The End Of The Bible As We Know It?

Every technological transition comes with advantages and disadvantages, as the new replaces the old. The same thing is present as ebooks continue to gain market share from hardcopy books. However, one very prominent book that has been the subject of a lot of  discourse is the Christian religious book, The Bible.

bibleSince the mobile phone crept into our lives, gradually taking control of almost every facet of our being, it has become an addiction that most people can not do without for any significant period of time. It is against this background that digital bible advocates probably believe that the only way to make the Bible still relevant in our fast paced, technological world is to incorporate it in our new found addiction – mobile. Over time, the term mobile device have come to include ereaders and tablets, with both form factors now having an overwhelming array of Bibles available for them too.

The question however remains, can the eBible effectively replace the print Bible in every regard? Many would also ask, can an exorcist cast out demons with a digital Bible like they do with the print version?

The fact that most people still feel uncomfortable using their mobile devices to read their Bibles in church probably speaks volumes as regards the way it is still being viewed, especially in Nigeria. This was the subject of my write up almost two years ago which I aptly titled “Ebook Readers – Technology meets Religion” wherein I discussed the trend.

I asked my non-techie wife about her view on the ebible in the church. Her response, “Well, as long as you are reading your Bible on it and not checking your emails or something“. That probably throws a little light on why people view Bible on mobiles in church with suspicion, especially with the advent of the Blackberry.

However, I do remain convinced that the leather-bound Bible on every household bookshelf — like records and videocassettes and newspapers — may soon be endangered, if not extinct. The overwhelming advantages that the ebook, in general, has over the printed book will ensure that the eBible stays very relevant for a long time.

Here are a few:

  • Ebook readers will allow readers to take thousands of ebooks everywhere they go.
  • Thousands of ebooks take up no more space than the reader than stores them.
  • Ebooks typically cost less than paper books.
  • Readers can easily switch from one ebook to another with very little effort.
  • Obtaining additional ebooks requires only a few keystrokes.
  • A new ebook is available immediately for reading.
  • Ebooks consume fewer natural resources such as trees, water and petroleum for shipping.
  • Ebooks have a lower cost of production


  • There are many advantages to reading on ereaders as you have stated, and that goes for Bibles as well as other books. But there are disadvantages as well. Apps for putting notes in your ebooks are still fairly primitive (hopefully that will change soon.) There is also strong evidence that our reading speed slows considerably in digital form. And then there is the question of permanence. Between things becoming obsolete at an astonishing rate and the threat of magnetic pulse, I wonder where all these books will be in a hundred years. What will acheologists dig up? The remnants of a kindle whose battery died long ago?

  • I’m actually a bit put off when I see people reading their Bibles on their phones in church. Just can’t place a finger on why I feel that way. However I don’t see the hard copy of the Bible, or any other book for that matter, disappearing anytime soon. The beauty of making notes against certain verses, or just flipping through the pages of the Bible remains. Personally printed books engage my intellect and memory more than words on a screen.

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