Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

Do You Use a Real Bible?

I was watching a message online a few weeks ago and the speaker referenced that he was going to use a “real” Bible. What he meant by a real Bible was a hard copy, that he was not reading it from a tablet or an iPad.

I was doing an Awana training a few years ago and we were going over the opening ceremony. The pastor stated that for their opening that they say the pledge to the Bible and so I had him lead his leaders in how they would hold their opening. When it came time for the pledge to the Bible, I tested him. He did not have a Bible in his hand, and so I handed him a copy of the Discovery Bible, the children’s study Bible produced by Zondervan. He was reluctant to take it because He was looking for a “real” Bible. I gave him a pew Bible and he accepted that and proceeded with the pledge.

Please do not get me wrong, I am not minimizing the Bible. It is the inspired Word of God and we must be careful in how we handle it (2 Timothy 2:15). But at what point do we begin to worship the Word and/or the format that the Bible is presented?

The “Children’s Bible” that I presented to the pastor had the full text of the Scripture, just presented in a way to try to engage children, yet the pastor did not see it as a “real” Bible.

The individual who used a “real Bible” instead of reading it from their iPad implied that text of Scripture on the digital device was not a “real Bible”.

At what point do we accept the Bible in a format different than what we used when we were young? I grew up with the KJV and NKJV. When I was licensed into the ministry I was given a Thompson Chain Bible (KJV). I still have that Bible with notes and verses highlighted, yet when I teach in front of children, I do not use it. I prefer to use a hard copy of the Discovery Bible, The Action Bible Study Bible, or a Bible that they may be using themselves. I have also used a tablet when reading Scripture or teaching.

Once again I need to emphasize that if I did the pledge to the Bible, that I would not hold up an iPad or tablet with the Bible app open. I would always use a hard copy for that. However, with technology as prevalent as it is today, what keeps us from reading the Bible while we teach using an iPad or tablet? With older youth, isn’t that a way to help them use the tools available today to read and study the Bible?

Some people are completely against using a tablet, iPad, etc to read Scripture, especially in front of children while others embrace it. We each must decide how we handle the Bible when teaching children and often it may be based on the lesson, or function.

So the question becomes, what is a “real Bible”?


The Author

1 Comment

  1. Well said! I have for years used a bible app on my iPad and would not switch back to a hard copy. The advantages are many. I have multiple English versions and several in other languages. This allows me to quickly see differences in translation and hopefully get a better feel for what the original may have said. Every translation is an interpretation.

    However, I use a hard copy when talking to the kids (council time). There is nothing wrong with a hard copy either. The format should not be made an issue.

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