How Steve Jobs Helped Me With The Great Commission

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.”

Popups coming for Android

Popups! We know you’ve been waiting to see them on your Android device. They’re coming soon!
The Best thing about popups? Popups enable you to access more information through Strong’s numbers, cross references, footnotes, and word definitions in the original language.
Bottom line: when you see anything different on your screen tap it—you might learn something new.

We’ve updated the interface for Android users!
Our new Android tablet interface is designed to make your Bible study experience seamless and intuitive…letting you focus on God and the Bible instead of technology.
Discover how in-app purchasing can expand your mobile Bible Study Library

We will soon be posting a public beta and hope to have the market release follow as soon as possible.
Make sure to let us know how these features enhanced your Bible Study experience!
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest updates!

Click on the thumbnails below to see actual screen shots of the popups in action.

Tablet Cross Reference

Tablet Strong's Number with Notes open

Phone with Cross Reference Popup

Phone landscape with verse hyperlink popup

Mac & PC Coming Soon

Please Note: Since this blog was written we have released both the Mac version and the PC version.

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.
This winter, Olive Tree is bringing you a desktop app for both Mac and PC!

Taking the concepts from our iPad and iPhone app, we are bringing 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.

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Android 4.5 Beta Release Notes

Yesterday we released the first public beta version of BibleReader 4.5 for Android. This is a huge step forward, and we are very excited about the beta, the reception we have received and our upcoming Market release. While we don’t have the rest of our usual documentation or support behind this, I wanted to take a few minutes and post some of the highlights in this release.

First, you can’t help but see the great new User Interface. I love the new look and feel! It brings the familiar and usable iOS interface, and adds in a number of small changes that make it fit very well into the Android platform. If you tap on the main window, you will get the main tools laying over the top of your window, where you can find the Library button, that changes the book you are reading, the Go To button, that changes your location in the current book, and on the right are the Search, History and Ribbon buttons. You can also get to Search through the hardware search button if your device allows.

If you have never used the iOS versions of BibleReader, you may miss the split window divider at the bottom of the window. Just grab the two little horizontal lines at the bottom (they will turn blue when you have them) and drag upwards. Personally, I think this is the biggest jump forward in the new version, as it allows you to have a Bible and commentary open at the same time, or perhaps the Strong’s definition of the word you tapped in a Strong’s Bible in the main window. Don’t forget that we have the KJV Strong’s Bible available on the Android Marketplace for only $5.99 ( The Split Window is a huge jump forward for Bible reading on Android, and one of the primary things that sets this new version apart.

We have added highlights and ribbons to our already existing bookmarks and notes feature set. Collectively, the annotation system is a big new addition too. Ribbons are a new feature, recently introduced in BibleReader 5 for iOS, that basically serve the same purpose as the ribbon in your paper Bible. It’s a transient bookmark that can be added by just tapping the icon, and then removed just as easily by tapping it again. Where it’s better than a physical ribbon is that you can add lots. If your small group is working through one passage, your devotionals another and your church sermons yet another, you can have a ribbon for each one. You can always get to your ribbons (and all your annotations) through the My Stuff button in the main menu. To add highlights, bookmarks or your own notes, just tap the verse number, and choose the one you want. We do not have an ability at this time to select individual words, or multiple verses. Both of these features are on our list, and we’re working as fast as we can!

Also coming to the My Stuff screen is the Sync and Backup feature. You will be able to create a note (or bookmark, highlight or ribbon) on your Android phone, and synchronize it to our server, and then pull it down onto your Xoom, iPad, iPhone or whatever other device you may have. We’re really excited about this, and it is coming in 4.5. It’s not in the public beta because of a last minute bug, but we’ll add it in soon again.

There’s so much more I could go on about, but I should probably get back to programming… those features and bug fixes aren’t going to program themselves. :-) If you have feedback or bug reports, please send them to, or use the Feedback button in the menu in-app. Just remember, the more info you give us, the better we can reproduce what you’re seeing.

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Coming Soon…Android Beta

Well, we have some fun news to announce today. Our new Android BibleReader will have a beta available for download by May 31! Remember, this is a beta, so you can expect to find a few bugs, but for those of you anxiously chomping at the bit to find some more usability then I would encourage you to check it out.

4.5 update

  • New User Interface
  • Split Screen
  • Annotation Sync (Notes, Bookmarks, Highlights, and Ribbons)

4.5.x Update

  • Pop Up windows

5.0 Update

  • Resource Guide
  • User Interface Refinement

5.0.x Update

  • Daily Reading Plans
  • Learning Center

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Future popup window ideas…what are your thoughts?

We are considering a new popover for our parsed text in the iPhone & Android platforms. This would include resources such as the CWSB and GNT Parsed. These diagrams are “wireframes” and not actual polished screens. I am not sure if the screens for the iPhone are trying to cram too much into a small space or if they are pushing information too “deep”. Please post your comments to our Facebook Page.

Here is how the original language parsed text popover would look on tablets.

Here is how the original language parsed text popover would look on smartphones.

A few issues to consider with this on popovers is that the definition is still a click away (it is a click away with the current popover). Not all of the parsing information will always fit and so it will be linked to with a more button.

Here is how the CWSB would work for a smartphone.

Here is how the CWSB would work on a tablet.

Please post your comments to our Facebook Page.

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