The invention of the movable-type printing press in the 15th century revolutionized society. This new technology exponentially increased the speed and the scale with which the written word could be produced, distributed, and collected. Likewise, the advent of innovations like the personal computer, the Internet, and mobile technology has changed the way we produce, share, and process information in the last few years. What used to take days, weeks, and months now takes hours, minutes, and in some cases, even seconds, to make and publish.
As students and preachers of the Bible, we are blessed to have much modern technology at our disposal. While there are numerous pitfalls to modern technology (ease of plagiarism, misinformation, distractions both innocent and evil), the advantages of using it correctly can be a great benefit to ourselves and those we seek to serve. Instead of having to pile a desk full of volumes or carry a backpack of books to a study place, we can easily access entire libraries stored on our computer’s drives or through the World Wide Web on the same computer or a smartphone. Instead of having to print all our notes for speaking, we can access them from a tablet. Instead of having to pull out a big concordance for one simple search, powerful tools in Bible apps or Bible website searches will quickly do the trick.
There is an abundance of tools, and sometimes an abundance can be overwhelming. Some can probably safely ignore much of the new technology, provided they have a vast store of personal knowledge of the Bible from years of study and know their way around the Word and key study tools. Most of the rest of us have potential for much benefit from these electronic tools, but often need some guidance to keep us from getting lost among many good options. Such guidance should help us choose tools that work well for us in the present, and introduce us to tools we may wish to use in the future.
In the weeks ahead, I hope to introduce you to some helpful digital tools for studying the Bible as well as preparing and delivering messages. The goal is not to overwhelm you but to selectively introduce you to or remind you of some helpful resources. Hopefully, you will be able to take away a few key helps to add to your toolbox.
The listings will cover tools from multiple formats (including PC, iOS, Android, etc.) under the following headings:
- Spiritual Disciplines (e.g., reading, memorizing, praying)
- Intensive Bible Study & Sermon Preparation
- Lesson/Sermon Presentation
If you have some recommended electronic tools you would like me to consider including on the lists, please leave a comment or use the contact form. I hope we will discover some resources that will help us study and share the Word in 2014.