Smart Phone "Bibles" at Small Group Scripture Studies?


I have a question for those who, like me, lead small group Scripture studies at the parish level: How do you feel (or, better yet, what is your experience) about attendees using a Bible app on their phone during the Scripture study?

My own preference is that each person attending have a “hard” copy of the Bible rather than use their phone. To me, people using phones are a little distracting in a group setting. Even though it might not really be the case, it gives the impression that those using them are checking texts or Facebook instead of being engaged in the study.

(I want to make it clear that I’m NOT against the technology-- I think it’s great! I have numerous Scripture and prayer apps on my phone and find them extremely useful. My concern is just their use in a group setting.)

Thanks for any experience or insights you might have. :slight_smile:


I prefer a hard copy of the Bible myself, but I took a Scripture class at my local Catholic University a couple of years ago and about one third (or more) of the students were using laptops or other electronic devices. It is the wave of the future and it does not bother me. Any way that we can get people in our parishes (especially young people) to read and the study the Bible, we should encourage.


[Bold is mine] :thumbsup:

So long as it’s not disruptive to your class… this is the sign of the times. :shrug:

I also prefer a hard copy… easier to make notes and highlight section; however, some of the apps have made that easier to do too and the Kindle reader and others have bookmarks and highlights too… easier to change or undo a comment/highlight.

With that said… I have a LOTH app in the iPad that I really like… always up to date, always the right readings, has links to the days Mass readings etc… I’ve taken it to my Holy Hour quite often as it has the office too that I don’t have at home and some of those text are not easy to find otherwise. I also visit a site that has the Douay-Rheims version of the Bible online when I’m at work on the road, But when I really want to pray the LOTH or read scripture, there’s just something about the hard-copy-text that is different in “feel” IDK how to state it otherwise, that helps me to focus.


I prefer having a dead tree for study personally, but I wouldn’t hold it against someone for using a smartphone app (I have 3-4 on my phone, plus a couple more bookmarked in Safari).

I would offer that people coming to a Bible study are there because they WANT to be there (as opposed to kids in CCD, who may be there more because mom/dad say so, rather than their own desire). If using a Bible app is what they’re comfortable with (especially the younger generations), I would do nothing to discourage it.

Also, whether someone is using a smartphone or a dead tree, if they want to check their facebook or ebay auctions or what not, they’re likely going to do it, regardless of having a dead tree or an app. If they’ve been using a smartphone all the way through, I would argue it would be less distracting to the group, rather than a dead tree user pulling his or her phone out of their pocket (and nobody will know a phone user is checking unless they’re looking over a shoulder).

Besides, if someone is a translation junkie like I am, it’s a lot easier to take a half-dozen translations to a study on a phone than in a backpack. :slight_smile:

Someday, we’ll all be really old, and reminiscing about the old days, when we used to have to carry a big heavy Bible to study… uphill… both ways… in the snow… um, nevermind, wrong reminiscing… :smiley:


I am one of those that will probably bring my tablet/phone with Bible software. I have a Verbum package and it includes Catholic Commentary, plus the Catechism, plus the Ignatius Study Bible notes. :slight_smile:

I am also one of those that will get distracted looking at the cross-references and copious notes :o

However, when I’m attending a CRHP meeting, it is pre-accorded that we bring a hard copy of the NABRE (Everyone has one provided by our Parish) for Scriptures readings. That way we are all on the same page in Scripture and Prayer.

However, if your group is going in depth for bible studies then I don’t see a problem with electronic versions.



I would suggest that everyone have at least one hard copy Bible which is all the same (NABRE, RSV-CE, etc).

The paperback NABRE Bibles are pretty affordable, so at a minimum everyone could have one of those.

But if someone wanted to use a iPhone Bible App for a different version to compare and contrast, I think that would be fine.

God Bless.


As far as I’m concerned: whatever will bring the person closer to the holy scriptures then use it. And as long as it is clear they are using the bible app on their phone vs playing around with it during that time. I have also heard some people having a rosary app on their phones which helps them pray.

For me personally, I prefer the hard copy especially considering my bible is nice, thin and extremely light weight. That said, today I went to a bible study. I left my bible at home and yet I had my phone on me. I am rarely without my phone. If I had a data plan, that bible app would have come in handy not only today but several times when circumstances arose where I wish I had my bible and I didn’t.

Sometimes one can think of the bible app as having the bible always on them. Depending on where someone was travelling, I wouldn’t always rely on it due to issues with reception but for traveling around a high traffic signal area, it works.


I wouldn’t worry about what impression something gives and would focus on the person. If they’re at Bible study then they are most likely interested in Bible study, even if the Bible is on their phone.

I am part of a small faith-sharing community. Each week we look at the readings for the upcoming Sunday. It’s interesting to me that we each have our own ways of bringing the readings to our gatherings. One person prints them from the USCCB web site, another uses a monthly missalette, another reads them from her phone, another uses a book, and I bring them on my tablet. No one is right and no one is wrong, but we all have our preferences.


Thanks to everyone who responded. Your comments are all very helpful! :slight_smile:


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