The foundation for effective Bible study (in addition to the Scriptures) is a good library of resources, mostly in the form of books. As a result, most of us who preach or teach have invested heavily over the years in printed books – Bible translations, dictionaries, commentaries, atlases, word studies, original language reference works, etc. My own personal library is comprised of several thousand such books. And my library would be even larger except occasional moves and space constraints have forced me over the years to weed out and give away less-used books to keep the overall quantity down.
Being bi-vocational and working in technology along with teaching and preaching, I have longed for a way to digitally access my most needed resources. This dream first started being fulfilled with the introduction of Bible software packages. I believe I purchased my first such software around 1990, when the interface was still DOS based (black and white text only with no graphics) before the days of Microsoft Windows. And I still own and actively update and expand some 5 different major Bible software packages even today.
But not all Bible reference works I want(ed) are available in these Bible software packages. Some digitized books were and are available using the Adobe Acrobat format, which allowed them to be purchased on disk or online, then downloaded to a computer and read onscreen. And I probably have a few such reference works in PDF format.
Then in 2007, Amazon.com, by that time already the world’s largest online book store, introduced a smallish handheld tablet with a black and white screen called the Amazon Kindle. It gave its owners access (for a price) to a “Kindle Store” of over 80,000 digital books which could be purchased and downloaded to the device to be read wherever the person happened to be. The original Kindle cost $400 or more. My son bought one immediately because his eyesight is poor (legally blind) because he immediately realized it was easier to read a book on the Kindle than in printed form since the type size could be instantly enlarged in the software on the Kindle.
Over the last 12 years, many models of Amazon Kindles and then Kindle Fires (with color screens) have been introduced, while the price has dropped dramatically to less than $50 now for a color screen base model. Over the same period, the Kindle Store has grown to include well over 6,000,000 book titles, with the price of many Kindle books being lower than the equivalent print version.
Then came the “Apps” – free software programs from Amazon Kindle which can run on practically any smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. When the user created an account with the Kindle Store and purchased a book, that book then was available automatically on every device the user owned where the Kindle app was installed! And because of the highly portable nature of our phones, tablets, laptops and Amazon Kindle and Kindle Fire readers, the user can have literally thousands of books with them at all times through whichever device is being used. Previously, carrying even a dozen print books about was an arduous task!
For the last several years, the majority of my Bible reference book purchases have been through either the Kindle Store, or if important enough for my research and available, through one of my Bible software providers. Either allow me to carry these huge digital libraries with me wherever I go for quick and easy access. I have several complete commentary sets, dictionaries, topical studies, history books, and other titles in my Kindle library for near instant access that are either not available at all or more expensive from the Bible software publishers. At last count my library exceeds 350 volumes from the Kindle store, plus numerous additional titles from the Sunset Bookstore and other sources that also work within the Kindle app.
In some future article, I will detail how to copy and paste from a Kindle book into a Microsoft Word or other document you might be creating on your computer or tablet, as well as share a few other tricks.
The image at beginning of post is a screenshot of part of the author’s library of Kindle books on his Apple iPad. The smaller image is of the original Amazon Kindle and came from Wikipedia.org.