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How to Create Your Own Topical Chain Reference in PocketBible

Posted on: November 1st, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 13 Comments

Topical chains are references that take you to the next verse in a topic. They are great for personal study, devotions, sermon prep, and for teaching or preaching. You can easily create your own topical chain reference in PocketBible. It can be as simple or detailed as you want: anything from a few verses and topics to a complete topical chain reference study Bible.

Bookmarks

PocketBible’s bookmarking feature is one I’ve used for years to aid in memorizing scripture. I now have my entire family’s memory list on my Android. Each person’s list is under their own name (as a category). The ability to maintain multiple bookmark lists is perfect for creating your own topical chain reference list.

Simply select a verse in PocketBible and place the bookmark. Create a new or choose an existing category (or topic) to place the bookmark in and you’re done. Easy. There is no limit to the number of bookmark categories you can create or the number of verses you can have in each category.

Verse Links

The next step on the list is creating your own links. To do this you will use the note feature. Select the verse you want to use in your chain reference and type the reference in a note on that verse. The reference becomes a clickable link. You can create a link to just the next verse or you can include the previous verse if you want your chain to go backwards as well as forwards. For multiple topics or to show more detail, write the topic name along with the reference. An alternative is to copy and paste the verse into the note and then place the reference with the portion of the verse you want it to refer to. Go to each verse in your bookmarks and create your links. (Note: verse reference links can’t be created in the Windows Phone/Windows Store versions of PocketBible at this time but is on our request for consideration in updates to these versions).

Highlighting

Another option is to use the highlighting feature. Each highlight can represent a topic (highlights can be renamed if you have the Advanced Feature Set for the version of PocketBible you are using). There are 19 different highlights which include 16 colors and 3 types of underlining. You can use highlighting as the primary topic and write the names of the subtopics in the notes. Select the verse you want to highlight, and then choose your highlight color.

Reading by Topic

To read the verses in the topics/category, simply review the list of verses you’ve bookmarked or highlighted. Any verse links you have added will show up in the notes attached to the verses in your list. This makes it easy to look through and read every single topic and chain reference in your lists.

Example

One of my favorite topics is the Scriptures themselves. I’ve created a chain that I call The Word of God. My list is not exhaustive, but the beauty of using PocketBible is that you can add to your list as much as you want. Here is the list of verses that appear in my bookmark category, The Word of God:

Psalms 119:11, Psalms 119:16, Psalms 119:89, Psalms 119:103, Psalms 119:105, Psalms 119:130, Proverbs 6:23, Isaiah 40:8, Matthew 5:18, Matthew 24:35, 2 Timothy 2:15, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 1 Peter 1:25, 1 Peter 2:2, 2 Peter 1:21, 2 Peter 3:15-16

As I come across verses that speak to me about God’s Word I simply add it to the list. I have color-coded these verses green because that’s the color I use for the Scriptures.

Where do you get the verses for the chains?

My favorite place to get the verses is from my own reading. As I come across a verse that I want in a topical list I simply place it there. Another option is to use other Bibles as resources. I do this when I’m studying from Bibles that contain topical lists or chain references. Another choice is using PocketBible for word-searches.

Have you created your own topical chain references in PocketBible? Do you use another feature not included here?

This article is a guest post by Randy Brown, a long-time PocketBible user and owner of the Bible Buying Guide blog.

NOTE: Some of the features mentioned in this article are only available with purchase of the Advanced Features Set for PocketBible. Advanced Feature sets vary and are sold separately for each version of PocketBible.

Advanced Feature Set Now Available for PocketBible on the Mac

Posted on: October 30th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 4 Comments

While PocketBible for Mac OS X is our most powerful and flexible version of PocketBible to date, we have put together some additional features to create an Advanced Feature Set that we think will enhance your Bible study even further! The Advanced Feature Set is available via in-app purchase (PocketBible Menu | Buy/Apply Upgrade) or can be purchased at the Laridian website for $14.99.

This video overview takes you through the extra features you will enjoy with the Advanced Feature Set:

What can Advanced Features do for you?

The Advanced Feature Set for Mac OS X offers additional study options that will show up on your menus in PocketBible for Mac OS X after you purchase the set. Some items are enhancements to existing features and some are all new features.

All New Features

  • Library Navigator – use this new option on your Study Panel to get an ongoing report of everywhere in your library the currently active verse is discussed. This is most useful with commentaries but you can choose the type of book or specific books to receive this information about.
  • AutoStudy – if you are using Advanced Features on an iPhone or iPad, you will already be familiar with this feature. Right-click on any verse, passage or word to produce and in-depth study using all (or selected) books in your PocketBible library.
  • AutoStudy today’s readings – use this to produce a document of your day’s readings or devotionals (with Bible verses included). You can then read as-is, print or save to a file.
  • Maximize pane or book – if you used PocketBible on Windows CE or Mobile device, you may remember this feature. It allows you to temporarily zoom in on a specific book or pane – maximize it in your window. Since an actual layout is created, you can save the view to easily return to later.
  • Hover over Bible verses to view the verse(s) mentioned in a verse reference. This is a much-requested feature that saves you time when using cross-references.

Enhancements to Existing Features

  • Journal Notes – add notes to PocketBible that are not attached to a Bible verse.
  • Search all – choose to search your entire library at once for a word or phrase (normally, search applies only to the active book)
  • Rename Highlight Colors – change the name of any of the 16 highlight colors to something more meaningful to you (i.e. change Aqua to God’s Love)
  • More layout options
    • Create multiple, named screen layouts for different purposes (for example, one for devotional reading, one for lesson preparation, and one for note-taking during sermons).
    • Create a special layout for devotional reading that will be activated when the Today button is pressed.

How to upgrade

If you are already using PocketBible on your Mac, you’ll need to make sure you are updated to the version 1.1.0 or later. If you are not, you can check for updates under the PocketBible menu in the program. You can then check under the PocketBible menu and choose Buy/Apply Upgrade to purchase from within the app. Be sure to check your Special Offers while you are there before purchasing (another Advanced Feature is the ability to turn off the Special Offers notices that occur occasionally while you are using the app).

Note: While Bibles and books are “buy once, own forever”, Advanced Features are sold separately for each version of PocketBible. This is to support current and future development for each operating system.

To our KickStarter supporters: if you chose a reward that included the Advanced Feature set, this should already be available in your account. If it is not, please contact us at support@laridian.com so we can take care of that for you.

Scripture Memory with PocketBible

Posted on: October 21st, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 11 Comments

scripture memorySometimes we make things more complicated than they need to be. A friend shared the following article from Awana with me: 10 Steps for Effective Scripture Memory. These 10 steps are actually fairly simple. To summarize, they suggest you: Read it, write it, speak it, hear it, divide it, memorize it, repeat it, recite it with a group, design it and review it. If memorizing Scripture is something you’d like to do, you can easily accomplish several of these steps with PocketBible using the bookmark or highlight feature:

  • Organize – create two bookmark categories for the purpose of memorizing (i.e. Memorize, Review) or choose a highlight color and rename it*.
  • Select – add the verses you are interested in committing to memory to the appropriate category in PocketBible.
  • Review – follow some or all of the steps in the Awana article to commit the verse to memory including reviewing it, reciting it, listening to it*. Once a verse is memorized, move it to your Review bookmark category for more occasional reviewing.

There are so many benefits to memorizing scripture including having the sword of the Spirit always at hand (Ephesians 6:17), helping you to focus on the right things (Philippians 4:8), and keeping you from sin (Psalm 119:9,11).

If you have tips on memorizing verses, please share them in them in the comments below! If you are looking for a dedicated memorization tool to use, consider this free online tool called Memverse.

Note: Some features mentioned above require the purchase of an Advanced Feature set which are currently available for iOS, Mac OS X,Windows Phone and Windows Store.

3 Tips for Navigating Your Books in PocketBible

Posted on: October 20th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 26 Comments

Navigating PocketBibleIf you want to explore the contents of a print book, you know to look at the table of contents inside the front cover. When it comes to Bibles, you may be able to flip through and be fairly close to the book of the Bible you are looking for because you are already familiar with the structure of that type of book. But how do you navigate different types of books in PocketBible? Where are the tables of contents?

GoTo = Index/Table of Contents

The key to simple navigation of any type book in PocketBible is the GoTo icon on the toolbar. Most PocketBible users know to tap on this icon if they want to go to a specific place in the Bible–here you can specify Book, Chapter and Verse to move to an exact location. But did you know this same button works similar for other types of books as well (i.e. dictionaries, devotionals and commentaries)?

When you tap on the GoTo icon in PocketBible, it presents you with an index or table of contents based on the book you currently have active. Thus, the navigation options presented change based on the book you are viewing. There are five categories of books in PocketBible:

  • Bibles – you can navigate Bibles by Book | Chapter | Verse.
  • Commentaries – while these books are organized by Bible verse, navigation options will also include links to introductory articles and appendices along with options to drill down to comments on specific Bible books, chapters, passages and verses.
  • Dictionaries – there are two types of PocketBible dictionaries:
    • English dictionaries – navigation is in article order, usually alphabetic but sometimes topical.
    • Greek/Hebrew or Strong’s number based dictionaries – navigation is by Strong’s number. Unless you have Strong’s numbers memorized, it is best to use a Strong’s numbered Bible translation to navigate to a definition as described here: How can I Use Strong’s Concordance in PocketBible?
  • Devotionals – navigation is by date. If you tap on the GoTo icon with a devotional active, you’ll be presented with a calendar. If the date is off or you are behind schedule, you can reschedule or start the readings over.
  • Other – the books in this category vary widely by type but one thing is the same for all, tapping on the GoTo icon with this type of book active will still present you with an appropriate index to navigate the book easily.

Searching

A major feature of PocketBible, Searching, lets you quickly find what you’re looking for in PocketBible without navigating an index. Just type in any word or phrase in the search field (look for the magnifying glass on your toolbar) and you’ll be able to choose from a list of places in a book where your search word(s) were found.

Synchronizing Books

Take advantage of PocketBible’s ability to synchronize books automatically and you won’t have to worry about navigating. If you go to John 3:16 in your NIV Bible, all other Bible translations will move to that same verse and your commentaries will move to that verse if they have a comment on it (this option can be turned on/off in PocketBible). Dictionaries will sync by topic/article as well. For example, if you look up the word “Aaron” all open dictionaries will move to their article on Aaron, if applicable. The same if you tapped on a Strong’s number – all open Strong’s numbered dictionaries will move to the article on the active Strong’s number.

A Bonus Tip

A quick way to move between open books is to tap on the title bar of the active window. You’ll get a drop down list of books that are open in that window or pane and you can tap on any book listed to move there. You’ll also see options in the drop down list to close or open books in that window. (Mac and PC users will see tabs for opening and closing books). See a video of this.

Reading Through the Bible: To Plan or Not to Plan

Posted on: October 11th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 2 Comments

PocketBible includes handy features for helping you read through the Bible. We have a variety of Bible reading plans and you can happily track your progress through them. If needed, you can take advantage of the easy-to-use reset and catch up features. However, if you are like me and are more successful at starting Bible reading plans than finishing them, here are some alternatives…some open-ended, do-it-at-your-own pace options for reading through the Bible using PocketBible.

Mark your place with Bookmarks

Create a bookmark category called Daily Reading in PocketBible and simply set/delete bookmarks each time you read to keep your place. You can choose to read the Bible from beginning to end or tackle different parts of the Bible with multiple bookmarks (i.e. Old Testament/New Testament or create your own modified Professor Horner’s Bible Reading System).

Overview Commentaries

While not an official category of commentary, I refer to the following PocketBible commentaries as “overview” commentaries. The type of insight they offer is brief–chapter-by-chapter or less (as noted). They are ideal for guiding you through your reading of the scriptures because you won’t get involved in explanatory detail for any particular passage. With one of these books as your companion, your journey through the Bible can be informed yet open-ended (with no checklists or plans to answer to!).

  • Open Your Bible Commentary – this commentary was written to encourage daily Bible reading and study. It covers the entire Bible chapter-by-chapter (sometimes section by section) with brief explanation and application.
  • Bible Reader’s Companion – gives you a one-page overview for each chapter of the Bible, with key verse and suggested personal application.
  • With the Word Commentary – a chapter-by-chapter handbook on the Bible by Warren Wiersbe.
  • The Bible Book by Book – an overview for each book of the Bible (i.e. summary, outline, key teaching).
  • Ryken’s Bible Handbook – fact sheet and guide for each book of the Bible.

Updated King James Version for PocketBible

Posted on: October 9th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 22 Comments

Title_PageWe’ve just updated the text of the King James Version we use in PocketBible. Whether you’re a devoted reader of the KJV or only have it installed because it came bundled with your copy of PocketBible, you should welcome this move to a more pedigreed version of the text.

Laridian has long been criticized for the perceived lack of attention we’ve paid to our KJV text by those for whom the accuracy of this text is a major issue. The previous version of our text was from an unknown source and contained American spellings and modern replacements for many archaic words. In some cases, these aspects of the text went unnoticed but in others they were very apparent and called into question the quality of the rest of the text.

The most commonly cited problem was our use of the word thoroughly in 2 Timothy 3:17, where the original 1611 KJV uses the archaic word throughly. While it is the case that the word throughly is defined as “thoroughly; completely”, there are some who feel the original word conveys some additional meaning that is lost by the change to thoroughly. This despite the fact that Vine’s Expository Dictionary says “For THROUGHLY see THOROUGHLY” and even Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary says “For this, thoroughly is now used”.  This is just one example, though arguably the most significant, of about 100 spelling changes between our previous edition of the KJV and our newest release.

A Little History

The Authorized or King James Version of the Bible was the result of a project to revise the text of the Bishops’ Bible, which was the Bible of the Church of England at the turn of the 17th century. In 1604 of committee of fifty-four men were appointed to undertake the revision. Work was delayed until 1607, by which time on forty-seven of the original appointees were available to work on the project. The instructions given to the translators were to alter the text of the Bishops’ Bible as little as possible and to use the text of Tyndale, Coverdale, Matthew, Whitchurch, or Geneva when those translations agree more closely with the original Hebrew and Greek texts. The editors worked in several teams, each tackling a portion of the books of the Bible. When the work was complete, representatives of each group oversaw a final editorial pass through the text and two men worked closely with the printer to supervise the first printing in 1611.

A number of factors made it impossible for any two early print runs of the KJV to be identical. First, the printing technology at the time required that a single page be created by laying out individual pieces of type (each representing one letter, punctuation mark, or space) to create a form. Once the entire print run for that page was completed, the type was reclaimed to create the next page. By necessity, then, the second and subsequent printings of the Bible had to be re-set from scratch using the original documents or the previous printing as a guide. While errors in the previous printings could be corrected at this time, the resetting of every page made it possibile for new errors to be introduced. In 1725, printers at Cambridge University came up with the idea of making a plaster mould of an entire form, then using this to cast a metal stereotype or cliché from which identical subsequent prints could be made. This helped reduce the errors from constant resetting of the text.

A second source of variation in the text was the lack of a standard English orthography (spelling). Most people in the 16th and 17th centuries experienced reading vicariously — the actors in Shakespeare’s plays repeated his words on stage, and the clergy read the Bible aloud to the congregation. As long as the words could be pronounced in a way the hearer could understand, the spelling of the word on the page was irrelevant. It would be another 150 years before the idea of “standard” spelling and even the concept of a dictionary of the English language would come about. In the meantime, there might be two or more different spellings of the same word within one printing of the Bible (or any book for that matter).

To complicate this further, and because correct spelling simply wasn’t an issue, typesetters would add or remove letters from words to make them fit better on a line of type. This introduced another opportunity for variation.

Even after stereotyping made it possible for one publisher to maintain consistency between printings of the same book, each publisher created their own forms and thereby introduced their own changes into the text. Publishers also felt free to add or remove footnotes, change punctuation, and revise the spelling or word usage for their particular audience.

The result of all of this is that we have literally hundreds of different versions of the King James Version text on bookshelves around the world, created over a period of more than 400 years by dozens of publishers using a variety of printing techniques. Each of these is labelled “King James Version” and none come with a list of how they differ from the printing before them, let alone the original 1611 text.

The Age of Electronic Publishing

In the late 20th century it became possible for anyone with a high-speed scanner and optical character recognition software to create an electronic copy of the King James Version text — and they did. Our previous King James Version text was the product of one such person’s efforts. We don’t know which of hundreds of available versions of the KJV text they used, but we know it had Americanized spellings (honorable for honourablerazor for rasorcounseller for counsellor, etc) and modern proper names (Jeremiah instead of Jeremy or JeremiasNoah instead of NoeIsaiah instead of Esaias, etc.). It also used a number of modern words in place of their archaic counterparts (the previously cited thoroughly in place of throughlyprivately in place of privilyfood in place of meattwo in place of twain, etc.).

Laridian’s Historic Position

Because the KJV has been around for 400 years; because it lived through every significant improvement in publishing since moveable type; and because we could find no two KJV Bibles (especially from different publishers) which agreed with each other, we took the position that there was no “best” KJV text. In every case cited by a customer, we could find an example of a KJV Bible from a major publisher that agreed with our version and another that agreed with them.

Lacking an obvious answer to the question “Which KJV is the KJV?” short of the 1611 text (which nobody reads since it uses “u” for “v”, “j” for “i”, and something like “f” for “long s”, rendering it virtually unreadable), we turned two two authoritative sources. First was Cambridge University, which is the steward of the Crown’s copyright on the King James Version in the United Kingdom. During a conversation over a meal, I asked if they had electronic files for the “official” King James Version — assuming there was such a thing, perhaps in a vault buried deep under London. Had I not been paying for their dinner, I would’ve been laughed out of the room. They repeated much of what I’ve stated above, and added the fact that every publisher over the years has made their own “corrections” and changes to the text, including Cambridge itself. They could offer me no advice other than to use one of their more recent printings (for which they had no electronic files). Since that would carry no more weight of being “the” KJV than the one we already had, that seemed like a waste of time.

I next turned to Dr. Peter Ruckman, perhaps the most well-known authority on the “KJV Only” position. Dr. Ruckman argues not only that the KJV is the only accurate English Bible in existence, but that it supersedes the original Hebrew and Greek texts in any question over interpretation of the Word of God. Translations into other languages should be made from it, not from Hebrew and Greek. I wrote Dr. Ruckman a letter asking for his recommendations for an “official” text of the King James Version that would satisfy the requirements of his most vocal followers for an accurate text. Dr. Ruckman scrawled “IDIOT” over my letter and sent it back to me, with the comment “any Gideon Bible”. I pulled my Gideon Bible off the shelf and found it to be a modern English version, not the KJV at all. Furthermore, I didn’t believe Ruckman was making the case that the Gideons were the Keepers of the Authoritative King James Version Bible Text, but rather that I could literally grab any KJV Bible off the shelf, even the free Gideon Bible I found in a hotel, and use it in our software.

When the appeal to authority failed, we simply settled into distributing the KJV that we had and left it at that.

The Pure/Standard Cambridge Edition

Once or twice a year we are contacted by PocketBible users who have a serious problem with our KJV (usually citing the use of thoroughly in 2 Tim 3:17) and encouraging/threatening us to publish “the” KJV. None of these users have ever been able to point to a definitive, authoritative source for this text, but recently we were directed to two sources: The Pure Cambridge Edition at www.bibleprotector.com and Brandon Staggs’ Common Cambridge Edition at av1611.com. Both of these sites claim to have done extensive research to produce an electronic edition of the text that matches that in use by Cambridge University Press around 1900-1910, down to the last punctuation mark, capital letter, and use of italics.

We downloaded these texts and compared them to each other. They differ in about a dozen places, none of which are anywhere near as significant as the use of thoroughly for throughly in 2 Tim 3:17. After looking at some other similar sources, we settled on a version of the text that draws mostly from the Pure Cambridge Edition except in a couple places where we felt the Common Cambridge Edition was better. (In particular, we hyphenate Elelohe-Israel and Meribah-Kadesh instead of creating the “camel-case” spellings EleloheIsrael and MeribahKadesh used in the PCE, and we chose to leave out the footers THE END OF THE PROPHETS after Malachi 4:6 and THE END after Revelation 22:21.)

It was fairly trivial to convert this text to PocketBible format. The hard part was merging Strong’s numbers into it, but we’ve done that to create an updated version of our King James Version With Strong’s Numbers product as well. This has the additional benefit of bringing these two texts into agreement with each other, as even our own KJV and KJV/Strong’s texts had disagreed in a number of places.

Lessons Learned

We’ve gained a new appreciation not just for the King James Version in this process, but also for the history of the English language and printing technology. The myriad variations on the KJV text had led us to “give up” and settle for what was easy. However, this project created the desire to produce something of historical validity and significance, even if it can’t be said to be “the” KJV.

Even if we don’t agree with those who argue that the KJV is the only English Bible we should be reading, we do agree that it has historical significance and that we should provide a version of it that meets with the approval of those who put it on a taller pedestal than we do. We believe this edition of the KJV for PocketBible meets that standard.

We’re considering publishing some earlier editions of the KJV just for their historical value. While we don’t find reading the 1611 text to be particularly edifying, we do find it interesting. For example:

“And as Moses lifted vp the serpent in the wildernesse : euen so must the Sonne of man be lifted vp : That whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue eternall life. For God so loued yͤ world, that he gaue his only begotten Sonne : that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life.”

I’m particularly intrigued by the shorthand rendition of the word “the” in “God so loued yͤ world”. This comes from the Early Middle English spelling of “the”, which was þe (the archaic letter thorn followed by e). When printed in the common black letter or gothic font, thorn looked very similar to y, and printers (especially in France where thorn did not exist in their alphabet) would substitute the letter y. When needed to make the words better fit on a line, the e would be placed above the y as you see here. (Another example is the word thou which was often shortened to yͧ.) It’s easy to imagine how yͤ became “ye” in “Ye Olde Book Shoppe”, and why “Ye” in this context should be pronounced with a “th” sound like “the”.

Anyway, I digress….

You can simply download the KJV from within PocketBible if you’re running PocketBible on a platform that supports that feature, or, if you have PocketBible for Windows Desktop, go to your download account at our site to download a new installation program for the KJV or KJVEC (KJV with Strong’s Numbers).

 

How can I use Strong’s Concordance in PocketBible?

Posted on: October 4th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 11 Comments

When it comes to Bible study, a concordance usually refers to one of two things: the concordance in the back of your Bible or Strong’s Concordance.

What is a concordance?

The concordance found in the back of your printed Bible lists common words or phrases in alphabetical order with verse references. You won’t find such a list in the back of your PocketBible Bibles because the built-in search feature replaces it. PocketBible acts as an unlimited concordance allowing you to search for any word or phrase in the Bible and learn where (and how many times) it occurs.

What is Strong’s Concordance?

In the late 1800’s, James Strong decided Bible students needed an exhaustive list of the words used in the Bible and an easier way to tie it back to the original language word. So he assigned a number to every original language word used in the Bible – Hebrew root words used in the Old Testament (8,674) and Greek root words used in the New Testament (5,624). He then went through the King James Version Bible and listed every English word used in that translation. Then he put the two together by assigning an original language word number to each English word so you could see the connection without needing to know Hebrew or Greek.

Along with the original language Hebrew or Greek word, are included a transliteration (so you can pronounce the word) and a brief definition. Over the decades since Strong’s Concordance was first published, others have used his numbers to provide more extensive explanations of the Hebrew or Greek word including W.E. Vine (Vine’s Expository Dictionary) and Spiros Zhodiates (Complete Word Study Dictionaries). Other Bible versions (in addition to the KJV) have used Strong’s numbers to create concordances for their translations. We offer Strong’s-numbered versions of the New American Standard Bible (NASEC) and Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSBEC).

How can I use Strong’s Concordance in PocketBible?

With PocketBible, you can view a Strong’s-numbered Bible and tap on the number next to a word to view the definition in any Strong’s-numbered dictionary. This is demonstrated in the video below and explained further in our article on Accomplishing Word Studies in PocketBible.

PocketBible for Mac OS X Review

Posted on: September 30th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin No Comments

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 6.56.40 PMChristian Computing Magazine has published a review of PocketBible for Mac OS X, calling it “one of the fastest and most Mac-like Bible apps available”.

You can read the full review here.

Among other compliments, reviewer Kevin Purcell called PocketBible, “…a simple to use, speedy way to quickly look up verses, search for that passage you’re trying to find and access your PocketBible books. Most lay Bible students will really enjoy PocketBible and more advanced students should consider adding it to their arsenal for those times they want to quickly find something in the Bible.”

Kevin’s review does a pretty good job of covering a wide range of features in the program and overall has a positive impression of the program. He does raise a number of points that he sees as weaknesses of the program, which I’d like to acknowledge and adress. These fall into three categories:

Features That Are Already in the Program

Kevin would like to use ⌘-W to close a pane in PocketBible. The problem is that ⌘-W actually means “close the active window” in OS X. PocketBible has exactly one window, so closing that window is equivalent to closing the program. In order to keep the user from inadvertently exiting the program, we disabled this feature. The good news is that all shortcut keys are reconfigurable in all apps in OS X. So if you’d like ⌘-W to close the active pane in PocketBible, just go to System Preferences in the Apple menu, choose the Keyboard preference pane, choose Keyboard Shortcuts, choose Application Shortcuts, add PocketBible, and add (or change) any shortcut for any function in PocketBible to use whatever key you would like.

One of the challenges we face on every platform is deciding how to use limited user interface real estate. In particular, the toolbar. Depending on the size of your screen and the width of the window in which you choose to run PocketBible, you may only have room for a half-dozen toolbar buttons. Since everyone uses PocketBible differently, we put what we thought were the essential features on the toolbar by default, and provide a way that you can customize the toolbar to match the way you use the program. Kevin disagrees with the buttons that are there by default. The ones he wants to add are not ones that I would want to take up space for. And I’m sure the configuration of toolbar buttons you prefer would not satisfy either one of us. So we make it customizable, just as you’ll find in most other Mac apps.

One of the features mentioned in the review that is at least partially implemented in the current version of PocketBible (with more coming soon in the Advanced Feature Set) is the ability to see where a verse is discussed in a particular reference book. PocketBible allows you to enter a verse reference in its search field and see everywhere that verse is referenced in the current book or Bible. This feature of the search pane wasn’t mentioned in the review.

Features That Are Coming Soon

Several users, including Kevin, have asked for a “download all books” button. We’ve resisted that because we provide every user with a large number of free Bibles and reference books that most people won’t want cluttering their library. But it’s simple enough to do, so we’ve already added that feature. You’ll see it in the next update to the program.

Features That Will Be Part of the Advanced Feature Set

As we’ve discussed in the past and  announced during the Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign that launched PocketBible for Mac, we intend to produce an “Advanced Feature Set” add-on for PocketBible that will enable additional features in the program. We already do this for iOS, Windows Store, and Windows Phone. We’re working on it for Android and Mac, where it is currently in the hands of our beta testers.

The review mentions the fact that you can’t save your screen layout. That is, if you have several different screen configurations you’d like to use depending on what you’re doing at any given time, you have to completely reconfigure the layout from scratch each time. The free version of PocketBible offers a lot of options for adding and configuring panes so that you have a lot of flexibility for laying out the screen the way you want it. But if you want to save those configurations, you’ll need the Advanced Feature Set. It will allow you to create multiple, named, tabbed layouts. These can be created, deleted, renamed, and rearranged to meet your needs.

Kevin also mentions the need for a feature that would show you everything all the books in your library have to say about a particular verse. We’ll be addressing that in two ways. First, the Advanced Feature Set will contain a Library Search pane that will let you not only search your entire library for a given word or phrase, but also for a given verse. So you’ll be able to see which commentaries contain a discussion of a given passage, then quickly link there to read more.

In addition to Library Search, the Advanced Feature Set will contain an updated version of Autostudy from PocketBible for iOS. This feature lets you automatically create a document containing everything your library has to say about a given word or verse. Autostudy documents can be viewed inside PocketBible but can also be printed, saved as PDF, or saved as an HTML file that can be opened in your browser or word processor.

Conclusions

We’re pretty pleased with this review. We feel like we either have already addressed or will very shortly be addressing every shortcoming Kevin mentioned. Kevin accurately describes PocketBible for OS X as “lightning fast and simple to master”, which is exactly what we were going for. If you want to follow Kevin’s advice to “drop everything and download PocketBible for Mac” you can do so here!

How to create a customized study Bible in PocketBible

Posted on: September 26th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 1 Comment

When it comes to printed Study Bibles, most take the form of Bible text on the top half of the page and study notes on the bottom half. With PocketBible, you can have a similar setup but customize it in ways you can’t with a printed book.

Bibles and Study Bible Notes (and other commentary) are each sold separately for PocketBible. The print version of a study Bible limits you to a specific Bible translation but you can use any combination of study notes and Bible translation together in PocketBible.

Setup

To accomplish a study-Bible-like setup in PocketBible, simply:

1. Open two panes (or windows) in the PocketBible app
2. Open a Bible translation in the first pane
3. Open a set of study Bible notes (or other commentary) in the second pane
4. If you want your Bible and study notes to sync together (stay on the same verse), make sure you’ve checked that option in PocketBible settings (look for a option that says something like “Sync Bibles/Commentaries”).

Customize

Once you get the basic setup in PocketBible of Bible in one pane and study notes in the other, you are now ready to customize. You can tap on the first pane and open additional Bible translations. And tap on the second pane and open additional study Bible notes or commentary. With multiple translations or commentary open, you’ll be able to easily access additional insight on any verse. Tap on the title bar to easily switch between your open books. Watch a short demonstration video to see how you can use this setup to get more out PocketBible.

PocketBible 1.3.0 – Bible/Devotional Reading Progress Tracking

Posted on: September 22nd, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 15 Comments

PocketBible for Android version 1.3.0 has been released to the Google Play Store. If you downloaded the app from Google Play, you should be automatically updated. If you are using a Kindle Fire (or other non-Google Play device), you can download the latest version by browsing to http://lpb.cc/android while on your device.

This update features full devotional/Bible reading plan tracking and the ability to sync your reading progress with your other devices. Complete details on how you can use this new feature are included in the Devotional section of Help.

The PocketBible app offers a variety of free reading plans and devotionals with registration. You can purchase additional devotionals and plans at any time.

Other enhancements included in this update are:

  • GoTo Navigation – we’ve added two alternate methods for going to a specific verse in the Bible: Calculator and Spinner. The default remains the current style of the Book/Chapter/Verse picker. You can change styles from the menu: Settings | Program Settings | GoTo Style.
  • New highlight options – you can now choose Underline, Dotted Underline or Dashed Underline as a verse highlight option.
  • You can now delete PocketBible books from your device without an internet connection.
  • My Special Offers – you can now see any special offers available for you when shopping inside the app.

Take a look at the devotional features in the video below:

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