By Billy Hallowell, Deseret News.
There has been an explosion of late in the use of digital Bibles, with hundreds of millions of tablets and smartphones now carrying Bible apps that offer up personal studies, daily readings and a variety of scripture translations.
Consider that the popular YouVersion Bible app has already been downloaded more than 230,000,000 times across the globe — and counting.
But while many people are openly embracing the digital phenomenon, some in the underground church world are still pining for paper copies, according to David Reeves, director of technology advancement at Wycliffe Associates.
Reeves told Mission Network News that his organization — which equips missionaries by assisting with Bible translation — was caught by surprise when they realized that many churches still want paper copies of the biblical texts.
He said that Wycliffe Associates needed to re-think plans surrounding digital offerings after further assessing the reality on the ground in some countries where Christian churches must live in secret or where the Bible is banned.
“They really want to have this,” he said of traditional paper Bibles. “They can have it in their hands, it doesn’t require any power, it doesn’t need to be recharged and they can hide it in various locations.”
Despite the need and demand, there are certainly a plethora of challenges surrounding printed Bibles, including how to transport copies to locations that are not accommodating — or are outright hostile — toward faith.
And, as Mission Network News noted, another barrier is that some languages do not yet have Bible translations.