Monday, February 8, 2021

Why I Stopped Using a Digital Bible in Church

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When I got my first smartphone four or five years ago, one of the first things I downloaded on it was a Bible app. I often took notes in my physical Bible, but trying to cram them in the margins and being limited in space frustrated me. I loved that having a Bible app on my phone gave me unlimited space for notes. I could also easily highlight verses without having to remember a highlighter in my Bible bag. 

Why I Stopped Using a Digital Bible in Church

I still feel the same way. Being able to easily switch between Bible versions and use Bible commentaries without having to lug around big heavy books is great. I also love that no matter where I am, I always have a Bible with me. In addition to the Bible apps I use, I also have found a variety of other apps that have helped me grow as a believer.

But a few weeks ago, I was listening to a Podcast on discipling my kids from FamilyLife and the speaker said something about preferring not to use the Bible on his phone during church because it can easily send the wrong message to our kids even when we're being responsible and not being distracted with notifications and texts. It stuck with me and I decided to make a change. I got my Bible back out of the drawer, found a small bag to carry it in (I like bags like this or this,) and added a notebook and pen (these are great pens if writing is difficult or painful for you like it is for me!)

The next time we went to church after that was for Wednesday night Bible study. 13-year-old Katie, recently graduated from the kids' program downstairs to sitting upstairs with us, settled in on the pew next to me, as we chatted about random things and waited for the pastor to start the Bible study. Then she said something that struck me to the core...

"You're just scrolling on Facebook or Instagram during church. I know that's why you have your phone out."

I was horrified that that's what she thought I'd been doing in church every Sunday morning and Wednesday night and, it definitely solidified my decision not to use my phone in church anymore.

As I tried to set her straight, I realized something. 

Using the Bible on my phone in church is not a bad thing and it's definitely not a sin, but if it's a stumbling block to someone else's faith, especially my children, than it's something I need to let go of. 

Paul specifically warns about this in several places in the Bible.

"Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak."
I Corinthians 8:9

"Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister."
Romans 14:13

Now, I bring my physical Bible to church, use a notebook to take notes, transfer those notes to my Bible app when I get home, and leave my phone in my purse while I'm at church. If I want to research something further with a commentary, I write that down in my notebook and take care of it after church.

If you choose to use a digital Bible on your phone during church, it's important to be responsible with it, not just for your kids, but for others who may be watching as well. Put your phone on "do not disturb" mode to avoid being distracted by notifications and text messages, and be transparent about what you're using it for during the service. Like I said, there's nothing wrong with using the Bible on your phone at any time, but we want to be sure we're not being a stumbling block to another believer or an unbeliever by doing so. 

What kind of Bible do you use during church services? Do you prefer a physical Bible or a digital one?

1 comment:

  1. I like a physical bible but like to sometimes look something up in another version on my phone.


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