Back to the Bible

17 March 2017

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WE ARE almost halfway through Lent — but it is not too late to review a Lent app from the Church of England, or for you to download it and make use of it as Easter ap­­proaches. Produced by Aimer Media, Reflections for Lent is a cross between a stand-alone app and a preview or advert for another app with greater longevity.

The app offers daily Bible read­­ings, a reflec­tion, and a prayer for the day, and is based on the pre-existing app Reflec­tions for Daily Prayer. It also provides prayers in a format suitable for use in a setting of morning prayer and compline.

The app also contains an intro­duc­tion to Lent by the theologian Jane Williams, and a guide to reading the Bible by the Bishop of Chelms­ford, the Revd Stephen Cottrell.

It is free to download; but with this you will receive the readings for Ash Wednesday only. If, having tried this, you want the readings for the rest of Lent, it will cost £3.59. If you want to continue with the app beyond Lent, you would be better off downloading Reflections for Daily Prayer, which comes with a free 14-day trial subscription, after which you can subscribe for £1.99 per month, or £11.99 for a year.

The Bible Society has released on­­line resources. The Explore the Bible resources that are available on both a desktop- and mobile-friendly website (www.biblesociety.org.uk/explore-the-bible) are free to use, and bring together different re­­sources in one place. These include a simple Bible-search facility. Users can search the text of nine versions, including the King James, (N)RSV, Good News Bible, and The Message, and for themes and references. The website also has a “Daily Reflec­tion”, in fact three separate items: a Morning Encoun­ter, Midday Medita­tion, and Evening Reflection.

The most interesting feature is the Flexireader; this works pretty much like a Teleprompt or Autocue. You select the Bible passage you want to read, and the text appears on the screen, changing at the speed you set to move on to the next phrase or sentence. This may take some time to get used to, particu­larly in setting the speed of the website to your reading speed. But, that has been done, it is easy to read a large portion of text without having to scroll, or click to go to the next page. The fount size can be set quite high so that you have only three or four words on the screen at the time, making it easier to read than a large chunk of small text.

You can also register for a free Bible Society online account. Once registered, you can add your own notes to biblical verses, or take part in group Bible studies — either with your own friends, or through the online Bible Book Club.

A range of other resources are available on the website Explore the Bible; it is well worth discovering.

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