The Bible or The Bible App: Which One Do I Choose?

Smartphones are becoming the norm of society. In fact, the new iPhone 5 pre-order sold out, and Apple had huge lines at their stores the day that they released. The Android has also become a popular item, and is beginning to rival the iPhone as well. With the rise of smartphones, Christians ministry leaders are beginning to use The Bible App instead of their Bibles. Is this right? Is this wrong? Questions are starting to be asked concerning whether to use your Bible or the Bible app on your smartphone. Here is a short list of common questions that many Christian ministry leaders are beginning to ask, and some of my answers to them:

-What are the advantages of the Bible App? The Disadvantages?

-Should I use the Bible app when teaching, instead of my Bible?

-Do I look bad when I am using my Bible app on my phone, but others don’t realize that I am (instead thinking I am texting, surfing the web, etc.)?

Advantages: I’ll start off by explaining the advantages and the disadvantages of the YouVersion Bible app. First, the convenience of the Bible on your phone is the biggest reason most Christians like the Bible app. Having it accessible at all times, either through wi-fi or a downloaded copy, is very valuable. Want to look up a different version of a passage? Hit a button, and presto! there it is within seconds. If you sign up for an account, you can enter a daily plan for Bible reading on your phone! You also have the ability to enter bookmarks and write notes. One of my favorite features is the nine different versions of audio Bibles that are available for listening to. If you have a free account, you can even download several of the versions to your phone and access them anytime!

Disadvantages: One of the disadvantages of the Bible App is the impression that using your phone in certain circumstances can give off. For example, if you use your Bible App in a church service, some people would tend to look down on you for “playing” with your phone during the service. While this misconception is not as common as you might think, it is still a perception that Christian leaders must be mindful of. Another setting in which using your Bible App could give the wrong impression is in children’s ministry. More on this below:

I recommend against using your Bible App when teaching children. Why? The children in our ministry need to be encouraged to read the Bible! When you use your phone, you are not giving the perception that you are reading the Word of God. Children don’t often bring their Bibles to church, and they need the example of the children’s leader to see how necessary the Bible is. Just this past Sunday, I pulled my phone out to look up a verse, and a young child said “Why don’t you use your real Bible?” This proved my point and has convicted me that I should still use my Bible when working with children.

What about using it with students and adults? At these ages, I believe that using the Bible app for teaching is acceptable, because adults and students will know you are reading from the Word of God.

Using the Bible app in church and other gatherings can be helpful for you, but does it set a good example? To make a wise decision about this, I think you should understand the culture of your church, and examine whether or not using your Bible app would be distracting to others. This question can only be solved by you and your understanding of your fellow believers.

Hopefully this article helped you think through how you will use the Bible App in the future. Agree or disagree with me? Feel free to leave a comment below and further the discussion on the Bible and the Bible App!