“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8 ESV
This is the second article in a series of posts about using the iPad to preach.
Last Wednesday in this series’ inaugural post, I addressed the question of why someone would even want to use an iPad for preaching. In this post we are going to explore the next logical question: which Bible app should I use for preaching?
A quick search of the app store reveals well over 30 Bible apps to choose from. Some are free, some are not. Some of the apps are simple, others offer robust features. Some of those apps will be better suited for general reading, and others for in-depth study; however, our purpose here is to explore the best Bible apps specifically for delivering a sermon to a live audience.
Before listing the best apps though, lets identify the app features we are most interested in for our purposes:
- Translation of choice – Obviously the app should offer the translation you will be preaching from. Personally I prefer to preach from the ESV and sometimes from the NKJV, so both of those translations are a requirement for me. However, the first item that you should check for in any app that you are considering is whether or not it supports the translation(s) you will be preaching from?
- Ease of use – The app should be extremely simple to use. For technology to be useful it MUST work when it is needed to work. This is especially true when speaking in front of a live audience… if the app is so sophisticated that you have difficultly quickly navigating to the appropriate scripture passage then you should consider a different app.
- Scalable fonts – While preaching you will probably desire a larger font size then when you are reading at your desk. The ability to quickly change the size of the font will allow you to easily adapt to your physical surroundings and allow you greater freedom of movement while speaking.
- Split screen-capability – Many Bible apps for the iPad offer split-screen functionality to simultaneously view two different Bible translations. This, of course, may be well suited for your preaching style, however I am specifically referring to an app’s ability to split the screen to display both the scripture text and your sermon notes. A very powerful feature that extends this functionality is for the app to automatically recognize Scripture references in your notes and provide hyperlinks to the Scripture text.
- Cloud Syncing between devices – It is helpful to use a Bible app that is available on other platforms. Even though my tablet is an iPad, my smartphone is an Android based device and my desktop is a PC. It is very helpful to use an app that is supported in all of the computing environments that you use and offers the ability to cloud sync (i.e. synchronize over the Internet) any in app highlights, bookmarks, and notes.
- Strong developer support – It is important to choose a Bible app from a strong and well established developer. Change happens quickly in the world of technology so it is important that the app’s developer is committed to constantly updating and improving their software.
- Third party integration – A final item on the preaching app feature wish list is the ability of the app to integrate with software from other developers (such as Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive, or CloudOn). The ability to integrate your Bible app with one or more of these third party, cloud based services will greatly improve your ability to access and edit your notes.
So, after considering the above app features for public speaking– which iPad Bible apps do I recommend for your consideration? In my opinion here are the top four choices:
- Bible+ by Olive Tree Bible Software, Inc.
- eBible.com by Osprit, Inc.
- Bible! by Logos Bible Software
- YouVersion Bible by LifeChurch.tv
None of the four apps that I am recommending integrates all of the features discussed earlier in this post. Nevertheless, each app offers enough of these features to be a great app for preaching.
In future posts I hope to explore each of these apps in detail.
Again thanks for joining with me as we explore this topic together! And, please add to this ongoing discussion in the comments section~ I would love to hear from you.
Preaching with an iPad series topic guide:
- Preaching with an iPad Part 1: Why?
- Preaching with an iPad Part 2: Best iPad Bible Apps for Preaching
- Preaching with an iPad Part 3: Best iPad Note Apps for Preaching
- Preaching with an iPad Part 4: Best iPad eBook Apps for Preaching
- Preaching with an iPad Part 5: Multimedia Accessories
- Preaching with an iPad Part 6: Best iPad Apps for Sermon Illustrations
- Preaching with an iPad Part 7: Best iPad Tips & Tools for Preaching
- Preaching with an iPad Part 8: Putting it All Together