Are you still using your print Bible?

Posted on: May 21st, 2011 by Michelle Stramel 44 Comments

Last week my Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class ended for the year. If you are not familiar with BSF, it is an interdenominational group that offers weekly, in-depth Bible studies to men, women and children throughout the world. They have a four-fold philosophy where you first read and study the passage on your own, then you discuss it in a group, then you hear a lecture on it and finally you get explanatory notes on the passage. You are not supposed to consult reference material such as commentaries or dictionaries until you have gone through all four stages of study. It is a very organized way to study the Bible and I really like that they focus on the Bible text rather than taking a topical approach.

I have been participating in BSF for nearly 10 years and I find that my use of technology in studying the Bible has changed over the years. While I am still the only one in my discussion group that uses a phone instead of a printed Bible, I find myself using my phone in different ways now than I did at first. In the beginning, I was using my phone (actually it was a PDA way back when) for everything. I refused to carry a printed Bible. Perhaps there may have been a small desire on my part to convert the masses, I am the chief marketer for Laridian after all. But I also felt like PocketBible should do everything for me since I had loaded as many Bibles and reference books as my device could hold.

This year was different though. Maybe it was the fact that we were going through the book of Isaiah or maybe I’m not so rigid anymore, but towards the end of the year I dusted off my print Bible and started using it both in answering my lessons and in class, along with my phone. I really liked having the whole passage open for review. That is the one thing missing on my phone (although an iPad could help with that).

My secret weapon though is still my iPhone. While we can’t consult commentaries and reference material, I have a variety of translations installed on my iPhone. When the NIV leaves me wondering, I can quickly review a verse or passage in the Amplified, NLT or Message and I’m not cheating one bit. I also do that when I’m working on my lesson at home for the following week. And it is still much more convenient to look up related passages using my phone than to flip around the Bible.

The marketing side of me hopes that some day everyone in my BSF group is using their phone loaded with PocketBible at the meeting. The practical side of me realizes there may always be a place for the print and the electronic.

How about you? Are you still using your print Bible? If so, do you use the print and electronic together or for different times and purposes?

44 Responses

  1. Chuck says:

    I use my Pocket Bible mostly, but find it nice to hold and read a printed Bible occasionally.
    I still love the capability the Pocket Bible gives though!

  2. Eric S. Mueller says:

    I typically use PocketBible on my iPhone. My dad gave me a 1st gen iPad recently, and I was surprised to find that PocketBible is one of those apps designed to run correctly on both. Thank you for that. Many of my iPhone apps either haven’t been developed to run properly on the iPad, or I have to buy a new copy.

    I haven’t quite worked up to bringing my iPad to church. It’s great for personal study, but one of the reasons I’ve been carrying a PocketPC and now an iPhone is so I don’t have to remember to carry a book sized object.

  3. Donald Stidwell says:

    I’ve been using electronic Bibles exclusively for years. In fact I haven’t taken a paper Bible to church since I started using MyBible on the Palm way back in the day. It’s so much easier to jump to jump to passages using an electronic Bible and look up verse references (Baptist preachers love to jump all over the place in the Bible. Keeping up with them with a paper Bible was almost impossible).

    I just bought an iPad on Wednesday and am ecstatic over the improvements the larger form factor brings to using PocketBible. I will definitely be taking the iPad to church on Sunday and henceforth. Truly, I don’t see any reason for using a paper Bible at all.

  4. Peter says:

    I generally use an electronic Bible of some sort, if only because I always have my phone with me. I also find it convenient for prepping Bible Studies (use PB for Win). However, I tend to use YouVersion or an offline ESV app because I’m on WP7 and doesn’t work for me. 🙁 I know that’s one of the joys of being an earlier adopter, though.

    I really enjoyed having PB on my HTC Fuze, though. Lots of translations, commentaries, dictionaries, and study Bible notes right there. Easy way to cross-reference other translations or find a verse someone had referenced without too much trouble or time. Probably the main thing I miss about that phone. I especially liked the easy swipe back and forth to get to notes or other translations.

    I appreciate some things like the ESV study Bible when I’m working offline, but having those notes electronically helps for lesson prep.

  5. Steve says:

    I have been using PocketBible for years on various platforms. Currently using it on iPhone and iPad and it’s great!
    I do find it important for me to use the printed text as well because it helps me visualize the passage better. What I mean is, though I may not have the passage memorized, I visually remember that a verse I’m trying to remember is in “the upper left corner of the page.”
    So, I use both extensively.

  6. Ed S says:

    I started using Laridan software on my Palm device back in early 2004. I think by summer of that year, I quit packing print to church, but still used it for personal study for another year.

    Now that I have an iPad, I think I have opened my printed Bible once in the last year to find a specific note that I remembered writing on a verse. I have so many more tools on my iPad, it weighs less, and it has that “geeky cool factor” that it is what I use for devotional reading, personal study, church services, classes at church, EVERYTHING! My pastor will frequently reference different translations during a service, and it is so nice to have them with me as well!

    God bless you for all you do!

  7. Gene Trent says:

    I absolutely love my iPad PocketBible and use it 80% of the time. I still love the feel of a leather bound Bible in my hands and especially when I do my Bible study for church. I have my lesson on my iPad and Bible beside it so I don’t have to flip back on forth. Also, PocketBible spoils me by making it so easy to look up passages that I purposely use a Bible so I don’t forget how to find passages in the Book. But, I typically use my PocketBible at church services since I can quickly change to the translation being used. Now I don’t have to carry a multiple-translation version of the Bible. The iPad PocketBible is soooooo much lighter even with all the translations, commentaries, devotionals etc. it contains!

  8. You are all convincing me that I really “need” an iPad. Now I have to convince my husband. Maybe if I generously give him my Kindle (which I find inadequate for anything to do with Bible study but great for reading books), he’ll be more amenable.

  9. I probably don’t count, but I haven’t carried a print Bible to church for close to 20 years. I don’t have a print Bible that I would call my “personal Bible”. That is, I have lots of Bibles, and I have several that I used to carry to church, but none that I would call “my Bible”. If you asked me to show you my BIble, I’d turn on my iPad and launch PocketBible. My iPad is always with me — moreso than any printed Bible ever was.

  10. Ron Staley says:

    I have nearly 20 print Bibles. I can’t remember when the last time was that I opened one. I have 60 Laridian books in my PocketPC (soon to be Iphone)including Bible versions, study Bibles, dictionaries, and commentaries. I have the same books in my PocketBible for Windows. I do all my devotional and daily reading on my HTC Imagio with PocketPC. It is also what I take to church. I do all my bible study preparation on my Windows version. I’ve been using electronic Bibles since their inception. I’ve been using Laridian since it existed, starting with Palm. I have years and years and years of highlighting and notes in mine. I can’t imagine losing them.

  11. Jeffrey T. Darlington says:

    I use my printed Bible most of the time, especially during nightly devotions with my wife, but I rarely care it around during the day. I do, however, have my Android phone on me at all times, so needless to say I’m anxiously awaiting PocketBible for Android. 😉 I have PB on my iPod Touch, but it’s not always readily available. Having an electronic Bible handy whenever I might need it is something I’ve enjoyed since I first purchased MyBible for Palm OS.

  12. Chippa says:

    I don’t yet trust software enough to be reliable when I need to read the Bible from the pulpit, so I still rely on print for that. It’s too embarrassing to fumble in front of a crowd and apologize “Sorry, my Bible crashed.”

    • Chippa,

      I used to copy my scripture passages into my notes then carry my Bible to the pulpit, open it to the middle somewhere, then preach from my notes. So I didn’t even trust my ability to find a verse in my paper Bible when I needed it. 🙂

  13. Nancy Pfister says:

    I have about 40 different versions (both study bibles and straight text), as well as concordances, word study’s, etc., etc., etc.) Have been using Pocket Bible since I got my first PDA in the late ’90’s, an HP PDA, then a Dell. Then smartphones came out and I had such a huge library of Laridian, I didn’t buy an IPHONE until the last 4 weeks, and was happy to see all available for it. IPAD 2 is now on the way.

    I still love some of the visualizing all together in print study bibles, but don’t take them with me, because of weight, size, and the ever present change of translations during the sermons.

    I find I don’t use the Windows Version of Pocket Bible so much. Obviously, IPAD 2 is going to win out over all in a few short weeks…..thanks Laridian……

  14. Jason Chamberlain says:

    I use an ESV Personal Reference size for my daily English reading. I use the Reader’s Hebrew and Greek for my daily language reading and for church. I like having the ESVSB notes handy on my iPod Touch, but I find that I don’t use it that much.

    I would love to use PocketBible at church if I could get Greek and Hebrew texts with one touch to get a translation and/or parsing of a word.

  15. Jose Chaparro says:

    I have not relied on a print Bible in years. By now, I have many notes and highlights in my PB (Windows Mobile), including Greek, so I like having the technology and ease of navigating within and between PB Bibles and other books. The power and portability are huge pluses for me. I am happy to say that Laridian PB is my handheld Bible of choice.

  16. Geoffrey Heaford says:

    Haven’t used my paper Bible for some time. I even have a UK scripture Union app for my quiet time.

  17. CK says:

    Surely the book is hard to replace. However, slowly as the devices we use continue to get better for reading, it will be harder and harder to use the book, simply because of the convenience and portability.

    However, I think this shows one area for improvement in PocketBible. I think it is perfect on my iPad, basically because of the big screen. however on the iPhone, I find myself wanting to use the program either for reading (pleasure) or comparison (research). The two pane mode is great for research, but not good for reading.

    So I constantly switch between 1 pane and 2 pane mode. However this is very cumbersome to do, I have to into settings and then change the setting. It would be nice if the toolbar were customizable, so that I could choose to have a button that toggles between 1 pane mode and 2 pane mode. This would make the iphone better for reading (1 pane mode) and when i want to do research or comparison, I switch to 2 pane mode.

    Please think about making this feature more accessible on the mobile hand held devices. TNX!

  18. Kent says:

    Since getting an iPad, I’m 100% electronic. When I just hade my Palm 3/Palm TX/iPod Touch I used both for tha same reasons you mention in the article. The paper version was good to have a whole passage in front of me but the plethora of alternative versions and references on my PDA was extremetly valueable.

  19. Craig Horlacher says:

    I use electronic only. For me the advantage is being able to compare different things with one view. In other words, while you can see more words on two pages of a book then on a screen you are limited to those two pages of content. With PocketBible (WinMo devices)I could see see different verses split across pages together – never having a bad split happen. I could also have 2 or ever more windows with different translations of the same verse or even different related verses all viewable at one time. For me, it has been more practical than the print versions. Also, I loved being able to easily open any given verse in all installed Bibles at one time and see the results in a scrollable list – the closest print Bibles get to this is those huge ones with 4 translations but the PocketBible implementation is much better. Of course searching is great and I also like being able to have lots of bookmarks and put them in different categories. I use the note taking as well. The one other huge benefit is size! The size of my Droid X is perfect! I actually prefer reading on my Droid X to a Tablet and it’s great to have a Bible (or reference library actually) that fits in your pocket!

  20. Jak Stallings says:

    I use both a printed and electronic Bible (both on my iPhone and a PC). I’ve got a number of translations and commentaries/references in both formats, but have many more reference works in print. I’ve used PocketBible for a number of years back to my old Palm Pilot days and was a very early adopter of Quickverse on the PC.

    Print and electronic (and even different electronic media) each have their strenghts and weaknesses. I use each type almost exclusively for some things (and venues), but generally tend to use both together. I would hate to do without either type. I definitely do not see it as a one or the other question.

  21. Matt Elliott says:

    I still find taking notes on the iPhone to be much harder than my bound copy. Even with that last hastle I’m still finding myself putting the notes in my PocketBible rather than marking up my paper copy. I just want the notes to last longer than my 10 year or so printed bible lifespan. Now if note entry could just get faster, and I’m sure it will with time then I’ll be less and less inclined to jot stuff down in the margins of my bible.

  22. John says:

    I’m like chippa. I use my electronic Bible for almost everything but I teach SS adult class with paper and when I preach I use paper. I can’t affort an electronic malfunction when in front of people. Never hear the end of it. Most of the time I use electronic when sitting in the congregation–although some young people sittting close have electronic bibles, they have less discipline and surf the web or check mail during the preaching. Unfortunately it is a distraction and disrespectful to those around, so I’m cautious and try to set a good example. Nevertheless I am ribbed being falsely accused about using my ipad to check the stock market during the message. Some interesting studies recently appeared about how college kids use laptops in classes. Researchers who serriptiously spy on classes say the average college kid goes to other sites on average 32 times per class period. Interesting tension. Pastor would have to really work hard if everyone in the congregation over 12 had an iPad!! It could happen.

  23. Rod Groom says:

    I have been a fan of PB for years, and have many resources. I used it on my Dell Axim and my HP iPAQ for years before I got I got the HTC Droid Incredible over a year ago. I use to access my resources, but also use other Bible software. I will probably get another Android Phone next year, and really look forward to using PocketBible again on a daily basis.

    As for print Bibles, my favorite is the ESV Study Bible. I also have it on my phone and computer. For church and for shorter classes I just use my phone, but I do carry a print bible for more in-depth classes.

  24. Bo Bowen says:

    I’ve used nothing but Laridian since the mid-90’s (yes, even on a Treo – gag!). Having the resources I’ve accumulated over the years literally at my fingertips is a great boon for personal and group study. The bookshelves are getting very little attention these days — just an occasional dusting. Thanks, Craig and Jeff!

  25. Victor W. Barnes says:

    I have been using my electric bible for many years. Not to the total exclusion of my print bibles but almost. My first was on a Palm pilotIII.since my Sony pda was stolen I have had to use programs and not laridian because my new device is an android pad.I have used laridian up until now.

  26. Ed says:

    I always use my print bible when I am alone and just want some quiet time with God in His Word. I get too distracted with links, commentaries or worse – email notifications, when I just want to read a few paragraphs, chapters or whatever.

    I really like the Kindle for this kind of reading, but it is so lame for finding anything, so I usually go for paper.

  27. Don says:

    I have not used a print bible in years. I chose to use MyBible for the Sony Clie Palm OS PDA, then for the Palm TX I used next. When I replaced the TX with a Android device I had to leave MyBible behind. The app I use now is ok, but I can only parallel one verse at a time.

  28. Jimmyz says:

    I like the MyBible version that I use on my Palm tx but the Palm is getting old. I really like droid phones as a replacement for the Palm and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the droid version of MyBible. The Palm is still running and is very handy for Bible study but I too have paper at least readily available when I teach just to be safe. However the Palm has been very stable. I really enjoy the speed of lookups and the features of MyBible and look forward to running it on my future droid. God bless.

  29. Dr. Richard Williams says:

    Where electronic scripture comes in for me isin two areas: 1) the speed of searching word or words, and 2) the quick look up and comparison of translations on a subject. Also, if out and about, knowing I have the Droid (and a Palm for over 12 years) means that I have the scriptures with me.

    A big downsize on the smartphone (unlike the palm) is that many of the Bible translations (often free) are dependent on wireless connections. Thus I keep a Bible in my briefcase and car and elsewhere as a backup and as my primary study and speaking book. For some, that do not have unlimited internet the wireless connection is not an option.

    So I hope that PocketBible or MyBible will reside on the Droid and not require wireless.



  30. George Morgan says:

    I also echo the request that PocketBible for Android make the reference material available offline. I still use my HP WM5 PDA offline for PocketBible and occasional GPS navigation because it just works better than anything I’ve found for Android and sometimes the signal just isn’t there. 2GB of North American maps, 80MB of unabridged dictionary and 50MB of Bible / Reference material is not much with 32GB microSD cards available these days (still using a 4GB Compact Flash in my PDA). Thanks so much for your hard work and I can’t wait for even a test version on Android. 🙂

    • George,

      Other than our initial Web-based iPhone product ( which was done back before you could put applications on the phone, we’ve never done a Bible program that required you to be online to use the program. As we describe in our Android FAQ you will not need Internet access other than to download the Bible in the first place. Hope this helps clarify this issue.

  31. Rod S says:

    I echo some of the comments about the convenience of have one or more translations available on my Palm. Like JimmyZ, I am concerned that it will fail at some point and I still have my print Bible with me when I travel or for study. With the new Android-based readers, I am looking forward to seeing Pocket Bible for the Android device. Laridian has done an incredible job over these years making it easy for us to have our references.

  32. Jeff C says:

    To help get all e-Bibles in the BSF groups, the android app is going to be necessary. Currently it seems to be the fastest growing market. However, except for size, I still like my HTC Diamond running WM 6. The android is too net dependant and rather cumbersome when multi-tasking.

  33. john h says:

    I have been using PocketBible on my pda for years (I’m on my 3rd pda now, HP ipaq 214). Always take it with me visiting other churches as well as my own. But when I am preaching, I always use my KJV printed Bible. I’ve tried using a laptop as well as my pda, but it doesn’t work for me – too much of a distraction, whether a touch-screen or pressing keys or buttons. I’m now waiting eagerly to use PB on my HTC Android phone, as its better generally than the ipaq. Only time I can’t use my pda is in prison ministry – we’re not allowed to have electronic devices with us.

  34. Adam says:

    It’s funny I was just looking at one of my print Bibles last night thinking ‘boy I haven’t read that in AGES’!

    I used to use print Bible for all my personal reading while study was on PDA. But since iPhone I have rarely used the print Bible at all. I now use Mac, iPhone & iPad and haven’t touched a print Bible (except in giving one away to the unsaved & showing a scripture or two to them) for the best part of 2 years!

    Electronically I started with Quickverse on Windows, then PocketBible on PDA & then on Windows. After this I have used PocketBible exclusively with a large library of books.

    One thing for sure though – electronic has taken over for my Bible reading & study. But after writing this I find myself wanting to feel the pages of a print version again… I might right now!

  35. Wheat Williams says:

    Goodness, no! I haven’t looked at a print Bible in about twenty years. First I had Bible reader software on my Macintosh (a Zondervan product, I believe), circa 1988 or 1989. Then I got Laridian MyBible for Palm circa 1998. Now I have Laridian’s PocketBible for iPod touch. Since I’ve never been without a Palm or iPod on my person since 1998, I’ve never reached for a paper Bible.

  36. Darryl Rowe says:

    I’m still using a printed Bible – the NIV 2011 isn’t available yet. The sooner it becomes available, the better.

  37. Dave London says:

    I’ve been a huge fan of Laridian MyBible for years. It’s moved with me from my Palm Pilot to several Blackberries to my laptop and now to my Android phone. I’m deployed to Afghanistan right now. I installed the software without having a wireless signal, but I’ll have to find a signal somewhere if I’m to download Bibles, commentaries, and the like.

    **THANKS SO MUCH for allowing my collection of purchased materials to travel with me from device to device. It’s expensive enough buying a new phone without having to buy all the software all over again. I’m a MyBible customer for life

    …. and I haven’t carried a paper Bible for at least 5 years. Probably longer. Thanks, Laridian.

  38. Dave, we appreciate your keeping PocketBible on your devices all these years and glad it has been a blessing to you.


  39. Rick Pott says:

    Not only have I moved away from using my print Bible, I’ve also started to use my iPad for taking sermon and lecture notes, as well as completing my BSF lessons. I use another Bible app that I won’t reference on here in addition to a note taking app that allows me to import my BSF lesson as PDF. From there, I can write (using finger, stylus, or type) my answers directly on the lesson. It gives me much greater freedom on when/where I work on my lesson. It also helps me be more organized.
    I think there were 2 other men in my BSF group in Reno that also used an iPad last year (one of which I influenced his purchase after seeing how I was using it). I would expect a couple more this year.
    Enjoy your study on The Acts of The Apostles this year!

  40. Rick, those are some great ideas for doing BSF lessons this year. It sounds like there are some great possibilities with the iPad which I will have to investigate.


  41. Ken Christensen says:

    So nice to see that I was not the only one using electronic means to do their BSF work. Back in the day, I’d scan and OCR the questions, and then use Word to answer the questions, with one of the PC based computer programs… won’t mention which one! 😉

    When I first got Laridian’s program back on the original Pilot, or something close to it… my world changed. I upgraded my Palm numerous times, and became more than a little frustrated with persistent on-off switch problems. I had a Sony Palm OS device that was the best… then we got our first iPod Touch. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my purchased Bibles would work on the new platform.

    Now, I’ve got an iPad, and with it my use of paper Bibles has all but been eliminated. There is so much more flexibility, and convenience. Parallel Bibles are thick volumes, yet my iPad holds 17 translations, many commentaries, devotionals, and reading plans, with room to spare.

    In a sense I’m carrying around the contents of many bookshelves in a device the size and weight of a novel.

    In case you haven’t figured it out… I’m sold on the device as an effective tool for Bible study, as well as public use, whether behind the pulpit or in front of it!

  42. Stan says:

    I’ve stopped using my printed Bibles since early days of Laridian on the Compaq PDA with handwriting capabilities. My only problem is that while the power of Laridian can really be fantastic, I absolutely miss the word underlining or highlighting because a word contains so much when God speaks. The old PDA was perfect in notes taking, word highlighting and verse highlighting.

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