What do you do with a worn out iPad? Basically, you give it away, hand it down to your children to use for games, or you throw it away if it’s really worn out.
Recently, I was asked by The Christian Index to answer some basic questions about my use of technology in preaching. I informed them that I use my iPad while preaching simply to glance at my notes, but I always have the Bible in the pulpit with me. I’m not one of those preachers walking around with an iPad in my hand to read the Word of God. I’m not a hater of technology, but for me I prefer to have an open Bible in the pulpit. The questions were part of an article centered on the use of technology in the church – especially among preachers. Let’s face it, we are in a technology boom and there is likely not a week that goes by where most congregations are filled with a certain percentage of people who are reading their Bible and following the sermon from some technological device such as an iPad, Kindle, iPhone, or some other tablet device. Tim Challies does a great job of documenting this technological advancement in his book, The Next Story.
As I have thought about my use of technology and the way I have developed my library over the last few years, I have also had to think critically about my children and the future of reading. For instance, I use Logos Bible Software in my study for sermon preparation and other writing projects. Although I have a growing library of tangible books in my office, I have a much larger library of literally thousands of volumes through my Logos software. When I travel, I no longer have to carry two extra bags full of books because I have them in my tablet and through my computer at the press of a button.
I think back to my childhood days and I remember seeing my Dad make notes in his Bible and I wanted one just like him. That Christmas he gave me one and I still have that old bonded red leather KJV in my library to this day. I think back to my days in Sunday School as a child and I remember one of my teachers who had a worn out old Bible full of notes and rough edges. Gene Brooks is still living today at 92 years of age, but when he goes home to be with the Lord, his family will have access to his old worn out Bible. As Charles Spurgeon once said, “Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.” As I spent some time thinking about the depreciation of electronics verses the value of an old worn out Bible, I have become convinced that a Christian should keep a tangible study Bible in operation for the following reasons:
- Electronics fail and a good tangible Bible is a necessity at times.
- A printed Bible is good for taking notes, journaling, and personal reflections that often transcend electronics.
- The value of a worn out Bible is priceless to children or grandchildren who will one day pick it up and read it.
Several years ago, after the death of my grandfather, I was given his Bible immediately after I preached his funeral. I still have it in my library and I often open it up and think of how he influenced me as a faithful man of God. I remember him carrying that same brown Bible in his hand when I would go with him to church as a boy. I recall him bringing that brown Bible to hear me preach. I have no idea where his phone is today. I didn’t care about his computer when he died. But his Bible is very special to me.
It’s not likely that our children or grandchildren will read the notes we have inserted in our electronic devices on certain Bible verses. However, it is very likely that after our funeral, one of our children or grandchildren will be handed a worn out Bible. The outdated iPad will be long gone. The scratched up iPhone will be worthless. The worn out Bible, on the other hand, will be a treasure! It is for that reason that I will always keep a printed version of the Bible in operation in order to be something that my children and grandchildren will find valuable in the days following my death.
A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t ~ Charles Spurgeon
Pastor Josh Buice