Digital Bible, Digital Problems!
As a culture we are rapidly becoming a paperless society. Almost all matters pertaining to business and leisure are being accomplished on personal Smart Phones, ipads, Tablets, Kindles, MP3, 4 Players, etc. Many Christians are preferring to read their Bibles on state-of-the-art digital devices, thus eliminating books as part of their reading practices. In fact, eliminating Bibles in book form has become ever-increasingly popular and considered convenient and vogue. The thought of utilizing a paper Bible, is claimed by many evangelicals, to be cumbersome, superfluous, and time-consuming. The negative effects upon biblical intelligence has been devastating, especially on the younger adults. In this quick-paced, “Google it”, “I-want-it-now” generation, the technological industry has aided and abetted this devastation. Ignorance of the most fundamental tenants of Christianity is on the rise, because industry is continually inventing new and improved devices, designed to simplify the biblical reading and research experience. Therefore, we are straying perilously further and further away from the Bible in book form.
While auditing a theology class at one of the most prestigious seminaries in America, I observed the theology professor had strictly forbade all electronic devises from being utilized in his classroom and insisted only Bibles in book-form be employed. Furthermore, whenever he referenced a text of Scripture, he would prompt his students to turn in their Bibles to the passage indicated. As the professor turned the pages of his Bible, he overtly proceeded slowly and methodically, all the while audibly and sequentially calling out each book as he thumbed by them. I wondered if others who watched this assumed he was acting harshly and arrogantly having eliminated computers as he educated these students to become familiar with the written Word of God. I wondered if it appeared as pompous sarcasm, as if he flaunted his intellectual superiority over these fledgling students.
However, it wasn’t very long before I determined that assumption would be erroneous. It was my to joyful astonishment, that after careful observation, most of the students awkwardly fumbled through their Bibles. I realized they didn’t know the general location of the books of the Bible and needed this professors wisdom and patience. I was perplexed by this discovery and wondered, just how seminary students could be ignorant to the rudiments of the Bible? But, concluded that they are victims of this current technological age, which produces every type of new-fangled gadget, designed to eradicate books and their attention span. Their lacking of basic biblical knowledge is indeed a direct result of this ever-evolving generation. Therefore, I could not fault them. Unfortunately, too many of today’s students know of no other way to read or conduct research on the Bible; everything they learn about the Bible is apart from books. In essence, by eliminating the need to turn literal pages of a book, they inadvertently cultivate an atmosphere of biblical unfamiliarity. Furthermore, I applaud the boldness and sagacity of that professor, who wisely detected a metastasizing cancer invading Christendom, and exhibited the courage, wisdom and compassion to take action to combat it.
Since God chose to preserve His holy word in written form, in a literal book, we ought to earnestly contend against its extinction. By divine providence, through human agencies, He supernaturally chose the sixty-six books that complete the Bible. Although not all sixty-six books comprise of one large chronological narrative, by God’s providence our Bible has chronological and historical significance. Knowing the succession of books of the Bible is paramount to understanding the Bible itself; it’s creative history; God’s chosen nation of Israel; Jesus Christ’s ministry: Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection; His plan of redemption for both Jew and Gentile; eschatological times and the glories of heaven.
I must state, that in many ways technology is extremely helpful. It allows Christians to instantly transmit massive amounts of data (truth) to all the ends of the earth; for which we should be exceedingly grateful for this ability! But, we must never allow advances in technology to completely eradicate printed Bibles, because it can breed ignorance as well as slothfulness. We need to bring out our Bibles daily to read from it, and be blessed and changed by God’s written word. As parents or teachers we need to read to children and teach youth to read from the printed Bible. We can learn from the invention of the calculator as an example. It became a permanent crutch for many people, which has greatly retarded their math skills and apathy with numbers and ability to think. Our Lord warns us to think and to ponder, not to allow other “things” to think for us.
In conclusion, it is essential that our children and our children’s children, possess knowledge of the Bible as a book, and become thoroughly acquainted with it. The Bible in a printed form, will literally force one into seeing how God has ordained all things. It was and is God’s chosen way to communicate to mankind. It’s as if He desires believers to slow down, sit at His feet, and develop deeper awe of love for God (Luke. 10:38-42). And this is best accomplished by reading a “His” book; it forces you to meditate on things above. The Bible says “Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, And he who makes haste with his feet errs.” (Prov. 19:2).
Therefore, let us celebrate the gift of the written and printed Word of God and ponder the gift of the supernatural divine power (the Holy Spirit) that operates through the words God inspired to be recorded in a physical book! We ought not “Google” the things of God, but rather slowly and methodically approach them, pondering, studying and meditating on His written word. The Bible indicates God’s blessings will be bountiful, and the “gems” of His truth can be unearthed from within the pages of the Bible. “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.” (Rev. 1:3).