Friday, September 02, 2011

Bible App Reviews

Admittedly this posting is going to be a bit one-sided. I use a smartphone that is sold by a certain company based in Cupertino and just had their CEO resign. One of the things that I have enjoyed is trying out different apps; so much so that my wife just rolls her eyes when new apps show up on her phone. Usually she just deletes them without ever opening them up.

I have really enjoyed trying out different Bible and Theology apps and right now I have 14 of these types of apps on my phone. I only use 2 or 3 on a regular basis and another 2 or 3 on a semi-regular basis. The others are used far less frequently but still reside on my phone.

The first of the apps that I use on a regular basis is Crossway’s ESV Study Bible App. It’s a bit pricey at $14.99 but it includes all of the ESV Study Bible notes, articles, maps and illustrations. Seeing that the print edition is going to set you back a minimum of $35 to $50, it’s not a bad deal. The app is even easier to use now that you can swipe between the Study Notes, the text and your own notes. The only problem is that you cannot swipe while you are in the full screen reading mode which would be really nice. The font size can be changed. I usually keep it on medium which I find balances readability and amount of text on the page. I find that the large and extra large sizes have too little of the text on the screen. Changing books and chapters is fairly nice and actually reminds me of the Zune HD UI. There is a free version that does not contain the study Bible notes that is still quite good to use.

The second app that I have just started to use on a regular basis is an app called ReadingPlan. It is an app that simply tracks my Bible reading plan. There are various reading plans available; it comes with 6 and there are many more you can download. It gives you the book and chapters to read with a checkmark box next to them to tick off as you finish. Pretty snazzy idea. It also links nicely to the ESV Study Bible App, other Bible apps and even online Bibles. The limitation is that it does not contain a Bible within the app so you must have either an internet connection or one of the supported apps to actually read on the phone. I haven’t tried it out with a printed Bible but I am fairly confident that it would function just fine.

The third app that I have used on a fairly consistent basis is the WAVE Study Bible app. I found it to be a great app that assisted me in some translation. It contains a limited number of translations which include the Greek New Testament, the King James Version, the New English Translation and God’s Word Translation. There are a couple of others for purchase and there is a supposed to be an update containing the Hebrew Old Testament. There is a Bible Tutor function that includes some “How To” lessons that I have not used nor had the desire to use. Overall it is good for what it does but is somewhat limited.

I also have the Blue Letter Bible app which is based on the great Blue Letter Bible website. The app has a lot of content and does need internet access for the language tools but can be somewhat clumsy to navigate. It is not touch friendly in that the icons are not always intuitive and are too close together. One of the great things about the website are the language tools and they are available in the app. But they require internet access which is not always an issue. The language tools are the most navigation unfriendly part of the app. You cannot move from verse to verse while using them. You can only look at them a verse at a time and then you have to go back to the main text, select the next verse then tell the app that you want the Concordance/Interlinear option before you can see the next verse. It gets quite cumbersome if you want to look at multiple verses.

I also have the Logos Bible app but because I do not have the Logos Bible Software for my computer the app is somewhat limited. It sounds like a great app in that you only have to purchase the content for your computer version and you get the app version of the content (if it is available on the app). I look forward to the day that I can afford the software and start playing with the app as well.

Other apps that I like to use on a semi-regular basis include the Stand To Reason app, the Leadership Journal app, the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary app and the Thoughtful Christianity app.
Given my propensity to search out and try new apps, I am sure that if I revisit this post in a few months that I would have different recommendations. Feel free to share if you have an app recommendation or two.

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