Should your Bible be visible?

When I was a teenager I remember being able to identify the 'keen' Christians walking to church on a Sunday by the size of the Bibles they carried. It was the local Baptists who clutched the biggest black leather-bound King James Versions - big enough to be used as an offensive weapon if challenged.

It is now rare in the UK to see someone carrying or reading a Bible in public - or for that matter a prayer book. There are many reasons for this, but one of them is the availability and convenience of digital versions. Why carry even a pocket-sized Bible in book form when travelling if you can access it easily on your smartphone? And make notes on it as you go if you want to? And link to commentaries? Why bother with finding the several places in a daily office book like Common Worship Daily Prayer when there's an app for it that includes all the prayers and readings in one easy to read stream that you can use on the train or wherever you happen to be?

This post was triggered by reading Holly Poulter's post 'The Invisible Bible'. She comments on how much books like Fifty Shades of Grey are being read incognito in e-book form on the daily commute. She wonders if Christians should make the physical Bible more visible, so it is seen as as mainstream as all those Fifty Shades of Grey titles on supermarket shelves. Her question is
"are there ways we can we have both digital and physical visibility when it comes to the Bible and the wider public, who need to see that Christianity is breaking out all over our country, and not just under a layer of pixels?"
It's an interesting question and leads to lots of others. Is carrying a physical Bible a sign of being a Christian, any more than wearing a cross? What about Jesus' warnings about parading your piety in public in order to be seen? (There's a funny story about that. I'll put it in my next post.)

If you are not a Christian do you avoid people carrying Bibles in case they accost you with evangelising talk? If you are a Christian do you regularly carry a Bible? How and why? Over to you. What do you think?


  1. Do I regularly carry a Bible? Very rarely. Why? "Travel light" is my motto - given that I don't drive - (the Word of God is pretty weighty!) and I can no longer read the tiny font in my pocket Bible.

    But seriously - I'd have answered yes ten or more years ago, back in my more evangelical days where pew bibles were provided and many folk brought their own copies in so that they could take notes during the service, (mine was covered in scribbles). Not so now, in a more 'liberal' setting; just doesn't seem to be part of the culture outside study groups and the like. This isn't to downgrade the importance of regular bible reading on my part; (can't speak for others!) - more a change of emphasis and learning style. I scribble less, listen more...

    1. "...scribble less, listen more..." Most of us don't listen enough do we?


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