Is it ok to use your phone’s Bible App in Church?



Ok, I have a question and I need your opinion on this topic!

Phones in Church?

I was sitting in church a few weeks ago and I didn’t have my Bible with me, so I looked it up the relevant morning passage on my IPhone (instead of using the pew Bible I might add.)  I have several great Bible IPhone apps that I use (all the time) when I don’t have a Bible on me or when I need to look up a passage by keyword or topic.   Anyway, while I was quietly reading the Scripture one of my friends, who was in the balcony and could see me on my phone, texted me, in fun, to “get off my phone in Church.” I tried to explain to her later that I was using my Bible App, but I don’t think she bought that as an excuse.

Who’s responsible?

OK, Here is my question. Is it EVER OK to use your smartphone in church to read your Bible? Is it my responsibility to not look like I am on my phone even when I am using my IPhone for good and not evil? Or, is it the responsibility of the other person to not judge me and think that I have the best intentions?  Have you ever used your phone in church or in a meeting, for good purposes, and felt bad about it?  I think this problem is going to get worse (especially in church) before it gets better.  Agree or not? Do you think the opinions on the topic will divide along generational lines?

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  • Jessie

    Garrett and I use our smart phone Bible apps almost every Sunday. But we aren’t the only ones in our church who do. I’ve seen iPads, iPhones, and my dad even uses his Kindle. I think it’s pretty obvious when someone is reading the Bible on their phone vs. texting, facebooking, or whatever. Texting and stuff like that usually involves a lot of keystrokes, so you have to tap your phone a lot. With most Bible apps, you just have to scroll and look at the screen.
    Regardless, I don’t think it’s our place to judge someone who does have their phone out. I mean, should we really be looking around the sanctuary seeing what everyone else is doing, or should we be paying attention to the message at hand?

  • The Ordained Barista

    I agree. I think paying attention to the message, and not being distracted by others, would be great….not always the case though. Your right that there are also many more keystrokes involved in texting and such, but Angry Birds is much less noticeable. Ha.

  • Matthew Kim

    So recently, I started reading my Bible more and there is definitely an authentic feel to flipping the pages! But in all seriousness, I think that using your iPhone Bible is a risky line. I used to use my iTouch Bible to quickly reference verses. The quick-access characteristic of the app formed bad habits like never reading my Bible and squeezing in time to dig deeper in Scripture. Basically, God came second. This might not be the case for everyone, some people might be devoted and read Scripture at home daily. But while in Church, I think that as long as there are Bible’s in the pews or somewhere near you, it’s good practice to overcome the urge to execute minimal movement and just reach for a Bible. People who aren’t so strong in their faith can have problems digressing on the phone, and even people who are faithful can too! But I think that reading the Bible through a book has more to offer than through the phone. I can’t really explain but I feel like it just does. There’s been countless times I flip pages in the Bible and I found what God wants me to remember. I don’t think you can flip random increments of pages with an iPhone :]
    As far as judgement, I think that whether one chooses to use their phone or not, that person shouldn’t be conscious of how they present themselves to other people. If you aren’t doing other things on the phone and you’re focused on God’s word, then that remains the truth and you know it’s the truth. Sometimes, knowing that God knows the truth comforts me and helps me to neglect the awareness of judgement. I think the other person does have a responsibility to not judge. God calls us to do so and there really is no exception. On the other hand, the one on his or her phone shouldn’t try to appease other person’s perception of you because I think that takes away from a strong relationship with God.
    These are just some of my thoughts I hope God answers your questions!

  • The Ordained Barista

    This is fantastic input! You bring up a great point that flipping through the pages does have a different feel to it, and can sometimes be a part of the experience of engaging with God in our times of reading the word. And, yes, it can very easily turn into distraction. I think you get a better feel of where books are in the Bible to by going through the book too. However, I have to admit that I am a sucker for technology, as I know you are too. Thanks again Matthew!

  • Margaret Wright

    To me, it doesn’t matter if your Bible is on some kind of electronic device or on paper. As long as whatever you’re using helps you understand the message, that is what really matters. And to reiterate what Matthew said, turning the pages on an actual Bible does have a different feel to it.
    But also, you are putting yourself up for the temptation to use your phone as a gaming device. E.g. angry birds. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but it can easily distract you from the message.
    And finally, what does it matter what kind of place you read your Bible on? If you are looking around and noticing “Oh that guy has his Kindle out, he should turn it off” this stuff because you feel they are being distracted by their Kindle or iPhone or whatever, then you are also being distracted yourself. I hope you didn’t take that to too much offense or anything, though!
    In the end, it’s the message that matters, not the device that you understand it in.

  • Kimberly Jefferson

    I believe using your smart device to read the Bible is a personal choice. There are many reasons besides convenience people have these devices. My job as I have said before is Tech Support for Apple, the devices I support are the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. These devices give you options that a standard book might not have like being able to increase the font size, which as I start to age I realize my eyesight isn’t what it once was. If you remain focused on the Bible app rather than Angry Birds, then you are doing the right thing. There are also people that use the Voice Over function because reading the text is too hard. It’s not our job to be the police and say how someone should worship or what means they use to get the message they need. Like anything you should be responsible for your actions, if you see someone using a smart device, don’t judge them because it’s the way they choose to do it. I also think if you are taking a tally of those using smart devices, then you are missing some important messages. Let them do it their way not yours. So Barry if you want to access the Bible app through your iPhone I say go for it. Eventually we are all going to be doing that anyhow, the amount of people switching over to these devices is growing everyday. I also know quite a few different churches are switching their libraries over to electronic, which makes it easier for the faithful to access the messages. I had one lady that was so happy that she could access her publications through the iPad, she thought God was endorsing the iPad, she was older and it meant she didn’t have to carry around heavy books, so by all means I say if it hurts none go for it.

  • Bhicks1052

    I use my Kindle or my phone all the time in church. Not only do I have the Bible on them, but I have Strong’s on my Kindle, and find myself digging a bit deeper during the sermon. I think it is perfectly acceptable to use the technology we have. Texting, or playing Angry Birds is a differnt story, but using it for Scripture is okay in my book.

  • Anthony Gangmei

    Straight words to you ….what is the words that written in front cover of your Bible ? Holy Bible! So the question is your phone or smartphone a pure thing? Can It use for ministry? Does bible need battery if in case of emergency while in ministry what could happen? If using phone goes on then the day will come that there will be no Bible on earth coz in phone there s full of apps that could lead you to no bother to download and so like this it ll goes dim and no Bible…Respect His words and never change it…

  • Charlie

    Yes of course. Why not, is that in the bible?