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Posts Tagged ‘PocketBible’

Which PocketBible Bible is right for you?

Posted on: March 17th, 2015 by Michelle Stramel 12 Comments

There are many reasons to choose a specific translation of the Bible. People often use what their pastor or church recommends. For many people, the Bible and King James Version (KJV) are synonymous. In fact, Christianity Today reported last year that the KJV is still the most popular and fastest growing Bible translation.

While we provide the King James Version for free with PocketBible, there are many other translation options available. One of the major features of PocketBible is the ability to compare translations or create your own parallel Bible. Thus, you don’t have to be limited to one translation as you are with a printed book. This makes it easy to look at how a verse is worded in multiple translations to gain insight into its meaning.

Which translation is best?

Bible translations are usually categorized as to whether they provide a “word for word” translation from the original manuscripts (most accurate) or more of a “thought for thought” translation (easier to read). While the “best” translation will always be somewhat subjective, you can still find the one that is “best” for you. In addition to comparing translations for insight, you may find that you like one translation for your Bible reading and prefer another for study purposes.

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What’s in the Pipeline?

Posted on: March 14th, 2015 by Michelle Stramel 145 Comments

We often get asked about what we are working on. While you can be sure we are always working, and that our work probably involves some version of PocketBible, we understand you may be interested in a more detailed explanation of what is going on behind the scenes. It is in that spirit that we are going to try something new with an occasional post on what’s in the pipeline for apps and books.

You’ll notice we don’t talk about release dates. We’ve been in this business for a long time and have learned that our best-laid plans often go awry. In fact, in the software business, that’s the rule rather than the exception. So we don’t spit into that wind nor tilt at those windmills. We’re pursuing the goals you see below at our best pace and will release new books and updates to our apps as soon as they’re ready.

Apps

  • PocketBible for Android – Version 1.4.0 with support for the Advanced Feature Set was released 2/5/15. Currently working on minor enhancements to add a couple features introduced in PocketBible for Mac OS X.
  • PocketBible 3.1 for iOS – version 3.1.0 was uploaded to the App Store on 3/28/14. The program seems to be working well under iOS 8, so there wasn’t an update specific to iOS 8. We’ll be taking another look at PocketBible for iOS soon.
  • PocketBible for Mac OS X – Version 1.1.4 with support for BookBuilder books was released on 3/6/15.
  • BookBuilder for Mac OS X – Version 1.0.0 was released on 3/6/15. Currently working on some in-house features and better support for user-created Bibles.
  • PocketBible for Windows Phone – Send us your suggestions for enhancements.
  • PocketBible for Windows Store – Send us your suggestions for enhancements.

Books

Here’s what our editorial team has in the queue for you (not in any particular order):

  • Additional volumes of the Ancient Christian Commentary Series (IVP)
  • The Applied New Testament and Old Testament Commentary (Cook)
  • Wesley Study Bible (Abingdon)
  • ESV and NASB Bible text Updates
  • Add Words in red to KJV text
  • Tree of Life Version (TLV)

Disclaimers: All this is subject to change in priority, feasibility, copyright licensing, etc. That means we reserve the right to never release these features or books. We are sharing with you the current plan which is written in sand, not stone. Also, just because something is not on this list doesn’t mean we are not considering it. Finally, we are open to your requests, suggestions and comments!

Narrow your PocketBible searches with Strong’s Numbers

Posted on: March 11th, 2015 by Michelle Stramel 5 Comments

Two of the major features of Strong’s Concordance are that it provides an exhaustive list of the words used in the Bible and it links those words back (via the assigned number) to the original language root. If you add Strong’s Concordance to PocketBible, you can search for occurrences of the root word in the Bible using its Strong’s number. We offer three versions of Strong’s Concordance for use with PocketBible: KJVEC, NASEC and HCSBEC.

What is the benefit of using Strong’s Numbers in my searches?

Some things are not apparent in the English translation.

For example, in John 21, Jesus asks Peter three questions, “son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” (v15); “son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” (v16); “son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” (v17). While the KJV translates “lovest” the same each time, Strong’s assigns a different root word to Jesus’ first two uses of “lovest.” Strong’s indicates a root word of agapao (which is assigned the number 25) in the first two questions and then phileo ( which is assigned the number 5368) to that last use of “lovest.” When Peter responds to Jesus’ questions, each time he he uses the word phileo (G5368) to convey his feelings for Jesus.

You could look at the definitions for these Strong’s words and find out what others say about the meaning of these two words. But you could also explore these words in context for yourself with PocketBible. How are these two forms of love used elsewhere in the New Testament? How were they used by Jesus and Peter elsewhere? While your dictionaries may cite some verses where these words are used, the PocketBible search feature will provide you with an exhaustive list of usage.

How can I use Strong’s Numbers in my PocketBible searches?

Simply input the Strong’s number (i.e. G25 or H157) into the PocketBible search field to search for occurrences of that word in a Strong’s-numbered Bible.

To continue with our example, let’s use the PocketBible search feature to find out more about the word “lovest.” The search results presented below are from the KJV and the search is limited to the New Testament since we are talking about a Greek word. The bolded text is what is entered in the search field in PocketBible (or the syntax needed to get the results mentioned).

  • lovest – PocketBible reports this specific word form occurs 4 times in the KJV New Testament (KJVNT)
  • lov* – a second search (with a wild card) tell us that there are 202 variations of the word lov* that occur in KJVNT. The asterisk that follows the letters “lov” is a wildcard which tells PocketBible to search for all endings of the word (wildcards are not needed in the Android and Mac versions of PocketBible as they automatically report all word variations).
  • G25 – 109 verses in the KJVNT use this Greek word with the Strong’s number 25 (which we know from our dictionary means agapao).
  • G5368 – 21 verses in the KJVNT use this Greek word with the Strong’s number 5368 (which we know from our dictionary means phileo).

Thus we now know that while a form of the word “love” is used 202 times in the New Testament, only 109 of those times is the root word agapao and 21 times, phileo. That really doesn’t tell us much except to say that G25 is more commonly used in the New Testament. Given that we also want to know context for these words and how Jesus used them, we could re-run our searches and limit them to the Gospels. From there we could browse through the list to consider how these words were used in the reported verses.

For example, PocketBible reports that G5368 is assigned to the word “kiss” in Luke 22:47, referring to Judas kiss. In addition, G5368 is the root used for the word “loveth” in John 5:20 – “For the Father loveth (G5368) the Son…” So phileo is the root word used for Judas kiss and also to describe how the Father loves the Son. Hmm…this is the time I would be checking Vine’s or the Complete Word Study Dictionary to see what they have to say on this.

You can also use PocketBible to find a particular English word only when it’s translated from a specific Greek or Hebrew word. For example, love:G5368 will find all instances of the word “love” where it is translated from the Greek word 5368. To find a particular English word only when it’s not translated from a specific Greek or Hebrew word, using the format, love:-g5368, will find all instances of the word “love” where it is not translated from the Greek word 5368. To find a particular Greek or Hebrew word only when it’s not translated as a particular English word, using the format, -love:g5368, will find all instances of the Greek word number 5368 where it is not translated into English as “love.” This last search should give us Luke 22:47 where g5368 was used for the English word kiss (as we found above).

Related articles: Accomplishing Word Studies in PocketBible, How can I use Strong’s Concordance in PocketBible? and Shortcuts for turning on/off Strong’s Numbers in PocketBible Bibles.

PocketBible for Android: What can Advanced Features do for you?

Posted on: February 13th, 2015 by Michelle Stramel 11 Comments

If you are using PocketBible on your Android OS device or Kindle Fire, here are some good reasons to upgrade to the Advanced Features (and how to do it).

Why upgrade?

The Advanced Features available for PocketBible on Android smartphones and tablets offers some handy additions to the basic features of PocketBible.

You can watch an overview of the Advanced Feature Set below:

Autostudy – Verse, Word or Today

Autostudy makes it easy to pull information out of your library on a specific verse or passage. Choose a verse and AutoStudy will put together information about that verse from your PocketBible Bibles, commentaries, cross-references, etc. on one page. It can even give you a definition from your installed dictionaries for every word in the verse. You can get more details on this feature in our article: Have you discovered Autostudy? You can also do a today Autostudy that puts all your Bible and devotional reading for “today” on one page.

Autoscroll

Autoscroll will scroll the text of a Bible or book for you for easier reading. You can adjust the speed at which the text moves along. This feature is great for public or devotional reading.

Listen to the Bible

Would you like to have PocketBible read the Bible to you? The Advanced Feature Set adds the ability to do this using the text-to-speech voice already installed to your Android device. These voices are synthesized which means they are electronic and therefore not always perfect in pronunciation or inflection. However, they don’t take up as much space on your device as an “audio Bible”. There are many benefits to listening to the Bible. I have found this feature extremely handy for keeping up with my Bible reading in the car, as I clean the house, on a run — time that might otherwise be wasted can be reclaimed for a good purpose.

Journal Notes

Even if you are not a prolific note-taker, you will enjoy the new Journal feature. PocketBible already lets you add a note to any Bible verse or book passage. Now you can create multiple free-form notes not attached to any book, that can be used for any purpose you’d like.

Customize your colors

New color options include the ability to rename your highlight colors. For example, you could change the label for salmon to love and use your highlights to collect and categorize specific verses (see video of this). We’ve also added an option you can use to create your own personalized color scheme for the app (see video of this).

How to upgrade

If you are already using PocketBible 1.4.0 or later:

  1. Purchase the Advanced Feature Set at our web site for $9.99 (it is also available in-app – choose Buy/Apply upgrade from the menu).
  2. Open PocketBible on your Android device and the Advanced Features should be automatically applied – a quick message will flash across letting you know this. If you miss the message, you can double-check on the menu | About PocketBible. It will say it is using the “Advanced Feature Set” there if it is installed.

If you are still using PocketBible 1.3.0 (or earlier) for Android, you can update by visiting our Google Play Store page or following the instructions for installing from our website for Kindle Fire and other devices not connected to Google Play.

Have you discovered Autostudy?

Posted on: February 11th, 2015 by Michelle Stramel 14 Comments

Sometimes a verse hits you right between the eyes and you want to know everything there is to know about it. That is what Autostudy does for you. It tells you everything there is to know about a verse (or word) in your PocketBible library…in just a few seconds.

What do you need to accomplish an Autostudy?

This feature is available exclusively for those using PocketBible on an iDevice (iPhone/iPad/iPod touch), Android smartphone or tablet or a Mac. It also requires that you own Advanced Features for the specific operating system as well (Advanced Features are sold separately for each OS).

How do you produce an Autostudy?

AutoStudy makes studying simpler. Choose a verse and choose Autostudy from the menu. Select which books or type of information you want to see on your AutoStudy report and choose to view.

What does Autostudy give you?

Autostudy tells you everything there is to know about a verse or word based on your personal PocketBible library. When you pick a verse to Autostudy, PocketBible will provide information regarding that verse from Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries, etc. that you have installed. You can choose to see everything in your library or just items of a specific category (i.e. Other Translations, Exhaustive Concordances, Commentary). You can choose to exclude specific Bibles or books from results.

For example, if you chose to Autostudy John 3:16 and chose Other Translations in the options, you would see how John 3:16 reads in all your Bible translations.

The differences between the two types of Autostudy options – word or verse – is based on the type of information you are requesting. If you are doing a verse Autostudy, you will get information from books that are indexed by verse. This includes commentaries, cross-references, Exhaustive Concordances and other translations. It can also include definitions for every word in the verse. A word Autostudy will provide information from word-based books, primarily dictionaries.

You can keep your Autostudy results by copying them to another program, saving for later or printing (requires compatible printer).

One additional Autostudy option, available on Android and Mac, is a Today Autostudy. This is especially handy if you are reading multiple devotionals or a Bible reading plan that includes verses from different places in the Bible (i.e. OT/NT). Choose to Autostudy today, choose your reading plans or devotionals and PocketBible will present you with all your readings for that day on one page.

See an AutoStudy in action! Choose your platform below to see a short video of an AutoStudy (links to video on youtube):

90 Days Thru the Bible (from a bird’s eye view)

Posted on: February 11th, 2015 by Michelle Stramel No Comments

90 Days thru the Bible

When you first read the title of this book, you may think, “Oh, another plan to read through the Bible in 90 days.” But there’s more to this book than meets the eye.

90 Days Thru the Bible is a different thing altogether. It’s a devotional. About the Bible.

It is 90 days of looking at the big picture of the Bible. Walking through the events and stories and thinking about what they mean. What is God saying to us through the people He chose? Through the interactions He had with these people? What is He saying about Himself? What response does He want from us?

The author, Chris Tiegreen, explains it well in the preface:

…the purpose of this book is to draw the major themes out of each book of Scripture and to meditate on how each one contributes to God’s great story. At one level, it’s an overview, but it’s designed to go much deeper than that–more like admiring the beauty of each piece of a puzzle and contemplating how it contributes to the whole picture. In the process, we will encounter the major characters, events, and themes of the Bible and discover a divine flow that connects them all. We will see how God unveiled Himself and His purposes over diverse centuries and through diverse people. The majesty of Scripture will inspire us more deeply and enhance our appreciation of the heart of God.

I love the idea of a devotional about God’s Word. And the fact that it takes you through the Bible in order. And that it lets you step back from the detail of the text to think about the big picture. As such, you can enjoy this devotional in a variety of ways:

  1. If you have already started a Bible reading plan, use the book as a companion to your daily Bible reading (as I mention below)
  2. If you’ve recently finished a Bible reading plan, it would be an excellent way to revisit what you’ve just read without starting a new plan.
  3. If you are not currently using a plan to read through the Bible (because of time constraints, etc.), this will keep you in the Word and you can read the Bible text as you have time.

Currently, I am using this devotional as a companion to the Old Testament in One Year reading plan for PocketBible. The devotional prepares me for reading the text. However, I don’t have to read a devotional every day with my reading plan because it usually covers a bigger passage than my daily assigned reading. For example, Day 7 of the devotional talks about Exodus chapters 1 through 7. My reading plan took 3 days to read through the specific Bible text for those chapters.

Could you use this devotional to read through the Bible in 90 days? Yes. There is a section of Bible text covered with each day’s devotional and you can link to the assigned reading with PocketBible. However, since the book was primarily written to be a devotional journey through the Bible, the amount of Bible text covered each day can vary. A true Bible reading plan will try to keep your assigned reading for each day fairly even. In this book, you might see something like Day 13 which covers the entire book of Deuteronomy. That’s a lot of reading for one day. But if you can devote that amount of time to daily Bible reading, then yes, you could use this devotional to read through the Bible in 90 days.

The author, Chris Tiegreen, is currently an editor for Walk Thru the Bible and has published a number of devotionals, two which we offer for use with PocketBible: One Year Walk with God and One Year Wonder of the Cross Devotional.

Not sure if this book is for you? Check out our new Book Preview on the product page for this book (lower right corner).

PocketBible 1.4.0: the Advanced Feature Set is here!

Posted on: February 5th, 2015 by Michelle Stramel 15 Comments

PocketBible for Android version 1.4.0 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 provides the capability to add notes to non-Bibles and supports the newly released Advanced Feature Set for PocketBible for Android. The Advanced Feature Set can be purchased from within the app (Dove menu | Buy/Apply Upgrade ) or via our website for $9.99. If you purchase in-app, the Advanced Features will be applied automatically. Otherwise, choose Buy/Apply Upgrade from the menu and it will be applied.

Advanced Features

  • Automatic verse studies. Select a verse and PocketBible presents the following to you. (See video of this).
    • The text of the selected verse from all your Bibles (you choose which ones)
    • The text of the selected verse with Strong’s numbers (if you own one of our Bibles with Strong’s numbers)
    • The definition of each English word in the verse from all of your dictionaries (you choose which ones)
    • The definition of each Strong’s word number from your Strong’s dictionaries (you choose which ones)
    • Commentary on the verse from all your commentaries (you choose which ones)
    • Cross references from the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (if you have it installed)
  • Automatic word studies. Select a word and PocketBible presents information from your library about the selected word including:
    • Definition of the selected word from all of your dictionaries (you choose which ones)
    • A summary of search results from selected Bibles (you choose which ones)
    • A list of related Strong’s numbers (original language words translated to the selected word)
    • Definitions of the related Strong’s word numbers (you select which Strong’s dictionaries)
  • Automatic today studies. Select a date and choose your Bible reading plan and Bible translation. PocketBible will give you today’s (or any day you select) Bible verses to read in a convenient one-page format. You can also have it put together all the readings from your devotionals for a specific day.
  • Listen to the Bible. Let PocketBible read the Bible or any book to you with its text-to-speech capability. (this feature only requires Android OS 4.1 or later)
  • Auto-Scroll text . Set a book to auto-scroll for easier reading. Increase or decrease the speed of scrolling to match your reading speed. Great for public or devotional reading.
  • Journal. Create notes which are not attached to any verse or book.
  • Customize Color Schemes. Specify colors for text, background, etc. exactly how you like it. See video of this.
  • Rename Highlight Colors. Name your highlight colors to something meaningful to you and categorize by name and color. See video of this.

Does It Matter Where Your Bible App Comes From?

Posted on: February 5th, 2015 by Craig Rairdin 11 Comments

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 12.08.58 PMTrevor McKendrick is an atheist who wrote one of the top-selling Bible apps for iOS. A former Mormon, McKendrick saw an unserved niche market on the App Store and created a Spanish audio Bible to fill it. Now he’s banking over $100,000 per year selling the app. He compares the Bible to Harry Potter and describes Christians as people who learn the spells in the book and try to use them to heal their children. He compares them to people who teach The Lord of the Rings as real history.

Does it make any difference whether or not the people who create the products you use for Bible study agree with the materials they publish?

When I started writing Bible software in 1988 there were very few other products on the market. I purchased the King James Bible from Public Brand Software, a distributor of freeware and shareware programs for MS-DOS. While browsing their catalog (paper catalog — this was before the Web) I saw a Bible program called WordWorker and picked up a copy of that, too.

WordWorker was pretty impressive compared to other programs available at the time. My problem with it was that the programmer who wrote it was associated with The Way International, which denies key teachings of historic Christianity and adds a few of their own. They encourage severing ties with family and friends and living with other “believers” instead, which many argue qualifies them as a “cult”.

Coincidentally I had been unsuccessfully recruited by a member of The Way while in college. Noticing a strange-looking guy observing me playing pinball at the student union, I struck up a conversation and bought him a couple games (he had never played pinball). He invited me to join his “twig fellowship”. As a brand new Christian with very little foundation in the Bible, I struggled with figuring out if this was God’s direction or not. Fortunately I dodged that bullet, and got involved with a local church that had a strong emphasis on the Bible and Bible study, which is what eventually led me into developing Bible software.

It was difficult to get excited about using WordWorker because I felt like I was supporting a cult. Even if it coincidentally met my needs, it was hard to recommend to others or even use enthusiastically because I knew where it came from. One benefit of using Bible software that comes from a person with whom you share a common faith is that you don’t have to feel guilty about supporting something with which you disagree. You and I may not agree on every fine point of doctrine, and we may not share a common worship style preference, but I bet we’re closer to agreeing with each other on the fundamentals of the faith than you would be with an atheist.

I originally wrote my Bible study software as a tool for myself to use. Its features were designed to meet my needs, which I obviously knew well. I didn’t have to do any research to figure out what people who read the Bible wanted; I wrote what I wanted.

I took my Bible program (QuickVerse) to Parsons Technology in 1988, where, over the next ten years, I employed a couple dozen different programmers. Not all of them were practicing Christians, but they were good programmers. Jeff Wheeler (who would later leave Parsons with me to start Laridian) and I led the development of the program. Both of us were Bible-believing Christians who were not just developers, but users of the program.

Having real Christians write your Bible study app guarantees that it is designed to meet the needs of someone who really studies the Bible.

Parsons Technology was not a “Christian company”. It was a plain-old software company that happened to have a Church Software Division that published church management and Bible study software. Parsons was eventually purchased by Intuit (1994), which sold us to Broderbund (1997), which was purchased by The Learning Company (1998), which was purchased by Mattel (1999), which sold the Church Software Division to a dormant company that was rumored to have previously been a booking agency for Las Vegas acts (2000). During those years we were faced with a number of demands from our pagan overlords that compromised the quality of QuickVerse. They saw “unserved niches” on store shelves and wanted us to create products that were just old versions of QuickVerse with a new cover. They weren’t interested in meeting needs, but in making money.

This was the final straw for me. When it got to where creating Bible software was about duping people into buying old versions of our program at a cheap price because BestBuy or Costco was looking for 25-cent CD-ROMs to fill an end-cap, I bailed out and started Laridian in 1998.

Our goal has always been to focus on our customers and our product, not on creating a company to sell to the highest bidder. The features and reference materials you see in PocketBible come from customer feedback (and from our own needs as our product’s first customers). We bristle at doing things like renaming our product “@Bible” so that it pops up first in alphabetic search results on the App Store, or calling our program “Bible App” to cause it to come up first when you do a generic search for a Bible app, or seeding the store with identical products, all with different names, so it appears more often in your search results. This is what marketeers do to trick people into buying shoddy products. We aim for letting the quality and usability of our apps speak for themselves.

So another benefit of having real Christians write your Bible study app is that they’re not just seeing you as a rube who will spend their hard-earned money on a quickly thrown-together, shallow product, but rather they are committed to creating not just one download but an ecosystem of products that will meet your Bible study needs not only today, but for years to come.

I don’t have a doctrinal test for people with whom I do business, but I expect my Bible study materials to come from people who are as firmly committed to the Bible as I am. It’s not that they’re the only ones who I can trust to create useful products, but it is at least more likely that they’re doing a better job.

Bible Study Basics: Start with the 4 C’s

Posted on: February 3rd, 2015 by Michelle Stramel 3 Comments

Bible study doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult.

When you want to explore a verse or passage in the Bible for deeper understanding, use the 4 C’s of Bible Study: Context, Comparison, Cross-Reference, Commentary.

Context

Start with the basics and read the verse and its preceding and following verses. In PocketBible, you can easily go to any verse to read it in context. If you have time, read the whole chapter or even better, the entire book!

You could also benefit from reading an introduction to the book from which the verse is excerpted so you know the audience, purpose, etc. for the book. Most Study Bibles, Commentaries and even Bible dictionaries available for PocketBible offer book introductions.

Comparison

Reading the verse or passage in multiple translations of the Bible can also shed light on the meaning of a verse. Alternative translations can give you insight into what the author is trying to say. Try translations like:

  • The Amplified Bible which includes synonyms and definitions to both explain and expand the meaning of words in the text
  • NET Bible which includes detailed information as to why verses were translated as they were
  • The Message which is a paraphrase but written in today’s language.

You can open multiple translations in PocketBible at once and tap on the title bar to switch between them (if they are all open in one pane). Or you can create your own parallel Bible by opening multiple panes with different translations.

Cross-References

Cross-references are designed to lead you to related verses. It is a way to interpret Scripture with Scripture and even show you where items are predicted or mentioned in other places in the Bible. If you take the time to review related verses, you’ll find that the Bible supports and sheds light on itself.

The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge is a free PocketBible book that offers an exhaustive collection of cross-references. You’ll also find cross-references included with PocketBible Study Bibles and Commentaries.

Commentary

While commentaries provide other people’s opinion about a verse, they are usually learned or scholarly opinions. Similar to Bible translations, you can use PocketBible to consult multiple commentaries to get differing thoughts on the meaning of a passage (depending on what is in your library). Knowing how to manage your books in PocketBible makes this easy to do.

AutoStudy puts the 4 C’s together for you!

The Advanced Feature Sets available for PocketBible on iPhone/iPad/iPod touch, Mac OS X and Android offer a unique ability to bring all this together for you in one step. AutoStudy the verse and tell PocketBible what you want to include from your installed books. You can include any or all of the elements mentioned above – Bible translations, cross-references, commentaries – and PocketBible will produce the comparison for you in one document that you can study or even print and save for later. (Advanced Features vary and are sold separately for each platform).

Catechisms, Confessions and the Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible

Posted on: February 3rd, 2015 by Michelle Stramel 2 Comments

What is the chief end of man?

I can attest that knowing the answer to this question from the Westminster Shorter Catechism has benefited me more than once over the past 20 years or so since I first learned it. The fact that my chief end is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever,” realigns my thinking to see my life as God does. It is an unchanging truth based on biblical text that I have been able to stand on.

For all that benefit, I never took the time to learn any further points in the Westminster Catechism. Studying confessions and catechisms isn’t trendy in our churches today. I think that is to our detriment.

Perhaps it is too much work to wade through dry statements of belief or memorize them (as was done by previous generations). Or perhaps anything outside of the Bible text is of questionable value. However, our forefathers thought it worthwhile to formulate these various creeds and confessions for the purpose of outlining and passing on the faith. As such, their study is worth considering, especially if you are in the Reformed tradition.

The Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible (SOTR) brings life to the study of these historical documents in two very helpful ways. First, by including the full text of several early confessions and catechisms: the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Westminster Larger Catechism and the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Secondly, it ties the confessions and catechisms to the Bible text providing easy reference between the two and an alternative way to learn and use these documents of faith.

In the SOTR, the Bible text and the documents of faith are fully cross-referenced and the links are easy to use in PocketBible. The catechisms and confessions are published with references to the Bible verses in the footnotes. The direct biblical correlation is easy to cross-check. Even more valuable is the fact that the study notes include references back to related statements in the catechisms and confessions.

For example, as you are reading 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God,” the study note points you back to the question on “the chief end of man” in the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Instead of wading through confessions and catechisms, you have the tenet as you are reading the applicable Scripture. You also see where the same issue is addressed in multiple documents. 1 Cor. 10:31 is cross-referenced to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the Westminster Larger Catechism and the Heidelberg Catechism. The integration of the two provides an easier and perhaps more memorable way to become familiar with these important documents.

The spirit behind the Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible

The Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible (SOTR) is a major revision and expansion of an earlier publication titled the New Geneva Study Bible (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995). That study Bible was based on the NKJV text. The SOTR is based on the New International Version text.

Like its precursor, the SOTR’s study notes and theological articles are built on the Reformed doctrine of Sola Scriptura, which affirms the unquestionable authority of the infallible and inerrant Old and New Testament Scriptures as originally given by divine inspiration.

The notes and articles included in the study Bible remain faithful to the system of theology represented in the historical confessions and catechisms. However, the authors recognize that the Holy Spirit has continued to bring reformation to the church. Through the Spirit’s illumination many helpful insights into Scripture have come to be widely endorsed by those who have remained faithful to the central doctrinal perspectives of Reformed theology. In line with the claim that “the Reformed church is always reforming,” this study Bible reflects these developments where appropriate.

Like most study Bibles, each book of the Bible has an introduction with an outline of the book and information on author, dates of writing, etc. Each book also includes an article called Purposes and Distinctives that illuminates historical background, major theological themes and literary qualities.  Another unique feature for the Old Testament books is the “Christ in _________” section included in the introduction which explains how the person and/or work of Christ is anticipated in the book.

Over 100 theological articles are included with the applicable Bible book. For example, you’ll find an article on Major Covenants in the Bible with Genesis, The Glory of God: Who gets the Glory? with Ezekiel and Christian Liberty: How Free am I? with Romans.

The extensive study notes provided by the SOTR (over 20,000) offer comments on Scripture from a Reformed perspective along with the already mentioned links to the Confessions/Catechisms.

The editors and contributors for the study Bible reads like a “Who’s Who of Reformed Theology.” The General Editor is Richard L. Pratt, Jr. Th.D. (Reformed Theological Seminary). Theological editors were John M. Frame, M.Phil. (Reformed Theological Seminary) and J.I. Packer, D.Phil. (Regent College). Contributors include Tremper Longman III, Sinclair Ferguson, Wayne Grudem, Graeme Goldsworthy and many more.

The Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible is available for use with PocketBible on your smartphone, tablet, PC or Mac. The list price is $14.99. The New International Bible version text is sold separately for $9.99.

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