Modern technology is changing the way that each of us accesses, consumes and communicates the Word of God. Look around most church sanctuaries on any given Sunday and you will be sure to find no shortage of Kindles, iPhones, Androids, iPads and tablets being used in place of Bibles. While the use of these devices in a church setting may draw criticism from some, for others, accessing the scriptures electronically is both an innovative and convenient means of learning, growing and changing. Whether you’re at church, at home, or on the run, here are a few fun and powerful tools that can help you get the most out of your of Bible study in 2012.
YouVersion App, Blue Letter App, Daily Audio Bible App, etc.
Bible study apps for your smartphone are typically free, easy to use and available for most smartphones regardless of the operating system. These apps give users instant access to several different versions of the Bible, options to change font size and color for easy readability, and even a tool to highlight verses just like in a “real” Bible. Users can also download Bible versions for offline access during those times when an internet connection isn’t readily available (on a flight, for example). Prefer to leave your Bible at home from time to time? No problem. Install one or more of these Bible study apps on your smartphone and have a powerful, multi-version Bible literally at your fingertips at all times.
BibleGateway.com, BlueLeterBible.org, etc.
Want to maximize your personal Bible study or need to prepare to share the Bible with others? Access dozens of Bible versions, devotionals, commentaries, reading plans and more, all by visiting one of these free Bible study websites. These sites can also be a great help in locating a verse that you just can’t seem to remember the “address” of in the Bible. Simply enter the words or phrase that you do remember and the website search feature can help you locate the verse in seconds. Plus, reading a verse or passage in several different translations is as simple as clicking on a drop-down menu. All of this is totally free and accessible anywhere you have an internet connection.
Do you have a favorite pastor, speaker, or Bible teacher? If they are regionally or nationally known, chances are they have a free online podcast. Podcasting allows a user to access and download specific sermons, entire series and sometimes even years’ worth of teachings – all for free. Podcasts are being used by even the smallest churches today and are a great alternative to purchasing teaching CDs at your church or through the mail. Once the audio files are downloaded, you can then play them back on your computer, tablet, smartphone or MP3 player. You can even “subscribe” to the podcast to ensure that all future sermons that are released are downloaded automatically.
Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, itunes.com
Nearly every book, Christian or otherwise, is released in electronic format these days. If you are already using a Kindle, Nook, iPad or other electronic means to download and read books, why not add a few titles to your library that will provide some spiritual stimulation? eBooks are often cheaper than their print counterparts, and purchasing electronically saves the time and gas spent on a trip to the bookstore or the days spent waiting for shipping from an online retailer. Don’t know where to start? Simply search your eBook marketplace of choice by author, topic or genre and you’ll probably be surprised by the large number of relevant, godly choices available.
Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Whether you’re a “fan” of your favorite pastor on Facebook, follow your church on Twitter or share scriptures with friends on LinkedIn, social media is a great way to stay spiritually connected. Do some searching to find teachers, leaders and friends that encourage you and inspire your faith, make the connection and you’re sure to be blessed by the nuggets of truth that will continually appear on your newsfeed. Worth special mention are those who have made Twitter accounts for great theologians of times past, such as C.S. Lewis and Oswald Chambers, and who use those accounts to tweet poignant quotes from their writings each day.
Logos Bible Software:
If you are in search of Bible resources of the highest caliber, and you have some cash to spare, Logos Bible Software is the way to go. With packages ranging in price from $150 (for the “Home” level) to almost $1,700 (for the “Platinum” level), the purchase can be somewhat of an investment. However, the cost-to-value ratio is remarkable, especially when considering the comparable cost of purchasing all of the Logos-bundled resources independently. With maps, commentaries, original language tools, Bible history and reference books, preaching and teaching resources and more, Logos provides a literal wealth of Bible knowledge for the serious scholar.
Not the “techie” type? Don’t lose heart! God is ready and waiting to speak to you just as powerfully through your old-fashioned, leather-bound Bible as He is through an iPad or website. However, for the rest of us who can’t seem to drag ourselves away from a screen these days, the above are valuable resources to help get the most out of God’s Word in today’s technological age.