Lately I have made a point to focus on what I say as I enter the preaching time on Sundays. It has been a self study of some sorts. The result of this study have proven that "most" of the time I begin my preaching time with the phrase "turn in your Bibles to...". Along with this study I have been reading on the many thoughts about Bibles (real book form) and all types of digital. It is fascinating!
Allow me to set the stage a little. First, I love simply reading the Bible in book form! Second, I love reading the Bible in digital form! Clear as mud right? Not so fast. I have noticed that I study with both forms and do this often. In preaching, I use a loose leaf bible with inserted texts. It also contains most of the New Testament and some of the Old. When teaching a class, I use a hardbound Bible. I am all over the map! I have even used my iPad on several occasions for notes. Again, I like all the above!
But what is best? What is better? What is needed?
Above all we need to be people who read the Bible in any form more! We have the ability today to saturate our lives with the Word of God. And saturate we should! But we are not! Just like with the many translations, some not even translations, we keep finding ways to make the reading of the Bible easier and yet - people still struggle with spending time in it! And because of our desire to make it more easier to read, many people are reading versions that are FAR from accurate!
We must remember that the Bible itself is alive! When this life is combined with the power of the Holy Spirit the Bible is easy to understand and apply. Our efforts have diminished this key fact! Many people struggle with understanding simply because their approach to the Bible is NOT spiritual. They are not reading in the power of the Holy Spirit. They are NOT determined to allow the Word of God to change to them. Basically, most people just want a quick answer or promise. And that approach will never produce passionate Bible reading or real life change.
We will not jump into the "which version" debate with this article except to say only a few things. First, we must remember that the word "Version" is involved. For those who desire to argue one over another or claim that one is only THE Word of God, one might pause and ask, what about the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic? I try to not offend in this area for it only distracts from the real issue. Second, we do need to realize that some "Bibles" are paraphrases while others are translations. Be careful! Most of the recent stuff produced is NOT even close when one looks at the original languages. You may not be reading anything other than someones thoughts on the Bible. And that is dangerous to your spiritual growth!
But what about the FORM? Is there a need today to push the book bound or the digital? Is one better than the other? I am reminded of a similar debate when video projection was brought into the church. People argued that we needed to use only the Hymnals. Only the real deal would produce the right type of praise and adoration. Others embraced the video approach and felt a sense of freedom. Today, I am discovering that many in the older generation are now wanting the words on a screen for there, they are easier for them to read. I have found this true with the use of Bible texts during sermons. So I am placing more and more on the screen against the logic of the professionals.
I want people to see and read and follow along in the studying of Gods Word!
In fact, we have made our handouts available digitally and one can take notes with the outline on their device. I hesitated for months on this one. Now I see teenagers taking notes ( at least they look like they are!) with their iPads. I have actually had several bring their iPads to me and show me what they have done. This is exciting.
But there is more! Stay tuned! The subject is deep and wide! I might surprise you still!