“What’s a newspaper?” Those words may very well be spoken in just a generation or two. Fewer and fewer people are getting news from newspapers. In fact, even a major group that represents newspapers (Newspaper Association of America) reported this week that it is dropping the word “newspaper” from their title! They will now be known as the News Media Alliance.
The Internet has significantly changed the news industry. But even the Internet is changing rapidly. For example, just this week, a study showed that 60% of online time is now spent on apps (phone & tablet) rather than traditional websites. Where and how we get our news may soon be something that hasn’t even been invented yet!
Technology can be exciting. But there are downsides too. For example, Facebook created an algorithm to eliminate human editors and let computers determine the headlines. It ended poorly: a false story about Megyn Kelly getting fired from Fox for supporting Hillary Clinton, and an absurd and inappropriate story about a man and a McChicken sandwich were the stories it selected.
When it comes to Bibles, like newspapers, the old, paper Bibles seem to be on the way out too. People often ask what I think of the electronic versions. Here are a few things to consider:
1) Apps are great. And, I really like technology. But before you get rid of your paper Bible, just remember that a paper Bible never needs rebooted, never crashes, never needs plugged in, and never changes. There is some comfort in knowing it always works when needed!
2) Don’t let an app choose your study. Facebook’s algorithm chose ridiculous news stories because those were the ones that were receiving the most clicks on the web. “Most clicks” is just as bad a way to determine Bible study, as it is to determine relevant, meaningful headlines. No algorithm can ever supplant time in consistent, orderly Bible study.
3) Myths, lies, and scandal may get more clicks, but sound doctrine provides the words of life. Heed Paul’s warnings in 1 Timothy 4:3-4. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”