A few hours ago, I had a provocative talk with a young man who just attended a major youth meeting of an Apostolic group. He was very disturbed to observe that on the platform where sat many ministers, only one person had a bible. They had phones that had bible programs on them, and the scriptures being discussed were projected onto a large screen. So, in one sense they possessed bibles. From the platform, one minister actually read scripture aloud from his phone screen. Anything wrong with that?

Does it matter the form? Is there anything significant about holding in our hands a book that says Holy Bible as opposed to reading the same text on a computer screen, a telephone screen, or a projection screen?

I’m very interested in your opinion.

It greatly pleases me that this photograph I took last year has been viewed more than 6000 times. There are still many people who cherish and value the Holy Bible.

24 thoughts on “Does Form Matter?

  1. It is probably just me, but it bothers me a great deal when I see these instruments being used instead of the “book” Bible. I guess you can just call me old fashion. :~)

  2. I use a couple of Bible apps on the iPad, it’s great since I can immediately see different translations. The Word is the Word whether it’s on a stone tablet, on reed paper, contained in a scroll, contained in an electronic device or in the heart of a saint. What matters most is that souls are being brought into to kingdom of God, no matter what the Word is contained in.

    1. Thank you for your honest response. My mind tells me you’re right, although my heart and tradition may fuss a bit. I definitely agree that our purpose in this life is to know Jesus and to help others know Him.


      1. Awe, so sweet Sis. Buxton. I’m sure this is how folks felt when another human advancement was used for God Word. However, I wouldn’t think twice about preaching from my iPad and leather bound Bible. Bottom line is that folks make it to heaven without me causing them to stumble.

  3. Hi, Sharon. Thanks for taking the time to respond. As I grow older, I do try to remember my advancing age, and that I should expect change in almost every area of my life, and that such things may affect my feelings about inventions. That being said, though, there does seem to be something special about holding a book in our hands–a book called the Holy Bible.

    I really have not been put off by seeing preachers prop up laptops on their pulpit and use them. But when this young man told me of a very large meeting with only 1 Bible on the platform full of preachers, it brought me up short. The young man was very disturbed about it.

  4. I LOVE carrying the Word! It speaks louder than a cell phone or I Pad for people to KNOW I am carrying the Word! Nothing can replace the literal “Book!”. I am a string advocate of carrying the Holy Bible in our church!!

  5. I think that, because the Bible is so unique in the fact that it’s the inspired Word of God, we treat it with a special reverence and a love that it rightly deserves. But oftentimes, we might be tempted to think that the way in which we first learned to experience the scriptures is as important as the scriptures themselves. Perhaps we should remember that before our time of mass-printing and personal copies, an entire family might have just one Bible that was passed down from generation to generation. Before the advent of the printing press, scripture was hand-copied. An entire town might only have one complete set of scriptures (if even that), and the common people (many of whom might not even be able to read) would experience scripture solely by hearing it read aloud.

    In our modern-day world, Bible translators who carry the Word to remote areas often still encounter people groups who neither read nor write. As a solution, sometimes the translators learn the language, then translate the Bible, then make audio recordings, and then provide villages with a listening device (similar to a radio) that contains these recordings and uses a turn-crank or solar energy for a power source. The whole village gathers around to hear the Word in their own language. Some of these people, they might never hold a printed copy of the Bible, but it doesn’t make God’s Word any less life-changing.

    While I have encountered several schools of thought on the topic of using an electronic device for reading the Bible, I generally encourage people to use whichever method will help them to spend the most time in the Bible and to get the most out of it. I’ve had some people tell me that they much prefer their print copy, with their many highlighter marks and notes in the margins. Others have told me that while they might not remember to bring a Bible to work every day, they always have their phone, and as a result they find themselves reading the Bible over lunch or on their break.

    At the end of the day, God’s promise is still as valid now as it ever was, regardless of whether we’re reading the scriptures on paper, on a screen, or listening to them as they’re read to us: “So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11, KJV)

  6. Keeping His Word in our hearts is the most important thing, but I still love carrying my Bible to church. I feel lost without one in church. The one thing that you cannot easily do with an electronic devise is highlight or underline scriptures. I can also easily recall where many verses are located on a page in my Bible, which does not happen on my iPhone.

      1. A friend recently told us a cute story. Her grandson was sitting with her in church and said, “Can I play a game on your iPad?”
        “No, this is my Bible. See, I’m reading what the pastor is reading.”
        He thought about that for a minute, then said, “Can I play a game on your Bible?”

  7. I believe that they should be reading from the “book”. I am a person that was a part of the church many years ago and it still stirs my heart to see someone reading from or carrying their Bible. Yes, they could be reading scripture from their IPad or phone app. but how would I know that they are not just reading the lastest text message they received. Who knows, maybe someday you could be reading or just carrying you bible in public and a sinner may ask you a question and because of this a soul could be saved. Maybe even mine.

    Sandy Bock

    1. Sandy, Sandy. You are a dear, exceptional person. You belong to God, and only in completely serving Him will you find complete joy and satisfaction. I love you deeply.

  8. Sis Buxton, I love the Word, and although it may not matter to some how it is read or what device is used, I still feel something very special and precious when I pick up my Bible. It matters not if it is a new book, or my trusted old well worn copy–I just love the feel of it in my hands. And I might add, even in this new techy world, most all of our saints still carry their Bibles to church. We feel it may be because we have continued to set the standard for loving the Good ole Book!! I will add, it doesn’t bother me what people use, as long as the words are the same and not misquoted.

  9. It is often hard for us humans to lay aside our traditions, because they make us feel safe. But if we step back, and apply logic, we see that regardless of the form it comes in, scroll, parchment, bound book, electronic device, it is the Word that matters, not the object that it is found on.

  10. I so appreciate all your thoughtful, sincere comments. I believe we all agree that the vital issue is that we cherish God’s Word and that we absorb it into our very being. Blessings to all of you.

  11. the general consensus so far is that we are beholden to print copy. this is partly true because we were brought up using it; however, this may not apply to the present generation of youths whose 1st contact with the bible is the electronic version.

    the e-bible has many conveniences, including word/verse/book search, & some apps even allow highlighting & adding a personal note. these conveniences may, in the long run, make us likely to want to remember verses because of the quick search function.

    i occasionally speak from the pulpit & i NEVER project the verses on the screen – i get everyone to read the verses with me from the bible. there’s nothing quite as distressing for me as a congregation that is lulled into inactivity & not search the scriptures.

  12. I understand in certain countries where it is against the law to have a Bible that the “electronic” ones are an excellent way to conceal the scripture. I even concede to the fact that these are more convenient especially if you are traveling. But! there is just something about the “BOOK”. I do think that if we as Americans and Christians in particular don’t exercise our rights it will be much easier for them to be taken from us.

  13. I have the Bible app on my phone And I carry my Bible. The app is used for quick references when I am trying to loom up a verse real quick. But overall it wont substitute for my leather bound book. I don’t think its wrong to use modern conveniences for quick references or if you don’t have your physical Bible with you. However, it’s more of a witness if you Are out in public reading your actual Bible rather than on your phone. You just look like any other person messing with their phone.

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