Preaching with a Tablet

Part 3: Best Note Apps for Preaching

‘Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth’, 2 Tim. 2. 15 ESV.

This is the third article in a series about using a tablet to study, and to preach.

In this article we will explore some helpful note-taking applications (apps), which are very useful for preachers. There are many excellent apps in this category; some are simple to use, and some are complex.

The main advantage of using a note-taking and editing app is the ability to quickly capture and then later edit your thoughts as you prepare to speak on any given topic, or scripture passage.

Here are a few apps to consider:

  • Notes – All tablets come with a pre-installed note app. Do not overlook this basic, but highly useful tool. I rarely prepare an entire message while sitting at my desk. Thoughts, ideas, verses, and illustrations can come to mind at any time of day, regardless of where I am. The Notes app is the quickest way for me to capture those thoughts. The text can later be exported by either email or copy-and-paste, and placed in your more formal notes.
  • Notes Plus – Not all thoughts are well captured in writing; many ideas are better drawn than written. Notes Plus is a low cost app that provides you with the right tools to capture your ideas through text, drawing, audio, or pictures. This is available on both Apple and Android platforms. One helpful feature is the ability to import and annotate PDF documents. The app offers intuitive methods of sorting and storing notes, and easily integrates with popular third party services such as Dropbox and Google Docs.
  • GoodReader – is probably the best PDF reader on the market. But it is more than simply a tool to read PDFs. GoodReader handles a long list of different file formats, and provides the ability to highlight and annotate PDF files. One of GoodReader’s many features is the ability to create and edit text files. To create a text file simply open up the ‘Manage Files’ dropdown and then tap ‘New TXT’. When it is time to transfer what you have written from your tablet, GoodReader has a long list of ways to export your files, including over WiFi. The app is well worth the money.
  • Evernote – Perhaps the best-known and loved note app is Evernote. This well developed and supported note-taking platform allows you to capture and edit just about anything (text, audio, web, pictures, etc.), from just about anywhere (with native apps for iOS, Android, PC, Mac, the web, and more). Best of all, this app is free. Be sure to check it out.

Sometimes it is easy to dismiss simple apps in favour of those with a long list of features. However, I would caution you not to overlook them. Remember we are looking at apps for sermon notes. We are not looking for a full-featured word processor to write a 500 page commentary on the book of Ezekiel! Ultimately, the best app for you will depend on your own personal style and needs.

One more tip: note apps (like any other app) can be used simultaneously with your favourite Bible app … simply open up both apps and then use the multitouch left/right swipe to quickly switch between apps.

Hopefully, these hints will help you as you study the word of God.