August 31, 2009

What matters the paper or the text?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 6:30 am

I’ve had several conversations recently that have led me to wonder what we value more the paper or the text.  Do we value the words of the Bible or do we value the physical Bible?

I recently read The Rabbit & The Elephant (interesting read; I strongly agreed & disagreed w/ various points throughout the book).  It retold the story of  William Tyndale’s mission to translate the Bible into English.  He’s quoted as saying “If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plow to know more of the Scriptures than the Pope.”

The crazy thing (to us at least, to church leaders of the 16th century it somehow made perfect sense) was that opposition to translating the Bible into English (from Latin & Greek so that the common man could read it for himself) came from church leaders.  The very people who were supposed to advancing the Gospel were the ones who opposed people reading the Bible.  Silly, but it made sense to them.

I wonder if those of us in the church today make similar mistakes?

One I’ve seen recently is a battle over the use of Bibles that aren’t physical books.

Online Bibles have been around for 10+ years now.  Biblegateway has been around as long as I’ve had the internet (14? years).  YouVersion came on the scene a couple of years ago thanks to  Then YouVersion revealed it’s Bible App & it’s taken it to a different level.

You can now have the entire Bible w/ more translations than I knew existed for FREE on you phone.  Our phones are attached to us & now we have the Bible everywhere we go.

In youth ministry this means that teens can take their Bible everywhere they go.  Now when they have a few minutes before school, at lunch, between classes, or whenever they can read their Bible.  Seems like a great thing.

However, I’ve sensed resistance.  To some reading the Bible on a device isn’t as good as holding & reading a physical copy of Scripture.

Yes, when I’m at home I prefer to read my physical Bible rather than an online or mobile version.  I like to underline & take notes.  I like to look back at my comments & underlinings from past readings.

However, reading the physical printing of the Bible isn’t better than the mobile or online version.  The power of the Bible isn’t that it’s a printed book, but that it’s God’s Word to us.

Hebrews 4:12
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.


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