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.

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