The Word of God: Is A Physical or Digital Version Better?

The Word of God: Is A Physical or Digital Version Better? July 9, 2024

Cozy scene with the Word of God, a journal and a cup of coffee.
This image captures a cozy scene with the Word of God, a journal, and a cup of coffee. Sixteen Miles Out took this photo on April 8, 2020. This photo was downloaded from on July 8, 2024.


Is a physical or digital copy of scripture better when studying the Word of God? This question comes to mind since much of American culture has become paperless.

When I was an intern for Quality Trust in Washington, DC, one of my main tasks was scanning and shredding confidential documents. Through this project, I was able to help the organization with its “Go Green” initiative.

Many sports organizations have also become green-friendly by switching to digital ticketing through mobile apps instead of traditional paper tickets. With all the technological changes in society, it’s no surprise that how we study the Word of God is a part of the impact.

Before answering the opening question, let’s review the significance of the  Bible and why it’s important to read.

Reviewing the Word of God

What is the Word of God?

According to a 2022 survey by Gallup, 29% of participants believe the Bible is a collection of fables. Another 49% believe the Bible is divinely inspired but should not be taken literally.

Sadly, only 20% believe scripture comes directly from God and must be taken literally. I agree with this viewpoint since 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says scripture is divinely inspired.

Isaiah 40:8 and Matthew 4:4 also acknowledge the Bible is eternal, everlasting truth from the Lord’s mouth.

Why would a God who cannot lie, deceive readers about the significance of his Holy Word?

Since God cannot lie, Christians can trust that the Bible is a guiding light helping them navigate this dark world. The guiding light of scripture also shines inwardly as it “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, New International Version). 

Why Scripture is Important to Read?

Along with discerning the heart, the Bible is also useful for teaching, correcting, and training for righteousness (2 Timothy  3:17). Knowing this, there are five reasons you should read the Bible daily.

  • The Word of God helps you learn about the nature and character of God.
    1. He’s a loving father who gives good gifts to his children (Luke 11:13).
    2. He’s a righteous judge who defends the oppressed (Psalm 82:3; 146:7).
    3. He’s a compassionate creator (Psalm 145:8-9).
  • Scripture helps believers learn and obey God’s commands.
    1. Meditate on God’s law daily so you can obey it (Joshua 1:8).
    2. Hide scripture in your heart so you don’t sin (Psalm 119:11).
    3. Obey God and resist Satan so he will flee from you (James 4:7).
  • The Bible provides instruction for church affairs.
    1. Appointing church leaders (Titus 1:5-16)
    2. The structure and order of worship (1 Corinthians 14:26-40).
    3.  Handling disputes and transgressions (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 6:1-8).
  • The Bible offers insight for practicing spiritual disciplines.
    1. Teaches believers how to pray (Matthew 6:6-13 ).
    2. Reveals the type of fast God desires (Isaiah 58:6-7; Matthew 6:16-18).
    3. Highlights the importance of honoring the Sabbath (Isaiah 58:13-14).
  • Scripture teaches readers how to handle everyday issues.
    1. Motivation to work hard and not be lazy (Proverbs 24:30-34).
    2. Being a good steward of finances and blessings (Proverbs 3:9-10; 30:5).
    3. Conduct of the wise and the foolishness of fools (Proverbs 12:16). 

The Bible: Is a Digital Version or Physical Copy Better?

The Truth 

Learning about the importance of reading the Bible may lead some to wonder whether they should use a physical or digital version. 

The truth is the type of Bible one uses to study the word of God does not matter. What matters is learning and obeying scripture daily to please the Lord. 

God’s word is available in countless versions, languages, and formats so everyone can accept the Gospel as absolute truth. 

Matthew 24:4-13 supports this claim as Jesus warns his disciples about the signs of the end. As these signs manifest, the disciples are to preach the Gospel to all nations, then the end will come (Matthew 24:14, New International Version).

Advantages and Disadvantages of Digital Bibles

Many leaders today preach the Gospel using digital versions of the Bible. The reason why is they appeal to the technological advancements of the social media age. 

Many individuals also use digital versions of the Bible for corporate and personal study because 

  • They can be read anywhere at any time.
  • Easy to transport and read when away from traditional studying setting.
  • They can be read side by side with other translations of the Bible.
  • Readers can track their progress daily through software like the BibleApp.

I like using the You Version Bible App because I can take notes during church without bringing a Bible and notebook. 

The You Version Bible App also helps me read the Word of God Daily as I have friends who can hold me accountable. The Bible App also helps me be an effective witness by sharing scriptures, notes, and study plans with other people.

While thankful for how digital forms of scripture benefit my life, I have a few concerns. Digital note-taking is difficult to organize and save if a software glitch occurs. Digital apps can also tempt users to use devices for reasons other than studying if they forget to mute notifications.  

Matt Smith fears distractions are not the only challenge with using a digital Bible. He warns using a digital Bible alone may lead to misinterpretations and false teachings. 

This warning stems from the reader’s ability to see a few verses at a time instead of whole chapters using an electronic device.  Electronic devices stunt younger readers’ growth as they can search for specific details without considering the full context of scripture.

Challenges and Benefits of Using the Physical Word of God

While Smith makes a compelling argument, readers can also overlook the context of scripture using a physical Bible. Whether you use the MSG, NLT, NKJV, or any other version of an English Bible context challenges will exist. 

Translating any work from its original language to another may lead to losing some of the text’s intended meaning.  Reading different translations of scripture simultaneously and studying their original Greek or Hebrew meaning can resolve this issue. 

Along with the possibility of not grasping the full context of scripture, using physical Bibles are

  • Time-consuming.
  • A hassle to carry.
  • Outdated as new editions strive to provide more accurate interpretations of text.
  • Inconvenient as they can only be used in places where you can read and write.

Despite these challenges, I still prefer using a physical Bible over a digital Bible. In my opinion, physical copies of scripture

  • Allows me to become familiar with the order and structure of God’s word
  • Enhances my ability to take notes and memorize verses.
  • Eliminates technological distractions.
  • Protects my eyes as I don’t have to stare at a screen for hours.

Scholars who use printed copies of scripture also mention how a Bible can be passed on to the next generation. I agree with this as younger relatives have Bibles I had as a child.

When my Great-Grandmother died, I received a Bible her job gave her as a retirement gift in 1996. I am grateful for the inheritance and legacy I get to carry on because of God’s word.

Which version of the Bible do you use and why? I would love to hear your opinion on this subject. Your feedback is greatly appreciated! 

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