As leaders in the local church, there is nothing we want more than to see the people we lead engage in and connect with the Word of God. We wholeheartedly believe the truth of Hebrews 4:12 that His Word is alive and active. We have seen it in our own lives and desire for other believers to experience the healing and freedom it can bring to their lives. Creating opportunities for people to study the Word of God and helping them move from seeing it as a stale book to the actual breath of God, can be challenging. It may even mean accepting the new trend of the digital Bible.
The good news is that we live in a digital age where people work every day to bring Scripture and studies that unpack Scripture right to our fingertips. If you have a computer or smartphone you have access to more studies, articles and commentaries on Scripture than has EVER been available in the history of the world. We truly live in an amazing age for discipleship.
There are Christian leaders that are quick to voice criticism toward digital Bible studies. There are certainly drawbacks, as with any element of technology. These studies can encourage isolation instead of community. People can easily access studies that are full of distorted truth. They do create the opportunity for lack of accountability and an easy excuse to stay away from meeting with other believers.
However, there are just as many, if not more, positive reasons to embrace digital Bible studies and encourage other believers to engage in them. At Church Tech Today, Andy Rau explains 5 Reasons You Should Embrace Digital Bible Study. Rau describes the amazing content available to us almost immediately. Gone are the days of waiting until your local Christian bookstore is open or trying to find a commentary or study at the library. Now websites like Biblegateway and YouVersion give us easy access to a plethora of Biblical commentaries.
Some believers argue that when doing a digital Bible study on your smartphone it makes it difficult to take notes or highlight significant passages. They argue this can take away from the learning experience. Rau explains that now most popular Bible apps make note taking simple and easy as a click or a tap. He explains that you can also use Evernote or One Note to take and organize notes while studying.
Many also argue that digital studies take away the aspect of accountability, however, many of the digital sites that offer mobile apps also allow users to set up reminders and alarms to promote accountability and help them stay on track. They also offer options to engage with other people that are participating in the study online. It may be through the option of leaving comments and responding to one another or through chat groups, but they promote interaction while doing the study.
Finally, Rau admits that this is simply where we are at….”we live digital lives, and God’s Word should be present there alongside us. To be sure, there is great value in periodically disconnecting from the online world and its distractions. But there is also much to be gained by making sure that Scripture is always as close at hand as your music player, photo stream, email inbox, and messaging app.”