Using technology to study the Bible is not a new idea to me. As a part time techy and full time pastor I’ve been using various Bible resources on my laptop for years now. Just recently though I’ve begun to use Olive Tree’s Bible+ on my laptop and iPad and while I’m still learning all it has to offer I thought I’d share a few things that I’ve really loved about it.
It’s free and not internet dependent. I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal but there are tons of free Bible reading programs and apps out there that almost all depend on an internet connection to work properly. I don’t know about you but sometimes my favorite place to read and study doesn’t have a wifi connection. Because Olive Tree’s Bible Study App actually lives on my device it works everywhere.
Notes and highlights! I have a distinct memory of looking at my Dad’s Bible as a kid and thinking it looked like a coloring book. There were these crazy colorful highlights and long underlines throughout his Bible. For me one of the major tensions in the transition to all things digital, especially as it relates to the Bible, is the familiarity of the worn book in my hands with my own notes and observations from past years. The BibleReader allows for this and more. I can easily color code verses and record far longer notes and observations than I ever could before. Over time The Bible Study App will contain years of valuable notes and study thoughts.
It’s multi-platform and it syncs with my other devices. I’ve been a PC guy since my family got our first computer over 20 years ago but earlier this year I was given an ipad and I love it. Because of the sync feature I’m able to take notes or highlight things on my iPad and later, if I’m preparing for a sermon or other study on my laptop, I can use the sync option and the notes I took on my iPad will be on my laptop also. So no matter what device I use my highlights, notes, and even the last place I left off reading goes with me and that saves me a lot of time and also gives me the security of knowing they won’t be lost.
Double pane is the way to go. Whether it’s for sermon prep, a small group bible study, or just my own reading I love the double pane. It allows me to compare Bible versions, easily make notes, or pull up helpful commentaries. The ability to do this easily and again without an internet connection even is a huge reason I think Olive Tree’s Bible Study App is the way to go. The Bible Study App can be as simple or as deep as you want it to be and I’m finding it to be the best resource for studying God’s word yet.
We love to create and provide Bible content and technology for everyone, but sometimes technology must move on to support newer devices. With the next release of our app, version 5.2, we will no longer be able to support older Apple devices including the 1st generation iPhone, the iPhone 3G, and the 1st and 2nd generation iPod touch. We would have liked to continue supporting older devices, but with the release of the iPhone 5, Apple has updated their developer tool kit. With these new tools, we cannot support the older Apple devices and operating systems while still building new features and releasing new updates. This also means we will not be able to support any device running iOS 3 or 4. Any device not on the above list running iOS 3 or 4 should upgrade to iOS 5 or later to continue to receive app updates. At this time we will support iOS 5 & 6 and any later updates to Apple’s iOS.
What This Means for You
If you have one of the older devices I mentioned or you’re still running iOS 3 or 4, you will not be able to update to the newest versions of our app. You should also be very careful when syncing your older device to iTunes that you do not update your Olive Tree app inside iTunes. Updating the app and syncing it to your older device through iTunes will delete the app off of your older device. If you have multiple devices, you will no longer be able to sync with your older device. You should still be able to run the app on your device and keep your current library, but any new features will not be available.
The Good News
You can still use the Olive Tree app as long as you don’t update or sync your app through iTunes. But the really good news is that Olive Tree is working on some really exciting updates to the Bible Study app. With the 5.2 release, we have revamped our in-app store and done a lot of work in the background to pave the way for features like reading plan sync and automatic downloads. We’ve done our best to continue supporting older devices with older tools, but now we can focus on the up and coming features that are going to make our app the best possible app for Bible study.
I am something of a technophobe.
I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I work at a Bible software company.
In the bubble of college two years ago, I was vaguely aware that technology existed, that some of my classmates were getting smartphones and that people actually used computers for something other than writing papers. But my mind was tied up with others things, i.e. what I was going to do after college with a Theology major and English minor.
A year and a half after graduating and 11 months after starting at Olive Tree, I purchased my first device: a brand-new Kindle Fire HD. The package arrived after work on a Monday afternoon. I saw the package on my dining room table and immediately regarded it with suspicion. What was I actually supposed to do with this thing? I sat on the couch and it sat next to me. I stared at it and it stared back.
I took the Fire to work the next day and called over my developer coworker, Ian. He couldn’t believe I hadn’t opened it yet and helped me set it up with a few quick swipes and taps. On my own, I downloaded Olive Tree’s app, found the icon in my carousel, and confidently tapped on it. I saw the green splash screen, and immediately got this message:
BibleReader has stopped working.
For over 12 years Olive Tree has dedicated it’s time and resources to providing premier Bible study tools to your mobile device. With the advent of the iPhone, Olive Tree quickly became a leader for Bible study in the app world. And the iPad…Olive Tree brought you one of the best looking and best study tools available on a tablet.
Now, after meeting everyone on their favorite mobile platform, Olive Tree is stepping it up once again.
Olive Tree is excited to bring you a desktop app for Mac (PC coming soon)!
Taking the concepts from our iPad and iPhone app, we’ve brought a whole new experience to desktop Bible Software. Whether you just want to read with no distractions, study with the Resource Guide, take notes while you’re reading, or searching your library, you will find Olive Tree’s desktop app to be just as simple and beautiful to use as the app on your phone or tablet.
For more information about the BibleReader on Mac you can look here.
When you think of San Francisco many things might spring to mind. The beautiful Golden Gate Bridge, Tony Bennett, earthquakes, The Giants,.other things……
I bet you’re not thinking about what are probably the greatest thinkers among Biblical scholars. But that’s who is gathering to the city by the bay in the coming weeks.
Why all the Biblical discussion? It’s time for the Society for Biblical Literature (SBL) and the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) annual brouhahas.
At SBL you’ll find out about the latest in Biblical research. There will be books and digital resources and of course, that’s where we come in with Olive Tree Bible Software.
If you’re around on Sunday, November 20 be sure and check out the Bible software shootout. Along with Accordance and Logos Bible Software we’ll be demonstrating the usefulness of our software in the classroom with a 35 minute presentation followed by questions. The goal is to demonstrate how easily software can be used in the classroom for English Bible classes and/or original languages. Why not plan on attending the Shoot Out and stopping by our booth to see Daniel, or one of our other fine representatives?
We’ll also be proudly displaying our digital prowess at ETS. “Founded in 1949, the Evangelical Theological Society is a group of scholars, teachers, pastors, students, and others dedicated to the oral exchange and written expression of theological thought and research.” Their theme this year is “No Other Name,” and promises to have presentations that will definitely challenge your thinking in this complex world. So if you’re headed to ETS definitely come by and see us.
How Steve Jobs Helped Me to get God’s Word Out “unto all the nations…”
Drew Haninger, President, Olive Tree Bible Software:
By the Lord’s leading, I’ve used my abilities as a software designer to make God’s Word accessible to computer users since 1984. There was a lot going on in 1984. January of that year Hitachi announced it had developed the first memory chip capable of holding 1 MB! Also in that year about 25-percent of workers used a computer at their jobs.
And, in 1984, Steve Jobs’ now famous Super Bowl ad ran, introducing the Apple Macintosh.
Mobile Technology was still in its infancy. Today, the industry is growing so fast the stats can’t keep up. Cell phone subscribers worldwide have reached over 5 billion—and Smartphones have become an ever larger and more important part of that figure. That’s billions of souls with the potential of carrying around a Bible or Olive Tree’s whole Bible study library in their hand. Talk about the potential of following Christ’s command to get the Word out!
Steve Jobs was in many ways at the center of Smartphone development as we know it today. Whether he knew it or not, the technology he helped develop has been used by God to enable us to preach the good news of Christ’s redeeming love. People download worship music on their iPods, they read the Bible on their iPhones, and can even lead a Bible Study in the middle of the Sudan using their iPads. Apple technology is a beautiful thing that we hope and pray it is being used in God’s cause to make all things beautiful in His time.
The business principles Steve applied have inspired an industry. His encouragement was to keep innovating. He said, “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle,” which echo our Lord’s encouragement to, “ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
He instructed his company members to, “Be passionate about every product you work on.” And we, as Christians in the business community, are held to no less a standard, for, “if anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 4:11).” Of course the highest standard we must follow is always to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds.
Our hearts go out to the family members of an industry pioneer. His vision created platforms that help enable us to “strain toward what lies ahead and press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call.”