Last week I talked about using DailyReader for the Palm operating system. Click here if you’re a Palm OS user who would like more information on using DailyReader. This week I’m covering the use of devotionals and reading plans with PocketBible 3 on a Pocket PC. Understanding how to use the various tools available to you in PocketBible 3 can enhance the time you spend working with your devotional or reading plan.
What is the difference between a devotional and a reading plan? A reading plan provides you with a specific Bible reading schedule to accomplish a goal. For example, you might want to read through the Bible in a year, or read through Psalms in a month, or read the New Testament in 3 months. That is a reading plan. It tells you what Bible text you need to read each day in order to accomplish that goal. It usually does not contain a devotional thought (though it could).
A devotional provides you with a “thought for the day” that will help you get more meaning out of a passage that it assigns you to read that day. The actual Bible reading may be a single verse or a series of verses. It helps you to apply your Bible reading to everyday issues.
For the sake of this article, I’m going to refer to the books we’re working with as devotionals. Devotionals and reading plans work the same in PocketBible 3.
Let’s get started by opening PocketBible 3 and setting up some preferences. Go to View, Options, More Options. Select the Prefs tab at the bottom. Set up your preferences for the Bible and the devotional. You can setup more preferences if you’d like but these are the main two you will want when working with your devotionals. When you’re done with those selections, tap the Devotional tab at the bottom. This window allows you to decide what you want to open when you access your devotional each day. Do you want it to open to today’s reading, the first unread reading (for those times you are behind) or do you want it to open to the reading you have most recently completed? Make your selection and then tap OK.
Open the Bible translation you prefer using when reading your devotional or reading plan. Once your preferred Bible is open, look at the icon bar across the bottom. If you do not see an icon bar, tap View, Options, Show Toolbar. Right next to the question mark on the right, you will see an icon that looks like a lamp. That’s the icon that will expand or collapse your reading toolbar. Go ahead and tap it and you will see the reading toolbar appear.
From left to right, these are the functions of the reading toolbar.
- Open Devotional – this opens your preferred devotional or reading plan. Go ahead and tap it. If you haven’t set up a preferred plan then you will be given the option to do so. If you have set up a preferred plan then it will open automatically. You should now see 2 windows with the Bible in the top window and your devotional in the bottom window. Tap it again and you will see the window with the devotional close. This allows you to toggle the devotional window on and off as you are reading the actual Bible text.
- Previous Reading
- Today’s Reading
- Next Reading
- First Unread (for those times you get behind)
- Previous Unread
- Reading Complete (tap this when you’ve completed today’s reading)
- Next Unread
In addition to understanding the reading toolbar, it’s important that you know about other options available to you specifically for working with devotionals. Press and hold your stylus on your devotional window and you will receive a drop down menu. Select Reading Options. The Stats tab tells you how many readings are in that book, how many you’ve already completed and how many are still unread. It also provides you with a reminder of your Start Date and how far behind you’ve gotten if you find yourself missing some days.
The Start Date tab is what you need to choose to select the day on which you want to start your reading plan. You can start on any day of the year. You are not stuck with only starting on Jan. 1.
Catch Up is a very handy feature. For example, are you one of those Monday – Friday people that only does devotions during the weekdays? If so, PocketBible can help you with that reading schedule. Each time you complete a day’s reading be sure you check mark the box indicating that you’ve completed your reading. When Monday rolls around again just select Catch Up from the Reading Options. If you’ve read all of the previous week’s readings (and check marked the box), this will move the reading that you would have read on Saturday to Monday. Just do this every Monday. Of course, this will also make your devotional book last longer than it’s normal schedule.
Start Over is what you use when you’ve completed your devotional and you’re ready to start over with day 1. When you have completed all of your scheduled readings you will find that the Next Reading icon on the reading toolbar will become gray. That’s your clue that you’ve reached the end of your schedule and you’re ready to start over.
Although most of the devotionals are on a 365-day schedule, you can go through a plan as quickly or as slowly as you’d like. If you don’t want to repeat the same devotional or reading plan again, there are plenty of other choices available. You can review the Order Form for more PocketBible Devotional Books.
Now that we’ve gone through the toolbar and options, we’re ready to start the new devotional. This is what you might do on a typical day.
1. Tap the icon to open the reading toolbar (the one that looks like a lamp).
2. Tap the first icon to the left on the reading toolbar and it opens your preferred devotional. If you want more screen space to read your devotional, press and hold your stylus on the top window and select Close. This will give you a full window for your devotional. You can add additional screen space by tapping the lamp to turn off the reading toolbar, tap View, Options, Show Toolbar, to turn off the bottom toolbar, and tap View, Options, Show Book Status Bar, to turn off the information about the status of the book (name of book, date, and which reading you are viewing). Most people will want the status bar left on but the choice is yours.
3. As you are reading your devotional you will come across some scripture links. When you tap a scripture link then it will open your default Bible to that location. If you already have a Bible open but it wasn’t your default then it will move that Bible to the new location instead of opening your preferred Bible. We assume that if you have that Bible already open then that is the one you want to read from. If you don’t want to read from that one then close it and then tap the link and your preferred Bible will open.
You will find that tapping the reference link will highlight the reading. This is done so you know where to start and where to stop. This highlight is temporary. When you tap another reference link in the future then the current highlight will be removed and the highlight will appear at the new location.
If you find that you don’t like that highlighting, you can turn that off, too. It will make it more difficult for you to know where to start and stop, though. To turn it off, tap View, Options, More Options and remove the check mark for Highlight linked psg. This highlight feature is used for all books that contain reference links, not just devotionals so if you turn it off then you also won’t have the feature for your other books when you tap a reference link.
4. Once you’ve completed your reading for the day, be sure to mark your reading as done. If you still have the reading toolbar open, tap the check mark. You will see a large white box surround the smaller white box. If you’ve closed your reading toolbar, press and hold your stylus on the devotional window and select Reading Complete.
5. You can now press and hold your stylus on the devotional window and select Close to close that window (if you have multiple windows open) or select Change Book to switch to a different book.
There is one thing that is a little bit different with reading plans than with devotionals. Since reading plans have only scripture references and no devotional thoughts, you may see multiple days readings on a single screen. Each day is separated by a gray line. The top reading will always be the current day’s reading. You can ignore everything below the first gray line. When you open it the next day then you will find that everything has shifted upward so the new current day is at the top.
That takes you through a typical day of reading your devotional but what else can you do to enhance your reading?
- You can highlight text that you might want to remember in the future. Drag your stylus across the area you want to highlight. Press and hold your stylus on the highlight. Select Highlight and then select your color.
- Add notes. As you are reading your devotional, you might want to do some journaling. Press and hold your stylus on the devotion and select Add Note. The note marker will appear at the top of that day’s devotion.
- Search. Do you remember reading a devotion and then later, it comes to mind when you’re talking to someone but you don’t remember on which day it was located? Use the Find feature (Edit, Find, Find or press the magnifying glass icon) to enter a few key words that you can remember from the devotion.
- Lookup definitions of Biblical words that may not be familiar to you. If you have a Bible dictionary installed, press and hold your stylus on the word for which you want more information. Select Lookup from the drop down menu.
Using PocketBible 3 for your devotional reading goals will help you to keep on track with your daily Bible reading. With the ability to check off what you’ve read, highlight important information, and enter notes along with the many choices of devotionals and reading plans, you should find PocketBible as a help in enhancing your daily devotion experience.
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