Reader feedback: Do you use a printed Bible or a digital version at church services?
The Detroit Free Press reports:
DETROIT — Not too long ago, the sight of someone using an electronic device during a worship service might lead an observer to assume that person was not fully engaged. But not anymore. Reading the Bible used to mean reading a book, but increasingly, people are getting the Word on smartphones, iPads and other electronic devices.
So then, what will happen to the printed Bible? The last word has not been written on that, but experts speculate that its unchallenged reign is over.
“The Bible is sort of the flagship of the printed book culture,” said Timothy Beal, author of “The Rise and Fall of the Bible” (Mariner, 2011, $15.95). “The printed word is losing its place as the dominant medium for reading.”
Read the full story.
Reader feedback: Do you use a printed Bible or a digital version at church services? Depending on your answer, please explain why you stick with paper or have switched to a mobile device? Be sure to include your full name, congregation, city and state in case we decide to quote you.
FeedbackStill use a printed Bible, but keep my sermons and class notes on an app for my Kindle Fire. Saves paper.BillAugust, 22 2012I use a digital version – YouVersion on a Kindle Fire.
I switched for several different reasons, I guess. Having several different translations available at one touch makes comparing verses easier. Being able to highlight and tweet verses is fun! I like using Evernote to take notes from lessons, and the ability to copy/paste passages into those notes is so much better than just having the passage references in paper notes. Finally, the size of my tablet allows me to keep a legible Bible in my pocket at all times.
Holly Hill Church of Christ
Frankfort, KYNick GillAugust, 22 2012My wife and I are in our mid sixties. We both use the Olive Tree Bible Reader app on our iPhones exclusively for bible classes and worship. The teenagers have elbowed their parents and pointed out the old people texting. 🙂Jerry CaryAugust, 22 2012I alternate, and sometimes use both. I’ll keep my printed Bible open to the main text, and then use my digital Bible (iPhone) for looking up references quickly.AllanAugust, 22 2012I prefer to continue using the printed Bible. I’ve highlighteed too many Scriptures to switch to a digital Bible. I have several highlighted Scriptures and I know where I can go to, rather than typine a Scripture in a search box, click load, wait some time for a new page to load. But the closest thing to a digital Bible that I use, and will continue to use, is biblegateway.com.Jerome HughesAugust, 22 2012I use the Bible.Is app from Faith Comes By Hearing because I can read in multiple languages. Use paper version teaching Bible class. Unfortunately our congregation doesn’t have wi-fi or I would use electronic more.Tim O’HearnAugust, 22 2012I have been using YouVersion for a little over 4 years now and rarely pull out a paper Bible. I am able to compare multiple versions anytime I want, and make more notes than ever before. I always hated writing inside my Bible or any book for that matter. Now that it is digital, I attach as many notes as I can to whatever scripture I am studying or preparing to teach on. It also helps to use the electronic version when I can keep my song leading and preaching material on the same device.
Jed A. Lovejoy
Tipton Church of ChristJed LovejoyAugust, 22 2012Olive Tree Bible Reader with several translations. I have it on my iPhone and laptop. Have recently started taking notes in the app too!MardeeAugust, 22 2012When I preach, I still carry my print Bible to the pulpit, but I have all of the Scriptures on the projector. In fact, I usually read the text straight from the slide (from the monitor in front of me), as I can project my voice better that way rather than looking down at the words.
In my personal study, I use BibleGateway.com a lot and YouVersion on my smartphone, though I still like flipping through my print study Bibles for their handy, convenient commentaries.Mike MilesAugust, 22 2012I use a printed Bible in church. I use a Kindle Touch and a Samsung tablet for other reading. I have no desire
to not use my printed bible in church. I find comfort in my printed version. I also dont want the temptation to use social media during church services. There can be enough distractions without easy access to technology.Jean WasmerAugust, 22 2012I still use my leather bound, KJV Bible my husband gave me when we first met. I just love the feel of my Bible and enjoy turning the delicate pages�Nothing better to me than an old, marked up Bible, that says love!!
Nettleton Church Of Christ
Jonesboro, ArTheresa GillAugust, 22 2012I use a print bible. The batteries never die and it is easy to highlight and keep notes in the margin instead of some separate file to access. I do have a bible on my phone but I rarely use it.Jim MaxwellAugust, 22 2012Ditto here for me what Mike Miles said above with one addition: I use a printed Bible in class.
I’ve made an argument for never going totally digital in a post a few months back on my site at: http://bit.ly/vHNlVGDavid SmithAugust, 22 2012I still use a printed NIV bible but I like having my Android phone with me so that I have the Bible app available to look up verses or change versions.Frank SchipaniAugust, 22 2012I am a pastor and I have electronic Bible software on my phone, tablet and personal computer. I like to have my Bible with me so if I have my phone or tablet with me, so is my Bible. I can also have more than one version, commentaries, and other books and references on these devices as well. For worship, I can have my sermon notes, scripture readings and other information handy on one device and even broadcasted to a projector. Personally, I find electronic media more convenient. Finally, I have been asked, “what are you reading or what kind of device is that” when using a tablet or cell phone in public. It gives me an opportunity to share Christ with them.E R NagyAugust, 22 2012I usually use printed because it is what I’m most comfortable reading. However, I greatly prefer to use a laptop with <a href=”http://www.e-sword.net/” rel=”nofollow”>e-Sword</a>, a free Bible program, for studying because it contains multiple Bible translations, the KJV+ (a KJV with the original Greek/Hebrew words and translations by the Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries), and informational geography graphics, to name a few of the resources it offers.
Using a computer also comes with the benefit of having an seemingly infinite supply of “note paper”. I can type all the notes I want, go back, edit, add, remove, copy, or paste anything. I can go back and read any of my previous study notes, search through them, etc. …and I can get all that on one screen! That’s the selling point for me for using digital Bible resources to study. Portability is a fantastic benefit.Eli MitchellAugust, 22 2012I generally prefer my leather-bound Bible for worship, and my iPad with Accordance Bible Software for Bible classes.Jon BurnettAugust, 22 2012I prefer the digital bible, with multiple versions readily available. I have bibles on both my phone and tablet. I usually travel using public transportation, so the portability is very advantageous.Glen NevilleAugust, 23 2012I use both! I started using my iPad with YouVersion Bible, but found I missed turning the pages of my bible and highlighting and writing my notes beside the verses, so now I carry both. I do love being able to literally have all the reference material at my figure tips. If I don’t know what something is, I use my bible dictionary, if I can’t findable verse, I use my bible concordance. Now there is never an excuse! Plus I also love to use Bible Gateway to listen to my daily bible reading as I read along with the speaker. I seem to get more out of my reading. Why not use technology to praise God and further His kingdom!
Margaret Street Church of Christ
Milton, FLAngela BrownAugust, 23 2012I almost always use an iPad with Accordance when I’m preaching and teaching, and Accordance on my computer for studying. The reasons are many: I can sync notes between my computer and iPad seamlessly, I have many different translations, the Greek and Hebrew, and commentaries available at my fingertips, and I find it as quick or sometimes quicker to flip between passages in Accordance. Not to mention the fact that I hate wearing my reading glasses in the pulpit, and I’m getting to the point where I need those! With Accordance I can just make the text larger!
Did have a lady say once that she wished I still used the Bible when I preached. I showed her the app and asked which Bible she wanted me to use!Patrick OdumAugust, 23 2012I am 69 and went to the digital version a couple of years ago on the IPAD because I could enlarge the font to read easier. I can also follow along with the app faster than I can with the book. I also have different versions that allow me to search when I have trouble understanding the version that we are studying.Carl GibsonAugust, 23 2012I have a small New Testament with lots of notes, that I carry in my purse – not just to church, but all the time. My electronic device is also my phone and one of the great, restoring things about worship is turning that baby OFF. (The eleventh commandment – Thou Shalt Silence Thy Beeping Things.)Holly McCoyAugust, 23 2012A question for those who use digital devices at church: Does your congregation offer wifi? Is that an issue at all? Or do you have the Bible programs downloaded?Bobby Ross Jr.August, 23 2012I use a digital Bible. I have one on my phone and on my Kindle Fire. I like the ease in locating scriptures, having multiple versions of the Bible and the ability to locate specific scriptures and words.JOYCE HARDINAugust, 23 2012Actually, I use both, but primarily my well-worn, thumb-stained, marked-up NIV full of personal notes in the margins that is now falling apart. (I always dread breaking in a new print Bible and put it off as long as I can!) When I do public scripture reading during worship, I often use my iPod touch or my 11-year-old’s iPad. (We occasionally do parent-child readings together, splitting the passage for the day according to voices in the narrative, for example.) I still tape sermon manuscripts into my print Bible when preaching. (Have to confess I’m a little obsessive-compulsive and worried that an electronic tablet will lose power or go to a blank screen on me at just the wrong time 🙂 However, the versatility of having multiple translations (and languages) of a resource like YouVersion as I am out in public is something that I treasure and, as an earlier poster commented, can spark God-conversations with people.
Alan C. Henderson
Cedar Grove Church of Christ
Atlanta, GAAlan HendersonAugust, 23 2012Response to Bobby’s question above: Wifi is an issue in some places I visit. Many churches do not have public wifi access for their members. Our congregation (approx. 100 in attendance on Sundays) has wifi but it is not always accessible in the auditorium/sanctuary and the majority of our folks don’t use it. I also have some translations downloaded on my handheld device. I would imagine that for some churches, the question of wifi access is one of philosophy. Do we want to provide a means for our members/parishioners to conduct their personal business/work during assembly times when it might be a temptation to do so? I do hear conversations from time to time in various places about the amount of distraction cell technology provides and “outside” work being done during worship and teaching time. At the end of the day, it’s a personal discipline issue. (The Christian school where I teach has just this year instituted a “cell phone free” day from 7:30-3:05 where students are not allowed to even have their cell phones out. It is already making a BIG difference in the learning atmosphere and attitudes of students.)
Alan C. Henderson
Cedar Grove Church of Christ
Greater Atlanta Christian School
Atlanta, GAAlan HendersonAugust, 23 2012Holly Hill provides open Wi-Fi, with a philosophy like Alan said – it is a matter of discipline. Many of our young people, however, are using their electronic devices to follow along, and you can tell because they’re tweeting verses from the sermon with the Share feature in YouVersion.
I think that YouVersion’s Notes and Bookmarks feature is fantastic, because I’ve been able to add all the notes I’ve scribbled in the margins of print Bibles, and I will (short of the zombie apocalypse) never have to scribble them into *another* print Bible 🙂Nick GillAugust, 23 2012I have 2 different Bible apps on my phone; Olive Tree and Glo Bible. I like being able to switch versions quickly. One of the main reasons I stopped carrying my leather-bound Bible was that the small print was getting harder for me to read, and I hadn’t yet gotten a new contact/glasses prescription. Since my recent switch to progressive glasses or contacts with reading glasses, that shouldn’t be a problem. I may return to carrying it. I do love being able to quickly share verses via Twitter/Facebook with my Bible apps, though.
Our church does have wi-fi, but it is password protected; I’ve never asked for the password.Karen KoonceAugust, 23 2012I have Olive Tree and several Kindle Bibles on an iPad and a tablet, and I also carry my printed NASB. Can’t wait for an e-Sword iPad app.Alan KayeAugust, 23 2012I’m in my mid-seventies, and use both. I carry a paper version of the ESV, and use it most of the time. However, it’s also useful to have several versions available on my smart phone to compare and to use the search feature.
We do have wi-fi, but I have 5 versions downloaded (ESV, NIV, KJV, NKJV, and NASB)
Miami, FLBob PerkinsAugust, 23 2012I prefer using my printed NIV Bible in church, in Bible class and in most of my personal reading and study, though I have several versions on my Kindle. I enjoy reading various books and some newspapers and magazines from my Kindle. I still enjoy the feel of printed books, and that’s especially true of my Bible. However, I can carry hundreds of books on my Kindle–and entire library, and that would be impossible with physical books.James HaneyAugust, 23 2012I use the YouVersion on my iPhone. It’s like having 100 bibles in my pocket and is so quick and handy. However, if reading publicly, I prefer to have a paper bible just in case the electronic one fails or I accidentally tap in the wrong place while scrolling.
College Church of Christ
Searcy, ARJay SimpsonAugust, 23 2012In regards to open wi-fi, it would take some management, but you can use a firewall device to lock down everything except the sites that you specify to allow traffic. For example, the church office can be set up on a more trusted connection that would open up as much as you wanted, but would only accessible to those who have the password. An open connection (no password required) could be set up for everyone else, but you could have it only go to the congregation’s website, biblegateway.com, etc. Of course, that does nothing about those using their cell service for internet access.Carl H RoysterAugust, 23 2012I use both. I think that having many versions at my fingertips is a great tool. But, I love the feel of a book in my hands; the sound of pages turning; the smell of old or new paper.
There’s something more personal about a book too. I love highlighting and writing notes in the margins. I know I can do all that on my Kindle and phone app but someday I hope some descendant will love looking through my Bible, getting to know me through what I write and highlight, as much as I have with my ancestors. I love looking at their Bibles, seeing the notes written by their own hands, wondering at the beautiful script (or not so much), and pondering what they may have been thinking when they made the notes. Did they scribble because they were angry? Are those smudges caused by tear drops? It is a very personal connection to my past that you just don’t get with electronic versions.
Just one woman’s opinion…Donna HeckAugust, 23 2012I occasionally do scripture reading at church with a Bible that has three different colors of duct tape (red, gray and camoulflage) because I love the Bible. I even had to take the old duct off that was not sticking anymore and replace it with more duct tape. It is a Greek-Hebrew Study Bible that is the best Bible I have ever had.
I see people at church with electronic Bible and realize that I will get one. I wonder where in an e-Bible that I can keep church bulletins.Johnny MullensAugust, 23 2012I like to use my iPad at home when doing my Bible readings, haven’t tried it in church yet. My father uses his iPad King James version in worship services, it’s easier for him to find the scriptures and he can enlarge the print for easier reading.VirginiaAugust, 23 2012I use an iPad at services. I love have multiple translations available for quick reference. plus I get to passages more quickly. I also use it at home.trail ReevesAugust, 23 2012I prefer to have a printed Bible to use when I am teaching class, doing Bible studies with others, or just my daily reading. I feel it adds realiability to what I say. My source is the Bible and not an android wedsite somewhere. When teaching someone, which is more believeable: Acts 2:38 read from a phone or from a well used printed Bible? I will use the printed page.Tom HenryAugust, 23 2012My husband uses his Kindle because he can see it better. I use the regular NIV version of the Bible.BarbaraAugust, 23 2012I use the YouVersion on my iPhone. As others have said, it’s so convenient to be able to switch between versions in a twinkle, and I also like the size and being able to just throw it in my purse. The only downside is that I don’t have a place to stick my bulletin.Linda OrrAugust, 23 2012I use both, usually use a printed Bible on Sunday morning and and a electronic Bible on Sunday night and Wed. night.Mark W PhillipsAugust, 23 2012I prefer to use a printed Bible when I am at worship. I also use my printed Bible for daily Bible reading and study. I also prefer to use a printed Bible when studying with my World Bible School students. I do use a web Bible for reading from time to time (waiting in a Dr. office or standing in line) or to refer to a different version.
I agree, with some above, I like to show scriptures and turn to scriptures in the printed pages of the Bible.
Pam CummingsPam CummingsAugust, 23 2012Recently, our minister’s sermon notes became available in YouVersion’s Live Event, so I use my iPhone for worship services. Afterwards, when I head up to Bible class, I use my paper version. I like all my underlined passages & notes in the margins from over the years.
I’m blessed to worship with the Lord’s family at the Fairfax Church of Christ in Fairfax, Va.Aimee CraneAugust, 23 2012We currently live in Africa and because we travel a lot, I have almost completely switched to digital format. Last year, I got a 3G iPad so that I could be connected even though WiFi was not available.(Note: Even with 3G, I cannot always get a signal.) I use YouVersion when I have internet access and Olive Tree and the downloaded versions when there is none. I am also in my 60’s so the eyesight needs some help with more light and bigger font which is easy to do on the iPad. The “Low light” feature is also great so that it doesn’t attract attention by lighting up my face in the dim light of a rural church! I love using the “Find” feature in both applications and use it frequently as I study and do presentations. Another feature that I am using in YouVersion is the Bible Reading plan. Love it, but is only available to use when I have connection. A side note: It is interesting to see how many people in Africa are getting phones that have the Bible on it.Beth SmithAugust, 23 2012My wife and I both use IPad’s. It’s faster for following scripture and gives a choice of translations. It saves time in getting organized for teaching, too. WRaymond JohnsonAugust, 23 2012It depends, usually for Bible class and worship I use my kindle Fire (has several versions on it). For teachin and preaching I use my printed NASV.Marcos Romero, Jr.August, 23 2012I use the same NIV Study Bible that I have used for many years. I have notes written all through it and continue to add thoughts and references from classes, sermons and my own study. Also, it is always charged.James TackettAugust, 23 2012My wife and I both use IPads. It faster when following scripture references and changes, and gives a choice of translations. It’s also great for organizing a class. We (Southwest in Ada, OK) have wi-fi in our fellowship bldg, but not in the auditorium. I use OliveTree, Logos, and ESV, and like them all. After seeing some of the other comments I plan to check out some of the other apps, too.Raymond JohnsonAugust, 23 2012I still use a printed Bible in class because if we are going to refer to other scriptures, I’m too slow with the digital. However, all of my writing now is digital.Ke nAugust, 23 2012I use the digital Bible. More convenient,easier to check other versions.Terry BouchelleAugust, 23 2012In answer to the wi-fi question: yes, we have wi-fi at Northwest. (Though I use Accordance’s Bible app that doesn’t require an internet connection except to sync.)Patrick OdumAugust, 23 2012My husband and I both enjoy being able to have multiple versions by using the digital Bible. He uses a lap top, and I use a Kindle Fire. It is so much easier to find the scriptures and other reference materials.Abbie MaloneAugust, 23 2012I started using my phone in worship or bible class because I could read it better and I also used the printed bible but now I have an iPad and enjoy the ability to quickly research topics of interest. I have always struggled enjoying any kind of reading but I now really enjoy reading and studying with the different bible apps on my iPad.Glenn PickardAugust, 23 2012I use the printed bible… mostly ESV.Ted CraigAugust, 23 2012I mainly use my digital bible app on my android phone. My preferred app is AcroBible. I like it because it is on my device’s memory and not dependent on an internet connection. I prefer digital over paper because it is simply faster and more efficient. I can move through the scriptures at the pace of my stream of thought and search much more quickly for other relevant verses. I can quickly make multiple bookmarks and create lesson outlines wherever I go. I have NIV’84 as my main text but also have Greek & Spanish versions available too. Quite honestly, the biggest benefit over the last 4-5 years is that when I wake up in the middle of the night & can’t sleep, I can reach over to the night-stand and grab my “Bible/phone” and read massive chunks of scripture by its backlit screen without ever disturbing my wife’s slumber… 😉Kevin BillipsAugust, 23 2012It is encouraging to see that most are now using some upgraded things in life. So often they are so scared and uncertain about using any type of visual aids, etc. So many young people use these items to save time and to enhance their learning experiences. Also, the elderly can benefit very much since most grow to have hearing loss and visual problems. Keep the good times here!!Gerri MeansAugust, 23 2012I was amazed to hear that anyone would even think of doing their office or business work on their electronic during church service. I don’t think it is any reason, however, to use it as a reason for not having WiFi for the church. Some of the young ones might get the urge to do texting, but an adult, by CHOICE, should know better.Gerri MeansAugust, 23 2012I use the Tecarta Bible app on iPad and iPhone.
It’s not necessary to have WiFi if you use KJV, or if you purchase a more modern translation like NIV.Mark BryanAugust, 23 2012I almost exclusively use Logos on my iPad for preaching and teaching. I can highlight and make notes just like my trusty old print version. We have wifi, but have it encrypted. Will give password to whoever asks.Jim DillingerAugust, 23 2012Electronic device. Can find scripture much faster.James MayAugust, 23 2012I carry & ise both printed & YouVersion on my Android phone.davidAugust, 23 2012I use a printed bible in classes and worship. My son uses his smart phone. I am just more comfortable using the printed version, maybe because I have for so long. Also, my bible never runs low on power.Glenn LandrumAugust, 23 2012I think I’m pretty tech savvy, but there is nothing like the feel of holding and reading an actual bible. During worship and mid-week assembly, I always use my favorite print bible, a large, leather-bound, KJV. I also have another (print)favorite, a KJV, “Thompson Chain-Reference” bible. Nothing can replace the feeling of holding, reading, and turning the pages of an actual bible. There’s nothing like it. I’m not changing.Jeanette NobleAugust, 23 2012I use my iPad 2. I can find the scripture faster. I am a semi-retired minister. My old, old ASV bible is too heavy… Ha ha..Joe DenneyAugust, 23 2012I use the printed version exclusively, but am not critical of those who don’t. Serious Bible study seems to require an open Bible on my desk, where I am free to flip back and forth, compare with other versions, etc. But the main thing is to have the word in one’s heart, loving it like one loves the Word which “became flesh.”Donald R. TaylorAugust, 24 2012YouVersion on an iPhone.Steve Holt Sr.August, 24 2012I use my iPhone instead of printed Bible because it is easier for me to read. I always have it with me. I can highlight and make notes. It is not heavy and easy to keep in my pocket or purse.
Mesquite Church of Christ
Mesquite TXJackie DewoodyAugust, 24 2012The only reason I would use a printed bible is to smell the paper and leather/plastic. E Sword has so many FREE versions of the bible, modern translations (like Romanian, etc) commentaries, dictionaries, places to take and store notes, and books on the early ‘church fathers’, that I could not afford to purchase in print form. And, after trying to read notes my grandmother made, I am glad I can leave notes and memories in digital form that my descendants might enjoy. I use E Sword on my desktop computer and Mysword on my android Iphone. I love being able to see what commentaries and dictionaries say when I am in bible class or the preaching. Young people trust digital forms even more and audio books like Bonhoeffer can bring light to my study and more appreciation for God’s Word as I listen to devotional readings. I appreciate the Chronicle publicizing these comments because I want even more bible study helps.Don YeltonAugust, 24 2012This was a good read. It was interesting to see what others are doing. I also learned of many apps that I didn’t know about.Joe ConnellAugust, 24 2012I take my iPad to church, not a printed Bible. The text is easier to read and I can compare various translations of a passage of scripture to aid my understanding. Sometimes I find a verse I want to share with friends on Facebook while at church; try doing that with a printed Bible!DaveAugust, 24 2012Our savior Jesus Christ told His disciples to make disciples of all nations. He did not tell them to use a specific medium but the Gospel must remain unchanged.In the same sense, the Bible can be written or printed on any material but the content must remain unchanged.
The Bible has been written on scrolls, papyrus, parchment, animal skins, clay tablets, papers over the years and now on the so called smart devices.
There is nothing wrong in printing and writing the Bible on these materials provided the Bible content remains unchanged with its 66 book total; 39 old testament books and the 27 new testaments.
As Christians we must use every available tool, device and method to spread the Gospel. If we relax, the devil will use these tools to spread his lethal propaganda.PRINCE KYEIAugust, 24 2012I rotate through my large collection of bound Bibles. I can find a text within a printed Bible as fast as anyone using a digital format. I appreciate the look, smell, and feel of the traditional format. It provides to some degree a connection to generations of spiritual ancestors, all the way back to the days of looking at a scroll. I am still in my 20’s.Shane RAugust, 25 2012I have three bibles I actively use and take with me when meeting with the Christians; my NASB study bible, my English(KJV)-Russian(Synodal) parallel bible, and offline copies of them (ESV instead of NASB) on my phone, as a backup. I use them all often.Curtis WilsonAugust, 26 2012(Preacher from Michigan) I use a print version to preach from because of the fear that it may go out as I am preaching. Otherwise, I would use an interactive bible and use it on the overhead as i use PowerPoint.Barry ChaffinAugust, 26 2012I too carry a print Bible into the pulpit, but preach from my Ipad. I find moving back and forth in the Ipad (from sermon to bible)cumbersome. Like Barry above I project all my passages in PP. But when it comes time to read and study the bible I still feel more comfortable with a printed version–especially one that I have marked up!Roger WoodsAugust, 27 2012I use mostly electronic in classes and during worship now. I really like having all my study guides at just a touch and being able to do version comparisons on the spot as well. I feel more fully engaged in the study than ever before though I have always been a good student. I use various electronic devices such as my color nook which I had prior to using an iPad and iPhone.
Church of Christ member at Garden City, MI. congregationLinda LawtherAugust, 27 2012