Bring Your Bible To Church or Smartphone/Tablet?

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by chatwithstumac, Apr 5, 2014.

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  1. chatwithstumac

    chatwithstumac Puritan Board Freshman

    Brothers and Sisters,

    Is it common for your congregation to read the Word during services with a smartphone or tablet or some other device with a screen? For me, I have a tablet that has the Bible on it but have never felt right to bring it to Church.

    As technology grows, will our children have the discipline to dive into God's Word with a smartphone or tablet? Or will it be too much of a distraction?

    As a side note, I have a couple of sayings/beliefs that I believe hold some merit.

    1.) You know a Church by it's lost and found and how many Bibles are found in it.
    2.) As the pastor gives the chapter and verse for the sermon ahead, you know a church by how loud it gets with the sound of page-turning.

    Nothing written above is dogmatic but just something to think about (and I would like to read what you think).

    In closing, I pray that the Holy Spirit brings us conviction to grow us and discipline us to get in the Word... so that the "God of Peace" may equip us with what we need to bring Him Glory! Please pray for me and make Hebrews 13:20-21 your prayer and the prayer of your children.

    In Christ,
  2. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    According to the Westminster Larger Catechism, the public reading of the scriptures is to be done by a minister of the gospel:

    The hearers of the Word, however, are to examine what is preached by consulting the scriptures. Where possible, this would ordinarily require them to have a copy of the Bible with them in church.

    Since it is possible to have a copy of the written Word on a Kindle, tablet, or some other device, then it is perfectly acceptable to read the Word in such formats. It is not something I do, but even I am not such a Luddite as to frown upon others reading the scriptures in formats other than a printed Bible.
  3. Tirian

    Tirian Puritan Board Sophomore

    I dont think the issue is the reading of the scripture from an iPad, but the temptation to flick to Facebook, or the news, or check your emails
  4. ProtestantBankie

    ProtestantBankie Puritan Board Freshman

    One of the Godliest men I've ever met, in his 80s, has switched to using an Ipad to read his Bible and to look up the words of the Psalter.

    His eyesight is failing, and the Ipad allows him to increase the text size, without having to have a 10 kilo book around.

    I prefer carrying my printed Bible. But I have no objection to unprinted material.
  5. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    I think this is the main issue, but since so many pastors now preach from electronic devices, can we really complain if the congregation follows along on electronic devices?
  6. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    At my church, reading the Bible off a mobile device is uncommon but there are a few people who do it. I think sometimes it helps for the preacher to know that's the listener's habit. Some speakers can get distracted when they see listeners using a phone or tablet.

    The use of Bibles among churchgoers is generally a good sign, of course... so long as it doesn't become an empty habit or a prideful thing. There was a time in my life when I had a large, take-to-church Bible that I chose mostly because it would be noticed. I flipped through it incestantly during the service, and became more prideful of it the more the pages and cover began to appear worn. For me, it was repentance to switch to a small Bible that fit unnoticed into my pockets, and were I to switch to a tablet I'd have to consider whether or not a show-off factor was popping up in my heart.
  7. PointyHaired Calvinist

    PointyHaired Calvinist Puritan Board Sophomore

    Use your own judgment. I wouldn't do from an iPad or kindle at this point because I may be too tempted to look at other stuff. If you don't have that temptation, do what you will.
  8. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

    In the last year or so, I have begun using my tablet. I sometimes wonder if folks think I am using it to do other things, but I find it useful to be able to switch back and forth from the English text that the pastor is using and the original languages (or read them side by side).
  9. hammondjones

    hammondjones Puritan Board Sophomore

    We require our youth, for example, to have a print Bible - at least for Sunday School. This is largely to prevent texting/surfing the web. But also to help them understand that verses of the Bible don't just stand alone. With a printed Bible you will typically see some of the passages immediately preceding and following whatever you are reading, whereas with the smartphone versions, it is easier just to focus on the specific text under study and forget that it stands in the context of a larger narrative.
  10. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    I may sound like the odd man out (surprise surprise) but I find reading my bible while my pastor references it distracting and I trust him to read it faithfully. If I have a question on the verse I simply look up the context later when I get home.
  11. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    There's nothing wrong with it, but I hate all of these techie options. I'll always go with a real book over a screen.
  12. Mindaboo

    Mindaboo Puritan Board Graduate

    I see lots of people in our congregation using phones, tablets, and Kindles. I rarely use my Kindle for anything. I prefer using my Bible whether I am at home or at worship, but that's just me. I am more familiar with my Bible. I can't get a good enough grip on using my Kindle to even try. I don't personally see a problem with it.
  13. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    I make my kids use a print bible. I use a tablet most of the time. But on occasion I do prefer using a print Bible in worship because I like to flip pages :)

    For my kids I want them to learn where all the books of the Bible stand in relation to each other so they use a physical bible.
  14. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    It's not common, but some of us do. As noted above, I can set the text to a size that's easily readable. And if I want to reference another verse during the sermon, it's less distracting that the noise of flipping pages.
  15. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    I'd say that in our small congregation, the 55+ crowd are slightly more likely to have a Kindle, iPhone, iPad, or even iPod for their Scripture reading.

    The younger folks are more likely to have paper Bibles.

    I'm sort of a Bible survivalist and have everything in my bag: Kindle, Samsung Windows 7 tablet computer with everything on it, KJV with nice leather covers, Biblia Sacra (Hebrew and Nestle-Aland Greek) in leather binding, a canvas-covered small Greek NT in Stephanus text.

    I don't use it all, but it all is in my bag and for some reason I like to have it all there. Usually I use my KJV paper Bible in worship, and take notes on the tablet.
  16. thbslawson

    thbslawson Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm not against using electronic versions of the Bible in worship, though I prefer to have a bound copy.

    I've never heard this done, but I think in today's world it might be a good step for ministers to start encouraging those who do use Kindles, tables, phones and such to start putting their devices in airplane mode or something, so as to not have any distractions during worship. Just a suggestion.
  17. Darryl Le Roux

    Darryl Le Roux Puritan Board Freshman

    I personally can't read the Bible on an electronic device. But then again, I can't do it with any book. I much prefer the feel of that calfskin leather :) This is odd though, because I am a technology nut. Give me an electronic device over ancient mediums any day, except reading materials.

    That being said, I see nothing wrong with it. Use whatever you feel comfortable with.
  18. Scottish Lass

    Scottish Lass Puritan Board Doctor

    I've recently switched to using my iPad for Christian Education and worship. No wifi access at church, so I'm not distracted by something else. I have an app for the Confessions and Catechisms, which are frequently referenced on Sundays. With a hearing impairment, I have trouble focusing on long passages read from a confession or other secondary source, so I like being able to flip to it and read along. The ESV app is nice for quick cross-referencing (returns to your main text with one tap), easy note-taking/editing, etc.
  19. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    My husband loves his modern gizmo and if the pastor starts talking about the Greek he switches to the Greek. Then he goes back to a couple parallel versions and follows along. Occasionally the pastor says something and hub flicks to his notebook to make a note about looking up something.

    It drives me crazy if I sit normally. We are made with peripheral vision and even if I am focused on the preacher I see this flicking movement to the side of me. Like I said, it drives me crazy. I shift in my seat so my back is slightly to hub and I can't see it, and he'll lower it. He much prefers it to using bifocals to look at preacher and bible; he likes the backlit screen and bigger text. I am trying to be sensitive to his vision and theological interests, and I am able to shift so I have to be the one to adjust in my opinion.

    He always sits on the aisle. I would suggest that if you are in the geek group, instead of the old fashioned leather and paper group, that you try hard to be sensitive to those next to you with peripheral vision, and not be flashing screens. However, my daughter used to get distracted by my pen and paper note taking; everytime I moved my hand to make a note she instinctively looked down. Still does. I take less notes.

    We live in an easily distracted world, too much imput and constantly flicking screens in our lives. Focus is hard.
  20. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    I should just add that I was referring to my practice in public worship; I do like to read the Bible in Kindle owing to the fact that you can read it in big print. :book2:
  21. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I tried putting my smart phone in airplane mode once, but the app must not have been working properly. When I gave it a toss, instead of floating gently to the ground the phone fell out of the air and broke.
  22. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    They just don't make things like they used to.
  23. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

  24. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Junior

    I use my smartphone instead of a physical Bible. It's helpful when I'm trying to take notes. Balancing your notebook and your Bible on your lap gets clumsy.
  25. Andrew1142

    Andrew1142 Puritan Board Freshman

    I use my phone for my Bible exclusively in church, and a lot of other people do the same. I have a tablet, but I don't want to bring it because I don't want to carry something extra around (I mostly use my tablet for reading and dinky games; it rarely leaves my apartment). I use it for convenience; that way I don't have to carry around a Bible that I'm afraid I might forget after setting it down.

    I personally don't have much problem with a temptation to go to Twitter/etc., but, admittedly, I do sometimes look at the summaries of emails that I get. That never lasts more than 5 seconds, though.

    I have, though, learned that what Bible program I use makes an enormous difference. I use YouVersion for my daily reading, but it's very bad in a Bible study or sermon, because it's very unreliable. (Constantly says "That chapter is not available in this version" or hangs for no reason.) That turns it itself into an enormous distraction; I'd rather use a physical Bible instead of YouVersion. BibleGateway is worse in that respect.

    Instead, I use OliveTree. You have to pay for every individual translation, but it's nice and fast and reliable. I also have Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary (free) and John MacArthur's study notes (not free), and there's plenty of others available, too. I don't use commentaries often during Bible study, but it's good to have it available.

    Anyway, I can see how for some people it would be a distraction, but in my case, it's far more beneficial than detrimental.
  26. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't tend to carry a Bible to church, but just use one of the Bibles provided (currently ESV)

    I don't always look up the passage, but sometimes just listen, especially if it is a familiar passage, or sometimes look up other related passages.

    We have one or two who use ipads in our congregation.

    If worship is being held on the Lord's Day, that would be another incentive not to go to Facebook, etc, apart from the fact that you are worshipping God, which means you shouldn't be looking up other websites, etc, anyway, whatever the day of the week.

    Sent from my HTC Wildfire using Tapatalk 2
  27. Mindaboo

    Mindaboo Puritan Board Graduate

    Tell me about it. Especially when your feet don't reach the floor. :doh:
  28. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    I use both - physical bible and iPhone. I always bring my physical bible because I like to mark notes in it. I use my phone apps because it allows me to reference different passages more quickly along with different versions. I can understand the arguments for phyiscal bible for younger people, but otherwise there are advantages to both so I say used whichever works best for you.
  29. Scottish Lass

    Scottish Lass Puritan Board Doctor

    And you sit with a four-year-old. She's actually more distracted by my physical Bible than my ESV app on the iPad.
  30. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Senior

    I take a beanbag tray to church to allow me to have somewhere to balance my bibles and take notes. It's an IKEA Brada a less colourful version of it's B&W successor. (Ikea Byllan Laptop Cushion Black and White NEW | eBay)
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