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?