- (Photo: Reuters/Staff)
Millions of Christians are engaging in the word of God on-the-go by using something they carry with them all the time – their mobile phones. Modern technology and Christian doctrine continue to collide when it comes to the Bible as there are plenty of “apps for that.”
With today's technology, there are no more excuses for Christians not to read their Bible because God's Word is now just a click away.
In today's world your cell phone is so much more than just a phone; it's your Internet, your television, your video game. And now... it's even your Bible. Many faithful readers are changing the perception that technology has no place in their walk with God.
Bobby Gruenewald is the innovation leader at LifeChurch.tv in Edmund, Okla., and one of the creator of YouVersion, the world’s largest mobile Bible app.
Currently, YouVersion is available in 113 translations and 41 languages. The app can be downloaded for free.
Soon after the mobile version went live in 2007, Apple announced it was opening up the App store. YouVersion became one of the first apps released. Within days there were a staggering 80,000 people who installed the instant Bible app on their iPhones.
Today, there are more than 25 million people who have downloaded the YouVersion app on their mobile device. The pace continues to grow at a rate of about two million new users per month.
“We have a lot of pastors and a lot of church leaders that are big fans and users of YouVersion, and they actually encourage it from the pulpit," Gruenewald said.
"Some of them even teach from their phone using it as their Bible from stage."
He is quick to point out that YouVersion isn’t meant to replace the traditional Bible, but to create more opportunities for Bible reading and to take down barriers for Bible engagement.
The YouVersion Bible downloads works on the iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Palm web OS and the Windows Phone 7.
“2011 is the year that we hope to see a lot of people discover or rediscover the Bible,” said Gruenewald in a recent interview with The Christian Post.
“We just think it is a great thing that ought to be part of our daily lives and that is why we created the app so that it is easier for the Bible to be part of our daily lives.”
Gruenewald said that with the Bible now as close as your phone, he's hopeful this new technology will help reverse the trend of less Bible reading.
Hundreds of other new Bible applications are hitting the market featuring interactive reading, touch reading and scripture searches, and automatic scripture updates on mobile phones and the Internet.
There are so many Christian applications for cell phones and Bible-reading programs for the Internet these days that the Baptist Press service added a new monthly column featuring “Christian Apps of the Month.”
In fact, technology is changing the face of Bible study, says associate editor Michael Foust.
“We hear open your Bibles and open your smart phones in church now," said Foust.
“At first when the iPhones and iPads came out, people were hesitant to bring those into church because people kind of looked at them like they were text messaging or playing with some other program during the service,” Jeff Wilson, communication and innovation pastor at Henderson Hills, told BP.
BP recently featured the YouVersion Bible, the Olive Tree Bible, Read the Bible for Life, Bible reader and the ESV Bible. The new Touch Bible was also featured and has versions specifically made for the iPhone, iPhone3G, iPhone3GS, the iPodTouch, and the iPad.
The mobile app options are so popular, churches and Christian ministries have started creating their own apps.
Whether you agree with the new technology or not, it is making it easier for churches to minister to people outside the walls of the church.
Churches of various denominations, prison ministries, drug-rehab missions, corporate Bible studies, and neighborhood small groups have all used new mobile apps and Internet computer programs set up to read the Bible and understand it so they do not get bogged down in complicated scriptures.
Barry Howard, the senior minister of the First Baptist Church of Pensacola, Fla., and a Christian author, says Christians should resolve to read the Bible every day.
“Daily Bible reading helps keep your life and faith in focus,” Howard said.
“There are so many mysteries of life revealed in the Bible. It helps us to discern God’s plan for us.”
Christians are not the only groups taking notice of the world-changing Bible apps. LifeChurch's pastor and innovation leader Gruenewald was recently named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business for his work in creating the YouVersion app.
"We actually believe it’s now possible to not just see 10 million or 20 million install these Bible apps on their phones. But we believe it's now possible to see half a billion people engage in God's word," Gruenewald said.
"I believe we live in a generation that is really seeking truth and wanting to know what truth is. The Bible, we believe, represents truth for our lives."
Here is a list of some of the new technology for Bible reading mobile apps and Internet programs available online:
The “YouVersion” downloads for free and works on iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Palm web OS and the Windows Phone 7:
E-reader bibles, in EPUB format are suitable for the Sony Reader, Nook, Kobo, iPad and other E-Reader devices:
The new Kobo eReader Touch edition:
"The Essential 100 Challenge" or the E100:
Read the Bible in 90 Days:
Virtual experiences and reading the Bible in new interactive ways: