Having a Bible in your Pocket (or Purse)

I heard some questions about using apps on smarthphones and iPads. I think they are great since you’ve already got them with you, so you’re never without the Bible. And a big plus is that they are searchable. I have some Scripture committed to memory and a bit more that isn’t quite memorized, but I know where to find it. But there are plenty of times when I have an idea of what I’m looking for and just can’t remember where to look, and that’s when searching comes into play.

Bible apps, like Bible websites, allow you to find that passage you’re looking for or to do a word search and see all the places in the Bible where a word shows up. Want to know every time Abraham is mentioned? Search. Reading a passage and can’t remember who Eli is, search for the first time he comes up in Samuel.

So, if you haven’t taken advantage of these apps, here are a few (free) suggestions:

For iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad:

As mentioned, the version I like, and this has a great interface that makes it especially easy to browse between books of the Bible. It’ll show you the cross-references and notes, as well.

You can download several different translations from this app for offline use.

For Android:

No personal experience with this, so I’d appreciate any feedback about this app or other suggestions.

Which translation is for me?

It is amazing to live at a time when we actually have choices as to which translation of the Bible we should read. For so long the person in the pew couldn’t have their own copy, and even if they did it would have been in a foreign language.

Now we have so many versions at our finger tips it can be hard to make a choice. Zondervan, who publishes lots of Bibles, put together a helpful chart to describe the differences and philosophies behind the more common translations. Zondervan publishes the NIV, so it gets top billing. I typically read from the English Standard Version (ESV), which is a bit more literal. I lean this direction because these sorts of translations try to stick closer to the original and refrain from making a decision on a translation that would shut out other interpretations. On the other end of the spectrum, the thought-for-thought style Bibles, those translations help communicate the text by paraphrasing the original for you. This can be helpful to present a very readable style that can even refresh some of the more familiar texts, but they may obscure or lose certain meanings in the text.

With so many tools online to read and compare versions, you don’t need to make some lifetime decision to stick with just one. Reading multiple translations can be a great way to better understand God’s Word. I bring this up in preparation for the Year in the Bible because I wanted to have a physical edition that I use for my daily readings. This Bible will serve almost like a journal to record the process–notes in the margins, underlines, and other squiggles. I look forward to the day, a year or so from now, when I can compare the way my Bible will look compared to its current “mint” condition.

Translation Chart (pdf)

Clarification on When to Read What

You may be curious about the specifics of the Year in the Bible as its start date is steadily approaching. Let me offer some clarification in terms of the reading.

The readings are assigned on a weekly basis starting on Sundays. March 25th is the first day of the first week, so the readings would begin that day. The Reading Groups of that week would meet to talk about the readings assigned based on the most recent Sunday. For example, the Wednesday 6pm Reading Group would gather on March 28th to share from and talk about Genesis 1-17 and John 1-7.

If you are interested in a Reading Group or have questions, let me know. I’ll put up some more helpful hints later this week.

Visual Guide

For those who have yet to see the spread sheet in the Reading List, here is the reading for Quarter 1–the beginning of the Bible and the beginning of the Church, in a more visually appealing form.

We start in just a couple of weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for this week’s bulletin.

Reading List for First Quarter

We’re not yet into March, but here is a look at what we’ll be reading when we begin the week of March 25th. We’ll be doing weekly readings, rather than having daily assignments. This is meant to make the information a bit more manageable. Instead of having to remember which verse of which chapter of which book am I reading on which day–not even factoring in the mental calculations of missing days, you just remember the book and chapters you have that week. And I try to limit the number of books to three per week, and only infrequently will we go above that.

Reading plan Q1

Coming March 2012

After we finish the small group study, 40 Days in the Word, our church isn’t going to stop there. Forty days just isn’t enough.

Having learned new ways to study and understand scripture, we’re going to dive in and spend a year reading through the entire Bible. Here you’ll find reading guides and reminders, devotionals, and a place to ask questions and comment on the readings as we enter into this together.

Keep an eye out for more information.