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"Bible on My iPhone"

This month I want to talk to you about something that…the more I think about it really bothers me. *beep* Wait…Hold on a sec…I've got to see what this text is about. (2 minutes pass). Sorry about that, I really needed to see what that was about. Apparently it seems there is a TV emergency at home. What was the emergency you ask? Well the remote needed batteries and God forbid that we change the TV manually! Anyway back to my subject …*beep*… Oh sorry let me check this…(1 minute passes). Oh my aunt is so, so silly! She posted on Facebook that she had to clarify what she posted as a reply to a reply to a reply to a reply. Lost in translation maybe? Ok, what was I saying? Ah yes on… *beep*… Well I guess I will have put my phone away to get a word in edgewise *click*. This is what I want to discuss with you. In this age of ever increasing communication there is now a deluge of information. What are the modern vehicles of this information? Smartphones, iPad, and computers. My goal today is to argue why you shouldn't use your electronic device to try to study God's Word (but of course I wouldn't be opposed if you read this article on of those handy little devices.)

Now I will be the first to admit that I am supremely guilty of the thing that I am writing against. It seems as if every time I hear a *beep*, *bloop*, *ring*, or *Macarena theme* (sorry about that last one, it's my ringtone, gosh I LOVE that song!) I run to see what it is about. As many of you know electronic devices can now access more information than all of the world's libraries combined. So in defense of the iPhone it does indeed provide the opportunity to learn more things including God's Word. But let me take a moment to discuss some reasons why it might not be such a good idea.

First as was demonstrated above, e.g. the mindless man entranced by the *beeps* and *rings*, we are unable to focus on just one singular thing. Let's imagine a scenario. And this is completely hypothetical (I'm sure nothing like this has happened to you before). You download the newest iPhone Bible app, which is replete with 2 gazillion commentaries and translations. You pat yourself on your back and think, "God would really be proud of me! I can study his Word anytime, anywhere!" After thirty seconds of reading in the quiet of your car, you hear your little notification *beep* that you have an email. So you briskly swipe over to check to see what it is. However, then you get another notification that someone posted a message on your wall on Facebook. So you forget about the email and go to check your Facebook status. But then another notification goes off that indicates someone sent you a text message. You then forget about the Facebook posting and the email and divert your attention to the text. You're just about to open it when…darn you're getting a call from mom. You know what it's about. She wants to whine and complain about your father. She says his hearing is getting worse and he keeps ignoring her. Mom have you thought about this possibility, maybe he never heard you! Anyway you answer the call and talk for a while and listen to her sad story, but then you get an instant notification from your bank saying that there has been suspicious activity on your account. You tell mom you've got to go. As it turns out someone had used your credit card to buy $500 worth of birdseed. "Who would buy $500 worth of birdseed?" you muse to yourself. It was mom! Everyone around here knows her as the bird lady. Maybe her phone call was just a diversion, distracting you from the fact that she just spent $500 on dirty, disease-ridden fowl! So you put your phone down in disgust and get another notification reminding you that it is time to pickup dinner at KFC. So you go about your way forgetting the text message, Facebook, the email, but most importantly the reading of God's Word. The nice thing about the Bible, in the "old fashioned" book form, is that it won't *beep*, *bloop*, *ring*, or play the *Macarena theme* at you (even though I LOVE that song!). Reading the Bible, like prayer, is best suited to places where there is minimal distraction. In Psalms 46:10 it says "…Be still, and know that I am God; 
 I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." How can we be "still" and meditate on his Word, when we are berated by the onslaught of texts and friend requests! Here is a suggestion, turn off your phone or other electronic device and read His Word in quiet meditation.

Also there is something to be said for making the effort of going to the bookshelf, looking for the book, opening the book and reading it. You may laugh, but if any of you saw Disney's movie WALL-E you will know what I'm talking about. In this future fictional world WALL-E the robot finds his way on the ship where all the humans live now. They have abandoned earth and have chosen a life to which everything was given to them all the time. Food, drink, entertainment, and information were catered to them 24/7. One would think that this technological revolution would make humans better. On the contrary it made them fat and useless blobs, which as it turned out could barely walk. Have we become fat and lazy in our minds by which we no longer have the energy to seek knowledge?

In conclusion we must also ask ourselves: Is reading Scripture just something I do like reading Email, checking Facebook, or getting mad at your mom for using your credit card to buy $500 worth of birdseed? Are not the scriptures the very words given by God for our well being? Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:16-17 "All Scripture is God-Breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Indeed if God is telling us something can't we just turn our little electronic idols off for just a second? Now to those of you who say that these things do not distract you and you can tune out the barrage of alerts and notifications, more power to you ya! And I think for quick reference they are great! But for me, I cannot seem to turn off those distractions. So I find it better to read the Scriptures "offline".

- Jordan McGehee