HomeBible TechBible Study5 Reasons to Take Your Bible to Church

5 Reasons to Take Your Bible to Church

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Last year, I posted an article that stirred up so much heat, it’s still bringing people out of the woodworks to challenge what I wrote about NOT bringing your Bible to church. I wrote the post using “tongue in cheek” humor; yet some folks missed this entirely. Recently this post was quoted on another blog with the title, Reasons to be Stupid. While I’m trying hard not to take offense at the title, this blog did bring up some interesting thoughts – mainly that many people lack the self-control to just read their Bible on their phones/tablets during church and not text, Facebook, Tweet, check email, etc.

So in response to my original article, I’ve written this post on positive reasons why bringing your (print) Bible or using your smartphone or iPad/tablet can be positive ways to “bring your Bible to church.” Note: Quotes below were written by Robert Cottrill of WordWiseHymns, left in a comment on CTT:

1)      “It shows the Bible is important to you, to the greater glory of God (cf. Rom. 10:17; Heb. 4:12).”

Here I ask, is the Bible more important to someone that brings their print Bible or brings their Bible on their iPhone or iPad to church? Does God judge a person based on what device – paper or electronic – he or she reads the Bible on? Is Holy Scripture more “holy” in a print Bible?

2)      “It’s testimony to your neighbors, to see you carrying it Sunday morning. Further, it’s an example to others in your church, including the children.”

Here, I wonder if toting the physical Bible is really that much of an example or if our behavior, the way in which we speak to our children in front of our neighbors, and how we communicate and behave in front of our family and friends matters more than if we merely have a Bible in hand. Does that make a difference?

3)      “It prepares you to participate in the service, at times when the Scriptures are read.”

Often, the moment I sit down and see the scripture verses on the bulletin, I pull up the verse in YouVersion on my phone so that I’m ready to read the scripture; also, at our church, the scripture is available in its entirety 1) in our print bulletin 2) on the screen behind the podium, 3) read by the pastor. Do you feel that it’s more holy to read the scripture from your own personal print Bible, or on the screen, etc? I don’t think it makes a difference one way or another.

4)      “It allows you to underline or mark things in your Bible that will be helpful to you later.”

Yes, this is true you can mark or underline in your print Bible, but using YouVersion and other phone apps, you can bookmark, make notes, comments, share verses via social media, and much more. My husband takes his iPad and opens Evernote and YouVersion simultaneously and takes notes while reading and studying the scripture right along with the pastor. With these tools, he can access his notes from home, work, church or anywhere with an internet connect to search on a word or verse and boost his daily Bible study.

5)      “It enables you to check what the preacher is saying, like the Bereans did (Acts 17:11). Don’t simply take his word for it. Check to see that what he says is Bible-based.”

Again, I will say that it is really simple to use a Bible app as a concordance to search on a particular word or phrase to cross-reference Bible verses instantly. This is much easier to do on a digital device than it is in your Bible’s limited dictionary/concordance.

I will add that although using digital devices for Bible study and reference during church is very useful, occasionally, I am self-conscious about this as I don’t want people to think that I am texting or checking email. At some point, people – including my pastor, who can only see the back of my phone from the pulpit—will just have to assume that I’m accessing the Bible on my device, since for more people, this is the norm, not the exception.

I struggle with the same issue when tithing – we tithe online through an automatic monthly payment – so I rarely put anything in the physical offering plate.

I’ll write more on these topics again soon – much more to say! Please leave a comment with your thoughts if you have a moment.

Lauren Hunter is a freelance writer, church technology consultant (http://lhpr.net) and founder of the blog ChurchTechToday (https://churchtechtoday.com), Technology for Today’s Church.

Lauren Hunter
Lauren Hunterhttps://laurenhunter.net
Lauren Hunter is a writer who loves the big picture of God’s journey we are all on together. In 2007, she founded ChurchTechToday, a website for pastors and church leaders to harness technology to improve ministry. Married to her high school sweetheart, Lauren lives in Northern California with her husband and their four children. Her latest book is Leaving Christian Science: 10 Stories of New Faith in Jesus Christ. She can be found online at https://laurenhunter.net.

30 COMMENTS

  1. I like how you mentioned that bringing a bible to church will help you save things for later. My wife was wondering how bringing her bible to church would help her in her worship. I’ll let her know that it will help her remember things that she learns.

  2. I’m 40 years old. I have a library of commentaries, different bible versions, word studies, topical bibles, bible atlas books, study bibles etc etc and the list goes on. I’ve spent thousands of dollars from the age of 15 up until now. I believe these books are all an investment into my personal growth in Christ as they help me gain a much deeper understanding of Gods word. All of these tombs on the book shelf do me no good unless I’m at home with my huge desk where I can lay them out as I study. For me the digital world is a God send. I now have managed through wordsearch and olive tree to have nearly my entire library on my iPad. This allows me to not just read the Word while out and about but it allows me to deeply study the word when I’m out away from my library. Bibles are very limited in how many hand written notes you can place in them. My Olive Tree app has become my main bible. I can quickly highlight verses and type notes till my hearts content. I normally use the NIV bible but in a flash I can change over to any of the bible translations that I have. I’m not worried about others seeing me carrying around a leather bible. It takes more to seeing a persons fruit then them carrying around a leather bound bible. Most work places these days do not even allow bibles in the work place yet have no issue with a digital device. I have multiple and very expensive bibles on my bookshelf. Some are hard back and some are cowhide, pigskin and even costly soft goatskin. None of these do me any good sitting on a book shelf. The best bible is the one a person carries with them at ALL times and reads from on a daily basis, not the bible simply carried for looks to please or impress other people.

    • Hi Robert, Thanks for sharing your Bible study process and perspective about digital Bible study. I found your comment very interesting. I appreciate your readership and pray God’s blessing on your continued walk with Him. Sincerely, Lauren

  3. When you carry a Bible it says, “This is the center of my life – the Word of God – and everything else is secondary.” When you carry a tablet it says, “This is the center of my life and the Word of God is only a small part of it – if it’s in there at all.”

    Technology can be a great asset to our walk with the Lord – but if it replaces the very basics of all that we are as Christians, it will only be the first step that takes us further and further from the Cross and more and more into the World. Satan is very clever as he “boils the frog.” Read “Screwtape Letters.”

    • Hi Brad, I appreciate your comment. I think it’s tough to walk the line of how legalistic we are about carrying a Bible vs. a tablet, phone, etc. While I agree with what you say – that Satan can and does use tools like technology – the statistics of how young people today connect with the Bible through their devices is astounding and can’t be ignored. What Satan uses sometimes for ill, God can use for good. I’ve seen this in my own family.

      While I personally still tote around my giant study Bible, my husband prefers his iPad. We learn and engage with scripture differently. Let’s continue to pray for each person as God leads us – to engage with Him in His Word over and over again through any and every medium possible.

      Sincerely,
      Lauren

  4. I am very worried at the way technology is taking over the appropriate style and manner of worship these days. We are chasing technology so much that we miss out the reasoning and consider the irrational aspect of of certain “Key” things. I really hate the use of mobile phones in church for the following reasons:
    1. Whenever you pull out your phone the next neighbor at a glimpse starts to critique its model and version, whether it is the latest or its durability and do a comparison with theirs. Which cause a serious distraction in that short while the brain gets busy outside of the sermon or service.
    2. Continuous usage of the phone makes you even more lazier to take note when the points in the sermon are read out speedily.
    3. Any moment you use the physical Bible, you would find out that you can’t identify which book comes after the other because you are used to scrolling and selecting or clicking on the phone.
    4. In case a pop-up comes in, you won’t easily ignore it.
    5. If the phone goes blind someday or gets missing, all of what you have been jotting down in the phone goes along.
    6. Sometimes while sorting the main scripture in the physical Bible, a scripture verse either at the left or right, bottom or top speaks to you directly than the one you are searching for. It draws your attention and speaks to your situation point blank.
    7. Easily you can underline, highlight or fold that particular page for quick access later.
    8. As some of us are aware of the different translation which tempers with the original text of the Bible is becoming more prominent nowadays. What if an upgrade changes a verse when will you know it? Unlike your original KJV it’s always just the same. Why should the word of God be upgraded when in fact His words from ancient of days remained as they are up till today?
    9. Are you worrying that your battery is running low? When will your Bible battery run low?
    10. Who is willing to steal your Bible?????? Or Who is willing to steal your phone? In case you mistakenly leave it behind for a minute. A soul desperate to be saved or a soul desperately in the “World”

    The points are just more……..please brethren…..knowledge is good but some knowledge are destroying the world. Be careful with where technology is taking you. It is running faster than than our desires thereby enslaving us in a cunning manner that we don’t easily get over. Please be proud to hold your physical Bible

    6.

  5. God does not live in your phone because it is man made, God lives in the KJV BIBLE because he wrote it through a few trusted men. Do not let satan take you from the HOLY BOOK!!!!!! Your Bible should be with you 24/7 . I truely carry and open and read my Bible everywhere

  6. Bring your bible to church by way of mobile devices is ok seeing that we live in a tech savvy generation. However, there’s a sense of ownership & dignity when a person brings their leather bound or paperback bible. It’s also a point of interest when someone sees you carrying it and even the more when you read it. It causes an opportunity to witness to the unbeliever. I’m actually considering having our church bring their bibles for the next 3 months to get a response as to whether or not it produces a difference to them & those who see them with their bibles.

  7. Is there an electronic Bible that requires NO nternet connection? The ONLY reason I use my paper Bible in church is due to slow or lack of internet connection on my device when needed. Also, I would like to purchase one for my mom who is bed bound with gout and arthritis in the wrists. Thanks for any help!

    • I downloaded a free ESV version of the Bible on my Kindle. Once you download it, you don’t need an internet connection to read it. The searching functionality leaves a lot to be desired, but for reading in general, it will do the trick. Hope that helps!

  8. I’m a techie guy and familiar with the latest technologies, and I use my computer/mobile/iPad/Kindle a lot for reading Biblical and theological stuffs. However, I prefer to use my physical Bible for reading because electronic screens provide very ‘limited’ content at a time. For example, if I open Romans 5 on my iPad, I can see only Romans 5 — the immediate text. But on my physical Bible, as I flip my way to Rom 5, I will most likely have glossed over Romans 2-3-4 and seen their headings. This gives me a quick idea about the context of Rom 5. With a physical Bible, my eyes can quickly spot the surrounding text for a particular passage, and the context it quickly provides helps me read the text better.

  9. I’m a bit late to the party, but thought you might like this comedy video ‘Is the Bible a book?’ on the subject which helps us reassess our attitudes to the various forms of the Bible:
    http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/resources/detail/11614.

    And while I’m here, a shout for the 300+million people worldwide in 2200+ languages who still don’t have access to a word of Scripture in their mother tongue – I’m sure they’d love to have a choice of technology! Wycliffe Bible Translators and partners worldwide are helping to change this. wycliffe.org.uk

  10. I consistently use a print Bible in church for one reason: I know it would distract the older people in the church. I must follow the exhortations of Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8: Anything that detracts from the message and causes another to stumble is sin. Their ability to hear the Lord’s word is more important than the exercise of my liberty. If you are at a church where that is not an issue, I applaud you for pushing horizons.

    • Hi Justin,

      Thanks for your comment. I could totally see it being a distraction to older people, or even bringing visitors with you. I often think about this when my in-laws visit our church with us. I don’t want my use of my Bible app on my cell phone to distract them, so I often use it less when they’re sitting next to me.

      Sincerely,
      Lauren

  11. Before I get into my opinion. I’d like to point out that Sundays are NOT the only day Christians gather. There are several other christian religions that gather Saturday Mornings….now that thats out of the way.

    In my first book (The Hopeless Christiantic) I actually mention how technology has helped the youth grow closer to God by placing the Bible and even (in my religions case) sabbath school lessons in Ipods and such, its more convenient. However, at church I’d prefer to use the physical Bible. it’s easier to follow along and seeing it there net to me on the bench reminds me to open it. As someone above said, if the sermon gets boring you can flip through the pages pretending to follow. I dont pretend, i open up a random page a read. if I had my Ipod with me, id most likely play a game. While electronic devices are cool they can become a distraction as well.. At home I’ll use whatever, but at church id prefer the physical version.

  12. […] FEED- Christ Mesh- full article here: 5 Reasons to Take Your Bible to Church Democracy Denied: How Obama is Ignoring You and Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America […]

  13. I love my paper Bible! It has underlining and special page markers and as an artist I simply had to paint some symbolism on the inside front cover. But I couldn’t live without my Franklin Electronic Bible either. I’m not great at memorizing where a particular passage is located, so the electronic Bible makes quick and easy searching to find whatever I’m looking for with just a few reference words.

    I find it quite disgusting how many “Christians” want to point their fingers at things that are not important. As a matter of fact, the people that have been described here clearly haven’t been reading that stack of paper they are toting to and from church every Sunday. What of the people who don’t have a Bible? Are they garbage??? Certainly not. I wish that everyone had a Bible of their own (and today you can buy them at a local Dollar Store for $2, and I’m sure most churches would gladly give you a Bible if you couldn’t afford one and you asked). The problem of not having a Bible is alot of preachers standing at the pulpit don’t know what they are talking about. So although they are reading from the Bible, they either don’t read far enough or they take passages out of context. (remember, even the devil could quote Scripture). If you have you your own Bible you can read for yourself, because even the Bible tells us not to trust the teachings of men. Let the Lord teach you, He speaks from His Word.

    It doesn’t matter what your Bible preference is, paper or electronic, nor does it matter what you wear. Piety is not a virtue. Piety is self-righteousness. People need to stop pointing at sin and point at Jesus. Jesus’ blood covers all the sins of the flesh. There is only one sin which leads to death, blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28) – denying the identity of God: God is Father Truth, filled with and displaying His Spirit which is Love, come, crucifed and risen, the immortal God taking off His immortality and clothing Himself with mortality, the Son – the Form – of God = Jesus. Jesus is the One and only God, a trinity of Mind, Heart and Body – and we were made in His Image, His Likeness, and His Form. And we are the body of Christ – we are to preach the gospel of Jesus (which is the power of God unto Salvation) which reveals Him to be God Himself come in flesh, the Messiah. All these things of the flesh are not what we should be expending our energy on.

    • I agree with your sentiment, but I feel like I should warn you of a technical matter. Piety means devout or faithful. It most certainly is a virtue. We don’t want to mislead people.

  14. While I do agree that reading a bible on a phone, tablet, projector screen, bulletin, etc., is no more “holier” than a bound bible, I do find that it contributes to a high level of bible illiteracy because the passages seem to lack context and it promotes (even in my life) a ‘why do I have to know Scripture when everything I need is given to me on PowerPoint”. I promote bringing your bible with you to church because it allows people to learn how to navigate the pages, find where a specific passage fits in the context of the rest of the book, and allows people, although they may not remember what chapter/verse something is found, they can remember that it is on ‘the left hand page, second column, near the top.’

    Plus, if the sermon is boring, flipping through the bible gives the appearance of being “right into it” 😛

    I also wish our church was able to have ‘pew bibles’ so people can use them/take them if needed.

    • More great comments over in the Xpastor Group on LinkedIn:

      Peter Raath • I am using a Kindle with the NIV version at the Sunday Eucharist, and fond it very helpful, especially as there are notes available at the flick of a switch, and also concordance facilities. More than that, the text size can be changed to accommodate poor light or failing sight, and the whole thing can be carried in a jacket pocket. There are, however, people (readers) that do not find it so desirable. There is much to be said for having a beautiful, bound and decorated printed book to read from.

      Becky Marie Coburn • Our Pastor has mentioned several times that he sees people keeping up with the text of his sermons on blackberry… It’s great to hear him say “turn with me” or “click over to”. It’s even better when the youth pastor has to fill in and he uses a device not a book. I am proud of our Pastors for keeping up with the times, bring the Word of God to our attention in all forms.

      As for me…It’s the old fashion leather bond with large print.

      Pastor Ed Harris • This is an interesting question. I like them both. Sometimes I use my leather bound bible and sometimes I use the bible electronically. What I would say as a pastor is that we must be understanding of where the sheep may be on this subject. Some are there, and others think it shouldn’t happen. The pastor has the ability to cause a level of calm in this area if he introduces it – with a level of understanding for those that may not be ready. Personally, I’m looking forward to getting a tablet – yet I love the actual bible.

      • Here’s another good reply from LinkedIn, in reply to Becky’s comment above – good stuff!

        Becky, you’re not that old fashioned. When you say “as for me…It’s the old fashion papyrus scrolls in Greek and Hebrew”, then your old fashion!

        A woman in our church leaned back to my friend, reading the scriptures and taking notes on his iPhone, and admonished him to stop and read the “real” Bible.

        Had I been there, I likely would have said, tongue-in-cheek, “Great! I will go get my papyrus scrolls and stone tablets!”

        We need to be careful and teach our congregations about bible history and the process. Otherwise they can perform a form of bibliolatry. I see this in which version to read and which translation is more “real”. Now it is which method to read is more “Christlike”.

        ===
        This reminds me of my experience at church in college. I had been a Christian 3 years. We held “Blue Jean Sunday” for folks who might not be able to “afford” church clothes. I always felt it odd because the next week “churchies” were back in Laura Ashley dresses with Dooney Burk purses or $100 Polo shirts and $100 Polo khakis or slacks.

        I wore jeans to church. I was very presentable but two of the elders felt I should not wear jeans because I was a leader in the college and high school ministries).

        I told them “I understand and will be more like Jesus next week”. They were ecstatic! Then I followed up with “great now I get to wear my tunic and sandals!” They did not know how to react.
        Posted by Sean Young

  15. I agree with you, Lauren. The main reason I don’t carry a Bible to church (though it is in my smartphone) is to help those who are there and just beginning to explore the Christian faith to not feel like they’re the only one without a Bible. I think it helps them to stand out less, and thus to feel more comfortable. And it’s helpful for them to see me reach for one of the ‘pew Bibles’ and know they can too.

    • Thanks, Nick. I appreciate your feedback. I wish our church had pew Bibles, but we don’t. Our chairs don’t have racks on the back. I recently visited a mega church down the street, and they had ushers hand out paperback Bibles to anyone who wanted them right as the sermon was beginning. I thought this was helpful. I’m in the both/and camp – both are profitable, both are helpful, both are needed!!

      In Him,
      Lauren

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