Three Reasons I Carry a Bible to Church and Why I Think You Should Too

I am super thankful for technology. I love my iPhone, MacBook, and iPad and would really not like to do life without them.  FaceTime is awesome, especially in connecting to my kids who live far away.  Texting is an incredibly handy way to correspond. It is fast and easy.  I regularly depend on the directions that Siri gives me and I know that I would likely be lost somewhere on a back country road without them. I love my Bible apps and my Bible study tools and I especially love how easy it is to take them with me when I travel.  They are far lighter than carrying a concordance and a few commentaries in one’s luggage, that’s for sure.  And yet, I always insist that we carry our Bibles to church. Here is why I do (and why I think you should do so too):

  1. A Bible is distinct.  It stands out.  It reminds us that we are in church and that God and His Word are our focus. Our devices are demanding, are commonplace, and are used for a plethora of other matters. As a result, they can easily remove our focus from God’s Word and the truths that are being taught as we listen to preaching.  
  1. A Bible has fewer potential distractions. When my kids (and others around me) are using an app on their phone, it doesn’t take much observation to see that many times they are also checking the text that just pinged, taking a quick glance at Instagram, and so forth.  In fact, it is almost impossible not to do so. If you disagree, test yourself. Put your phone down, and refuse to look at any text for an hour.   Or simply “power down” and put it away for an hour, or a day, or even a week.  For most of us, the withdrawal symptoms will be pretty nasty, so prepare yourself! All of that to say, when I open my Bible app, it can open the door for me to miss some of the truths that God may be wanting to say to me.  I have found that church is far more effective when I open my Bible, put my phone on silent, and turn it upside down. I can then follow the text and hear the Word of God without any device distractions.
  1. A Bible provides a visible record of my notes and thoughts as I underline, highlight, and add thoughts in its margins. I see entire chapters and my attention is drawn immediately to the Book where the chapter is located and its location in the Bible as a whole.  I know that an app can potentially do the same, but I also know that an app’s record is very different than that of a pen and paper.  Being able to open a Bible and see an immediate record reminds me of truths that have spoken to me in the past and how they have impacted and spoken into my life. Seeing a few verses at a time on a small screen doesn’t usually have the same effect.  

To be absolutely clear, I do love the Bible apps on my devices. I study from them and refer to them even in my devotions (which I still have from a Bible rather than an app – for the same reasons listed above).  And although I would rather a person read the Bible on their app than not read one at all, I firmly believe that a Bible is still a better option.  

And that is why I insist that my family carries their Bible to church, and why I think you should do so as well.  

What do you think?  Are my reasons valid?   I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!

Thanks for reading,

Your sincere friend,

Dave Young

13 thoughts on “Three Reasons I Carry a Bible to Church and Why I Think You Should Too

  1. I emphatically agree!! I love it when the pastor directs us to a chapter & I see my notes & highlights marked from previous studies. My Bible is special & I love carrying it & hearing others turning those thin pages looking for a passage. Also, I turn my phone’s “do not disturb” feature on when I get to church & I don’t turn it off until I’m in my car after service.

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  2. As a pastor that loves technology – but not as much as my Bible. I view people following me on their phone and wonder? Are the with me or somewhere else. We also use a screen for scriptures. I find them looking at the screen and not at me, it is not that I am full of vanity, but I like to make eye contact. There are just to many screens in life.
    But as and elder Pastor, that lived and preached before this technology age, I believe it is here to stay, I try and adjust as much as I can.

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  3. I am right with you brother. It really bothers me to be reading the text on their phone. The same phone that is capable of receiving so much junk that some people cannot turn away from. Thank you for this Preacher.

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  4. I agree! There is something special and more meaningful to read your Bible verses your phone.
    I’m enjoying your podcasts too!
    I asked a friend what podcasts she listens to, and you are one of them!

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  5. Thank you for these thoughts. I’ve done both taking just the paper Bible and taking just the technology Bible, but now habitually carry both my Surface computer (with Bibleworks software) in a slim, book-like case along with my study Bible in its case. At first, it was bulky, but the Bible case has a strap that allows me to easily carry both. There are times when the boot up time of the computer takes too long and the paper Bible is more readily accessible. I also open my OneNote app and am ready to take notes with the Surface pen. I can organize those notes and there is MUCH more room than in the paper Bible getting bulked up with notes I can’t read later or with extra papers stuffed in it. My paper Bible case also has a pouch where I carry pens to make notes in it. Sometimes, more often than not, a message has little to no Biblical content, so I can study on my own regardless of what is being said from the pulpit. Baptists used to be known as “people of the Book,” but if we simply carry or surface read that Book without knowing or understanding what’s in it, we’re just people tied to a tradition of carrying it without really seeking to know the Word or the God of the Word. Bibleworks is an excellent tool that allows me to “dive deeper” into the “ocean” of water, as in Ephesians we read of “the washing of water by the Word.” In addition, I can see if what a preacher is saying about the text is actually true, by doing what the Bereans did (Acts 17:11) who “searched the Scriptures daily whether those things were so…” As we have traveled for 20+ years dropping in on churches especially in the South, we’ve observed that there is a dearth in the land of truly Biblical preaching. One example from a pastors’ fellowship down east where I was in a meeting: one of the three speakers was an older pastor from that area, who for his text read Psalm 104:8 “They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.” I thought I was going to hear a message about the flood. Then, he announced the title of his “message,” “The Ups and Downs of Life.” I actually could have shut my Bible and waiting for “my time.” After reading the text, he never came back to the text he had read, to another text of Scripture, or even quoted another verse, but told what I call “human interest” stories without ever even giving a Scriptural application. It was drivel. At the time, I didn’t carry my computer to an assembly. Now, I won’t go without it! The issues with being distracted are of my own control as I am focused both on what is being said AND what words I’m looking up or comparing or corelating with other Scriptures. I certainly understand the purposes behind this blog post, and I agree with the sentiment. However, modern study tools that are available via technology FAR outweigh these reasons. I compare them to the help that Philip the evangelist provided the Ethiopian eunuch when he asked, “Understandest what thou readest?” The answer:
    “How can I except some man should guide me?” Bible software technology, coupled with knowledge of how to use it. is inestimable in helping us to understand the Scripture we read. I invite anyone to feel free to respond, as this isn’t something that I’ve come to overnight…after many years ago I started taking my Greek NT (TR) to church with me in addition to my Bible as I tried to follow along where the NT would be read in church.

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    • Hey Jeff. Thanks for reading. And of course your thoughts are very good and spot-on. If every person who uses technology used it in the way you do, then I would have no reason to write any of my post. It is my experience, however, that for everyone who follows your method, there are dozens more who allow the technology to rob them of hearing and doing the Word. I am writing to those who misuse technology, not to you. And a word of caution as you write: when you tend to throw an entire area into a generalization – you can lose the truth you are conveying by distracting people with a side issue.

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  6. I agree a Bible is a lot easier to avoid distractions than a mobile device. If I do use my tablet, I make sure to put it in airplane mode and turn off any notifications. I really do prefer to use my tablet in Sunday school when we’re digging deeper into the scriptures and it’s a more interactive environment, because I can put the KJV in one pane and the original language with interlinear mode in the second pane. This helps me get a lot out of it when there are more than one word that can be used in translation (two different Greek words for “power”, two more for “love”, or when multiple words are used as multipliers for effect (like where the Greek says “he will no never leave thee, or no, never, ever forsake thee).

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