The End Of The Bible As We Know It?

Posted by Wale Falade

Every technological transition comes with advantages and disadvantages, as the new replaces the old. The same thing is present as ebooks continue to gain market share from hardcopy books. However, one very prominent book that has been the subject of a lot of  discourse is the Christian religious book, The Bible.

Since the mobile phone crept into our lives, gradually taking control of almost every facet of our being, it has become an addiction that most people can not do without for any significant period of time. It is against this background that digital bible advocates probably believe that the only way to make the Bible still relevant in our fast paced, technological world is to incorporate it in our new found addiction – mobile. Over time, the term mobile device have come to include ereaders and tablets, with both form factors now having an overwhelming array of Bibles available for them too.


The question however remains, can the eBible effectively replace the print Bible in every regard? Many would also ask, can an exorcist cast out demons with a digital Bible like they do with the print version?

The fact that most people still feel uncomfortable using their mobile devices to read their Bibles in church probably speaks volumes as regards the way it is still being viewed, especially in Nigeria. This was the subject of my write up almost two years ago which I aptly titled “Ebook Readers – Technology meets Religion” wherein I discussed the trend.

I asked my non-techie wife about her view on the ebible in the church. Her response, “Well, as long as you are reading your Bible on it and not checking your emails or something“. That probably throws a little light on why people view Bible on mobiles in church with suspicion, especially with the advent of the Blackberry.


However, I do remain convinced that the leather-bound Bible on every household bookshelf — like records and videocassettes and newspapers — may soon be endangered, if not extinct. The overwhelming advantages that the ebook, in general, has over the printed book will ensure that the eBible stays very relevant for a long time.

Here are a few:

  • Ebook readers will allow readers to take thousands of ebooks everywhere they go.
  • Thousands of ebooks take up no more space than the reader than stores them.
  • Ebooks typically cost less than paper books.
  • Readers can easily switch from one ebook to another with very little effort.
  • Obtaining additional ebooks requires only a few keystrokes.
  • A new ebook is available immediately for reading.
  • Ebooks consume fewer natural resources such as trees, water and petroleum for shipping.
  • Ebooks have a lower cost of production

What is your take on this?

READER COMMENTS

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17 comments

  1. In the church, the use of the print Bible still shows spiritual seriousness. the ebible comes handy during personal meditation

  2. Many would also ask, can an exorcist cast out demons with a digital Bible like they do with the print version?

    I’d say yes to that question. When you say; ” The Blood of Christ Compels you”, from an Ebook, EBible or from a leather bound exorcism book or leather bound Bible; Are you not saying the same thing?

    Methinks in these digital age of eBooks, Smartphone, and Tablets, that the demons and Satan himself may have also surreptitiously gone digital too!

  3. Historically, religion and technology have always been at loggerheads.
    They both seek the TRUTH, hence the battle for supremacy.

    Science often seeks to explain what RELIGION expects you to imbibe by FAITH alone.

    Therefore, it may take some time before religion FULLY embraces technology in certain areas of its operation
    .
    Like the Quoran, the BIBLE symbolizes (in most people’s mind) more than just the contents. The BOOK itself has a spiritual significance that an electronic equivalen may not easily replace.

    I can put a REAL Bible under my pillow and feel a psychological sense of protection. Can i feel so with a tablet with OliveTree Bible installed?

  4. I can put a REAL Bible under my pillow and feel a psychological sense of protection. Can i feel so with a tablet with OliveTree Bible installed?

    LOLROTFLBMHOTWKMLSHIHAIWTD!!!!!

  5. I see nothing wrong with using an ebible in church. And its not the physical book that casts demons and performs mkracles; that is done by the faith and belief inside the person wielding the bible.

    I have been looking for a catholic eBible (android or symbian3) for some time now, to no avail.

  6. Oh boy I could talk reams on No, the physical bible/Qur’an/Bhagavad Gita will never die out. Why? Because there will always be people who cannot afford an ereader, nor the technology. Even if you get a free ebook version, there is no guarantee of the accuracy of translation from book to digital.

    Can you share your ebook version like you can the physical version? Most times no. In Nigeria the main concern would be ‘have I charged my device enough so it can last until the end of the sermon?’

  7. Ebook reader are not yet popular in the Nigeria market. But ebible is as good as hard covered Bible it is the inspiration that matter not the letter. But phone as subtle way of becoming addiction. Only offline bible will make sense so that you don’t get distracted and disturb others with alerts noise

  8. The digital Bible has the additional advantage of helping you find references in the Bible faster in most cases and some even have more than one translations that make understanding. Open Bible for Android has about 9 translations.

    @spacyzuma

    I have been looking for a catholic eBible ( android or symbian 3) for some time now, to no avail.

    Try MySword for Android and then download Catholic Bible from within the app.

  9. I think there will always be a place for Physical Bibles. E-bibles have been around in different forms for quite some time now. From the days of stand-alone digital organizer esque devices to those that can be installed in even some of the earliest of mobile phones down to their present incarnation. Throughout that time, adoption of those different digital bible incarnations hasn’t really been encouraging. One can argue though that penetration wasn’t as high as it is now.
    State of mind has a lot to do with religious practices and that state of mind is achieved by people in different formats such as Kneeling, clasping hands together, holding a bible, etc. For such people who depend on a physical bible to achieve a state of hightened spirituality, that can never be replaced with an e-bible or mobile phone with a bible app.
    On TV these days, we see more and more pentecostal pastors who use the iPad while preaching to their congregation. In such churches, I’m sure the stigma of using a mobile device to access the Bible in church would be greatly reduced. In the more traditional churches though, I don’t see this being adopted by the clergy any time soon.
    One can’t really predict what the future holds and maybe in the next 50 years, there wouldn’t be any physical books anymore 😉 however, as long as there are physical books, I don’t think using the bible in the traditional sense will ever go out of favour.

  10. @Harry Echemco
    Thanks a lot for that app recommendation. I’ve installed it and downloaded 2 bible modules. Though, the only catholic bible listed doesnt contain the books i want (maccabees, wisdom of solomon, bel and the dragon, etc)

  11. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha afewgoodmen,its been long you make me laugh with your apt and surgical answer.

    you see,d digital bible will expose confused christians who decieve their members.The operations of the christian God is software in nature.What do I mean? you dont need a hardware bible to cast out or to speak to your situations,rather, as the Master himself said,at the mention of my name Jesus all knee(life issues) will bow.

    unlike some other religions,even if you tear, or burn the bible it doesnt take away the power of the spoken bible from an individual. you may be killed if you try that with another pseudo equivalent.

    the future is digital,God himself has been a progressive right from creation. from oral transmission to animal organic parchments to animal hide to loose paper to bounded paper as we have it today to electronic formats and now the e book and ebook reader.He will always be there to answer our requests.Amen

  12. @spacyzuma

    I think what you are looking for is the book of Apocrypha. If that is the case, then you can go here http://gobible.jolon.org/welcome.html and download it separately for your Symbian device. You will also get the regular Bible there also.

    These are actually Java application, but Symbian runs Java applications nicely.

  13. @Harry – Thanks again. I’ve installed them, but they look pretty dry, with d default java keys and stuff. It’s manageable sha.

    @Eyebeekay – Thanks. But that search doesnt contain any catholic bibles. I searched.

  14. I think religion does not frown at the technology for as long as it will aid the development of man and i will not distance him from his creator.But pple will always see and attacked more respect to Ouran or Bible on booklet than eBook/iBook because while in booklet form they are saved from being mixed up with other Bad items like pornographic photos, movies etc on the same Tablet or phone.However holy eBooks are welcome because it make us have access to them at less or no cost anywhere,anytime.

  15. …But pple will always see and attacked more respect to Ouran or Bible on booklet than eBook/iBook because while in booklet form they are saved from being mixed up with other Bad items like pornographic photos , movies etc on the same Tablet or phone…

    And how about using the same eyes used in reading the Bible and Quran to look at a woman (that is not your wife) and lust over her, using the same hand used in holding either of these books while reading to caress her and touch her intimate parts. How about keeping either of these in the same house that such act is going on?

    The point is that keeping your Bible or Quran separate from your collections of pornographic materials does not make you any better person which I believe is the essence of these books or religion.

  16. Nice article. I sometimes forget that this side of the discussion about faith and technology still happens. A few things:

    Before one esteems a Bible in print over one electronic, please do remember that it wasn’t until the 1600s that it was actually possible to own a Bible that you could read. Both ownership and literacy aren’t “new.” Secondly, it wasn’t until the late 1800s that it was advantaegeous for a non-pastorial/papal leader to even teach from a Bible, let alone read more than Psalms, Proverbs, and snippets of the New Testatement – most got their “devotionals” from the esteemed (trusted) preachers of their day.

    So, let’s first be careful in the perspective that an electronic Bible is vastly different. Its different in terms of access and the space it takes up. Until we start talking user interfacecs, licensing, etc., we aren’t talking about issues which totally seperate print and digital religous tomes.

    Second: I’ve got a list of Bible applications for *nearly every* mobile platform. Click on my name and see the link on the right side of the page. I don’t get ad revenue for my site, so this is about as useless for advertising help as can be. That said, if you really want to pursue this topic of the intersection of faith and mobile tech, I can assure you that my site is one of the oldest on the web pushing the topic such.

    Last: the power of any tome of religious knowledge/history is in the applied faith of its believers, not in their icons, artifacts, or sacraments. Those items only serve to accent and further the faith that should literally be flowing from your inner-most.

    Feel free to connect directly with me to talk on any of this items (or others) in more specifics.

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