Hello iPad, Goodbye Bible

ipad

It is official. The Bible is becoming irrelevant. Wait! Before you get upset, hear me out. The Bible, in its printed form is becoming irrelevant.

Today, Apple announced that it has created a tablet computer called the iPad. This device brings on a new era in computing and media consumption. One of the big features is that the iPad will completely change the way we consume books, and that includes the Bible. I know what you may be thinking. Everybody isn’t going to be able to afford an iPad. That is OK. Soon, you will begin to see many cheaper options coming into the marketplace from other companies.

We are going to begin to see fewer and fewer people carry their Bibles to church. I have not carried my bible to church in about 3 years. No, I’m not a heathen. I have the Bible downloaded on my phone. There is no need for me to carry around a book when I have the exact same information, if not more, in the palm of my hand.

I have two sons, ages 6 and 3. It is very likely that they will never know what it is like to carry a Bible to church. They probably will have the Bible on a cell phone or some other type of digital device. They can already navigate their way through my iPhone with ease.

There are some people that wave around a worn out and Bible with ripped pages. They use it like it is some type of badge of honor. To these people, a worn out bible means that they have attained some type of advanced biblical knowledge. To me, it means that maybe it is time to get a new Bible.

Let’s face it. Technology is changing the way we read and study the Bible. With websites and digital devices we have the ability to study more efficiently than ever before. I have one of those thick concordances and it has been collecting dust for years. I simply don’t need it. I can find all of the information I need much more efficiently by searching online.

The iPad and other digital devices have the potential to turn reading the Bible into an interactive experience. Imagine reading one of the Gospels and having the ability to see and hear an illustration of John baptizing Jesus or Jesus hanging on the cross. In my opinion that is much better than reading printed words on a page.

What do you think? Do you still carry your Bible to church? Do you think there will be a high need for a printed Bible as society progresses?

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  • http://crossingkidron.wordpress.com/ Aaron

    I think you’ve made a good point, but I doubt that the high need for the printed Bible will deteriorate to a blip. Let’s look at the stats, right now, 25.6% of the world’s population is using the Internet. That’s a pretty low proportion and if you think about the number of those who have a smartphone/iPhone, it’s even less!

    But you’re right in pointing out that our first-world society is moving in the direction of the paperless, but I don’t think that means the Bible is going to be paperless even in our society. Right now, I have the Bible on my phone, multiple translations on my netbook, and several translations on my desktop with added software, lexicons, maps, dictionaries and commentaries. Yet, for some reason, I turn to the pages, I’m just a lot more familiar with it. In fact, try playing a ‘find-the-passage’ game at a youth group using an iPhone, and I’ll betchya most kids will beat you by using their ‘paper’ Bibles – we’ve tried!

    So does it mean that the printed Bible will run out? For the non-first-world countries – definitely not. For us? Maybe, but probably from our grandkid’s generation (I’m 24).

    (As for a torn Bible being a token of ‘advanced knoweldge’, don’t be too hard on all of us. I agree with you for some people, but you know out of my collection of digital and printed Bibles, when I turn to my old, worn-out one that I’ve used since high-school, it just feels good in my hands and I can turn to familiar passages with ease.)

    Great article Cliff, though it’s always nice to remember that the content of the Word, not the medium of the Word, is what God ultimately uses to truly convict our hearts.

  • http://thegospelblog.com Cliff

    Aaron,

    Thanks for the comment. I don’t think any device is going to replace the printed Bible overnight or even in the next decade. However, I do believe that it will happen at some point.

    I think people will continue to use printed Bibles for a long time. In the next few years we will see a steep decline in the number of people that carry their Bibles to church.

    I was at a church two weeks ago and the pastor said “Please excuse us, we really don’t carry our Bibles to church anymore. We just read it of the projection screen.”

    The content will always be more important than the device that delivers the content.

  • http://crossingkidron.wordpress.com/ Aaron

    Hey Cliff, firstly sorry for the long comment (I don’t really follow blogs much so I dunno what to do).

    I agree with you and the society’s movement towards the digital age – heck, I want an iPad for good reasons! But don’t you think it’s kinda sad that a pastor should say that his congregation doesn’t carry personal Bibles to church anymore? I mean…our iPhones are tiny and ‘mobile’, we’re more intelligent than we’ve ever been in the history of mankind…surely we can read for ourselves and flick through some pages of God’s Word (digital or paper)? What do you reckon?

  • http://thegospelblog.com Cliff

    I think it is just how church is done now. Depending on the preacher and sermon, I don’t think people are spending a lot of time using their bibles in church services. The bible’s greatest value is not in church. Its greatest value is how I use it outside of the church.

  • jross

    “There are some people that wave around a worn out and Bible with ripped pages. They use it like it is some type of badge of honour.”
    What an absolute stupid & unnecessary comment. Feel free to be like the rest of society & be cynical and immature!!! Your religious??

  • http://thegospelblog.com Cliff

    jross,

    I’m not sure what about that comment makes me immature. It is clear that we have differing opinions. Thanks for sharing yours.

  • InMemphis

    I too am excited about what the iPad is bringing in this manner. I have many translations on my iPhone and find it easier to use and better environmentally than flipping through a large amount of paper.

    However – the current applications lack some very necessary things that won’t let me leave my Bible and notebook behind. I ALWAYS take notes in church and in discipleship group.

    I need an app that allows:

    1. Highlighting – preferably different colors
    2. Notes – ability to add my own anywhere in the Bible
    3. Associate Content – add urls, pics, etc. and annotate any portion of scripture.
    4. Search all of the above, list them, sort them, see them in one place, email them, share them, export to .doc

    I think for the iPad to truly dominate the academic arena or churches, it will need to do these things. Then I can carry just 1 device with me. ( besides my iPhone :-) )

  • http://www.joenelumal.com Joenel Umal

    Don’t say goodbye to the Bible…
    Bible HD on the iPad is much better than the iPhone counterpart.

    Source: http://www.machoe.com/3762/the-ipad-bible-hd-app-is-just-in-time-for-black-saturday.html

  • David Charles

    When you are dead, the Man of God who will comfort your family, and bury your corpse will do so with The Book in his hands and not from the cool blue glow of a device that needs recharging.

  • FC

    I’m a preacher, and I often don’t even take my Bible to church. I print out all my sermon scriptures from my computer, and I also have the Bible on my phone. If I get into a situation where I need a Bible and I didn’t bring one, there are a hundred Bibles at the church, anyway.

  • Reacher

    If your theory is true, then I guess the Gideons will be placing Ipads in every hotel room. Hmmmm. I think printed Bibles are here to stay, although I will be using an Ipad.

  • http://Bradtalk.bloodspot.com Brad

    I would have to agree with the somewhat poorly worded comment above that the gratuitous swipe at someone with a well worn Bible came across a bit sanctimonious. Too high a price was paid to get the written Word into men’s hands. While some may misuse it, but most with such worn Bibles do not, so you do not need to denigrate them.

    I am reading and posting this on my iPad. I found your post while looking for which Bible software to get, so I understand and generally agree with your point, but I don’t plan on getting rid of my “old fashioned printed Bibles” anytime soon either!

    Brad

  • md

    I agree that it will diminish… I too have multiple reference books collecting dust. I love the iPad and am a big fan of technology. But nothing has come out yet to make me trade in my bible. And until they come out with a solid mix of the iPad and Waccom Cintiq, so that I can handwrite my own notes and highlight, etc. I will use it during casual study time at starbucks, but not during church service. The downside of these devices is that they do so much I end up distracted. Sometimes it's nice to leave the technology in the other room and shut the door with the books where you can't get your emails, fb msgs & tweets. Whatever the iPad is, it isn't a book. It still has that electronic feel to it. Our kids won't care, but I would miss the feel and smell of the Good Book.

  • Bob

    I agree with md. I am not about to give up my book with 20+ years of accumulated notes. I can see where an electronic device like the iPad or Kindle can be useful, but the ability to quickly write and retrieve notes is a necessity to me. Until these functions are easily available in a pad-type device, I'll be using my old leather book.

  • Charley

    If they can put my 1950 Holy Bible New Analytical Indexed Edition by John A. Dickson publishing co. on an IPAD…then I'll be happy. Oh…and a nice Genuine Leather cover for it to boot.

    Then a Thompson Chain would be nice.

    ..

  • omar

    do u have any more dickson bible if you do or can get some in good condition email me at ogseven@aol.com

  • Zak

    Seriously, you think people are going to spend $500 for an electronic bible that could run out of power? A minority will.

  • Rik

    I preach with digital assistants…but the printed Bible is here to stay as long as there is paper to print or other similar means…….if people fail to keep their skills searching for passages in the Bible….soon they are going to lose one important spiritual skill that only comes from knowing were are the passages they are remembering or looking for……..believe me tech is good and helps…..just as a good mathematician knows the multiplying tables by heart so a good Christian must know his Bible and not let some gadget do the searching for them………our sons must therefore develop their searching skills to know G….D the Lord better.

  • Rik

    I preach with digital assistants…but the printed Bible is here to stay as long as there is paper to print or other similar means…….if people fail to keep their skills searching for passages in the Bible….soon they are going to lose one important spiritual skill that only comes from knowing were are the passages they are remembering or looking for……..believe me tech is good and helps…..just as a good mathematician knows the multiplying tables by heart so a good Christian must know his Bible and not let some gadget do the searching for them………our sons must therefore develop their searching skills to know G….D the Lord better.

  • Doc

    That was the stupidest, most racist thing I've heard today, however, the day is still young.

  • Whitek43

    It's kind of ironic, just yesterday (Sunday) I had a talk with one of our youth about his electronic bible, he was sitting in the pew during the message flipping from the bible to facebook to texting. Technology has it's place but the temptations these devices bring are great also. I feel you will also lose the thrill of opening a lost relative's bible and reading the notes and comments in the margins that make so many passages so precious to those remaining.

  • King

    you are not a christian the way speak simple and stop decieving your self and repent and recieve JESUS CHRIST into your live as your LORD and personal saviour and avoid going to hell when you die, you are on those prograssive who wish to destroy the value of christianity but all of has fail and would contunue to fail.
    may GOD save your soul from hell.

  • Michael Surran

    I think the iPad (and future tablets) is to today’s printed Bible what the first printed Bibles ( Gutenberg’s printing press) was to hand-written Bibles about 500 years ago. There are nay-sayers, as there was then (the Word of God printed on a MACHINE?), but over time it will become the norm. Whether on stone tablet or animal skin or tree pulp or light emitting diodes, it’s the message that matters.

  • Dibamny

    Nothing will ever replace my Printed Bible for I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is Power of God!!! You my friend should open your eyes and realize how your mentality and your way of life are controled by somebodys invention or for the matter technology!!!! Remember God told Moses, Jeremiah and many others including Paul to wright on PAPER!!!! His word so it could be read for ever more until the comming of Christ!!!!

    Dont get me wrong i have an ipad and i have A bible in it but it will NEVER replace that wonderful book of the love story that so many have read and belive!

    Dont belive me ask all of those people that have been saved by a book they found in their hotel or motel or even a hospital, i dont think they will ever find an ipad there!!!!

    God Bless!

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