Imagine this: You want to read the Bible but you can not physically lift it, or you struggle reading, or you can’t see at all. What do you do?
I had to answer that first question in August 2015. After waking up from a coma, that resulted in full-body atrophy, I could not hold my Bible for more than 10 seconds. So, I was forced to find another way to enjoy God’s word.
While I recovered in the hospital and then rehabilitation, I discovered I could hold my cell phone, being propped by two scratchy hospital pillows, and read a Bible app for up to ten minutes. This was so exciting!
After my release from rehab, it became clear that audio Bibles were another great way to hear and memorize the Bible. Again, this was so exciting and easy to use.
The ‘digital-first’ world we now live in gave me freedom and options to interact with God’s word. That’s why when I read The Brave New World of Bible Reading by Trevor Sutton, it became clear that there needs to be a fuller examination of the effect new technology has on the disabled.
A Brave New World – Enabling More People
At the top, let’s make it clear: The article is great. It’s clear, insightful, and accurate.
I agree that the ‘digital-first’ world we live in requires two things: biblical literacy and digital literacy. And, it is true that we need to ask questions about how these methods effect how the Bible is read.
But, the author of the article, Trevor Sutton, says this,
“We should celebrate how digital technology enables more people to encounter God’s Word…” (emphasis added)
This statement should make the reader ask, “Who is enabled to ‘encounter God’s word’ more than before?”
One answer: The disabled community.
The Upsides for the Disabled
There are three distinct benefits of living in the ‘digital-first’ world for the disabled.
The disabled community has become used to the world being inaccessible, and most people don’t even expect there to be access and options.
Not only is the Bible available for all kinds of people, but the Bible is also available in many different formats. On top of the Bible being accessible, there is access to books, sermons, podcasts, and audiobooks as well.
The ‘digital-first’ world has made God’s word available to the disabled, maybe for some, the first time in history.
(See Resources Below)
The apps that are available are also very easy to navigate and utilize. So, not only are there options for the disabled, but those options are also simple enough to use for all ages, disabled and able-bodied alike.
Yes, some apps are better than others, but the most popular apps are always improving the overall simplicity. This will only help more disabled men and women enjoy God’s word.
This benefit comes from God’s word preached, taught, or discussed. Through the access of local sermons, classes, and podcasts, the disabled have an entry point into the local church.
The local church is essential to the thriving of a city and its people, so the disabled community having digital access can be vital for authentic connection.
Visual God’s word
Audio God’s word
- ESV Bible (w/possible Study Bible)
- CSB App (w/possible Study Bible)
- Bible App for Kids
* – Personal favorite and most used
The effect of the ‘digital-first’ world on the disabled has benefits: Availability, Simplicity, and Connection.
Next time we’ll look at the two downsides the ‘digital-first’ world has on the disabled.