As an engineer, I like the feel of books. I can put bookmarks and sticky-note tags in them, highlight key points, and make notes in the margins. However, in some situations, it doesn’t make sense for me to carry around lots of books, manuals, and catalogs. In these cases, the electronic world offers many complementary technologies.
As a result, sometimes I prefer to read on a screen (whether a computer, tablet, or smartphone), rather than in print. You may prefer the same thing, or maybe your best chance to read is at a time when you can’t easily get to a printed and bound version of your favorite book.
The same can be true of the Bible, as well. The good news is that there are a variety of digital options to complement paper versions.
Those with e-readers can usually get the King James Version (and sometimes other translations) as a book. Depending on your e-reader, you may have to flip through a lot of pages to find specific contents (when the entire Bible is represented as a single, continuous book – which it kind of is, but that’s another topic), but it’s still a great start.
If you have a smartphone or tablet (whether iOS or Android), one app that makes navigation through the Bible much easier is called YouVersion1 (http://www.youversion.com/). This is the app I usually use personally for Bible reading (although when I teach, I generally do that from a printed Bible – I’ve never had to reboot one of those).
The YouVersion app makes a variety of translations available (including other languages – after all, we didn’t all grow up speaking English), along with searching, rapid navigation to references (book, chapter, and verse), electronic highlighting, and other amenities. In addition, there are a variety of daily devotionals, which you can select from. Then, the app takes a thought and a link to a specific Bible passage (or two or three), and makes them available to you each day. (It also lets you read ahead, if you are particularly interested in a topic.)
Another site that I’ve used in the past is Bible Gateway1 (http://www.biblegateway.com/). An app is also provided, but I typically use the web site directly. In addition to searching capabilities, there are also links to other commentaries, devotionals, and support material. I find that handy for preparing a lesson when I get to teach from the Bible, but you may find it useful for study on your own. If you use an RSS reader, you can also get a verse of the day pushed to your favorite browser, widget, or app.
As someone who works with computers every day, I’ll be the first to say that electronics are just tools (like Gutenberg’s printing press), so I’m not suggesting that they ever entirely supplant the printed word, nor other means of communication. They’re just a complementary part of the portfolio of tools that God has given us in this generation.
As a point of perspective, the Bible passage below is from the start of the church, after Jesus had returned to Heaven. God spoke to all sorts of people in a way that they could understand. May God’s Word speak to your heart today.
On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.
Acts of the Apostles 2:1-6 NLT
And, regardless of how you read the Bible, I encourage you to read the rest of Acts 2 on your own, today.
- Bible Notes
- Don’t Skip the Tutorial
- Bites vs. Meals
- Do You Read the Bible, or Study It?
- [The] Word with Friends
- Understand the Source, Part 2
A version of this devotion originally appeared at http://fcccanton.com/reading-the-bible-electronically/ as a Study Guide. Reprinted here by permission.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
3 thoughts on “Reading the Bible Electronically”
For times when an internet connection is unavailable, or to minimize data usage, there are several downloadable bibles programs available. One that I like is from http://www.olivetree.com . They even have the NIV as a free download, as well as ESV, NKJV, and (of course) KJV. It is available for Android, iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, Mac and Windows. They have various other free study and devotional tools available, as well as many that can be purchased.
Another that I’ve used is from http://www.e-sword.net . There are many add-ons to this bible program that people have written to enhance its capabilities. I still use eSword for the add-on that someone has written which includes the whole set of College Press’s “Bible Study Textbook” series, which is out of print but available for free electronic download.
For more options of downloadable bible software, one can check out alternativeto.net/browse/search?q=bible+study+sofware , or just do a search for “free bible study software.” And, there are a number of paid options, too. God’s Word in electronic form is certainly available from many sources.
Thank you for sharing these suggestions. Having an offline option is valuable when I’m out of range of a good data signal, or just need to budget cell data usage!