Within the next 5-10 years, digital bibles will replace standard paper bibles in our churches. There I’ve said it. Many who bring their well worn paper bibles to church will want to take issue with me but the facts are telling. The culture is slowly moving from standard books to ebooks and with it, online and ebibles are replacing their paper counterparts. Already in my church I have a few people who’ve downloaded bibles into their ereaders and smart phones and when I begin my sermon I now hear the familiar sound of paper but also the soon to be normal sound of clicks as the readers locate the passage I’m preaching from.
Is this gradual change good?
It depends on who you talk to but for me, more importantly, it depends upon the situation and the person. This week, I want to take some time to discuss this issue in a blog series since brevity will not allow me to share all of my thoughts in just one post. Let me start by saying the digital revolution in general and “cloud” computing in particular have been a real benefit to my study of God’s Word and to my ministry work overall. I have an account with the ESV online bible, have access to all of its online tools, and use it extensively when I’m out and about in my daily work. I can interact with it, write notes, highlight text, and then save my work wherever I’m at. It’s wonderful. I have friends who’ve downloaded bibles to their phones and use reading plans that are free for downloading to help with their reading of the bible. Many of the newer bible apps for smart phones have the plans built in for ease of use.
But has this ease of use factor caused us to get lazy in our serious study of God Word for our lives? How can we leverage digital tools to enhance our spiritual growth rather than stunt it? Despite all of the good things digital technology brings to this topic, there IS a downside. One that we can avoid but certainly one that makes itself easily available and will ruin our walk with Christ if we let it.
So that’s what we will try to tackle this week. Starting with the positive aspects of both digital and paper tools in our study of the bible and our future spiritual growth in the next post. There’s never been a better time to be a Christian and have the wealth of information that’s now available at our fingertips. But like all good things, we must be aware of the dangers if we use it in the wrong way.