Last week I heard of a new app called Redeeming Time. It’s a very simple premise: many of us, when we have a few minutes spare, will spend that time on social media. Over the course of a week it all adds up. And, if we’re honest with ourselves, it’s probably not a good use of the time.
As the app blurb says:
Fed up of wasting time on social media?
What would it look like to “waste time” with God instead?
The App gives you a way of redeeming the time that you might otherwise waste on social media. It’s really very simple.
How it works
It’s very simple and straightforward:
- The app asks you how much time you have. If, for example, you’re waiting for a train, you could put it the number of minutes you have til you have to go.
- The app will show you which Bible books you can read in the time you have available (obviously it’s approximate, depending on you having an average reading speed!)
- You select one, and the app will show you the book you’ve selected.
- One nice touch – when you’ve completed it, you’ll be shown a few questions to help you think about it.
If you want to read a longer book of the Bible, the app will also keep tabs on how far through the book you’ve got, so you can come back to it later.
See the screenshots below.
Who will benefit from it
If you’re someone who is tempted to spend too much time on social media (and I know the pull of that temptation!) this app could prove to be really helpful. Although I’ve uninstalled the Facebook and Twitter apps on my phone (as I explain in this video), it’s still tempting. Especially if you’re waiting around in a queue or something.
I think the people who will benefit from this the most are people who regularly find themselves waiting around, e.g. for public transport. I think this would be a great way of deciding, for example, that you wanted to read through the Bible in the time you’d normally spend on Facebook.
A few reservations
Having said all this, I have one or two reservations about the app.
It doesn’t add much to other apps
I can’t really see how this adds a huge amount to other apps. You can already get the Bible on apps – I have a couple on my phone. The only real thing it adds is the time calculation. My Bible app remembers where I got up to in my Bible reading – whenever I open it, it opens to the last place I got to. I could easily read through a book of the Bible using a Bible app rather than using the Redeeming Time app.
One feature which would make the Redeeming Time app useful is a Bible reading plan: rather than simply ordering the books of the Bible by how long it would take to read them, put them in order. If the app kept track of where you’d got up to, that could be useful. Of course, there are already apps which are designed to give you a certain amount of the Bible to read, such as the Daily Readings Spurgeon app which I wrote about a while back. But the ones I know of are based on giving you a reading every day – it might be helpful to have one which let you go at your own pace.
I’m not sure it will help people addicted to social media
One of the problems with addiction to social media is that it’s very tempting to use social media at all sorts of inappropriate times. I sometimes find myself scrolling through Facebook while watching TV, which is really not a good idea! You can’t concentrate on two things at once.
One of the things about reading the Bible is that it’s not like social media. You can’t just glance through the Bible – it takes thought and concentration. I’m not convinced that reading through part of the Bible in the same time you would usually scroll through Facebook is going to be a hugely beneficial spiritual exercise. I would suggest looking at some of the alternatives below.
Other ways to redeem the time
Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.Ephesians 5:15-16
It’s really important to redeem our time and to use it well. We need to make the most of every opportunity – if we have a few spare minutes on a railway platform, we should use it! Personally I am not convinced that the Redeeming Time app is the best way for me. But there are many other ways of redeeming the time.
Listen to a podcast / watch a YouTube video
Podcasts have been around for a long while, but I’ve only really started to get into them recently. If you want to grow as a Christian, listening to a Christian podcast might be just the thing you need. There are lots available, for example Cooper & Cary have words, or Ask Pastor John. You can get sermons, theology, anything you like. You can find plenty of good content on YouTube too. (I should say that Understand the Bible has its own YouTube channel and podcast!)
Is a podcast better than reading the Bible directly? Well obviously I wouldn’t recommend listening to a podcast instead of reading the Bible in general! But I think a podcast / YouTube video could be more suitable to the level of attention you can give when you’re waiting for a train. Personally I think we should not just be reading the Bible but also things which help us to understand the Bible, to put pieces together.
Do a course
One of the reasons I started Understand the Bible was to give people a way of ‘redeeming the time’. If you typically have about 15 minutes per day free, then you could do one of the Understand the Bible courses. (You can even get the app – there are links at the bottom of every page). There are other courses available, such as The Whole Christ which the Christian Institute have made freely available.
You will probably find that doing something to complement reading the Bible might actually help your Bible reading. My suggestion is to do both – read the Bible, but also do things which will help you to understand what you’re reading better.
This is probably the most fundamental one! One of the best ways of redeeming the time is to pray. You can pray anywhere, and you don’t have to have a set amount of time to do it. Just talk to God about what’s on your mind and heart. Bring the people you care about, as well as your problems and concerns to him.
I know it sounds a bit silly to admit it, but one of the most helpful things for me spiritually was realising that I didn’t have to pray at a set time every day. A few years ago I started praying when I walked places, praying when I was in the shower, praying whatever I was doing. It’s been very helpful for me spiritually! Prayer should be like breathing to a Christian. Most of us, if not all of us, don’t pray anything like as much as we should.
Of everything that we could do to redeem the time, perhaps the best thing would be to simply put the phone down and pray. Just a thought.