Saturday, January 1, 2011

Bible Software for Android

Long story... but end result is that I am now using a Droid X (Verizon). I hate paying the data charge, but this is turning out to be one great phone replacing its 7 year old predecessor phone. In fact, after a couple weeks, it has also replaced my long-beloved Dell Axim x51v. In addition to the basic stuff of calendar, contacts, and stuff (I'm all Google synced for email and calendar...), one of my first needs was to get some Bible software on the device. There are quite a few Bible apps available, but here are the results of my searching and experimenting.

  • Free BibleReader app with assortment of free Bibles: KJV, ASV, HCSB, JPS1917, NET (w/ limited notes)
  • Most developed, most resources
  • Study Bibles (e.g., ESV, HarperCollins, HCSB, NET w/ full notes: most in $10-30 range)
  • Greek and Hebrew Bibles (SBLGNT for free; BHS, LXX, NA27 also available in morphological versions w/ lexicons: $30-75 range)
  • Commentaries, dictionaries, devotionals, eBooks, maps, Strong's resources available
  • Josephus and Philo (English) are free
  • Android development lags behind iPhone/iPod Touch and earlier PalmOS and WinMobile, but they are busy expanding capabilities for Androi
  • Many non-English Bibles available
  • I have been a long time user of OliveTree, and I appreciate the ability to move my library from one platform to the next. (Palm > Axim > DroidX) I'm using versions I purchased previously like the NRSV and BHS, and the new SBL GNT is also on my DroidX. I have Philo and Josephus there too. The only problem is that I had purchased the Gramcord NT with its morphological analysis and dictionary, but this is not available on Android. They now offer a new morphologically tagged GNT (the Greek New Testament (NA27) with Mounce-Koivisto Morphology and UBS Dictionary), but it's still rather expensive, even with an upgrade path they offer. Given all the work OliveTree has done, their longevity in the business, and the wide collection of resources they offer, this one comes highly recommended.
  • Free
  • Use with an online account to keep notes, maintain a Bible reading plan, share on other social media
  • Good selection of translations, most of which are downloadable and able to be used offline (*online only): CEV, ESV, HCSB, KJV, Message, NET (apparently with full set of notes), NASB*, NIV84*, NIV2010*, NLT, TNIV2005*
  • Search, bookmarks, notes, reading plans
  • Easy navigation and ability to switch versions
  • Many non-English Bibles available
  • I have had an online account (free) with YouVersion, so this provides a nice transition. I highly recommend this Bible reader because it has the most extensive offering of free English versions (including the full NET).
  • "Over 60 Bibles, Dictionaries, Commentaries and Books available for offline reading"
  • Free versions include: ASV, KJV, NA26 GNT, Westcott-Hort NA26/UBS3 GNT, Scrivener GNT,
  • NET (w/ limited notes), Tanach (public domain Hebrew), LXX, Vulgate,
  • Search, bookmarks, notes, sharing, highlighting, reading plans
  • Parallel view (translations and/or commentaries; e.g., I have Gen 1:1 on screen showing NET, LXX, Hebrew, Vulgate!)
  • Can synchronize with Evernote
  • Non-English Bibles available
  • I am keeping this one on my DroidX because, as far as I have found, it's the only one to have a free LXX and Hebrew text. What's more, the Parallel view feature is extremely helpful to have Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English versions of a verse all on screen together.

[Update from comment by Matthew]
  • Free and open source using JSword engine and CrossWire resources
  • Over 40 English versions of the bible including ESV, KJV and NET and in over 50 different languages
  • Can use CrossWire Bible resources often not found elsewhere such as: Apostolic Polyglot Bible (which gives LXX and NT w/ links to Strong's), Lexham English Bible, English translations of Peshitta NT, a number of Greek NT and Hebrew OT texts
  • Other resources such as Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
  • This one holds promise because of its ability to use CrossWire resources, but it still has some work to do. Greek diacritics do not display, and Hebrew right-to-left is not yet supported. It is worth checking out as it becomes further developed.

OTHER APPS: I have looked at the following, but they appear to be more basic Bible readers.

Free Talking KJV
Other version addons $1-5 each: NIV, KJV, NKJV, MSG, NLT, ESV...
Others for purchase
Search, bookmarks, notes, split screen mode, sharing

Daily Bible
Supports NIV, KJV, ESV...
Includes most basic features

Bible Study Pro = MegaBible
$1.99 to get started

CrossConnect Bible
Interesting open source project that claims to be able to integrate Sword modules! If anyone has been using this and successfully using Sword modules, I'd love to hear about it.

Logos is coming...
In the meantime, I am happily using their to access my Logos library

I have installed and am keeping OliveTree's BibleReader, the YouVersion Bible, and CadreBible. As I note above, each offers something distinctive. Since I do also have web access on my DroidX, I also have,, NETBible Learning Environment, and the BibleWebApp all bookmarked. That is an incredible collection of Bible resources. The only thing I'm saving for is morphologically tagged editions of the BHS and NA27 from OliveTree.

Eventually I hope to post some additional descriptions of usability of these apps, but in the meantime, if you have better advice or suggestions please share them in the comments.


  1. And Bible, though still in early stages of development, is able to read SWORD modules.

  2. That's and it's also in the market.

  3. I totally agree that OliveTree is the best mobile bible app available. If you think it's great now wait until they release BibleReader 5.0, it's so much better. If you truly want to experience OliveTree in it's full glory you have to see it on the iPad. They have som video pson YouTube.

  4. I'm an old OliveTree user from way back, but I will not defend their Android version. It's one of their most mediocre offerings yet.

    So far on the Android platform there is nothing which is capable of providing serious Bible study. The closest I've found is the And Bible. It's the only Bible which allows quick switching between bibles, commentaries, dictionaries and strongs. OliveTree takes several slow clicks to get where you want whereas And Bible only takes one. When you adjust to it's interface, it shines as the best Android offering so far.

    I am not loyal enough to Olivetree to defend their basic Android app when there's better ones to choose from.

  5. "And Bible" does have SBLGNT, but the Greek font is not yet properly implemented. I've mainly been using Olive Tree and Cadre Bible.

  6. Any ideas on getting the SBLGNT font to display rightly on an Android? Getting boxes where accented letters should be.

  7. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. The virtual sphere is full of bible software and it is truly hard to find the one that suits you...

  8. Pray that Rick Meyer is moved to get E-Sword on Android. It was by far, huper far, the best mobile bible software out there. His was free and better than ones I paid for.

  9. Logos for Android is now in public beta testing:

  10. Thanks for sharing yoru experience with us. You saved me a bunch of time.

    Looks like I'm going for Cadre until I can cash out for OliveTree.

    God bless you.

  11. Greetings. My problem with smartphones has been the data pricing plans. Just purchased the Samsung Prevail, with Andoid 2.2 with Boost Moble. After the phone purchase ($180 at Walmart), the cost for unlimited voice, messaging and data is $50, and goes down in $5 increments every 6 months, to a low of $35--the base price. This is my first smartphone, and thanks for your guidance regarding Bible apps, for which I'm shopping. Also, I've found good 3-G coverage in urban areas and voice quality in most situations.

  12. I use Bible+ for my Palm. It gives me a split screen capability that allows me to see the Eng and Gk (with parsing) simultaneously. A double tap on a word or number takes you to a reference page (like Strong or Thayer) using Road Lingua. Is there anything like this on the Android?

  13. I've used several of these programs. I'm currently using Olive Tree for my devotionals.

    But for more features, including sermon prep, taking notes, linking things within your notes, multiple resources, MySword for Android tops them all. I Gave a small donation and I have great features in the app. I do all my preaching from this app, which includes building the sermon within the app and linking bible verses, commentaries, etc.

    MySword, IMHO, is probably the best when it comes to versatility. Olive Tree is the best aesthetically.

  14. Hi, for Bible study Im using andBible combined together with Bible lexicon (, which I have designed to be closer to the original text, it is kind of exegetical tool.

  15. Talking Bible Premium is a great Bible app as well!