In the office we’ve been thinking about the many different ways people can now engage with the Bible, especially the impact that mobile technology is having at providing people with access to Scripture.
The idea that it’s only Christians in the west that turn up at church with their Bible on their mobile phone is not completely accurate. The Bible is reaching many more people thanks to mobile technology.
The following is an excerpt from an article called The Little Phone That Could: Mobile-Empowered Ministry, from the International Journal of Frontier Missiology.
“Our first impression, though, was that most of the nomads we worked with did not have access to any form of media player-whether using cassette, CD or DVD. Within weeks we realized that, if we wanted to get the audio Bible stories out among these people, we would have to provide a media player for them…
…What we had failed to notice was that these nomads already had media players-their mobile phones! They were using them to listen to music and poetry as well as view videos. This realization changed our strategy, so we now start out by sharing individual Scripture stories on our phone during a visit, and then transfer it by Bluetooth to those who are interested. If a person shows enough interest or has come to faith, we can then provide a mobile phone memory card (quite inexpensive and entirely natural for a nomad to have) containing the entire panoramic set of Bible stories.”
From the International Journal of Frontier Missiology (Fall 2010)
It’s not a perfect solution yet. This infographic shows the number of people using each SIM card, so while in Europe there’s more than one SIM per person, in African a phone seems to be shared between 2.4 people. It would suggest that mobile phone ownership is still significantly higher in developed countries.
But things aren’t staying this way and research (and experience) suggest that more and more people are getting connected through mobile technology. This means more and more people can have access to the Bible on little devices they carry around with them all the time.