Since I have to be out of town on Monday, I will go ahead a post twice today to make up for it. The great folks at OliveTree Software have been letting me try a beta version of the BibleReader for the iPhone. As an evangelist, having a Bible program on a mobile device is important to me. From the Palm Pilot to the iPod, I have carried a Bible on my electronics. Now that I have an iPhone, I have been looking for a good Bible program to use. I want to put a disclaimer on my review before I begin: I am using a beta version. Some features and issues may be corrected later or some features may be lost before the final product is released. With that…
The Things I Like:
Large Library: The first thing that you cannot miss is the large library that is available. Nearly all of the major Bible versions are available. Not only this, there are many religious works that are available for reading on your iPhone. This will work wonderfully for long trips, flights, or wait times. It is always better to read the Bible or religious works than one year old magazines in a waiting room. Commentaries are also available in this large library.
Paragraph Style: I like reading the Bible in paragraph style. I think this is a good feature to have on a small display because you can read more on the screen before needing to scroll. Of course, the program adjusts to rotating your phone to landscape mode.
Touchable Footnotes: To bring up notes by simply touching the footnote number is excellent. This is particularly useful with any translation that has extensive notes like the NET Bible. In one touch you can read the notes about a particular verse. Then, in one touch you return back to the text you were reading. Fantastic!
Browser Navigation: There is the standard form of navigation where you touch a button, then touch the desired book, then the desired chapter, then the desired verse. What is really nice is the screen also has browser type navigation with a forward and back button. If you want to go back to the text you just read, you do not have to go through the lengthy process of picking the book, then the chapter, then the verse. Just touch the back arrow and you are taken to the previous text you were reading. Touch the forward and back arrows move your through your study texts. An excellent feature that I have not seen on other programs.
Detailed Searches: It is easy to search for words. Further, the BibleReader easily allows for more detailed searches. You can narrow your search to the Old Testament or New Testament. You can also search for an exact phrase, all words in a phrase, or any word in a phrase. The results not only show the phrase or word in each verse, but also the number of occurrences in the selected range. The search function is great.
Easy To Change Translations: It is easy to swap between translations. There is a button at the top of the screen that identifies the current translation you are reading. Touch it and you can quickly swap to a different translation.
The Things That Need Improvement:
Smoother Scrolling: The scrolling is good, but it can be just a tad jerky. It is not as smooth as I would like. It is not detrimental to viewing or scrolling, but I do wish it moved more smoothly when you flick your finger to scroll down.
Improve Verse Numbers: Put a background color behind the verse number so they are easier to identify. The verse number can be difficult to see since they are in superscript. Most of the other Bible programs do their verse numbers the same as the BibleReader. But one Bible program has made it easy to see the verse numbers with a little color in the background behind each verse number. It is a nice touch that would improve the BibleReader.
No User Notes: This might be a problem for some. There is not a way to type notes into the BibleReader. Some people really like the ability to type their notes into the Bible program. Not me, since I am not a fan of typing a large amount of text with one finger. But the lack of this features should be noted.
No Reading Plan: It would be nice if BibleReader automatically generated a reading plan to go through the Bible in one year. Just push the button and today’s scripture would be available. Other Bible programs for iPhone have this. I think the BibleReader should also.
No NASB or HCSB: For the vast amount of translations the BibleReader carries, it is surprising not to see the NASB or HCSB. I assume these are coming soon and they are working out the copyrights. If not, I think these translations need to be added to the library.
1. I believe lexicons for the Greek and Hebrew are coming. If and when the lexicons are added, it will make the BibleReader a very powerful program.
2. I think it would be intuitive to move forward and backward through the chapters by swiping sideways across the screen. I think this would make the program very smooth in contrast to the competitors.
3. There needs to be an option to hide the footnotes. If the student just want to read the text, it would be great to get all of the footnotes of the screen with a simple toggling of a button.
Conclusion– I am very happy with the BibleReader for iPhone. OliveTree has a forum to be able to contact them about questions or requests, which is quite handy. The interface is easy to use and the program is very intuitive. This is a Bible program that I can really study on, not just read from. Most of the Bible programs available for the iPhone are nice for reading. But the BibleReader really allows you to study from your iPhone. If you want commentaries, religious works, multiple translations, or the ability to do more than just read the Bible for a minute or two on your iPhone, then the BibleReader by OliveTree Software is the program for you. It will be my Bible program of choice for the iPhone.