Apr 10, 2012

The Best Bible for iPhone and iPad...By Far

I've had three Bible apps on my iPhone for quite a while: YouVersion, ESV Bible, and The Blue Letter Bible.  All have had their strengths. YouVersion is great for Bible reading plans and I still use it for that. ESV Bible had page navigation, opting for scrolling instead of a book-like page turning. (I prefer the scrolling for passage placement.) The Blue Letter Bible had a lot of resources like commentaries but was a less satisfying user experience, where the screen controls would never get out of the way of reading.

Although these were all good, they still lacked something. If I was going to a Bible on an iOS device, I needed one that worked really well for serious Study, with better ways of marking up passages and taking notes. The others I had used only allowed me to highlight or make notes on a verse at a time, not part of a verse.

I found one by accident in Olive Tree's BibleReader. I knew of it but had looked at the prices of Bibles for it and found them to be expensive. When they put the ESV Bible (the actual Bible version, not to be confused with the app) on sale for free for Easter, I downloaded it and tried it.  I was immediately impressed.

BibleReader is a serious tool. It allows not only highlighting portions of verses, but allows making notes, tagging (which I love), bookmarking, and even something called "Book Ribbons".  It allows both the page-turning and continuous-scrolling paradigms for moving through the Bible. In fact, it is very configurable, allowing you to choose fonts, colors, navigation method ("go to" settings), full screen text, etc. The store includes top quality resources like Bible versions with Strong's numbers, top-quality commentaries by well-known and well-respected preachers, maps, dictionaries, and study guides. It's even a book reader for a decent library of Christian books.

Olive Tree also has an app for Windows and Mac.  By establishing a free account with Olive Tree, you can keep all your notes, highlighting, tags, etc. in sync between all your devices.  If you haven't settled completely on a Bible app, try Olive Tree with the included King James Version to get a feel for the app's features. Take some notes, highlight some verses, and even tag some verses. See if you like it. You may be happy with one of the other apps I mentioned but, for me, this BibleReader meets my needs the best.

What Bible app do you use?


  1. I have Bible +1. So far, I have liked it.

  2. With one exception, I have found Mantis Bible my favorite ever. customizable and crazy-robust. There is an insane amount of additional commentaries, a/v items, versions, etc. available. (I've got built in strongs numbers and hebrew and greek definitions now installed with my NASB study version). The one, huge, deal-breaker for me right now is a lack of note syncing across devices. I study on my iPad and my iPhone and my notes have to be on both. Sadly... not sure what I'm going to do. I've got a lot of money wrapped up in the Mantis world. sigh.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.