For centuries, only royalty, scholars, or pastors could personally open the Bible. Most people had to go to church in order to hear the Bible read, sung, prayed, and preached. However, the invention of the printing press revolutionized people’s relationship to God’s Word. As the Bible became mass-produced, biblical literacy skyrocketed, and the Reformation began.
The modern digital revolution is similar to what happened 500 years ago. Having access to the Bible digitally is a tremendous blessing for the church, and yet, this resource is often undervalued. Even as there are many reasons why you should open the Bible in print, here are five advantages to reading it on your phone or computer.
The early Church cited the Bible so much that, even if God’s Word disappeared, it could still be put back together based on their writings. Today, God’s Word is free and available to more people than ever because of the internet. Through websites and apps, Scripture appears in different translations and languages, and through social media, videos, and other communication. Tablets and phones have the ability to enlarge type and change fonts, so people of all ages can engage with God’s Word. The Bible is more readable, available to more people, and more readily accessible than ever before in the history of the world. When you love the Word of God and carry it with you, you can meditate on it all day long (Ps. 119:97).
The Bible promises that, when we are regularly in the Word, it is “able to make [us] wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). Today, there are a variety of ways you can regularly be in God’s Word. You can listen to audio Bibles during meals or on your commute to work. Setting reminders on your phone or limits on websites can help you remember to open your Bible each day, and if you are goal oriented, some Bible apps track your progress through the year. In an age when we receive more communication than ever, there has never been a more opportune time to hear from God.
3. Search Tools
Many Christians have been in this situation: Someone asks a question, and you know there is a passage of Scripture that speaks to it, but you cannot remember where it is. It is a noble thing to search the Bible for answers. When the Bereans heard the gospel from Paul, “they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). The Bible on your phone or tablet has search features which can help you find specific passages and can show you repeated words and phrases across God’s Word. Previously, one needed to look up the occurrence of words in a concordance ––a large dictionary-like book, sometimes abridged in the back of some study Bibles. However, today’s Bible study software can even look up the usage of words and differentiate when they are translated from different words in the original Hebrew or Greek. Overall, digital search tools have made searching, cross-referencing, and understanding words in the context of the rest of the Bible faster than ever.
Though the Bible has been around for millennia, many people have yet to open it for the very first time. Evangelism involves opening the Bible with others and showing them how the Bible story is all about Jesus Christ. Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” There are many resources for sharing the gospel with people in the digital age, such as Open the Bible Story. Many people will be open to learning more about the Bible, but for those who feel intimidated by picking up a large book, encouraging them to take out their phone or tablet may be an easier starting point. Consider using Open, or talk about what you have been reading in your Bible app. Your phone can help you share God’s Word in specific, timely ways with others.
Finally, the Bible on your phone or tablet can be very helpful at church, in your small group, and for communicating with other believers. Many Bible apps allow for you to create an account so you can save highlights, notes, and even mark up the text with a stylus. A Bible app or digital notebook on your phone or tablet can be a great place for you to keep your notes from sermons, devotions, and reflections in the Word. Even when you change devices, your notes will always be there, and you will never run out of pages in a journal. If you are a small group leader, you can share your notes or highlight the text with others by sharing your screen via video chat or by casting your device onto a TV. Leaders can communicate with their small groups and include links to the passages of Scripture being studied, and using a digital Bible can help you to encourage other believers with Scripture through social media.
There are many biblical and helpful ways to use the Bible on your phone. In this age of the internet and smartphones, having a digital Bible can be an incredible tool for evangelism and discipleship. Find out what tools and resources work best for you, then prayerfully consider opportunities in which you can open the Bible with others.