QuickVerse PDA

by PocketGoddess on September 5, 2003

QuickVerse PDA is available in three versions, all of which feature the same basic reader program, plus varying translation of the Bible and other books. The Standard edition has the New Living Translation, the King James Version, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, the QuickVerse Bible Commentary, Spurgeon’s Morning & Evening, and ten Daily Reading Plans. The Deluxe version includes all of the above, plus the Revised Standard and American Standard Translations. The Life Application Version of QuickVerse PDA is a little different: it has the New Living Translation of the Bible along with special Life Application content, including Study Notes/Commentary, Overviews, Blueprints, Insights, Megathemes, Vital Statistics, TouchPoints, and Person Profiles. The QuickVerse Bible Dictionary and a bonus edition of One Year With Jesus are also included, literally providing the entire best-selling Life Application Study Bible in your pocket. This review covers the material available in both the Deluxe and the Life Application versions of QuickVerse PDA.

Installation works just as you would expect for any Palm OS application, except for a slight twist regarding memory cards. Since QuickVerse PDA requires that books in the “library” such as Bible translations, devotionals, and commentaries be “registered” with the reader application, the only way to install books to the memory card and be able to use them with QuickVerse is to first install them to the device’s RAM and then move them to the card one by one. This isn’t documented anywhere, so pay attention:

  • Install as many books to RAM as you can, depending on the amount of free memory you have on your device.
  • Launch QuickVerse, and tap on the Library option in the Go menu
  • Tap on book you want to move to the memory card
  • Select the Move button at the bottom of the screen
  • Repeat for every book you want to load onto the card

    You may need to repeate the process several times if you don’t have a lot of free space on your device, but the end result is definitely worth it. This slight inconvenience is the only “problem” I find with QuickVerse PDA–everything else is practically flawless, as you’ll learn in the rest of this review.

    There are a lot of features to cover, so I’ll apologize in advance for the length of this review. I’ll start with navigation, as that’s the most important feature for any handheld Bible software application. Once you open a particular Bible in the Library, QuickVerse PDA will present you with a screen like the one here. There’s a navigation bar at the top that may at first appear a little intimidating, but moving around in QuickVerse is amazingly simple. The icons are as follows:

  • QV- opens the menu system with four options: Go, Edit, Plan, and Options (these will be discussed in more detail below)
  • Magnifying Glass- Opens the Search box
  • Magnifying Glass with Arrow- allows you to “search forward” and find the next instance of a particular word
  • Book with small tab- Bookmark function
  • Arrows- tapping on either the left or right single arrow will move from chapter to chapter within a book; tapping on either the left or right double arrow will move from book to book
  • Versefinder- this icon changes depending on which book you are in. In a Bible translation, it lists the abbreviated book and chapter currently on screen; when in a dictionary or commentary it serves as a quick link to the table of contents. Tapping on this box will bring up the appropriate navigation option.

    The VerseFinder deserves particular mention because it’s so important. The Bible is such a big book that it can be hard to find things sometimes, especially if you’re looking for Nahum and don’t have an indexed Bible. This is one area in which electronic Bibles shine– just tap the box in the upper right corner of the screen, select the book of the Bible that you’re interested in, and the screen jumps immediately to the Chapter tab so that you can select the chapter that you want. You can either choose Go at the bottom of the screen or tap the chapter to be taken to the Verse tab, so that you can select the exact verse that you want QuickVerse to open to. It’s important to note here that when you are on the chapter or verse selection tab for a particular book of the Bible, you see only the number of chapters and verses that are actually available in that book. You won’t tap on Nahum 4 or John 22 and get an error message– those chapters don’t exist, so you aren’t presented with those choices. This is the best navigation scheme I’ve run across in any Bible software program, and I’ve used or at least tried almost all of them.

    That same ease of use transfers to other parts of the application as well. Tap on any verse number, and a handy pop-up menu will appear that allows you to bookmark the verse and add your own notes to it, copy it, beam it to another handheld, or view the verse in parallel with the other translations on your device. You can also select several verses and tap on the Edit menu to save them to the Memo Pad, which is great for creating Bible study or sermon outlines on the go. The Parallel feature is worthy of special mention because it is so nicely done– just tap Parallel and a window opens with tabs for every translation that you have loaded. This is a great way to compare the various translational differences across Bible versions. Simply select the tab for the version you’re interested in, and the view will almost instantly change to that translation. In the example here, you can compare the New Living, American Standard, King James, and Revised Standard versions of one verse. You can also use the Prev(ious) and Next buttons to navigate verse by verse, in parallel. Simply tap done to jump back to the regular viewing window. The rest of the popup menu allows you to jump to specific books in your library, already opened to the verse that you were looking at in the Bible. You can switch Bible translations (if you have more than one installed) or you can look at what a commentary or other study help has to say about a particular verse or topic. When you’re done with that extra resource, just tap the small “left arrow” that appears on the icon bar just to the right of that first QV icon to jump back to your place. This is really what makes QuickVerse PDA into something more like a traditional study Bible, because it’s easy to jump from notes and references to the actual bible text, just as if you were looking from the top of a page to the bottom in a printed Bible.

    If you tap on a single word in the text of the Bible, a smaller version of the popup menu appears. The first option is to find the next instance of that word in the Bible, which is very handy for the “chain reference” method of Bible Study. The rest of the options a quick link to that word (if available) in the Life Application People or Touchpoints, the QuickVerse Bible Dictionary, or the help application. If the word is not in the reference you select, a dialog box pops up letting you know that it wasn’t found. Look up the word “happiness” for example, as found in Ecclesiastes 2:3 and you’ll quickly find that it isn’t in the QuickVerse Bible Dictionary, but it is in the Life Application Touchpoints. Topics covered there include where to find happiness, how to be happy in difficult circumstances, etc. There are plenty of verse references provided there, and tapping on any one of them causes a box to pop up–select the translation you want to see the reference in, and the Bible opens to that verse in an instant. If you don’t want to follow any of those references, you can tap on that left arrow at the top to go back to where you were, or if you are interested in another Touchpoints topic you can access the Table of Contents by tapping on the small down arrow at the top right hand corner of the icon bar.

    All of those features would be enough for almost any Bible software program, but QuickVerse isn’t done yet. Perhaps my favorite feature of all is the daily reading program. It’s on the Plan menu, of course. Tap on Configure Plan to set all of the options. There are ten included plans, for reading the entire Bible in 18 months or one year, the New Testament in one year, the Prophets, Poetry, etc. Once you select the plan or create your own, the Bible tab allows you to select the translation that you want to read from each day, as well as the books of the Bible that are included. The next tab, Timing, is the best one of all– choose the duration of the plan, the start date, the end date, and the actual days of the week that you want to be included. The plan can be active every day, weekdays, or weekends. I choose weekdays, for example, since I spend so much time at church on the weekends anyway that it’s difficult to fit in a regular Bible reading time. At the bottom of the screen there is a check box that allows you to select whether or not you want daily reminders. I’ve found them to be invaluable though, since the reminders really help me to stay accountable and do my daily reading.

    Actually doing the reading is very simple. If a reminder pops up, you can tap on Read Now and be taken to the verses that are scheduled for that day. If you choose not to use the reminders, all you have to do is tap on the QV icon at the top of the screen, tap Plan, and then Daily Reading. A calendar window opens that shows all of your progress so far– a green check mark means that the day’s reading has already been completed, a red X means that the reading has not been done, and that it is overdue, and a yellow clock means that a reading has been scheduled for that day but has not yet been completed. Highlight the day you’re interested in and tap the Read button at the bottom of the page. The Bible opens, and a small bar at the bottom of the page shows what’s included in the day’s readings. For today it was Matthew 6:18 through 7:15, and once I reach the end of the reading I am prompted either to mark it complete or leave it incomplete. This allows you to read the selected portion twice a day, say at morning and evening, if you want to meditate more deeply on the passage, or at least ensures that readings aren’t mistakenly marked completed before they are actually finished.

    There are just a few more features to discuss. First is the six font options, which range from tiny (impossibly so) to giant (so that even I can read it from across the room). The second is bookmarking, which has already been mentioned. Bookmarks allow you to mark specific verses of the Bible and add text to them, which serves two purposes. Since a list of bookmarks is instantly accessible from the bookmark icon in the menu bar, it allows you to jump to specific verses even more quickly than is possible with the VerseFinder. It can be used to mark your favorite verses, or the ones that you are currently studying or memorizing. And since bookmarks can also include an unlimited amount of text, they serve the same purpose as writing marginal notes in your own printed Bible. You can also assign categories to bookmarks for easy reference, such as favorites, memory verses, etc., or you can create your own “topical” Bible with long use of QuickVerse PDA.

    The last item to discuss is the QuickVerse PDA preferences, which is accessed through the Options menu. This window provides one handy spot to choose the font size and display preferences, such as the type of verse indicator you desire, whether or not you want to break up the verses (choosing no creates a “paragraph” style of display), whether or not you want to include the chapter and verse citations when you copy or beam Bible verses, etc. If you tap on the small down arrow in the top right hand corner of the display, you can set your Daily Reader preference, which is really just the ability to set the time for your reminders. That’s a nice way of ensuring that your reminders are time-appropriate– if you’re a Christian, it’s important to focus on God’s word, but not while you’re stuck in rush hour traffic.

    The long and short of it is that QuickVerse is the most fully-featured Bible application I’ve ever reviewed, and it has also become my favorite. If it weren’t for that frustrating problem with installing extra Bibles and books to an expansion card that I described above, QuickVerse PDA would certainly be a “Perfect 10″ but it still earns a full 5 Goddess score. If you’d like to get a copy for yourself, head on over to QuickVerse.com and pick one up. Downloadable Palm OS and Pocket PC versions are available, as well as a boxed CD ROM. The Standard version costs $29.95, Deluxe is $39.95, and the Life Application version is also $39.95. You’ll also find an entire library of books that you can add on to QuickVerse PDA, including the NASB, the New King James, the New Revised Standard, the Message, and others. Both the King James and the NASB are also available with Strong’s numbers, with more Bible studies, language references, commentaries, and academic resources coming soon (a full list is available on the web site). Even better, the soon-to-be-released desktop version, QuickVerse 8, promises to sync with QuickVerse PDA Standard and Deluxe so that all of your notes, bookmarks, and reading plans will be available on both platforms. I can hardly wait!

    PocketGoddess Rating for QuickVerse PDA: 5 out of 5