Should a Christian bring a hard-copy of the Bible to church, or is it acceptable to bring an electronic copy on an iPhone or other PDA device?
Is bringing an electronic version of God's Word equivalent to a hard copy? Is the hard copy preferable to the e-copy?
Said Paige Patterson to his SWBTS chapel attendees last week (1/14/10) - emphasis mine:
"I am aware of the electronic era in which we live, and that many of you carry your bibles now on your iPhones or some other such way. I want to urge you to bring a written copy of the Bible with you in these days while we work through the book of Ruth. It is difficult with the best of electronic development to make notes and to underscore things, although I know that there are ways to do that. But it is not as easy still as it is with Bible in hand. Besides which, I want to urge you to teach your people to be a Bible loving, Bible bringing people. When you stand to proclaim the Word, when you are teaching it in the Sunday School class it is one thing to have it on an iPhone, but an iPhone is many things, a Blackberry is many things. A Bible is a Bible. And I hope you will teach your people to bring their bible to church. And I hope you will bring your bible to these sessions as we look at the book of Ruth."
Patterson implies that bringing an electronic copy of the Bible is not really "bringing your Bible" to church. I am a newly converted Blackberry user (having been a Palm PDA user since the late 1990's). I have had an electronic copy of the Bible on my handheld devices for 10 years. I sometimes bring my hard copy Bible to church, sometimes I don't. But I consider it a matter of preference and convenience, and that the Word of God on my phone is equivalent to that on paper. I like the electronic copy as I can in one stroke change translations, I can find verses much faster.
But Patterson is telling his future preachers to bring their hard copy Bibles (which is understandable if one is teaching), and if I understand him he is telling them to teach their congregations that they should bring their hard copies of the Bible instead of depending on an electronic device.
What do you think? What is your preference?