Paper Books (& Bibles) are Making a Comeback

Originally Published by Mike Young in 2016

So, the word on the street from a number of sources is that paper books are making a comeback. 

Many of you know that traditional bookstores have taken a hit in recent years as more and more readers gravitate toward digital books and readers. Mobile devices make it really easy to read or listen to a book without actually having to hold a paper book in your hands and turn those pages… but we may be hitting a point of stabilization, at least for now

Here’s an article from the Richmond Times Dispatch on August 14th:

Used Bookstores Making a Comeback

And here’s one from Publisher’s Weekly on June 17th:

As E-book Sales Decline, Digital Fatigue Grows

You can find lots of other articles that make this point, but here’s where I really want to go…

I’m thankful for the versatility, flexibility and power of reading the Bible on my computer, tablet or smartphone; but there’s nothing that replaces reading the Word from a real book (except of course meditating on scripture that you’ve memorized!). 

As a matter of fact, I’ve read several articles recently about Christians who are setting their digital readers aside and picking up their paper Bibles again.

Here are some of their posts along with some comments that I highlighted

Five Reasons I’m Starting to Read a Paper Bible Again by Charles Stone – posted on Christian Leaders.

  • I’ve found that paper reading forces me to read a bit slower. I realize how I’ve missed slower and deeper Bible reading.
  • The feel of leather and the texture of the thin paper when I turn a page to look up a Scripture had enhanced my engagement with God’s Word.

Why I’m Using a Physical Bible Again by Scott Slayton – posted at

  • Holding a pencil helps me focus as I underline sentences, draw boxes around connecting words, and write notes in the margins.
  • The only thing I can do with my Bible is read my Bible.
  • If I’m on the phone, they (my children) don’t know if Dad is reading the Bible, checking email, or scrolling through Instagram.
  • Seeing my Bible in the bag I take to work reminds me to take a few minutes, sit down, and hear from God in the Scriptures.

8 Reasons You Should Bail On Your Bible App and Get Back to Your Hardcopy by Griffin Paul Jackson – posted at

  • Tablets and phones are absolutely loaded with distractions.
  • If only for the peace of mind of the pastor, so he knows you’re not ignoring him with Angry Birds…
  • Digital Bibles are far less useful when it comes to learning the books of the Bible, the length of them, and their order.
  • A hard copy makes it much easier to jump between books and verses.
  • To read a Bible in public, an actual leather-bound book, is a public profession, is an invitation, is a conversation-starter.

And here’s a real shocker from a recently published Barna study

Top 10 Findings on Teens and the Bible

  • Teens still prefer to use a hard copy Bible in a digital age… “When teens read the Bible, they are increasingly doing so digitally, but overall still prefer the old-fashioned hard copy version of the Bible.”

So, it’s fair to ask, “Mike, where are you going with this?”

Well, the typical guy is not terribly interested in reading. But, there is no excuse for any of us when it comes to engaging God’s Word. My hope and prayer is that we will all become men who meet Christ in the Bible, are transformed as the Holy Spirit speaks to us through His Word and evaluate all of life through the lens of the Bible. In order to do these things, we must be in the Word. We must live with it. I can tell you that I’m distracted by all manner of other things on my computer, tablet and phone. The only way for me to focus on reading my Bible is to read a paper Bible. Sure, I use Bible apps and digital Bible study tools but I love to hold my Bible in my hands and read it.

I love for my children to see me with my Bible in my hands or on my lap.

And get this, when they see me with my Bible, they know what I’m doing. When they see me on my phone, they don’t. And what’s even more thrilling and important is that when I walk by my children’s bedrooms and see them sitting at their desks, or lying on their beds with their Bible open, I know what they’re doing. When I see them looking at an electronic device, I wonder.

Here’s your action point. Men, pull out your paper Bible again.

Keep it near. Take it to church. Read it when you’re alone. Read it in front of your family. Read it with your family. Help them understand how God’s Word transforms you and informs your world view. Set an example. Be an example in your pursuit of God through His Word.

Mike Young
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