‘“When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments’, 2 Tim. 4. 13 ESV.
‘The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of God will stand forever’, Isa. 40. 8 ESV.
This is the second article in a series about using a tablet computer to preach.
In my initial article I addressed the question of why someone would want to use a tablet computer for preaching. In this article we are going to explore the next logical question: which Bible applications (‘apps’) should I use for my Bible study?
A quick search of the ‘apps’ that are available reveal that there are well over thirty to choose from. Some are free, some are not. Some of the ‘apps’ are simple, others offer many diverse features. Some would be better suited for general reading and others for in-depth study; however, my purpose here is to explore which specifically help in preparing and delivering a bible talk.
Before listing the best ‘apps’ though, we must identify the features which will be most useful for our task:
- Translation of choice – Obviously the ‘app’ should offer the translation you will be preaching from. Personally, I prefer to preach from the ESV, and sometimes from the NKJV, so both of those translations are a requirement for me. However, the first item that you should check for is whether or not it supports the translation(s) you require.
- Ease of use – The ‘app’ should be extremely simple to use. For technology to be useful it MUST work when it is needed to work. This is especially true when speaking to an audience. If the ‘app’ is so sophisticated that you have difficultly quickly navigating to the appropriate scripture passage then you should consider a different one.
- Scalable fonts – While preaching you will probably desire a larger font size than when you are reading privately. The ability to change the size of the font quickly will allow you to easily adapt to your physical surroundings and allow you greater freedom of movement while speaking.
- Split screen-capability – Many ‘apps’ offer split-screen functionality to simultaneously view two different Bible translations. This, of course, may be well suited to your preaching style. However, I am specifically referring to an ability to split the screen to display both the scripture text and your notes. A very powerful feature that extends this functionality is for the ‘app’ to automatically recognize scripture references in your notes, and provide links to the scripture text so that the verse appears automatically.
- Cloud Syncing between devices – It is helpful to use a Bible ‘app’ that is available on other platforms. Even though my tablet is an iPad, my smartphone is an Android based device, and my desktop is a PC. It is very helpful to use an ‘app’ that is supported in all of the computing environments that you use, and offers the ability to Cloud sync, (i.e., synchronize over the Internet) any in ‘app’ highlights, bookmarks, and notes.
- Strong developer support – It is important to choose a Bible ‘app’ from a strong and well-established developer. Change happens quickly in the world of technology, so it is important that the developer is committed to constantly updating and improving the software.
So, after considering the above ‘app’ features for public speaking, which Bible ‘apps’ do I recommend for your consideration? In my opinion, here are the top four choices:
- Bible+ by Olive Tree Bible Software, Inc.
- eBible.com by Osprit, Inc.
- Bible! by Logos Bible Software
- YouVersion Bible by LifeChurch.tv
None of the four ‘apps’ that I am recommending integrates all of the features discussed earlier in this post. Nevertheless, each ‘app’ offers enough of these features to be a great app for personal study, message preparation and preaching.
Editor’s Note: please remember that this article reflects the opinion of the writer and that there are many other software applications that are useful for Bible study, i.e. e-sword, Logos. I would also like to remind our readers that Bible study is for an individual’s personal spiritual growth as well as preparation for preaching.