If you’re a Christian, then you read the Bible. There are many ways of doing this, from the traditional tactile book to the Kindle edition. Those solutions are all find and dandy, but what about a digital version of the Bible on your iPad? Actually, there are a lot of apps out there that offer such a capability, but I’m looking at one in particular: YouVersion Bible.
Bible is probably the best way to access the Bible on your iPad, whether it’s for a quick read or some fairly heavy research and note-taking. I’ve been using it for over a year now and after trying out some of the competitors, I must say that it’s the best out there on iOS. But hey, let’s take a deeper look, shall we?
Setting Things Up
Once you’ve downloaded Bible, there are a few little things you should set up if you’re going to use it as your access to the Bible on your iPad. First, tap the little menu button in the top left corner of the screen and tap “Settings”. Tap the “Sign In or Sign Up” button followed by either “Sign In” or “Sign Up”, depending on whether you have an account or not. If you don’t, then you can use your Facebook or Google account to log in or fill out three basic fields and agree to the terms of service to proceed. If you need to sign in with an existing account, just tap the corresponding button and enter your credentials.
When you’re finished setting up your YouVersion account, I suggest you connect a Facebook and/or Twitter account with Bible if you plan on sharing anything with either of the services. If not, you can edit your profile by tapping your username and then tapping the “Edit” button in the top right corner. You don’t have to add any information to this section – it’s merely there for a social reading experience that could include keeping up on certain chapters with a local Bible study or something of the sort.
The one thing you’re obviously going to want to do with Bible is read the Bible, because that’s the main purpose of the app. There are a few different ways to get from here to there, starting with the top bar. On what I like to call the “navigation bar”, there are three things: the menu button on the left, the three-button navigation menu in the middle, and the parallel reading switch on the right. Let’s take a look at the navigation menu.
As you probably guessed, the navigation menu is the only way to find a certain passage of scripture within the Bible. All you have to do is tap the book name, select a book, chapter, and verse. If you want to change the chapter or verse in the current book that you’re reading, just tap the number in the second middle field and then find the chapter and/or verse that you’re looking for.
Swipe left or right or tap the arrows on the sides of the screen to change chapters.
I’ve found that Bible’s navigation system works very well at serving its purpose, but things can be a bit choppy at times. One other feature in the system is parallel reading, which allows you to compare one translation of the Bible to another. This could be very helpful if your church happens to use a different version than what you normally have on your iPad. To turn on parallel reading, just tap the on/off switch in the top right corner and select a version in the top left corner.
YouVersion has a lot of great preset reading plans, from daily devotionals to full one-year Bibles. It’s a very nice way to keep yourself reading a certain passage each day or even find something related to what you’re going through. Check out this feature in menu -> “Plans”.
Switching to and Downloading a Different Translation
Speaking of translations, Bible lets you download offline editions of 20 different English versions, from KJV to MSG. All you have to do is tap the translations drop-down – it’s in the top center with a three-letter identification – and tap the little green download button. Once you’re there, so long as you’re logged in already, you can tap download and then keep browsing if you wish – it’ll just work in the background. If you want to know when that specific version is finished, just check that little box titled “Let me know when it’s done” before initiating the download.
You can search by tapping the menu button and then using the built-in search function in the top left corner.
If you’re getting a bit tired of Helvetica Neue as your base font, maybe you should give it a change to something like Georgia or Veranda. To do this, tap the menu button, go to “Settings”, tap “Font”, and then choose from one of the four options. I really wish there were a few more than the aforementioned three and Baskerville because some of them can get rather tiring on the eyes. Baskerville, for one, shouldn’t even be in there since it’s kind of weak looking and a bit too hard to make out.
Another font-related customization available is font size. If you want to change that, there are four options available in the “Font Size” pane under Settings. Other slight tweaks include a low light mode for those who like to read in the dark, a red letter toggle for whenever Jesus speaks, an option to show notes, a language changer, a way to turn off the “Today” screen when you launch the app, and an iCloud sync toggle.
Fun Little Functions
There’s really too much in Bible to look at in this article, so I’ve made a list of the other notable features in the app.
- Audio: You can listen to the Bible on your iPad if you have an internet connection. This feature is limited to certain translations, but worked well in my testing. You can even read along while listening. Look for the volume-like symbol beside a translation to know if it supports audio playback.
- Sharing: You can share a verse or two with your friends using only a few simple taps. Facebook, Twitter, email, and SMS are currently the supported means of sharing.
- Copy to clipboard: You can easily copy any passage to your clipboard with a few taps.
- Highlighting: If you like a certain passage, feel free to highlight it with one of the five preset colors.
- Notes: Like to take notes? There’s an easy way to do that and it even syncs with the online version of Bible. In addition, others have shared some notes that may interest you in the “Community” tab.
- History: Find out what you were reading yesterday.
- Live: If your church or small group hosts a live event with YouVersion then you can join in to read the same passages that they are, along with lots of extra functions.
YouVersion Bible is easily the best app for reading the book that I’ve used on an iPad. It works well, has few bugs, looks very nice, and always gets updates quickly if there are bugs or new hardware has been released. The developers are very reliable and for a free app, I couldn’t ask for much more. If you’re in need of a Bible on your iPad, this is probably the best you’re going to get as a universal app with many applications.