The 8 Best Bible Study Apps

One of my favorite things to do is to help other Christians learn how to study the Bible. It’s an invaluable skill because studying the Word of God is no light matter. But it’s not just about methods and principles; you have to have the right tools. Luckily, we have been blessed with technology that allows any believer to dissect the Word of God at a rate faster than ever before.

I am an app-a-phile. I cannot get enough of those little square icons. Lately I’ve been trying to leverage that addiction for the glory of God. Through all my relentless pursuit, here are the best apps I have found to aid you in your study:

ESV Bible

The ESV is my translation of preference. This is the official ESV Bible app from Crossway and there’s more than what meets the eye. It has a powerful search function that is wicked fast and effective. If you can’t remember the reference to a verse or even just a portion of the verse, you can type it in and the app will spit out all the possible answers. Also, If I want to see every verse in the Bible that uses a word, for example “faith,” it can show it to me. And it’s free!

Faithlife Study Bible

This app from the geniuses down at Logos Bible Study Software is proclaimed as the world’s largest and most advanced digital study Bible. It’s study articles hold over 2.2 million words. It’s Bible dictionary hold over 2,800 articles. It comes with several different Bible translations. And it’s free!

Bible App

The Bible App (also known as YouVersion and brought to you by LifeChurch.tv) could quite possibly bring the Word of God to more people than any other device/person/invention in history. It is creeping close to 100 million different downloads all around the world. It boasts hundreds of Bible versions (I didn’t even know that many existed), reading plans, and in all comes in dozens of languages. You can add your own highlights, bookmarks, and public or private notes. And it’s free!

Logos Bible Study Software

Logos is a revolutionary Bible study software for computers. I have never seen such a powerful engine used to make Bible research so easy and efficient. It literally removes hours away from my study. Your resources for Logos are all cloud-based, which means if you download the app then you are able to see all your resources (in my case, thousands of books) anywhere you are on your iPhone or iPad. To fully utilize the breadth of Logos you will need to purchase some expensive packages, but it’s worth it for any serious student. The app itself can be used without purchasing the computer software and it’s free! The free version is still really useful, sporting over 40 Bibles, free books, reading plans, highlights, and a few other study tools.

ESV Study Bible

The print version of the ESV Study Bible is my go-to study Bible. The good people down at Crossway have put a lot of time and effort into this Bible and it does not disappoint. For those who don’t want to lug a five-pound, fifty-dollar tome around, they have created an app version of the study Bible. It’s interface is exactly like the ESV Bible app but it also comes with 20,000 notes, over 50 articles (the articles themselves are worth every penny), over 200 maps, over 200 charts, 80,000 cross-references, and 40 new illustrations, among many other features. The price is $14.99.

Strongs Concordance

This is a pretty valuable tool for word studies (especially if you don’t have Logos). This concordance tracks the usage of every word in the Bible from the original languages. If you want to know what the original term in Greek used for “truth” in John 14:6 and what it means, you can look it up with this app. The price is $4.99.

Kindle / iBooks

These two are the most popular ebook reading apps and they come with their own digital bookstores. There are pretty great selections of commentaries and other reference books in these stores. Almost all the books in the stores are cheaper than their printed counterparts. There are even great books in the stores that are free to download. The app is free but most of the books are not.

Evernote

Evernote is basically a digital file cabinet that is fully searchable and customizable. I use it to store anything from articles I’ve found online, thoughts I’ve jotted down about a passage, pictures or lists of books I want to buy, and so much more. Evernote is cloud-based, so all your notes and clippings are synced with all your devices. And it’s free!

If you have any other apps that you love to use for Bible study, or any of your favorite apps for anything, I would love to hear about them in the comments.

We Are Far Too Easily Pleased

“If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you had asked almost any of the great Christians of old, he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance. The negative idea of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love. The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire. If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” -C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

How Can a Good God Allow Evil?

Many Christians wrestle with this question and many doubters tout this as the trump card to all lofty theistic arguments.

Normally the flow of thought goes like this:

  • The God of the Bible appears to be good and all-powerful.
  • We know that evil exists and it is everywhere.
  • If the God of the Bible exists (being good and all-powerful) how can evil also exist? Wouldn’t the mere presence of evil negate the existence of either God’s goodness or almighty power?
  • If that is so, the God of the Bible must not exist.

Pretty sound logic, right? Or so it may seem.

The actual reason why this argument is a stumbling block for many Christians and seen as a fool-proof gambit by others is that they are looking at evil and suffering through an imperfect lens.

Consider Mitch Stokes’ explanation of the problem of evil and why it is actually not a problem at all. The quote is long but well worthy of a careful read through:

This is where it is particularly useful to look more closely at the Christian story of redemption. God created humans to bless them, to allow them to enter a deep, fulfilling relationship with him…

But it is entirely different for us; to put oneself above the most perfect being is morally wrong. Yet this, apparently, is what we desired. We wanted things that only God could have. And in trying to take them, we marred our very natures, so that—although we still retain something of God’s image—it is badly misshapen. And now, of course, we’re suffering for it.

But God suffered more. Infinitely more, in fact…

When God’s Son was crucified some two thousand years ago by the Roman government, the eternal relationship between the Father and Son was severed. This is why the cross is so horrific. To be sure, the physical suffering was genuine suffering, but that suffering was negligible compared to the pain of losing this infinitely close relationship. Anyone who has felt the pain of a lost relationship—especially a close one—knows that this suffering can be devastating. Separation from someone you love is nearly unbearable. And in Jesus’ case, the pain would be infinite.

God, then, suffered an excruciating evil, and on our behalf. This is no small thing, and it may be of some comfort. Realizing that God himself suffered far greater pain to save creatures who—at the time of their rescue—hated him, might offer some perspective…

And so, “perhaps that invitation [of salvation] can be issued only to creatures who have fallen, suffered, and been redeemed. If so, the condition of humankind is vastly better than it would have been, had there been no sin and no suffering. O Felix Culpa, indeed!” O Felix Culpa: “O Happy Fall!” Ironic, paradoxical, yet a story with a wildly happy ending. But like all riveting stories, the journey is at times unbearable.

The problem of evil, while still a problem for the believer, isn’t one that makes belief in God irrational. And so despite the problem’s centrality in the atheist’s arsenal, it is surprisingly weak, from an intellectual standpoint. But there is more to say about evil, this time about its implications for the atheist or, more accurately, naturalism’s implication for morality in general. And the conclusion is simplicity itself: if there is no God, there is no evil.

Nor is there any good.

(A Shot of Faith (to the Head): Be a Confident Believer in an Age of Cranky Atheists, p. 198-200, emphasis mine)

How Reliable Is the Bible?

Very reliable. The most reliable. Inerrant.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here are some resources from scholars greater than I to help support this claim.

INTERVIEWS

In this video, D.A. Carson answers the questions, “What does inerrancy mean? Is it essential to Christian belief?”

Some great scholars and pastors (including John Piper, Al Mohler, and Mark Dever) gathered for a panel discussion on inerrancy. Here is the audio.

Dr. Carl Trueman and Dr. Greg K. Beale (author of The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism) discuss the issue of inerrancy. Here is the audio.

BLOGS

Kevin DeYoung did an extensive series on inerrancy:

A fascinating interview with one of Christianity’s premier textual critics today discussing the evidence we have today to support the reliability of the Bible. If you only read one thing from this blog post, read this.

Daniel Wallace and Bart Ehrman debate the reliability of the Bible.

BOOKS

J.I. Packer, Truth and Power: The Place of Scripture in the Christian Life. You can download it for free!

Vern Polythress, titled Inerrancy and Worldview: Answering Modern Challenges to the Bible. A worldview defense of inerrancy.

Edited by Wayne Grudem, Understanding Scripture: An Overview of the Bible’s Origin, Reliability, and Meaning.

Daniel Wallace, Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament: Manuscript, Patristic, and Apocryphal Evidence (Text and Canon of the New Testament). Wallace’s response to Bart Ehrman’s works.

Daniel Wallace and Bart Ehrman debate the reliability of the Bible, again.The Reliability of the New Testament: Bart Ehrman and Daniel Wallace in Dialogue.

Craig Evans, Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels.

Dr. Greg K. Beale, The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism: Responding to New Challenges to Biblical Authority.