We have seen for ourselves the value of listening to God's Word daily. At first, we started listening to the Bible on tape, then as technology advanced we moved to using CD's, then MP3 and Bible apps. Finding it so beneficial, we started looking for ways to encourage others to read and/or listen to God's word daily.
I have the Bible app from bible.com (YouVersion) on my apple iPhone. It can be downloaded on any phone or computer device. I prefer to use it on my iPhone as I daily message the "Verse of the Day" to a number of people. The inspiration for me to do this was Hebrews 3:13: "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called 'Today'."
It's amazing how God uses this daily passage of Scripture to bring comfort and encouragement to different people when they most need it. Occasionally, someone will let me know how much they really appreciate receiving the Scripture passage. Here are some of the comments I've received:
"Every single day the text is a blessing. Don't ever doubt that."
"Such an encouragement."
"Just wanted to let you know what it means for me to receive the text of the day."
"Thanks needed this one."
Recently, a member from our congregation who receives the "Verse of the Day" told me that she highlights the verse/s in a spare Bible of hers. She has noticed a few patterns in doing this. Sometimes some of the verses have been used before. Also a number of verses tend to come from the same book and chapter of the Bible. Another member told me he usually gets my message when he's in the staff room at work. Quite often he'll read it out loud. Sometimes he will use it as an opportunity to witness.
Occasionally, I'll use the Bible app to SMS or email a Scripture to someone who needs special encouragement — for example someone who is sick, facing an operation, or celebrating a birthday. I also use the Bible app as a portable Bible which is easily available when I don't have a print Bible with me.
Bible.com is available free on the internet. It has a search tool, Reading Plans and Devotionals and even videos to watch. If you so desire, you can highlight Scripture passages, bookmark pages and write notes about certain passages on your device. You can share what you want and even connect to other people and share your thoughts. It enables you to enjoy the Bible anywhere at any time of the day.
Currently it is available in 1,130 languages and 1,566 Bible versions. Some translations are also available as audible Bibles. Bible.com requires an active internet service. However, if you lose your network connection it reverts to a saved standard Bible translation. You can download a Bible to read offline but not all Bibles are available offline. You can force your phone to use the downloaded Bible versions by putting your device on airplane mode. The photos below show how this can be done. Unfortunately, I don't believe bible.com would meet the needs of people in countries where Christians are being persecuted. The app bible.is would be a better solution for those people, since it permits downloading the audio files to a device for listening offline.
The photographs below show how you can easily choose different languages and translations as well as the book and chapter you want to read and / or listen to.
A man who receives the "Verse of the Day" from me asked me if I would e-mail them instead so he could either print them out or forward them onto family and friends. Some people from our church daily receive the WELS devotion by email. Some people like to forward these on to anyone they feel the devotion might benefit. I also do this occasionally.
Mobile phones, i-pads and computers are also great ways to play music. I personally find Christian music very calming to the soul and relaxing. The chaplain at the nursing home where I do volunteer work uses her iPhone, along with some small speakers, to play music at meetings and services, and to minister to palliative care residents.
I firmly believe that "the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12) Having access to cheap iPads, I had a strong desire to place iPads with the Bible on them into the hands of other people.
I installed The Listener's MP3 Bible, narrated by Max McLean, onto some iPads and distributed them to about ten people, members of our church and fellow work mates. When I handed them out I told the person that I wanted to see what they thought about using the iPad to listen to the Bible. The Listener's Bible comes with four easy-to-listen-to MP3 discs.
The response has been varied but positive. In one family the children were eager to listen to it as the iPad was a novelty. Their foster child would come into their bedroom early in the morning so she could have some quiet time to listen to some Bible stories by herself. A single lady who suffers with poor health and is a new Christian uses hers daily and you can see her growing in her faith and knowledge of the Scripture. I gave one to another lady who was in hospital following cancer surgery. Her husband was with her at the time and since he wasn't a Christian I wondered how he would react to her being given an audible bible. He was like a child with a new toy and wanted to learn how to use this iPad — he had no previous experiences with such devices. They were both very grateful for the gift.
I like to play it when I'm getting ready for the day as I find it puts my mind in the right mental head space for the day ahead, and when I'm going to sleep at night.
It's great for people who don't like reading or can't read. Some people have had a desire to share it with others as they can see the value in it. Others have returned them saying they want to buy their own copy of the CD so they can install it on their own device. Most people find it easy to use and listen to. It just keeps on playing until you switch it off. I have found that people will listen to the Bible rather than read it. It encourages people to use the Bible in different ways and at different times.
I understand using iPads to share the Audible Bible would not be the most cost effective way for most people. However, I chose iPads as a friend of mine has his own business in buying and selling second hand computers and related devices.
We sincerely pray that our presentation has encouraged you (if you aren't already doing so) to use some of these devices to daily read and/or listen to God's Word and to consider using them as witnessing tools.
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