Free NIV Bible for the Faithlife Study Bible

FSBLogos is giving away the NIV Translation with the Faithlife Study Bible until April 8. The Faithlife Study Bible is an online Study Bible with a running commentary and Bible Dictionary, similar to in-print study Bibles such as the ESV Study Bible.  The app is available for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire.  I thought that there was a desktop computer app as well, but it is not on this promotional page. I reviewed the Faithlife Study Bible app last June.

The App features include:

  • 400 photos, videos, infographics, and maps
  • Free built-in Bible dictionary
  • Custom highlights and 
  • note-taking
  • Articles from trusted Bible scholars, preachers, and leaders

Faithlife Screen ShotI have used the Logos app on my iPad since it was released and find it to be the best all-around tool for Bible Reading and study of the original languages.  I think that reading books in my Logos Library is a better experience that with the Kindle app, and the fact that Logos includes real page numbers makes the Logos App my first choice for iPad readers.  The Logos app has greatly improved the note-taking feature and syncs with notes made on your desktop version of Logos.

The Faithlife Study Bible is a slimmed down version of Logos which defaults to a dual-pane reader. the Bible is on top, running commentary along the bottom.  The size of the windows is easy to adjust.  In the commentary, links to the Bible Dictionary appear.  The Lexham Bible Dictionary is quite impressive, often competitive with the Anchor Bible Dictionary in quality and depth.  Within the Dictionary there are links to other articles and all scripture is linked to the Bible.  Touch the scripture link and a small, floating window will appear with just the verse and an option to go directly to the context in the Bible pane.  This Dictionary alone is worth using the Faithlife Study Bible!

Touching the illustrations in the commentaries opens a image viewer.  The illustrations are usually “infographic” style.  While they are not as nice as the illustrations in the ESVSB, they are good enough to illustrate the dictionary article.  On the iPad you can zoom in on the picture by pinching (the standard iPad gestures).

Since this is a Free App, there is little downside to the Faithlife Study Bible.  The Free NIV promotion goes away on April 8, but Study Bible itself works with other (free) translations.  Of course, Logos would be glad to sell you hundreds of other useful books for their study system, but the Faithlife system is a great way to get started.  If you are interested in Biblical Languages, you will need to get the full Logos App, but for most people the Faithlife Study Bible will be an excellent companion to reading the Bible.

Review and Save with Logos

Here is a new promo from Logos.  They are giving away free books in exchange for reviews of their apps. They want an “honest rating and review” for the apps for iOS and Android.  This is an interesting way to generate app store reviews, and is not really all that painful.

The first book was The Life of Charles Hodge by Archibald A. Hodge, and today they hit 2500 reviews and started giving away Luther’s Commentary on Galatians.  Both books have been widely available as a ebook since Al Gore first invented the Internet, but it is nice to have them in the Logos format.  In addition to the older free book, they are discounting another book by 50%.  So far it is Fee and Stuart’s How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth and How to Read the Bible Book by Book.  Both are worth having although they are widely available in print for a few dollars.  Still, if you are looking for some basic Bible introductory material, these are both worth reading.

I read books with several apps (Kindle, Google Books (Play), GoodReader, Kobo, Goodreads, even Stanza occasionally), and I find that the Logos reader is the best of all.  They were the first to use real page numbering, the footnote system is the best by far, and the highlighting is amazing.  Notes sync between the desktop and the mobile device, so any changes I make are made on either platform.

Logos books can be read with the Logos App, the Vyrso App, or the Faithlife Study Bible.

The promo lasts through October 19, so do your part to help out the team and review Logos in the app store of your choice.  More books will be “unlocked” as the numbers grow.  While I am hoping for a Free International Critical Commentary set, I do not think that is going to happen.

Faithlife Study Bible – Free Bible Study Tool

Yesterday I noticed that Logos was downloading resources, which it does from time to time.  When it finished, I noticed the Faithlife Study Bible had been added to my library.  I had not remembered ordering the resource, but later than day I received an email from Logos announcing the “next big thing.”  This “big thing” is a Study Bible created by Logos. It really cannot be described as a book, since it is a running commentary on the Bible which expands to fit the user’s needs and interests. It uses the Bible you already own and read in Logos, but adds brief commentary and links to articles which a traditional paper Study Bible cannot provide.

Key words are linked to the Lexham Bible Dictionary, Logos’s own Bible dictionary and occasionally there are links to “infographics.” For example, I happened to be working in Matthew 20, the Parable of the Workers.  For verse 9 there was a brief line of commentary, with the word “wage”  as a highlighted link.  The link opened the Lexham Bible Dictionary entry for Coinage in Biblical Times, an impressive article by Anthony Meyer which could have been an entry in the Anchor Bible Dictionary or the new Eerdmans ISBE.  It was well-written and had a significant bibliography.

By clicking on the thumbnail of the infographic, I was treated to a photograph of a silver denarius and a brief explanation of the coin. The brief commentary line had a plus-mark and the end, indicating more information was available. In this case, there was another graphic, “Coins of the Gospels.”  Clicking scripture references will move your Bible to the verse, but not the commentary.  This has the advantage of allowing the reading to click on every verse in the original article without losing the original place.  (You could link the commentary and your preferred Bible, but I am not sure that I would like that as much.)

Sometimes clicking the plus-mark will open a little more text, going a little bit deeper on a word or concept.  Sometimes these “deeper connects” include links to resources  already in your Logos Library.  Since I own the Yale Anchor Bible Dictionary, I was able to click links to that dictionary. Occasionally there was a link to a resource I do not own.  In reading Gen 22:2, the JPS Commentary was offered with a little padlock next to it, indicating that I have not yet purchased it.  (I am use the Logos website would love to help me remedy that problem!)

The Faithlife Study Bible also contains timelines at key places in the text.  These are very stylish, although sometimes the characters look a bit like the old Good News for Modern Man illustrations.  (Younger users will not make this association!)  There are links to “tables,” such as a list of Jesus’ parables.   Occasionally there an icon that looks like a paper, clicking this takes you to Sidebars.  Like any Study Bible, there are a number of longer notes on topics, themes, contextual studies (words, history, people, etc) as well as devotionals.  These entries are all signed by the author and all seem to be no more than a “page” if printed in a traditional Bible. Like the ESV Study Bible, there is a significant amount of “extra” material here, such as “How to Study the Bible,” written by Doug Stuart (who wrote the book by the same name).  I noticed a devotional by Charles Stanley and the devotional on Church was by Jim Samra.  There are a number of other “big” names in the Bible, so the reader can be assured that the notes are quality.

The real advantage to publishing a book this way is that it can be updated and expanded constantly.  I assume that Logos will develop this tool the same way that they did the Lexham Bible Dictionary and allow authors to update their entries and add new ones.  This is sort of a limited wiki approach which allows changes, but only through approved authors and with editorial oversight.  If this happens, then it really would be the “next big thing” in publishing.

The Faithlife Study Bible is a free resource for the Logos Library, but also a free app for iPad (iOS devices) and Android.  There is a native iPad and iPhone app in the App Store for the Faithlife Study Bible.  I spent a little time with the iPad version this morning and found that it was a very useful tool.  It appears to use the same basic shell as the Logos App (or the Vyrso App), with the Bible in the upper third of the scree, the commentary in the lower two-thirds.  Swiping left or right turns the pages, the windows are linked so they will both move when you advance either the Bible or the Commentary.

The bottom line is that Logos has provided an excellent tool for a layperson with the Faithlife Study Bible.  It is free for every platform, so there is little reason not to try it out!

Logos 2.0 for iPad – Now with Notes!

Fig. 1 - Note Window

After a very long wait, Logos Bible Software has updated the popular Bible app to include highlighting and notes.  When the app was first released, the lack of highlighting and note feature was a major problem.  But Logos has not only addressed the missing feature, they have exceeded my expectations.

To create a note, select a word or phrase, and then “note” from the menu.  This will open the note dialogue (fig. 1).  You can select the color of the highlight and the icon used for the note.  The Style menu opens another dialogue box which offers a wide variety of highlighting options.  The same styles available on the desktop version are present, including the emphasis and inductive styles (fig. 2).   You can create a note file for related topics, then add notes to that topic as you read.

In my opinion, the best feature here is the fact that notes are synced with your desktop version of Logos.  Actually, the notes are kept “in the cloud” in your Logos account.  I made a note on Matthew 22:34, and it appeared on my laptop running Logos a few moments later.  I updated the note on my laptop, and the note was updated on my iPad version of Logos a few moments later. This is a very cool feature which will make the Logos app an extremely valuable study tool.  I very much appreciate a single application for taking notes, and the fact that my notes are available on my desktop make this feature indispensable. Prior to this upgrade, I was using Evernote to try and take notes while reading Logos books, but switching apps was cumbersome and usually resulted in crashing either Evernote or Logos.

I think that Logos is the best iPad Bible app, and the addition of highlighting and notes is an important improvement.  Logos is still a free app, so visit the App Store and upgrade to the new version.  Vyrso has also been upgraded to include highlighting and notes as well.

New iPhone / iPad App – Think Christianly

The folks at Zondervan shared a link to a new free iPhone app in support of Jonathan Morrow’s recently published Think Christianly.  Morrow is has an M.Div and MA from Talbot, School of Theology and seems to have fully embraced social media as a part of ministry. The Think Christianly website has a real “emergent” feel, the material found on the site is solidly evangelical.

The App is an interesting way to access the website.  It is not as trendy as the new Relevant App, but in all fairness the Think Christianly app is designed for the iPhone, not the iPad so many of the “bells and whistles” are just not available. The App is a good way to access the blog, Twitter Feed, and Podcasts.  All of the Podcasts are from Morrow and covers a number of relevant apologetic topics (Is Hell for Real?  Spiritual but Not Religious?  Is Religion Dangerous?)  The App also offers access to a number of short videos on similar topics.  I watched the video on the problem of evil.  At just under 7 minutes, Morrow explains the basics elements of the issue and gives (what I think) is a fairly standard (and correct) answer.

The apologetics found at Think Christianly might not appeal to everyone, but Morrow is doing some good work.  If anything, the site and app are traditional in their approach to apologetic issues.  Maybe that is the problem, if the goal is to reach people with solid answers in the (post) modern world.  I suspect that the people who will find the most use of this app are Christians struggling to keep their faith rather than outsiders and seekers looking for solid answers.  I could be wrong about that.  But this App is far from a collection of Nooma videos, it intends to challenge the user to think a bit harder about hard topics.  What is more, the app / site holds to the belief that there are some answers to these questions.

One downside for the app (for me) is that the app is designed for the iPhone and therefore does not take advantage of the higher video quality of the iPad.  The App is built with MethodApps and the same “look and feel” as other apps built with that tool.

The NIV 2010 Bible for Logos iPad – Finally!

After a long wait, the Logos iPad app has finally added the NIV Bible.  Until today, this was one of the major resources restricted on the iPad App.  This update includes the newest iteration of the New International Version, the NIV 2010.  The NIV 2010 on the iPad includes cross-references as notes and parallel pericopes where applicable.  This is extremely handy in the Gospels, but I notice a few in the Pauline letters as well. I must admit that the long wait has made me more of an ESV fan, but it is good to have a old familiar translation available on the iPad.

If you have an iPad or Android, you should definitely check out the free Logos App.    Books purchased from Logos or Vyrso will appear in your library whether you are using the desktop version of Logos or the iPad / Android version.

Free Greek and Hebrew Bibles

Mark Goodacre pointed out that the German Bible Society has added a handy “look up” feature to their Academic website.  Users now can read the German Luther 1984, Nestle-Aland 27, the Septuagint, the Vulgate and the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia Hebrew Bible.  The KJV is also available.

I accessed the site using Windows 7 and Firefox 6.x.  The Greek text is displayed quickly and it is readable, using the SBL Greek font.  (I always thought that font looked like it was in italics.)  Since this is a Unicode font I copied and pasted text into Word without any difficulty.  The default font is Calibri (Body), but could I change the text to SBL if necessary.  To me, the Times Roman font is the best looking Greek.  Hebrew pasted into Word with as Ariel, which is not a very good rendering of Hebrew.  I changed the font to the Times Roman Unicode font and it looked fine and all vowels and accents.

I tested the site on my iPad using Safari.  The Greek is readable, although I am not thrilled with the iPad’s font for Greek.  It has accents and breathing marks, but I just do not like reading the “square font.  I need to zoom in a bit on just the text for reading, but that is not a problem.  I copied a sample bit of Greek text and paste it into Evernote without any problems.  The Hebrew font in Safari is terrible. It is blocky and does not seem to handle all of the characters correctly.  There are spaces within words, etc.  I copied a verse and pasted into Evernote, and the text was formatted properly.

These criticisms a problem only on the iPad, not the German Bible Society website.   I cannot see any way to change the default font on the iPad version of Safari, so the use of the Hebrew text is limited.  Has anyone tested this site on an Android?  Perhaps the fonts are better, I would like to hear from you.

By creating an account, a user can search these texts.  Sign up is free, but I could not get the registration page in English.  I guess my Reading German class finally came in handy!  I tried several times to get the search to work, but was unable to use the feature.  I tried changing to a Greek Keyboard, searched for logos, log*, etc.  Each time I received no hits.

If you do not have access to a Greek or Hebrew Bible via Logos or Olive Tree, check out the Bible Society’s web page.  This is a very handy site for students who need access to a word or phrase for a paper but have not yet invested in Bible Software.