Potential Dangers of Your Bible App

 

Technology is amazing isn't it?  I mean who would have ever thought that we would one day be able to open on the Bible and read it on iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.  However, with any gift there are some potential dangers...

If we are not careful the convince of ready availability of the Bible can cheapen the preciousness of the Bible.  In an age where the Bible app stands next to the Facebook app we must be very careful not to demise the worthiness of the Bible in the eyes of our culture.  For example, many church members have stopped bringing paper Bibles to church on Sunday Worship.  The will prioritize bringing a smartphone or an iPad, but don't bother carrying a Bible. Carrying a Bible communicates to others the preciousness of that which you are carrying.  It communicates to others that this book is significant enough and valuable enough that it is worth the extra trouble of carrying the extra weight with me.  It also makes a distinction between the Word of God, and whatever else you have on your device.  This is why I personally have made the decision to always bring a paper Bible with me to the pulpit.  I'll sometimes use my iPad for notes, but I always make sure I have a Bible with me, because it communicates to the congregation the preciousness of the words of Scripture.

Part of this concern is a very practical one as well.  Smartphone Bibles can be very distracting.  You can be reading Isaiah then get a text message or an email and your focus is no longer on the Bible but on your inbox.  In the day of so many technological distractions, we must not let the scriptures take the backseat to the twitter app.

No don't get me wrong.  bible apps can be very helpful.  For example, when your sitting in the doctor's office waiting for the doctor you have the Bible right there on your phone.  Take those extra minutes washing your mind in the Word rather than people magazine.  They can also be convenient for evangelism, and even for Bible Study.  Some of the Bible Study tools available in the digital age are absolutely astounding.  My favorite is Logos. I use the iPad app all the time.  With it I can quickly pull up the Greek or Hebrew Text and do a word study on the go.  The technology of this age is a gift from God, but we must never let the gift of technology become our God.

We must always keep a healthy balance, and think through the implications of everything we do.  God's Word is precious and the way we handle the text physically should communicate that to others.

Taking time to Delight in God

If you are in ministry, active in your church, or just a believer in Jesus Christ, so often we get super busy. With so many responsibilities, we get so distracted that we forget to just enjoy God.  Even when we sit down to spend our scheduled 15 minutes with God, it becomes a ritualistic and we seem to spend the time simply asking God for things we need as we rummage through our to do list.  We keep ourselves so busy, that we have a hard time simply sitting down and delighting our God and King.

The truth is so often times we get distracted by good things!  However the very ministry we do for God sometimes hinders our delight in God.  We get so distracted with busyness that we become like Martha.  We have Jesus sitting down waiting for us to spend time with him, but we are so busy and distracted we forget to enjoy Him.  I know that all of us are guilty of this, especially me.

I challenge you to take some time today, get away alone with God with no other agenda but to enjoy him.  Forget the to do list for just a little while.  Read his Word and converse with Him in prayer for no other reason, but simply because you love Him.

Taking the Steps to Delight and Meditate on God's Word

Tonight in our youth worship I taught on delighting and cherishing God's Word from Psalm 1.  I showed this video before I stepped up to preach.  It is a powerful video that brings me to tears every time I watch it.  It is more than worth the time to watch: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9dpmp_-TY0]

I also told my students that if they needs some beginning steps to cherish God's Word that I would provide some helpful resources here.  So here are a couple quick ideas to get you started.

Blogger Justin Taylor always puts out a collection of different Bible reading plans every year.  You can check it out here to see different Bible reading plans that might be a good fit for you.

Also, I would suggest making an investment in a good study bible.  They are more than worth their cost (which isn't too much) and if you are a teenager I am sure your parents would love to buy you a good study Bible if you ask for one.  For those just getting started with studying God's word,knowing background information and what is happening in the historical context can be a little overwhelming.  A great study bible like the ESV Study Bible can be a great resource to help you understand God's word.  The ESV Study Bible is one of my favorite Study Bibles and I use it regularly for my own personal devotion.

The best advice I can give to you is to just pick up your Bible and start reading it! If you are not sure where to start or you are hesitant to begin a Bible Reading Plan just pick one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) or one of the apostle Paul's letters and just read through that particular book.  Pray and ask God to reveal himself to you as you read.  Ask the Holy Spirit to give you understanding.  After spending time daily in the Bible over months and years you will be amazed how God will increase your knowledge of his Word, but it starts with beginning that journey today.  Once you have hidden God's Word in your heart you will be amazed how God will recall verses or passages in your mind as you live out your life.  Start today and begin to meditate on God's Word.  Get some help from a pastor or a good Christian friend and begin your life long journey of experiencing and knowing God through His Word, the Bible!

As always if there is ever anything I can do to help you our encourage feel free to contact me.  I am here to help and to serve you any way I can.

 

Five Bad Bible Readers

How is your time in God’s Word?  Do you study the Bible with intensity, consistency, and passion? Many Christians struggle with spending time daily in God’s word.  A lot of times it is because we have the wrong attitude when it comes to reading the Bible.  Which of the following five people sounds like you?

1. Justifying Janet

Janet reads God's word just to make themselves feel good about whatever decision they have already decided. If they want a tattoo, they go to the Bible to see if its ok. If they want to drink alcohol, they find verses that prove their point.  If they want to date a person whose not a Christian they scrounge around finding any evidence in God's word that makes their own oppinion seem right. Janet’s approach to God's word is disastrous because she is not conforming herself to God's Word, she is making God's Word conform to her.

 2. Legalistic Larry

Legalistic Larry opens the Bible because he feels the pressure of his Pastor telling him he needs too. Larry is the kind of guy who will become filled with motivation at the beginning of a new year, pick out a Bible reading plan and force himself to do it day in and day out. Larry treats the Bible like an item on the “to do” list he needs to check off each day. He has no desire to hear from God or to know God better, he is merely reading his Bible because it is the right thing for a good Christian person to do. He reads his Bible out of guilt, not joy. And in the end Larry will become very good at reading his Bible forcefully and rigidly and thus become proud and arrogant, or he will struggle and feel worthless.

 3. Out-of-Context Oscar

Oscar opens up his Bible and finds some verses that he loves and enjoys. Oscar has a very minimal knowledge of God's word and comes back to a few verses that he knows and uses them over and over again out of context. This is the person who uses Philippians 4:13 as proof that God is going to let him win his Football game. Oscar tends to love the encouraging verses all the while ignoring the ones that asks him to do difficult things like, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Mt 16:24) , "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me”(Mt 10:37) No, Oscar doesn't read any of these verses, he will just stick with the ones on his Christian Coffee Cup.

4. Passionate Penny

Penny gets really excited about reading the Bible for short periods of time. She will go to a conference and hear some awesome speakers and get really excited about reading her Bible when she gets back home. She will dive into the Bible throughout the day for about a week. Then the passion and excitement from the conference wears off like a druggy coming off a high, and pretty soon the Bible is back on the book shelf collecting dust. Penny has no consistency or discipline to keep going when it is tough, so she waits around till the next conference where she will get excited again about her relationship with God and studying His word.

 5. Academic Anthony

Anthony is the guy that loves knowledge. He loves to study and analyze the Bible. He is a proud expert on Bible trivia and can list off all 12 tribes of Israel in alphabetical order, by the Hebrew alphabet of course (English is for lazy Christians). Anthony knows all the background information about the Bible and he will not hesitate to tell you everything you want to know about the author and structure of a book in the Bible. He uses big words like parallelism when discussing Hebrew Poetry all the while failing to allow the text of scripture to change his heart and his mind.  Anthony's pride and arrogance in academics has put a wall around his heart and keeping the Holy Spirit from working as he studies the Bible. Although Anthony knows a lot about the Bible he doesn't really know the Bible.  Anthony sees the Bible as a textbook to study and analyze, but never truth to be applied.

Which of these five people are you most like? Which one do you most relate too? So often we approach reading the Bible like these five people. As a Christian we need to regularly study God's Word through prayerful reading, meditation, and application. Why? Because through God's inspired word, we get to know and savor our God and King. We get to see who God is and what he has done through his son Jesus Christ.  We get the opportunity to hear from God as he speaks to us, convicts us, and restores us through the consistent washing of His word. Be weary of reading your Bible like one of these five people mentioned. Be like the wise and blessed man in Psalm 1 whose "delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night." (v. 2).

Take Delight in God's Word today and spend the remainder of your life meditating on His word and may we say, "With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!" (Ps 119:10)