Friday’s Facebook Live session addressed the question of whether we should use smartphones, iPads, and other digital devices in our personal Bible reading. I argued strongly against it for the following reasons which I explain at greater length in the video.
Distracted before reading the Bible: it’s very difficult to pick up your phone and not check email/social media first.
Distracted while reading the Bible: Texts and other notifications break the connection with God.
Even if you do not get notifications while reading the Bible on a device, the mere possibility of getting a notification, or the possibility of being able to click to something else, changes the way we read and think. It’s been demonstrated that even the presence of a silent phone on a table when a husband/wife are talking changes the level and length of conversation.
The brain associates objects, events, smells, tastes, with certain activities. For example, it’s been shown that if we study in the same place every day, when we sit in the chair the brain already begins to go into study mode. The pattern of activity in the brain changes.
Our brain associates our phones with fast-paced reading, surfing, scanning, entertainment, perhaps even worse. That’s no mindset to be in to commune with God.
Studies have found that the brain reacts differently to reading a paper book and a book on a multimedia device.
The brain maps a book in a way that it doesn’t with digital books. I can still remember the first Bible I had after I was converted; where verses were on each page; where chapters began and ended. That was a huge help when witnessing or pastoring and I wanted to find a particular chapter or verse.
I have vivid memories of growing up and seeing my Dad sitting with his Bible in his chair every morning. That left a deep impression on me. Similarly with one of my grandmothers. If we use a digital device, our kids have no idea whether we are Facebooking, Tweeting, reading the news, or reading the Bible.
Thanks to everyone who took part in the discussion. I start answering questions about the 16.44 mark.