Friday, July 22, 2011

eBibles and Similar

I've been noticing that more people at church are reading Bibles on Kindles, iPhones, iPads and equivalent. It is not uncommon to be sitting in class and see 4-5-6 others close by using one of these devices. There are some powerful benefits to having these texts in electronic format such as:
  1. Likely having the word with you all the time because it can be on your mobile platform.  One can read from the word any time and anywhere.
  2. Rapid search capability.  Can find things blindingly fast which is wonderful.
  3. Able to take notes and then search on the notes themselves (depending on the system used).
  4. Likely can carry lots of other reference books on the same platform, certainly more than carrying lots of books around.
I really think this trend is going to continue.

However I'm wondering about what the negatives might be?

I can remember holding my father's Bible years ago and seeing the hand written notes and papers in it and thinking this is a special book.  My wife has a Bible that she has been writing notes in since college which becomes more special every year.  These books, which have been carried to countless studies and have many hand written notes in them, become priceless to the owner (and family) over time.

And consider that we gift Bibles as gifts to graduates or to young families with new borns.  Will we continue to give a book as a gift in the future?

I don't think I will ever feel that way about something loaded on my mobile phone. If the Bible is just one more app on our mobile device of the day, then does that become less special to the person and to the family?  There certainly isn't anything to hand down to a grandchild or son with the passing of generations.

Now of course, it is the message or words that make the Bible special and not the container (paper/eReader).  However, I can't help but think that there will be some change in thinking and some traditions as a result of this transition. I don't have this fully thought out yet, but I'm thinking there is something more here.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this.


  1. I am totally with you on this one. I'm not the only one in my family with notes, photos, and cards stuck in their Bible. I would hate for people to lose their Bible "research skills." Maybe people will use an eBible along side a regular one. I am old school at 47 years old and don't even want an ipad, nook or whatever. I like real newspapers and books. But I'll try to be adaptable with culture if NECESSARY. LOL

  2. I don't think printed Bibles will ever be replaced by e-Bibles, at least I hope not. There is just something about reading out of a printed Bible. When I do a Bible study and the referenced scriptures are in the margins, although that makes it easier/faster, it does not seem to have the same impact on me as reading it out of the actual Bible in context.

  3. Robin, I think the march towards ebooks is unstoppable. What will our grandchildren be reading from?