Revisiting Bible Apps: A new trend happening in our ministry

I’m jealous one of our students brought in his iPad and it’s so cool.  He was showing me how he has been reading the Bible on it.  He was showing off, but you could tell he was proud.  Then yesterday I got an email from one of my 5th/6th grade ministers about how she observed 3-4 boys sharing their phones during my message.  What were they doing?  Reading the bible passages that I was covering…pretty cool huh?
6 weeks ago I talked about the tension I was feeling of whether or not allowing electronics during program should be allowed.  After rereading the article I realized that maybe I was a little stressed from the overuse of them during key points of our worship.  But now I’m noticing a trend of students using their phones and iPod touches to read the Bible.  Yeah some have Nooks and Kindles, but more of them have smart phones and iPod touches.   I think I’m not only going to allow them but encourage students to bring them…you might wonder how I came to that decision…let me explain:
With Bible Apps it’s easier to:

  • Navigate: A lot of my students are new to navigating the Bible.  They could tell you some of the books but not where to find them.  When you have a Bible App all you have to do is type the book, chapter and verse in the search and BOOM! it’s there.
  • Share: I find myself telling students to tweet a bible passage, or share it on Facebook when they get home.  By allowing most of the electronic devices they can instantly share what you are reading, it allows them to evangelize and testify instantaneously.
  • Go Deeper: A lot of Bible Apps come with instant commentary and reading plans.  While you can pick that up in a traditional paperback, you don’t have to commit to a specific translation.  On my bookshelf I have 8 different Bible translations, with an electronic I can carry multiple versions on one device.

It’s pretty clear why Bibles on an iPod, iPad, Android, Kindle, Nook, etc is a good idea but how you monitor them is another question.  To avoid the overuse I think you have to take the lead.  I think you have to tell students that you want them to bring their devices so that they can read their Bible.  I think you have to show them how you are using it (downloaded for my iPod touch) and I think you have to commend them on doing it.  Students are glued to their phones, their glued to their iPods and that means the Bible is just a touch away.  Why not encourage that?  Why not embrace that?  Why not take that step to embrace Bible Apps into their world?
I’m interested in your thoughts, please comment below.

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  • conard says:

    I also allow students to pull out their phones and other devices when we’re looking at scripture. I even encourage them to. I’ve read scripture from my devices before in front of them.

    I wouldn’t want them to not look at a passage just because they don’t have an actual bible [when they have an electronic version].

    What’s even better is asking students with these electronic versions to look up certain translations. They even enjoy it.

  • I totally agree that we should encourage the use of these apps, because they can really help students dig into the Word where they otherwise might not. However, I do worry about turning Bible verses into sound bites, especially on smaller devices. Of course, as larger digital readers become more popular, this may not be as much of an issue, but when we just look up items digitally, we don’t get as much of a sense of context.

  • Conrad, I like the idea of bringing in the different translations, because instantly students can contrast and compare.

  • Benjer,
    You make a good point about looking things up electronically can mean missing out on the context; however, I think that responsibility lies on us. But I think as these apps become more advanced they’re going to supply a lot of material.