool in our hands, but I also feel they are good when they compliment our physical Bible and not substitute!
Well, the above are solely my personal views, and your views may be different. What do you think?