ABOUT 30 years ago, I picked up a book, Too Busy Not To
Pray. Its title summed up the difficulties I had in ensuring
quality prayer-time while juggling a busy diary and workload.
I cannot tell you whether it is any good, because I've not had
time to read it. Perhaps the fact that it remains sitting on my
bookshelf, unread, is the spur to remind me always to make time to
pray, despite often being on the move.
Being on the move can also make reading the Bible difficult. You
can always carry a Bible with you; but it is an extra thing to
pack, and you are then stuck with the one version.
But there is now a wide range of apps that allow you to take not
only a Bible, but a whole library of different versions with you -
as well as concordances, reading notes, study guides, and
The one I use most often is Olive Tree's the Bible Study
App. You can use it to track your reading, make notes, and
download study tools.
You can also, of course, just use it to read the Bible. Moving
around the Bible is easy with just a few clicks: an index lays out
the book titles in canonical or alphabetical order. You click the
book, then the chapter, then the verse you want to start with, and
it takes you straight there.
You can then scroll forward or back, or go to the index to
select a different passage. Olive Tree also allows you to add
Your account is synched over different devices; so what you
start reading on your mobile is available when you next pick up
your tablet; and the notes you have written on your tablet are
available on your PC. It is easy to see why it is so popular.
The app is free, and so are some Bible versions, including the
King James, English Standard Version, American Standard Version,
the Bible in basic English, Darby's New Translation, and even the
1917 JPS translation of the Old Testament.
Other versions can be purchased with prices ranging from $4.99
for the Modern King James Version to $99.99 for the ESV
Greek-English Interlinear New Testament. Most modern Bible versions
are about $9.
Versions are available for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows.
Last year, Olive Tree was taken over by HarperCollins, which
already owned www.biblegateway.com. This
developed as a website which moved into apps.
The key difference is that biblegateway.com aims to make the
Bible "freely available"; this means that only some versions can be
downloaded for offline reading. Other, more commercial versions,
such as the Message, need an active internet connection to display
the content as it downloads one chapter at a time. Versions are
available for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire.
Be warned: Bible-read apps may make reading the Bible on the go
simple; but be prepared for looks of disdain from people who may
see you piously making notes on your smartphone and assume that you
are playing Candy Crush during the sermon.