Carrying physical scripture with you can be challenging, especially when you consider the sheer physical space a Bible or many Bibles require. Thankfully, there are options now available for portable scripture. And, one of the most recent newcomers for the iPhone is Logos Bible Software.
Logos is considered one of the premier Bible study software companies, especially if you own a PC. Its desktop Macintosh offering is still in alpha, however its iPhone App is really something you should consider.
Why? The biggest benefit is that the app is free and that it has a plethora of features that make it really shine.
How it Works
Based upon the type of account you have with Logos, you get the following content with the iPhone App:
- No account (free): One sample book (30 Bible texts)
- Registered account (free): 31 sample books (the 30 Bibles + 31 additional books)
- Registered account (free) + paid product (whichever package you own*): All of your books
* Some books that you might have for your desktop software are not available on the iPhone due to licensing. Logos Bible Software is working to improve this over time. I personally ran into this issue with the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh, as it is not available yet for mobile distribution.
The Home Page displays any recent news from Logos as well as any custom reading plans you have defined.
Search is also wonderful with Logos as you can:
- Find relevant verses within the current text, across all bibles, or your entire library (and it is fast)
- Go directly to a book/chap/verse (very handy).
The reader is very beautiful. Here are some of the things you can do within the reader:
- If you tap-and-hold on a Bible word, you can see the linked cross references, which allows you to click footnotes and reveal the reference text.
- Again, if you tap-and-hold on a word, the Reader will display the underlying Hebrew or Greek (if available).
If you have multiple books (sources), you can tap to switch to different verses (via the slider) or via the book list:
What’s nice is that when you are in the reader, you have multiple options:
- If you swipe up, you can use the Text Comparison to quickly see a verse in multiple versions, with differences highlighted.
- One of the new features in v1.1 is that you can now share your thoughts with others via Facebook or Twitter by swiping up in the Reader and then pressing the Share button.
I spent the better part of the past few weeks using the app and I admit that I am very impressed with it. I used it during both of my Temple visits and found the app to be responsive, even over 3G (and without performing the caching trick below).
- It is a free App, and with a free registered account, you have 31 books available to study/search/share.
- It has excellent overall usability for reading and searching.
- The content you own with your Logos account/destkop application is shared with the iPhone app (with some caveats).
- Requires a live connection for true usability.
- Requires an account to access additional free content (this is moot if you have an account and want to view your own books).
- Not all of the content you’ve paid for is available due to licensing/distribution constraints.
- No offline mode — you must be connected to browse the content. (There is a workaround: get the content while online and then it is locally cached).
Until now, BibleReader 4 from OliveTree was my preferred mobile application. However, with so much more flexibility in the application, I can honestly say that I prefer Logos. I do hope that Logos can provide an offline story that is more useful, although if you do have a 3G or Wi-Fi connection (especially Wi-Fi), the app is still very usable.