The ubiquity of our “smart” devices means that many of us have a Bible app available at the touch of a screen.  While this is convenient in many ways, it is not always ideal.

Sitting on a deck with members of our small group, I followed along in our Galatians Bible study on my phone.  At some point during the discussion, someone asked me my opinion on a question when another group member jumped in joking that that I didn’t know because I was just looking at sports online.  I quickly showed my screen to everyone so they could see I was reading along, but I became very aware of the fact that it could appear that I wasn’t fully engaged with them because I was looking at a screen.  Had an actual book been open on my lap, something much different would have been communicated that my Bible app could not.

A few days later, I saw a video of a “famous” pastor encouraging his people to bring their Bibles to church… their actual Bibles not merely their devices.  His reasoning was twofold.  #1. First, our devices are constantly interrupting our daily lives.  Every time we direct our attentions to our phones (even if we are planning on simply looking at one app) we are opening ourselves up to the distractions and diversions of unopened emails, text messages and games.  A book does not have those distractions #2.  Secondly, we all want to pass on our faith to our children and grandchildren.  When we die, we can be sure that our children will NOT covet our old iPad 2 with the Bible app on it… but a Bible worn, written in and used?  Now, that is a treasure worthy of passing on to the next generation.

I want to encourage you to go “old school” and carry an actual book (gasp) to your small group, family devotions and church.  Use those Bibles well.  Write in them; be challenged by them, and pray through the powerful words.  Allow your tears to soak its pages, and someday, it might be one of your children’s or grandchildren’s greatest treasures.