Is a Paper Bible Better Than a Bible App?

“Reading my Bible on an iPhone is like kissing my wife through a screen door.” - C.Leaders

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Aaron Blumer's picture


The speaker was just kidding, but it's not a trivial question... and some of the debate is weak.

The argument that a Bible app can lead people to think the Bible is just another app doesn't hold up well to reflection. Counter: the Bible as a book can lead people to think the Bible is just another book. The Bible's power doesn't lie in its format. It's power is in the truth it conveys. The Bible on my phone allows me to view a text in multiple translations, take a peek at Greek and Hebrew, view cross references, all in a second or two without missing any of the sermon. To do the equivalent with paper, you'd need a pile of books and it would take half an hour.
Everything changes. Not all change is bad.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

josh p's picture

Original Luther quote "Reading a Bible in a translation is like kissing your wife through a veil." 

WallyMorris's picture

Paper and digital complement, not compete. Each has advantages & disadvantages, each helpful and better in certain situations. One of the inconvenient and awkward limitations of digital Bible and other books is highlighting and notes. My paper Bible has highlights and personal notes in the margins which, when I try to do that in a digital format, to do so is awkward and inconvenient. I also tend to have more eyestrain and fatigue with digital.  I like digital for certain uses and situations, but for basic reading, nothing has replaced my paper formats. I like Logos, but I miss Bibleworks very much. Additionally, the digital format is depriving us of being able to see the personal notes in their own handwriting that people make in their books. For example, I have about 95 books from G. Campbell Morgan's personal library. Most of them do not have any handwritten notes. but some do, in his own handwriting. That is very special. Digital cannot provide that.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

Bert Perry's picture

I like the convenience of doing things online and not lugging around big references, but I'm still glad to have my paper versions that have stayed the same since they were printed.  There is something to be said for that stability.  Notes in the margins can be valuable, too.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Craig Toliver's picture

Iphone with ESV, NIV, CSB, LSB (the Macarthur's Legacy Version Wink ), NKJV, and my favorite ... the NET Bible