In the modern world we always seem to be looking for ways to access information as easily as possible. The mobile phone/‘smart’ mobile phone has developed in recent years to such an extent that many functions that we would have formerly used on a laptop computer are now accessible through a phone. Many of us have a smart phone on our person or at least within easy reach most of the time. This means that access to a broad spectrum of information is a real benefit. I know that we need to be wise and not become too obsessive with technology, otherwise it can dominate and rule our lives. The reality is however that this is the way things are and we can choose to either ignore it or use it to our advantage. I personally find it immensely useful to have immediate access to information that I otherwise would have to carry in book form or on a ‘laptop’.
We must be careful to allocate time for Bible study so that we can sit in quietness and hear the voice of God as we read His word. Easy access to information will allow me to have the facts about the word of God instantly available, i.e., what a word means, where it is first found, where it occurs and what others say about it. It will however never replace the periods of meditation and fellowship with God that is so essential to hear His voice through His word. In the rest of this article I want to outline the Bible programs (or ‘applications’) that I use on my iPhone and the benefit that they are to me. There are no doubt many other applications available both on iPhone and other ‘smart’ phones.
This is a very handy resource. I use it to look at the meanings of words (definitions with reference numbers), where they occur (locations) and to chart the use of the same word in the original language against the different translations into English. This application is based on the Authorised King James Version and Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible which was first published in 1890.
If you use this software on your desktop or laptop it will cost you in excess of £300 for the very basic package. To get the same software on your iPhone is free. The resource package will not be anything like the one that is available by paying the fee but you still get an incredible amount of information for free. Once you have downloaded the application you open it up and select books that want to look at from the online library. A number of books can be permanently downloaded onto your phone and the rest can be accessed as you need to. I tend to use this application mainly to access books that I do not have in my library or that would like to look at when away from home but do not want to carry with me. It is worth browsing the library to see what is available.
When I first got my phone I spent quite a bit of time looking for recordings of scripture to listen when on a journey. This was a laborious task until I discovered this application. KJV Bible Audiobook gives you the whole Bible in audio and visual. You can listen to it being read through earphones and you can read it at the same time, if you so desire. The application can be used to make notes, to follow a daily reading plan and to access other resources that can be quite helpful. This is a great way to have the word of God ‘ringing in your ears’ and to feed on your daily bread, Matt. 6. 11.
Much as I do not really like the name ‘Your Version’ this is a good application. It has a vast range of versions of scripture, but bear in mind that not all versions of scripture have the same degree of accuracy. Wisdom is required when looking at translations and a knowledge of which translations are the most accurate is required. This application has not only proved useful when looking at the meaning of a verse but I have used it from time to time as a tool for evangelism. For instance, as well as English translations there are translations into Arabic, Bulgarian, Czechoslovakian and many other languages. In total there are forty-five translations into twenty-one languages. What has that to do with evangelism I hear you ask? Well I have been known to look up John 3. 16 in English and then show it to someone in their own language.
With this application you can also look at what other people have said about a particular passage and while this can be helpful it is often of limited benefit. It has an excellent range of reading plans which does help if you need the discipline of reading a certain number of passages a day. Finally one annoying feature of the application is that every time it is updated any of the translations that you have downloaded have to be downloaded again. Painful though it is I am willing to live with this for the other benefits.
This must be among my favourite applications (as well as the Strong’s Application). Why? – it has vast resources most of which are free! The range of translations includes the older and established ones which are so trusted (Darby, Young’s, Rotherham’s and RV). There is an immense catalogue of books for you to look at; some can be read for no cost and others you pay for. The ‘store’ is well organised as it is divided into self-explanatory categories and you have the added benefit of old and new writings. Not everyone (including me) likes to read books on a phone but it’s all there if you want it.
This application provides access to the Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary, Darby’s Translation Notes, Robertson’s Word Pictures to name a few. You can access a 1525/1530 William Tyndale Bible, if you like old English as well as many other translations. Generally, I find it useful for the resources mentioned above. It is good to dip into from time to time.
In closing I often remind myself that however I choose to study I must make sure that I ‘study to shew myself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth’, 2. Tim. 2. 15. It will take hard work, discipline and effort to study the Bible and a lifetime of meditation and living to know our God as He wants us to. May the Lord help you as you also seek to do this.