Top 12 mobile apps and resources for Christians: 1-6
Because paper is so last century
Most people I know don’t have the same love for technology that I do. They claim their phone does what they need it to do: make and receive calls and messages. That’s certainly fair enough, but my iPhone is so much more than a phone. In fact, calls and messages are the least of what I do with my phone. Allow me to share with you some of the amazing resources that you can have at your fingertips (the apps and methods here are iPhone specific, but some are available on other platforms).
1. Olive Tree BibleReader
Olive Tree BibleReader is available for the iPhone in the iTunes App Store. There is a free version and a $1.19 version. The free version comes with the ASV (American Standard Version) and KJV (King James Version) Bibles, while the paid version comes with those plus the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary ($5.99 to buy) and the Matthew Henry Concise Commentary (free to download).
You can access the Olive Tree store from within BibleReader, which not only has many Bible translations and eBooks for sale, but has an abundance of free resources too:
- a series of biographies on reformation heroes based on sermons by John Piper
- a collection of over 1200 of John Piper’s sermons from Desiring God
- Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
- a Treatise on Good Works by Martin Luther
- many more sermons, historical books, books on prayer, books on Christian living and devotional guides.
You can peruse the items available on the Olive Tree website (prices on the site are in US$ and may be slightly different from within the app elsewhere).
Apart from all the resources, BibleReader has other nifty features, such as highlighting, bookmarking and note taking. BibleReader is also available for Android, Palm OS 5.x, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile (touch) and Symbian 60 v5.0.
2. Logos Bible Software
Why would I want more than one Bible reader software? Well, that’s a good question, and the answer is that while Olive Tree has a huge number of free resources and it stores everything on your phone so that it works offline, some of the Bible translations can seem a bit expensive. It’s probably fine for buying your favourite one or two, and downloading some of the free versions, but you wouldn’t want to stock up on a lot of translations just for the occasional comparison.
Logos is available in the App Store and it provides a smooth interface for accessing, viewing, searching and comparing Bibles from biblia.com (it only works when you’re connected to the internet). If you happen to use the Logos Bible Software for your computer, this can integrate with the iPhone app, providing some excellent features such as offline reading and Bible Word Studies for looking at the definition and usage of particular words in the text.
BibleGateway.com has a very usable mobile interface, which you can make as easily accessible as an application by pressing + at the bottom of your iPhone Safari window and selecting “Add to Home Screen”. This will add the BibleGateway.com icon to your iPhone homescreen; using this shortcut will take you straight to a Quick Search box to find whatever passage you need.
4. ESV Bible Online
The ESV Bible online also has a friendly mobile interface. Rather than taking you to a search box, it gives you a list of every book of the Bible to browse and click through. You can add this to your home page in the same way as BibleGateway.com.
Calendar comes with every iPhone and is able to sync with iCal, Google Calendar, Yahoo! Calendar, Outlook, and who knows what else. Even if you haven’t found yourself switching to an all-digital calendar system, you can still take advantage of this calendar to help you keep on track with your Bible reading!
There are several services that provide calendar feeds that you can subscribe to. The ESV Bible calendar feeds include: Through the Bible in a Year; Daily Reading Bible; Chronological reading; ESV Study Bible, and others. There are also BibleGateway.com reading plans, and the ESV.org reading plans include those from the previously mentioned ESV site as well as the popular M’Cheyne One-Year Plan.
The above feeds all start on January 1, which may not suit everyone; I made my own Bible reading calendar using bibleplan.org, a spreadsheet and Google Calendar. You can find instructions for doing the same on kristarella.com.
6. Spurgeon Devotional
Spurgeon Devotional is available on the App Store. Although I haven’t used this one myself, I think it looks like a ripper. It has the original Charles Spurgeon Morning and Evening devotionals, with bookmarking, note taking, and sharing on Facebook.
Ok - that’s it for now. Check back, because there will be another 6 resources to come in my next article. If you’ve got some favourites of your own, why not leave a comment below and let everyone know what you like to use.