Book Reviews

Six Reasons to Try the Olive Tree Bible App

I have been using Olive Tree’s BibleReader app on my iPhone since late last year. Without question, Olive Tree’s Reader is the best Bible app that I have ever used on a mobile device. For what I use it for, it simply has better features than any of its competitors. So here are my six reasons for commending to you the Olive Tree BibleReader.

1. Texts “ The baseline requirement for a Bible app is that it have all the texts that I need. I don’t need ten different English translations on a mobile app. It would be impractical to access them even if I did. What I need is access to the Greek New Testament, the Hebrew Old Testament, and one or two good English translations. You can get all of those and more from Olive Tree. I have on my iPhone the 27th edition of Nestle-Aland, Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, Rahlf’s LXX, the NASB and the ESV Study Bible. Other resources are listed on the website, and they include study bibles, study tools, academic resources, eBooks, and more. One of the items on my wish list is Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. You can buy it in the Olive Tree store for $39.96, and it comes bundled with the ESV. You can download the free Olive Tree BibleReader now on and iTunes, and you can try it out with the assortment of texts that are available for free (e.g., KJV, NET Bible, HCSB, Calvin’s Institutes, Augustine’s Confessions, and many more).

2. Speed “ One of the best features of the Olive Tree reader is that it stores all of your texts on your mobile device. Other Bible apps store the resources on their servers, and then you retrieve the data via the 3G network every time you open a new book. Not so with Olive Tree. I have all my texts available on my device whether or not I am online. Because of this, the browsing is much quicker than other apps that make you download content one page at a time.

3. Tagged Morphology “ Olive Tree now sells morphologically tagged texts of NA27, BHS, and Rahlf’s LXX. Every word of both the Greek and Hebrew texts is hyperlinked to its own parsing and definition. All you have to do is touch the word. This is a wonderful feature for when you get stuck puzzling over a form.

4. Searching “ With the morphologically tagged texts, there comes the possibility of morphologically complex searches. You can look up not only certain words, but certain forms of words. For instance, I can look up every use of the word logos in the New Testament. Or if I needed to, I could look up every instance of logos that is genitive, masculine, plural. It’s really unbelievable what kind of search capability you hold in the palm of your hand with Olive Tree. For a demonstration of Olive Tree’s search capabilities, see the first video below.

5. Interface “ The app is really easy to use. Whether toggling between translations or doing searches, it’s a clean user-friendly interface. One of the best features is the split screen, which allows you to have two texts open at once (see second video below). I use the split screen feature every time I use the app. For me, I will have the Greek or Hebrew text open in the top window and an English translation open in the bottom window. When scrolling through one text, the text on the other side of the split screen scrolls along to the same verse.

6. Platforms “ You don’t have to have an iPhone to use the Olive Tree BibleReader. It is available on numerous platforms, and the website has a section listing which devices are compatible with this app. You can view the list here.

The Olive Tree Reader is a top-of-the-line product, and I don’t know any other like it. If you love the Bible and are using a smartphone, I highly recommend that you buy the Olive Tree BibleReader. You will be glad that you did.

Disclosure: I purchased the Greek and Hebrew texts, the ESV Study Bible, and the NASB. When I decided to write a review of the Olive Tree software, I received free review copies of the morphology texts. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions I have expressed are my own.


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