One of the amazing uses of PocketBible is for delivering a message. It’s layout and features provide an excellent electronic Bible with its own built-in notebook, and it has all the tools you need to prepare your message, whether it’s for the classroom or the pulpit. This tutorial will look at setting up the message in PocketBible and then using the multi-screen feature for preaching and teaching.
Setting up the Message
There are several features of PocketBible that help in preparing sermons and classes. The features I like are Notes, Bookmarks, and Highlights. Here are a few of the ways that I use them together to prepare sermons.
NOTE – PocketBible has a lot of fine tools for the actual sermon prep itself including Bibles, dictionaries, commentaries, study Bibles, books, and more. We’ll go into detail about using them for sermon prep in future posts.
Tap on the verse where you want to place a note and select the notebook symbol on the Action Bar. In the notes area, you can type or paste in any kind of information you want. You can format your text to make it easy for you to use. Bullets are great for simple outlines. Add things that you want to make sure you remember to say. At the end of the note you can type the next verse. This will create a clickable link so you can quickly navigate to the next verse in your sermon.
Once you’ve chosen the references you will use, you can bookmark them in a folder just for this message. I like to name the folder with the title I use for the message. If I need to, I can go to the bookmarks list and see every verse that I’m using in my sermon. This list can also be used to navigate to the next verse in your sermon.
This step is optional but I find it easier to see the verses I want to use if I’ve highlighted them. I like to use a different color for different topics. If my message is about the Scriptures, I like to highlight the verses green. This helps when navigating to the next verse. You can find it quicker because you know what color to look for. This is more effective when you’ve only colored the verses in your sermon that color. You might consider using a special color or marking just for this message.
For my sermon I’ve created a bookmark folder called Sermon 001 The Word of God. It contains references to the following verses: Ps 119:11, Ps 119:16, Ps 119:80, Ps 119:89, Ps 119:105, 2Ti 2:15, 2Ti 3:16, 2Ti 3:17, 2Pe 3:16. I’ve colored all of these verse limegreen and each verse has a note with my primary point and a link to the next verse.
Ps 119:11 is the first verse I want to go to. It has a note that talks about the importance of memorizing Scripture. It also has a link to the next verse – Ps 119:16. The note on Ps 119:16 talks about how we should enjoy reading and studying the Scriptures, and how we should keep God on our minds and in our hearts by thinking and meditating on the Word. After this I have typed POINTS TO MAKE followed by two bullets:
- Love the Word
- Memorize the Word
After the note is a link to Ps 119:80, which contains a short note and the next reference. I continue this until I reach the end of the message. This can be as detailed or as simple as you want. If another point or verse comes to me during the sermon, I can navigate to it and still have my notes visible so I know where to go next.
Preaching and Teaching
For the actual delivery of the sermon or message, I like to use the split screen feature to see at least two screens at once. You can read from both screens and navigate them independently (by default Bibles and commentaries stay on the same verse. To change this, uncheck the option under Settings | Program Settings).
On the bottom right of the tablet screen you’ll see a tab with four dots in it (this tab is not available on smartphones). Select this tab to get a split screen with the Scriptures on the left and your notes on the right. You can scroll through both windows independently of each other.
All of the features for navigating books, chapter, and verses work the same as always – it’s just now half of the width as normal. Scroll vertically to go to the next or previous verse in the chapter. Scroll horizontally to go to the next or previous chapter.
The right screen contains your bookmarks, highlights, and notes (and devotionals if you have them installed). In the Bookmarks section, select the name of your sermon (or whatever you named this bookmark list). In the Highlights section, select the color that you used for this message. In the Notes section, select the first verse in your sermon from the list.
At the top of the data window, you can scroll from side to side to switch between Bookmarks, Highlights, and Notes. When you select a verse in this screen, the Scripture in the left screen will go there. You can scroll through the bookmarks, notes, and highlights as often as you need. I like to keep mine on Notes and refer to the others if needed.
I tap on the verse I want to read. This gives me my highlighted verse in the left screen and my notes in the right screen. With this I can look at my notes as often as I need.
If you need to do a quick search for another verse, you can search like normal. Then when you select the verse you want, that verse appears in the left screen and the right screen still displays the last the note you were using.
Adding More Screens
A tablet device such as the Kindle Fire will let you have five screens open at once. Each of these screens can have Bibles, Dictionaries, commentaries, etc. This is a great way to see two or more translations in parallel, see a Greek or Hebrew dictionary, or a commentary alongside the Scriptures.
In the upper right side of the screen you will see a box with five boxes inside it. Select this and you will get a drop down list with numbers 1-5. Choose the number of books you want to have open – not counting your bookmarks/highlights/notes pane. That number of windows will open on the left side of the screen. Select the name of the book at the top of each window to choose a different book for that window. These can be used independently of each other, so you can your reference material on the screen when you need it. They can also be used in parallel, so you can have several translations open at the same verse.
- Turn off screen rotation on your device. A screen that rotates when you don’t want it to can work against you during your message. This is especially important if you’re holding the device in your hand and moving around.
- Turn off auto-shutoff on your device. You don’t want it going into sleep mode just because you haven’t touched the screen in the past 10 minutes.
- Charge your battery. You know this one :0)
- Turn off apps that are running in the background of your device. Some apps might slow down your device, making it difficult to navigate or open windows when you need it to.
- Turn your device to the orientation that gets you the best payout for the number of screens you’re using. For three or more screens I recommend landscape mode.
- Use a case with a built-in stand.
- Reduce the brightness to conserve battery power.
- Double tap the screen for full screen mode. This hide the menus in the header and footer, and your notes, giving you more text onscreen. Double tap again to bring them back. This is especially useful when viewing multiple windows as it gives more room per window.
PocketBible is an excellent tool for preaching and teaching. The many tools and features work together to give you the best preaching and teaching experience possible. It’s easy to set up and navigate, and your message will be enriched by the number of tools you can have at your fingertips.
This is how I use PocketBible for preaching and teaching. How about you? Have you used PocketBible to set up and deliver a message? Do you use the methods mentioned here or do you have another method?
This article is a guest post by Randy Brown, a long-time PocketBible user and owner of the Bible Buying Guide blog.