5 reasons to use your bound Bible & not your smartphone in church

Now before you hastily write me off as a Luddite or a stick-in-the-mud, understand that I do probably 85+% of my Bible reading online on my notebook. That’s right. However, when I’m in public, I deliberately do 99% of my reading from a bound Bible. (Yes, I’m aware there’s a pic floating around somewhere of me baptizing  my own daughter back in the day while reading Scripture from my PDA). So why go bound? Because I think you’ll find the experience liberating! But if you need more reasons, here are five.

1. You’ll eliminate a temptation factor. Though you might be able to resist giving your e-mail a quick check or sending a text to a friend, the willpower of others around you might not be so strong. Why risk luring others into the land of distraction when you’re both to be about worshiping God together and building each other up?

2. You’ll encourage the teacher or preacher. You do deliberately try to encourage those who feed you the word in the way you listen, right? Use a bound-Bible and they won’t have to wonder if you’re playing Angry Birds or looking up those verses in 2 Corinthians 5. That’s encouraging. Let them hear the light rustle of many pages turning whenever a Scripture is referenced and their pulse will quicken, their heart will be sparked, their mind will become more focused, and their passion will be stirred a bit more. That’s encouraging. Deliberately encourage your teachers and preachers every week and you’ll make them better teachers and preachers.

3. You’ll maximize your ability to understand your Bible. Sure, you can look up multiple translations on a smartphone, but that doesn’t hold a candle to being able to see a Scripture in its surrounding context at a glance. Unless you’re really working your mobile app hard, you’re just not going to get the context in your head and even if you do, it will have been so time-consuming that the speaker will be way down the road from where you are by then. You don’t look at the world through a paper-towel tube, so why look at your Bible through a three-verse window?

4. You’ll usually be quicker on the draw. I’ve tried a number of electronic Bibles, PDAs, and smartphones. Only very rarely can I look up a passage faster on a mobile electronic device than I can in my paper Bible. By the time someone has just navigated through the menus I’m already just about there or have been there for awhile. Especially if my paper Bible has index tabs. When I get beat is when it’s a rather obscure reference (i.e. – Nahum 2:13). Must I even mention that bound Bibles never lose their charge or need to be reset, either?

5. You’ll give a powerful visual to all who see it, especially children. One of the most influential memories seared into my mind is that of an elderly brother in Christ who carried his extremely well-worn Bible with him everywhere he went. And I do mean everywhere except the shower. And it was obvious that it wasn’t worn primarily from being carried. God only knows how many times that image has roused my hunger for God’s word. Somehow the image of a well-worn Otterbox-encased iPhone just doesn’t evoke the same now, does it? And it never will, for it can’t. Keep your influence as parents and grandparents in mind.

There’s a place in this world for bound Bibles and electronic Bibles. Use them both. If its been awhile since you’ve used a bound-Bible, now would be a good time to pick up a brand new Common English Bible and humbly start wearing it out in the presence of others. For your convenience, here are links to listings of CEBs available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Question: What other advantages leap to your mind of a bound Bible over an electronic version?

11 comments on “5 reasons to use your bound Bible & not your smartphone in church

  1. Pingback: Jesus Creed » Weekly Meanderings

  2. Pingback: 5 reasons to use your bound Bible & not your smartphone in church | « David T. Lamb

  3. I’ve used m iPads electronic Bible for over a year now in Church, and I can honestly say I lookup passages more quickly on my iPad and see more of the surrounding context than on my bound Bible. I am too interested in mynpastor’s sermons to be tempted to check email (besides, my pad is wifi only, and there is no wifi in our sanctuary). You have a point about the visual impact on children of the bound Bible, but then there is also visual impact on using screens instead of hymnals and choirs instead of electric guitars.

    • I appreciate the interaction, Craig. I’ve not yet tried using an iPad in church, but I can certainly see how one of those would solve the problem of seeing texts in their context (#3). The wife recently won one in a drawing at work so the day is likely coming soon that we can give it a spin. Your preacher is blessed to have your solid attention (#2), but I think your argument there sidesteps my #1 (i.e. – the need for the strong to watch out for the weak, etc.). Proficiency certainly can address #4, so I’m not surprised some devices can certainly best bound Bibles in the respect. Here’s to everyone actually using their Bible, in whatever form, consistently and well in an assembly!

  4. Pingback: Electronic or Bound « Theology, Life, and Coffee

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  6. Pingback: 4 reasons to use your mobile device & not your bound Bible in church |

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  8. Very good points David! Thanks for that! I’ve used my iPhone some this year, but recently decided to go back to paper in church. I love having multiple translations of the Bible in my pocket at all times, but I will be using my bound one more when I know I’m going to need it. Thanks Brother!

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