With the rise of smartphones has come a variety of Bible apps that people can carry with them and read anywhere. How do you choose one? Here are the main contenders:

BibleGateway: This app occupies the middle ground between YouVersion and OliveTree/Logos. It offers some further resources but isn’t as customizable as the more comprehensive apps.
Pros: Easy to read and easy search functions. Some translations available in audio in addition to text.
Con: Missing the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).

Logos: Like Olive Tree, Logos is designed to serve as a complete digital library. It also has a large selection of free and paid resources you can easily add to your phone.
Pros: A huge variety of resources—some for free, some for purchase. Much of the interface and experience is customizable.
Con: Compared to Olive Tree, an internet connection is needed more often on Logos to read the materials.

Olive Tree: More than just a Bible, this app offers a comprehensive selection of study tools and theological resources.
Pros: A huge variety of resources (including Augsburg Fortress’ Lutheran Study Bible)—some for free, some for purchase. Much of the interface and experience is customizable.
Con: The choices available can be overwhelming if you just want to quickly look up a passage.

YouVersion: This is the most downloaded and widely used Bible app.
Pros: Easiest to read. Intuitive interface.
Con: Missing the NRSV, the most commonly used translation in ELCA congregations.

I love my print Bible, and it’s still my primary, but I love having a Bible with me wherever I go without lugging around my 5-pound study Bible. All of these apps are free, so download them all to find the one that will encourage you to read Scripture more frequently.

David L. Hansen
Hansen is pastor of Spirit of Joy! Lutheran Church in The Woodlands, Texas.

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