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Long For Truth: 4 Essential Apps for Mobile Bible Study

Saturday, October 18, 2014

4 Essential Apps for Mobile Bible Study

Note: This post is not intended to be an exhaustive review of these apps. I highlight some of the better features to give you an idea of what each app can do. 

The mobile age has been thrust on us. And like it or not, we are apart of it. With the dawn of the tablet, the Kindle, and other large screen portable devices, we need not feel overwhelmed or threatened by all the pixels pounding their way into our homes.

In fact, we can take advantage of it; especially those of us who are believers. How so? In bygone days when one wanted to do Bible study on the go, it meant lugging around a bunch of books that weighed nearly as much as we did. Not to mention, if one had a large library then he would have to be pretty selective deciding which books were a necessity for the subject he was studying.

But in today's tech driven world, most times, we can access our entire libraries with a tap or swipe of the finger. And I'm no different. I've learned to take advantage of this truly digital era. I like my study to be just as mobile as me. For that reason, I'd like to share with you what I consider to be 4 essential apps for mobile Bible study. And don't worry. I've included lots of screenshots so you can kind of see what it all looks like. Ready? Here goes:

Bible App

Obviously, you'll need some kind of a Bible app to do mobile Bible study. Because I own a base package for my Mac I have the Logos app on my iPad, as well. It really is a nifty app, allowing you to to do word studies of the original languages on the go, taking notes on passages you're currently studying, and includes the popular Passage and Exegetical guides within the app, though somewhat much more limited than the than the desktop version. One of the biggest downsides of this app, though, is that it doesn't have the capabilities of doing word lookups & studies without an internet connection. Hopefully, this is something they will resolve in the near future, as it has been a long-standing request. For other good Bible apps, also check out Accordance and Olive Tree. Screenshots of the Logos app in action are below!

This is the Home Screen. It features a different verse every day, along with artwork to accompany the Scripture
An array of highlighting styles are available as well as pop-up cross references upon tapping on them. The references are hyperlinked so they can be followed as you tap on them
Long tapping on a word and then choosing the 'Look Up' option brings up the original languages word. You can then choose 'Bible Word Study,' for further info, which will be seen in the next screen shot
The Bible Word Study brings up a ring. Each segment reveals how the English translates the particular English rendering, along with the verse references

The Exegetical Guide pulls from your available grammars and critical apparatuses on the particular passage you happen to be studying at the moment

This is the word-by-word portion of the Exegetical Guide. Having this on the iPad is sweet!!

The Passage Guide is similar to the Exegetical Guide. It pulls all relevant resources from whatever passage you are studying


Pages is a simple, clean word processor with a lot of features packed into a mobile app. It has the ability to add columns, shapes, styles, and pretty much what you would expect from a word processor. Pages also allows you to export your documents in a PDF format right from the app itself. This is extremely useful, as we will look at with one of the other apps. The $9.99 price tag is bit high for my taste, but I was zealous when I first bought my iPad and went a little haywire. Check out the screenshots below. 

The Start-up Screen

Different shapes that can be added to enhance your document

There are a lot of different styling options. The usual, such as bold, italic, underline are also avialable

Galatians 1 pasted into a Pages document. I set it  up for two columns so it would "feel" more like reading from my Bible
This is where you change the layout (margins, headers, footers, etc). When pasting passages from the Bible in my documents I like to set the margins to .5 inches with double space. It gives a lot of room to make notes


By far, the most useful app that I use is Goodreader. This app is absolutely incredible and indispensable  for mobile Bible study. It has a number of capabilities, the main feature being able to mark up a PDF document almost anyway you can imagine. But the usefulness doesn't stop there. You can import your documents, pics, videos, even read your e-mail from within the app. It also allows you to use its built in web browser to download interesting links, which can be viewed offline. I tested this particular feature by downloading a link  and then turning of my wifi connection. I was still able to view the web article while offline. And for the $3.99 price tag, it's well worth it.

Drawing on a PDF is useful, and this is where the Pages app  works in cooperation with Goodreader. Simply export your pasted passage as a PDF and open it in Goodreader. There are a number of shapes and colors available. You can add arrows, lines, ovals, rectangles, highlights, etc., during the observation phase of your study. Hopefully, the screenshots below will demonstrate the power of this most awesome app!

This is what the text looks like unaltered. This screenshot is in the Pages app before opening it up in the Goodreader app

As you can see, there are a myriad of options for marking up a text: colors, shapes, text boxes, and such help with the observation phase. Even the thickness, weight, and shapes of the lines can be changed. In the pic above, I have devised my own system of different colors and shapes

This is the free-hand drawing option. It has a zoom feature that allows you to draw more precisely. Note, that everything in the box at the bottom is the same as the box on the top. The box can be moved to different parts of the text to accommodate drawing anywhere in the document. A stylus would probably be better for finer drawing, but I didn't have one handy at the time 

The app allows you to import you pics, as well. Notice the tic circles for selecting which pics you would like to import

This feature is great as it allows you to connect the most popular cloud services. Once connected, you can then open any of your docs in the app; even Word & PPts. And yes, I've tried it :)
You can even read your mail inside the app!

This cool feature allows you to open a web page in the app. It's particularly useful if you're like me and use web services such as CCEL (Christian Classics Ethereal Library) to read and study early church writings. 

Just to demonstrate, I've opened up our blog within Goodreader. Notice how it has two separate tabs that can be switched back and forth. It also has the classic "x" button to close out any given tab

Bible Vocab HD

My last essential app for mobile Bible study is Bible Vocab HD. This one is aimed more at the language geeks, but is very helpful for the lay person as well. You can dial in any passage or range of passages and get all the given original language words for that passage. It has a slideshow mode in which you can review and learn all the words in a passage. It also has a parsing slideshow mode so you can learn the parsing for each form as well. It is very useful for original language studies. Bible Vocab HD will cost you $5.99.

This is the screen where you dial in your passage. Currently, I have 3 in my list. Just tap on the 'Add Passage' link and the dial will open, allowing you to choose the range of passage(s) you desire

Here is Psalm 119:1-8, to give an example of how it looks. Notice the 'Parsing' on the top left and 'Vocab' on the top right. Pressing these will take you to the slideshow mode for study and quizzing yourself. Parsing is not yet available for Hebrew

Here is the New Testament. There are also options available for choosing which Greek New Testament you would like to use

Slide show mode. Just tap the screen to reveal the answer

The Parsing mode. The parsings are hidden until you tap the screen. It's a great way to learn your vocab and different forms of all the words in any given passage

Those are my 4 picks for essential apps for mobile Bible study. Feel free to drop me a comment if you have any questions. I hope this post has encouraged you to take advantage of technology for God's glory. Soli Deo Gloria!


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