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Why I don't use an electronic Bible in church  

Recently, a student asked me if I use an electronic Bible in church.  I told him no.

Before I give you my reasons, let me first tell you that I love (even depend on) electronic Bibles and commentaries for sermon preparation, crafting devotionals and researching biblical issues.  The ability to click with a mouse, swipe with my tablet or peruse with my smartphone is a huge time saver.   But when I attend church or speak in church, I never use anything electronic.   Here’s why.

First, the Bible is not like any other book.  It is unique in every sense.  Actually, its full and proper name is the Holy Bible.  Neither my smartphone nor my tablet is holy.  Nor is your Kindle.  They enable us to text, email, Facebook or phone a friend.  That daily stuff is all well and good.  But it is definitely not holy.  The Bible is special, and the physical copy I bring helps me in a subtle way to remember that.

I am not suggesting that the leather, ink, and paper themselves are holy.  Nor am I saying your electronic device cannot contain holy content.  But because the overwhelming majority of our time spent with electronic devices is mundane, for me it detracts from the “set apart” nature of Holy Scripture.

Second, I use a paper Bible because I believe it’s important to underline and make notes as I listen.  Sure you can do this electronically.  But honestly, how likely is it those notes will be around a decade from now?  I have notes in my Bible made 20 years ago that still inform me today.

Third, I use a paper and ink Bible because a smartphone or tablet invite—even beg—distractions.  There’s the quiet buzz of a text or email alert…a Facebook message.  I’m not looking for more distractions in church. 

Finally, it’s my opinion that the use of an electronic gadget for a Bible in church is just one more evidence of our demand for comfort and convenience.  Turning pages is just "too hard." Besides—gotta keep one hand free for that coffee cup!


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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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