First things first: I am not anti-electronic Bible. In fact, I know people who basically must use one if they are going to be able to read the text. A lot of older people with failing eyesight have been blessed by being able to blow up the font size on a tablet to very large sizes so they can continue to read God’s Word. I use an electronic Bible from time-to-time. So this is not an article meant to say “don’t ever use one of those techy things.”
However, I do want to encourage the vast majority of us—especially parents—to use old-fashioned paper Bibles far more often and also encourage our children to do so. Why? Here are just a few reasons to consider:
My Children (and Others) Know What I’m Doing. If I am reading from my phone and my kids walk through the room, what will they think I am doing? (Answer: staring at my phone!) But If I am holding that special book, that makes a great impression. Dad is taking this moment to look into God’s Word.
You Remember More. It has been shown in study after study that reading from a paper book leads to far more retention of the information than reading from a screen (even when reading the exact same material). There is just something about reading from paper that triggers our brains to grab more of the information and hold onto it. If there is anything that we should want to remember, it should be God’s Word.
There’s Something to be Said for a One-Purpose “Thing.” When I pick up my phone, tablet, or computer, I can do any number of things. But when I pick up my Bible, my mind immediately knows what I am doing. I am going to read and study so that I can do my best to be drawn closer to my God.
It Isn’t All about Ease. The main reason I hear people give for using a screen for their Bible is “it’s just easier.” Often, they are talking about the ease of finding a text. Maybe…but maybe not. It may be easier at first (and for awhile) to find a text using the phone, but if you will stick with a paper Bible, you will find, over time, that you can flip from John to Jonah or from Luke to Lamentations without even really thinking about it. It becomes almost second nature because you have so familiarized yourself with the book.
What Will I Leave Behind. As I get older, this has started becoming precious to me. I bought a new Bible a few months ago. My hope is that it is the last “main” Bible I ever buy. If I have lived a godly life, there is no thing I could leave to my wife or my children that would be of more value than the book that helped me be close to God.
Again, I am not saying that no one should ever use a screen. There can be a place for them. But I do deeply believe we lose something when we exclusively use a screen to read the Bible. These are just some reasons to consider. No matter what you choose, though, being in the Word is what matters. Let’s never lose sight of that.
Central church of Christ