iPad for Bible Study: Bible Apps

iPad for Bible StudySeveral people have asked me if the iPad is useful for Bible study, and each time I have replied with a resounding “Yes!”

Thanks to its generous screen size and the maturity of many Bible study apps, Apple’s industry-changing tablet computer can be quite valuable for Bible study at home, at church, in Bible study groups, while traveling, etc.

I decided to compile a list of apps that I have found to be useful, either directly or indirectly, for Bible study purposes.  So, if you have an iPad or are hoping that Santa delivers one to you this week, here are some suggestions for putting your technology to good use for Kingdom purposes.

I started out to write one blog post, listing all the apps that I have used related to Bible study.  However, the list became quite lengthy, so I have decided to break it into a series of articles.  In this post, the first in this series, we will focus on the obvious category of apps that make the iPad a valuable tool for Bible study:  Bible Apps.

Here are several options with brief notes for each.  All of these apps are free, so don’t be afraid to try them all to find the one(s) that best suit your needs and study habits.  (For some of these apps, you will need to purchase additional resources (Bible versions, commentaries, dictionaries, etc.) if you want more than those that are included for free.)

OliveTree BibleReader

OliveTree BibleReader

OliveTree BibleReader may be the most complete Bible study package currently available for the iPad.  Noteworthy features include:

  • No Internet connection is required to use BibleReader.
  • Greek and Hebrew resources are available.
  • You can take notes and even synchronize them with Evernote (will be discussed in a future post in this series).
  • Split-screen reading is available for comparing Bible translations or for displaying a dictionary or commentary next to the Bible text.
  • The app itself and some basic resources are free.  Additional Bible translations, commentaries, dictionaries, etc., can be purchased from within the app.


The Logos Bible study app rivals OliveTree BibleReader for iPad, but there are some significant differences:

  • By registering for a free Logos account, you gain access to many modern Bible translations and other study resources for free that you would otherwise have to purchase in other iPad apps.
  • However, if you do not purchase a Logos 4 Bible study package for your desktop or laptop computer, then your iPad must have an active Internet connection to use the free Logos app.  Purchasing a Logos 4 desktop package, which is a valuable resource, nevertheless involves a significant investment.  If you own a Logos 4 Bible study package for your computer, then you can use the Logos iPad app without an Internet connection, and you will also have access to most of your Logos resources on both your computer and your iPad.
  • Logos’ features are similar to those of OliveTree BibleReader, but the ability to take notes is conspicuously absent.

Touch BibleTouch Bible

Touch Bible is not as feature rich as BibleReader or Logos, but it is a wonderful Bible study app for your iPad.  I did a review on this app last year that will give you additional information, but the noteworthy features include:

  • There is a free version and a premium version.  The premium version is well worth the $5 investment.
  • No Internet connection is required to use Touch Bible.
  • The premium version includes more than 60,000 translators’ notes for the New English Translation of the Bible (NET Bible) as well as Strong’s Hebrew and Greek definitions.
  • You can take notes.

BibleBible (a.k.a. Holy Bible)

Bible is a free iPad app that interfaces with the popular YouVersion Bible study website.  Noteworthy features include:

  • Numerous Bible translations available for free.
  • Although an Internet connection is required for full use of the app’s features, you can download many Bible translations to your iPad for offline use, which means this app is still functional when you do not have an Internet connection.
  • There are a plethora of reading plans.
  • You can take notes, and those notes can be private for your personal use or public for the edification of others.

Mantis Bible StudyMantis Bible Study

The Mantis Bible Study app is similar to OliveTree BibleReader in that the app itself and some basic resources are free.  Then you must purchase additional resources if you want other Bible translations, commentaries, dictionaries, etc.  Noteworthy features include:

  • No Internet connection is required.
  • You can mark verses for memorization, and then use the built-in memory testing tools to help you memorize the verses.
  • There is a hands-free scrolling feature that allows you to read lengthy passages without ever touching the screen.  You designate the scrolling speed.
  • There is an interesting text-to-speech feature that allows you to listen to the text.  You can choose from five different speaking voices, but each voice must be purchased ($2 each).
  • You can take notes.

Laridian PocketBible

Laridian PocketBible

Laridian PocketBible is another free app with limited resources.  Additional resources must be purchased.  Noteworthy features include:

  • No Internet connection is required.
  • Display up to five Bibles and books at the same time.
  • You can take notes.


PocketSword is a front-end app for the free resources distributed in the SWORD Project library.  Resources can be easily downloaded from within the app.  PocketSword is an iPhone app that is not currently optimized to take advantage of the additional screen area that the iPad offers.  However, the app still works on the iPad.

Coming Soon

Other articles in this series:

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12 Responses to “iPad for Bible Study: Bible Apps”

  1. Bill Lambright April 1, 2011

    I am thinking of getting an iPad 2 to replace my iPAQ PDA which had died. I used Pocket eSword on the iPAQ for years and found it’s performance excellent.

    I’m 73 years old and never owned an Apple anything.

    Can you give me some guidance as to what might be best for my application. I was thinking of a 32Gb iPad 2 wi-fi only as I only use my home computer or laptop on the internet and can’t afford the data plans offered by AT&T or Verizon for the iPad.

    Would a 16Gb iPad 2 serve me just as well? I can save $100 buying the 16Gb. As you can tell economics are an important consideration for me at my age and income.

    Thanks for your answer(s), Blessings, Bill

  2. Hi, Bill. The 16 GB iPad should be fine. That’s what I have, and it holds plenty of data. Then make OliveTree’s BibleReader 5 your first download (http://www.olivetree.com/apple/BibleReader_5.php), and Accordance your second download (http://www.accordancebible.com/Accordance/iOS). Both apps are free — and awesome! (The other Bible apps listed above are also worth checking out, and they are also free.)

  3. There are lots of ways for Christians to use the iPad in ministry and for Bible study.Please visit http://www.ipadinministry.com to see what is happening in the iPad Christian world.

  4. Great info here guys, keep up the quality…

  5. Check out this Bible Ipad app for kids very fun! My kids play the mini game over and over and it’s a great little story.http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/jesus-story/id450635528?mt=8

  6. Thanks for the suggestion, Sean! Looking forward to trying it out.

  7. Tereso Sanchez August 25, 2011

    i like to download e sword on my Ipad

  8. Tereso Sanchez August 25, 2011

    no se como hacerlo Dios les vendiga

  9. Hi, Tereso! I would like to download e-sword for my iPad, too. Hopefully there will be a version available someday, but not yet.

  10. Pastor Bill September 7, 2011

    All the apps you list do not come close to your dream and my dream as well. E-Sword is by far the best bible software for absolutely anyone; new Christians, theology student, teachers, pastors, writing sermons, witnessing, and so much more.

    I have tried many other bible programs and none come close when I need quick correct answers.

    So, like you I dream that God will help Mr. Rick Myers develope a package for the Ipad.

    God Bless

  11. I’ll second that prayer, Pastor Bill! :)

  12. Thanks for this terrific blog. I have Bible Reader and Logos. I just wish the ability was available to annotate inductively with my styllus, not just pre-made inductive designs. Nevertheless, I am so grateful for these great apps!

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