This is a repost from last year, but it bears repeating, as I am more convinced than ever that teachers need to make this a priority. Please pass it on.
Before advocating for teaching children and youth primarily from a printed Bible, I want to fully affirm that the following are true, whether we teach the Bible from a digital device or from a traditional printed book:
The medium we use does not change or alter these truths. However, there is something we should not lose sight of: The medium we use cannot be completely disassociated from the message. One media theorist went so far as to famously say, “The medium is the message.” This means that the vehicle—book, TV, iPhone, etc.—used to transmit a message can’t help but shape and even alter the meaning of the message it brings.
There are four reasons I advocate primarily using a physical, printed Bible for teaching children and youth.
I do believe there is a place for using a digital form of Scripture, whether it be on a device, PowerPoint, etc. There are times and situations where digital may be preferred and beneficial. But in the classroom and for our children’s personal study and devotions, I believe the printed Word is preferable. Even if you use a digital device to prepare your lesson, I would encourage you to read from a printed Bible in the classroom and encourage your students to do the same. This is invaluable modeling for impressionable children.
Finally, I would encourage you to read Matthew Barrett’s article, “Dear Pastor, Bring Your Bible to Church.” Although it is directed at pastors, all the principles are applicable to teachers. Here is his conclusion:
No doubt, my warning touches an uncomfortable and irritable nerve. To insult our use of technology is one of the seven deadly sins in the 21st century. Technology infiltrates and saturates everything we do, and therefore defines everything we are, for better or worse. But is this subtle shift changing the way we read the Scriptures? Is it ever-so-quietly removing the visual centerpiece of the local assembly? I think so.