Over the next week or so, I want to take the time to blog through several different media venues and platforms that I think can help you on a daily basis. While most of them will be smartphone/tablet apps, I also hope to include other resources ideas. My hope and prayer is that you can use these tools and resources to follow Jesus better this year, and experience more abundance and joy in the Holy Spirit. This series will be called Open Doors, Open Opportunities because I think that modern technology has opened doors for us in ways that few other things have.
My goal with those that meet with and develop, is to instill a love for the Bible. I’ve noticed two trends in American Christianity, and both leave me deeply troubled. One, is the belief that all good Christians read their Bible devoutly everyday. I’ve heard sermons and talks on how I need to be spending at least 15, or 30, or 60 minutes a day in intense Bible study to be effective as a person, pastor, theologian, or Christian. And while I agree that Bible reading is important, and foundational (how can you live what you don’t know), I get really nervous anytime we make absolute qualifications about it. I think it breeds a pharisaical attitude and all too often gets people to fall in love with the book, and not the one the book was written about. To force people to read, or feel exclusion, is great at changing actions, but not attitudes. People end up reading, not because they want to, but because they don’t want to be shunned or looked down on.
The other attitude that I’ve seen is the opposite reaction to this: people run from spending time in the Bible. Growing up in a culture where Bible reading was mandatory, they reject the good natured idea behind it and generally throw the baby out with the bathwater. I had someone in seminary once tell me that they quit reading their Bible because they spend their time looking for him in other areas and ways, like community. Now, I think finding God in community is great, and an extraordinarily helpful and encouraging thing, but I also think that if we fail to let the story of God ruminate and shape us, we are in an extreme danger of making God in our own image.
So I find that the greatest challenge is to create a genuine place where people want to encounter and experience God in real and life giving ways. I want them to read their Bibles, not because they are forced or want to impress me, but because they anticipate the mighty ways in which God will work in and through them when they are shaped by the Word.
So for today’s review, we are going to be looking at the new BibleGateway App.
There are several things that I like about the new app: it’s simply, fast, intuitive, and comes with a whole host of great features that I enjoy. Let’s take a look through some of these.
First, I have to say that I’m a fan of the scroll through style of books, chapters and verses. I’ve used other Bible apps that haven’t done it this way, but it’s a native idea to so many other apps, that it just seems to work well. Books are easy to find, select, and read.
Once you actually get into the the Bible, the text is clear and the continuous scroll option through chapters and verses is nice. Other platforms that I’ve used have required swiping motions or have operated as push-button style advance. Those often left me frustrated at the lack of user control. BibleGateway as addressed this in an excellent way by seamlessly flowing from one chapter to the next.
While reading, the highlighting, note creation, and sharing features are accessible and easy to use.
These features make reading, studying, and understanding the text that much easier. You have the capability to dive into commentaries (the resources button), as well as take notes and cross-reference things for later use. Sharing easily posts verses and chapters as an email, Facebook post, Twitter update, or can be copied to a clipboard and used elsewhere. They work seamlessly and simply.
There is one more feature to the new BibleGateway App that really has me excited. As a busy husband, father, pastor, and community person, it’s a struggle sometimes to find consistent time to sit down and read, but the BibleGateway app has an audio capability that is simply amazing. There are multiple versions to choose from, and it makes it really easy to follow along with reading plans and find time for it daily I’ve also found that listening adds another dimension to Bible study and certain things stick out better or differently when I listen to it as well as read it.
Summary: Overall, I give the new BibleGateway App a 4.5 out of 5. Only a few minor glitches (and they are rare), and an even more enhanced social media scene would make it a better and more engaging app. Twitter integration, hashtag searches, and user connections would be a huge addition and make it a great way to resource and equip local churches to study together. Other than that, it’s a strong app from a well respected (and my go-to) site for quick Bible reference comparison and study.
Do you use the app? What do you think? Please chime in below!