Bible With You 6.0

by PocketGoddess on September 8, 2004

Bible With You 6.0 was just released today, and the improvements are quite impressive. My favorite new feature is definitely the addition of Bible images, but we need to start at the beginning in order to fully appreciate Bible With You. There are a large variety of Bible translations available, including the New American Standard (NASB), the Message, Good News, King James, Darby, etc., and some of them are free. But where Bible With You really shines is in the extra study resources that are available, including Bible cross references, Hebrew/Greek lexicons, concordances, and commentaries such as John Wesley’s Notes and a choice of Matthew Henry’s concise or complete commentaries. You’ll even find Easton’s Bible dictionary, the Geneva Bible Notes written by prominent Reformation theologians, and Spanish and German Bible translations. There are several money-saving packages available, or you can choose the individual products that best suit your needs.

While there’s a lot of power packed under the hood, Bible With You is remarkably easy to use. The menu bars at the top and the bottom make moving around a snap, and choosing which references you want to use is as easy as opening Bible With You. Each time you launch the application, a listing of the translations and reference tools you have installed will pop up, and you can choose them by tapping on the screen. You can view one Bible translation at a time, or you can choose to view two, which is ideal for Bible study. If you’ve installed any new references, tap on “Scan” at the bottom of the screen in order to update the listing. If you change your mind at any point, simply tap on the menu bar and select additional references.

You can choose what shows in the text of the Bible by either using the Edit/Preferences menu or by tapping on the command bar on the screen. You have a great deal of control over exactly what you see, since you can choose whether or not to show footnotes, cross references, and Strong’s numbers. Cross references appear in parentheses, while footnotes show up in brackets. Strong’s numbers appear either as the actual number or as a simple mark, if you want to save space on the screen. Tapping on any of those notes or references, which appear in blue, opens a floating “window” for more information. Tapping on one of Strong’s numbers will give you the Hebrew or Greek word, along with a full definition. If you’ve chosen a footnote, you’ll see alternative translations or translator’s notes. If you’ve chosen a cross reference, you’ll see a chapter and verse citation. Tap on that citation, and you’ll be taken directly to that spot in the Bible. It’s a wonderful tool, and even more effective than the cross references in a printed paper Bible. No flipping pages, and when you’re done looking at the reference, a single tap of the “back” arrow on the command bar at the bottom of the screen takes you instally back to where you were in the first place.

As mentioned earlier, it is now possible to view Bible Images in Bible With You 6.0. They’re a separate purchase, at $8.95, but well worth it. When there’s an image associated with a particular verse, you’ll see a small camera icon appear at the top of the screen. Just tap on it to see the image, and when you’re done, tap on the small dove at the top right corner of the screen. I was lucky enough to have a sneak peek at the Bible Images during the beta testing process, and I was really surprised by how much they add to the whole experience of Bible study. I think part of it is the fact that we tend to read the Bible today as if it were written directly to us. It was, in a spiritual sense, but in a practical sense it was written with an entirely different social context in mind. The people lived much closer to the land, as farmers and herders, in a different part of the world. Customs and manners are different from what we’re used to, and unless you’re very lucky, you probably haven’t been to the Holy Land in order to see the cities and towns for yourself. That’s why the Bible Images add so much to the experience– there are 1000 in the database, and they cover everything from threshing techniques to places such as Jordan and Bethlehem to clothing and tools from biblical times.

You’ll also find the ability to add your own notes and bookmarks to the text, which has become almost standard among the various handheld Bible study applications. What you won’t find in any of the other ones though is the ability to set different preferences for “study” mode and “reading” mode. The idea here is to set up your preferences in such a way that you can easily study the Bible in depth, then switch to reading mode for devotional purposes without a lot of aggravation and hassle. For example, in study mode, I have everything showing– footnotes, cross references, and Strong’s numbers. I also have the text broken up by verses. In reading mode, things are quite a bit different. I have the text arranged in paragraphcs, with both a larger font and bold formatting, so I can see the text very easily. I don’t have any references or footnotes or Strong’s numbers, because I just want to read and enjoy the Bible. Fortunately nothing detracts from the experience– I don’t even have to tap the screen or press a button to advance the text, since I have the choice of autoscroll or screen wrap. Autoscroll is self-explanatory, while screen wrap needs a little explanation. In this mode, a line advances down the screen, and the text changes behind the line. As long as you stay in front of it, you won’t miss any words at all. This method is a bit more “natural” than autoscroll, since your eyes will move down the screen instead of staying in the same place, more closing resembling the idea of reading an actual book. You’ll probably want to experiment to determine which method is best for you. And of course you can control the speed for either option.

There are a lot of Bible software programs out there for Palm OS and Pocket PC devices, but I feel that Bible With You has the best integration of all of those scholarly tools with the actual text. That’s very important, because you can have all the reference materials in the world, but if they aren’t easy to use and access, you’re just wasting time. Bible With You 6.0 significantly raises the bar as far as ease-of-use is concerned while also adding new innovations such as the all new Bible Images With You. I recommend it highly to anyone who wants to have the Bible on their Palm OS or Pocket PC handheld at all times. Prices vary depending on the Bible translations and reference materials you choose. For more information, including free trial downloads, go to the GMPSoft web site.

PocketGoddess Rating for Bible With You 6: 5 out of 5

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