Holiness

How YouVersion is Destroying the Way You Read Your Bible

Always having a Bible on you is a privilege granted to us in this digital age. Having the capability to read it anywhere and anytime is amazing, we are blessed. But how sad is that so many people have given up their physical Bible. It sits on the bookshelf collecting dust. YouVersion is changing the way we interact with our Bibles and not for the better.

 

Are you one of the many people who have fallen into the category of reading your Bible on an app instead of cracking open your physical Bible?

We live in a digital society and most people have a smartphone of which 1 in 4 checking it every half an hour. Most of us have a few apps that we use on a daily basis, apps that we’ve grown accustomed to using and if we didn’t have them we’d be lost without them. Not just apps for games and entertainment but actual apps that keep us organized, like our notes, bank account, budgeting and maybe even meal planning. I’d bet most of us have a Bible app. Maybe for you that app falls into the must have category because it’s the primary way you read your Bible.

I think having a Bible app is a must have. Always having a Bible on you is a privilege granted to us in this digital age. Having the capability to read it anywhere and anytime is amazing, we are a blessed generation. Having the Bible on you if feel the nudge to share the gospel with someone at the park, makes it so that we never miss an opportunity to witness. How exciting is it to live in such a day and age?!

 

But how sad is that so many people have given up their physical Bible. It sits on the bookshelf collecting dust, while we may or may not read the Bible that is right at our fingertips on our phone. Having it always available gives us the mindset that we can read it right after we check Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or that latest group text. Yet those apps suck us in and before we know it we have to be somewhere, do something else or simply turn out the lights for the night without ever cracking open the Bible.

Good intentions are not enough when it comes to Bible reading.

 You stop memorizing the order of the books.

When  you are always mindlessly scrolling through the books and then tap on the name of the book that you want, you forget the order the books are in. Is Ezra with minor prophets or in the first half of the Old Testament? What about Jude, Old or New Testament? Does Exodus or Numbers come first? When we aren’t thumbing through a physical Bible we quick lose our ability to remember these things. Or if we are raising our children on a digital Bible then they will never learn them in order.

You don’t interact with the words.

Do you know why I love my physical Bible so much? Because I’ve had it since I was 10 and I’ve spent nearly 20 years underlining with colorful gel pens, I’ve written notes in the margins, I’ve memorized where a certain passage is that I can look for it without knowing the correct reference. I’ve interacted with those pages for so many years that it has become a keepsake, a prized possession, something I want to pass on to my children when I die knowing that they’ll thumb through it reading my notes and remembering the days of their childhood watching me interact with that one book.

Always having a Bible on you is a privilege granted to us in this digital age. Having the capability to read it anywhere and anytime is amazing, we are blessed. But how sad is that so many people have given up their physical Bible. It sits on the bookshelf collecting dust. YouVersion is changing the way we interact with our Bibles and not for the better.

 

I have highlighted a couple verses in my phone app but I couldn’t tell you which ones or how many. Because my brain doesn’t remember it. I love the article Michael Hyatt wrote on how the internet is affecting our brains. Here’s a great quote from Nicholas Carr that he references:

“Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.”

He goes on to say that we don’t read anymore, we skim. And we are more prone to do so when we are on our phone, tablet, or iPad.

On an app you get distractions that pull you away for just a “quick” look.

Now, this can be true if you’re reading a physical Bible. It takes a lot of willpower not to check that buzz or jingle. But it takes even more willpower not to click on it if you already have your phone in your hands. I think if we’re honest we’d say that we check that latest notification with the good intentions of going right back to the Bible app. But how many times do we follow through? How many times does that notification set you off into a bad mood and you can no longer think straight so you put your phone down in a huff.

Truth be told, there are more ways to get distracted when you have your smartphone in hand than your physical Bible. We can’t deny that.

You don’t interact with the Author.

Because we’ve stopped interacting with the words, we’ve in turn stopped interacting with the Author. We don’t dig deep enough to unearth all of the gems in His Word. We don’t say prayers of thanks or praise, instead, we list off our want list in a quick 1-minute prayer as we close the app.

 

We’ve stopped reading deeply and we’ve stopped praying big. We can’t remember where the books are or where certain passages are anymore. Just how is that working out for your walk with the King? Are you close to Him? Do you feel like you can go to Him with every need or blessing? Does He seem far away? Have you lost that spark, the passion, and joy of reading the Word and interacting with the Author? If so, you might want to try opening up that dusty old Bible on the shelf and reconnect yourself to the Source of all joy.

 

Your turn! Do you rely on YouVersion more than your physical Bible? How is it affecting your walk with the Lord? Let’s chat in the comments below!

This post may be linked up with any of these blogs.

 

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Erica
    November 1, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    I really love this article. Though, I love having the Bible app on my phone as a quick “go-to” reference, something in me just will not let that be the SOURCE for me. My physical Bible is “home” for me. I would be totally lost if I couldn’t pick it up and set my eyes upon its pages. I still carry my physical Bible. I still open it up. I still take notes in church, though that too is becoming extinct. Not for me though. This article is a must share. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      November 19, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      I’m glad I’m not alone! It’s becoming a lost art 🙁

  • Reply
    Laurie
    March 14, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Great article and I agree. While I love using my ap to keep me on track with my daily reading, I open my physical Bible for many of the reasons you shared. I have my notes, and I can underline and its been my source of comfort and strength during my darkest hours. I love when I see the date by a verse. It makes me think back and remember what God was doing in my life and why I marked the reference. 🙂

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      March 16, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      Same here Laurie! I’ve had my Bible since I was 10 and some of my notes make me laugh 20 years later. 🙂

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