A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to teach an adult Sunday School class at my home church on an overview of the New Testament book of James.
One point that I stressed was about belief. James tells us not to limit our belief to merely having information about God. In James 2:19, we read:
You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder!
According to James, demons have knowledge about the truths concerning God. It is scary to realize that their amount of accurate knowledge about God (not accurate attitude toward God but accurate factual knowledge concerning God) will exceed anything we humans can acquire in this life. They have been observing God and His actions toward humanity for multiple thousands of years. Having that accurate knowledge about God did not transform the demons. Rather than being transformed into Christ-likeness, those demons entered into and remain, up to this very moment, in active rebellion against God.
I told the class that we must never confuse acquiring and having knowledge of the things of God with being transformed by them. The Apostle Paul warns us that “knowledge puffs up” (1 Corinthians 8:1 ESV). It is an ongoing danger for a believer in Christ to treat knowledge about God, the Bible, Christianity, etc as the goal rather than as the means to the goal, namely, personally knowing God in Christ.
I went on to make the point that if only having knowledge of the things of God (apart from acting on them) really mattered, then my iPhone is more sanctified than any of us. In its memory, it holds three complete translations of the Bible, as well as a library of theological and devotional books as well as the texts of multiple creeds and confessions of faith from throughout church history. Extremely few, if any of us, using our own memory, could rival having the information content about the things of God in our memory which my iPhone holds in its memory.
So, in the spirit of remembering James’ point as a vivid lesson for us, as well as recognizing that the gift of current-day technology can assist us in knowing and growing in Christ-likeness, I will be posting a series of articles entitled, in a very tongue-in-cheek manner, “Thoughts from a sanctified iPhone.” Of course my iPhone isn’t sanctified. But knowing and acting on the data it holds about God can make you more sanctified.
There are several apps which I’ve picked up over the years that I think could be beneficial to your walk with Christ. Having access to them, learning what they can teach us and acting on that information, may help us to go beyond merely acquiring God-data and actually be transformed into Christ’s likeness.
Today, I’d like to tell you about a great Bible app from Crossway Books. Crossway makes the entire text of the English Standard Version (ESV) available on a free app. I’ve used this app several years ago when I was trying to acquaint myself with the ESV. The navigation to a specific book and chapter is quite good. It has options for taking and keeping notes, allows you to change the settings on the size of the font, as well as having a night-reading mode with a darker screen as well as the ability to display the words of Jesus in red.
The English Standard Version is rapidly becoming the version of choice for many evangelical and reformed churches. It balances readability with a firm commitment to accurately translating the text of Scripture and not simply paraphrasing it. It’s a great resource to keep on your iPhone or other mobile device.
With an app like this, if you carry an iPhone in your pocket or purse, you’re carrying the entire Bible with you as well.
The free app for the iPhone or iPad can be found here at the Apple App Store.
I invite your thoughts, input and feedback.