Bible apps for Bible Week

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops established National Bible Week from November 15–21, 2015 in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum. This is a great time to load a Bible app onto your mobile device.

The Word of God is ALWAYS with you when you have a Bible app on your mobile device. What is the Bible?

God speaks to us in many ways. One way God speaks to us is through the Bible. The Bible is the most important book in Christian life because it is God’s message, or revelation. The Bible is the story of God’s promise to care for us, especially through his Son, Jesus. At Mass we hear stories from the Bible. We can also read the Bible on our own. <Read more from Loyola Press>

How do I know if a Bible is an approved Catholic translation?

You can check out the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ list of approved translations of the Bible for private use and study by Catholics. In addition to the translations listed, according to the USCCB,  “any translation of the Sacred Scriptures that has received proper ecclesiastical approval ‒ namely, by the Apostolic See or a local ordinary prior to 1983, or by the Apostolic See or an episcopal conference following 1983 ‒ may be used by the Catholic faithful for private prayer and study.”

What Bible translation do we use for Scripture readings for Mass in the Roman Rite?Bible-NABRE-book

  • In United States: The New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE). (Note: not the New American Standard Bible which is a different translation.)
  • In Canada:  New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).

From USCCB: “Released on March 9, 2011, the New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE) is the culmination of nearly 20 years of work by a group of nearly 100 scholars and theologians, including bishops, revisers and editors. The NABRE includes a newly revised translation of the entire Old Testament (including the Book of Psalms) along with the 1986 edition of the New Testament.”

Want to learn more about reading and understanding the Bible from the Catholic perspective? Check out the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ web site to start your journey.

BibleGatewayBible Gateway (Free) iOSAndroid and Kindle Fire.  The Bible Gateway Bible App is the official mobile Bible reading and study experience from Bible Gateway (a division of Harper Collins Christian Publishing), offering the many reading amenities (listed below) that you look for in a Bible app. While it offers more than 90 different Bible translations, only one is Catholic– Douay-Rheims (1899) which you can download onto your device (after you give publisher access to your email address) for off-line reading. You will need to go into settings to set it as your default Bible.
• Easy-to-use and reliable Bible search, both online and offline
• Daily Bible verse in the translation of your choice
• Daily Bible reading plans
• Bible audio in a number of different translations and styles (none are Catholic translations)
• Parallel translation viewing (iPad only, currently only available when online)
• Quick Bible reading history, so you can go back and forth between Bible verses you have viewed
• Personal notes – both general notes and notes tagged to specific Bible verses can be created
• Star the Bible verses that are your favorite
• Highlight Bible verses or passages
• Easily view Bible study resources (Bible Commentaries, Bible Dictionaries, etc.) to help you unpack your Scripture reading
• And integrated sharing tools make it quick and simple to share your favorite Bible verses with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter

bibleApp-YouVersionBible App (Free) iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows PhoneWindows 8Kindle FireSymbian, JavaHP/Palm. Developers say this is the #1 Bible app in the world. You get to choose from hundreds of Bibles in more than 150 languages with interface in 30 languages. Some of the Bibles are approved Catholic versions like NAB-RE and Douay Rheims. A drawback is you must be connected to the internet to use most content in this app, but some Bibles are imbedded in the app so you can read them off line. That leads to another drawback; none of the imbedded bibles in English are Catholic editions. Audio Bibles are available but not downloadable. These include Douay Rheims. Study tools include reading plans, search capability, note taking, highlighting and bookmarking capability. Text can be sized for easier reading. Your bookmarks, highlights and notes are saved on YouVersion.com which you must log into to use. But this gives you cross-platform use wherever you go with whatever relevant device you use to access the Bible you are in the midst of reading.

imissalbibleiMissal Catholic Bible for iOS [iPhone/iPad/iPodTouch] (9.99) You get the New American Bible (NABre), the Catholic Bible readings we use at Mass (in the United States) come from this translation. No WIFI is necessary, so the entire Bible can be read offline and available for immediate use. It has all the bells and whistles you want in a Bible app. This app is from the makers of iMissal and is designed to be integrated with the iMissal app. However, even if you pay for the iMissal app, you still have to purchase this separate Bible ($9.99). That is still a great deal for a fully downloadable Catholic Bible, and the best part is it integrates directly with iMissal so that you can jump from Mass readings and Bible verses directly into iMissal Bible for full contextual reference. FEATURES: * Entire New American Bible (NABre) * No WIFI necessary * Works on both iPhone and iPad * Includes Footnotes and Endnotes * Fully searchable by word, phrase, verse. Filterable. * Share scripture via social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Email) * Multiple Display Modes (Day, Night, Sepia) * User Font typeface and size selection * Highlight text using multiple colors * Bookmarks * Book Ribbons * Verses on separate lines setting * Multiple Paging Options (flick, vertical and horizontal paging) * Create your own Notes for later reference * View FootNotes without interrupting reading flow * History tracking * Reading Plans.

Catholic NAB-RE Bible on iOS ($2.99)–This “revised edition” is the first major update to the New American Bible (NAB) text in more than twenty years. It is the version of Scripture you hear at Mass in the United States. You get the COMPLETE Bible and do not need to be connected to the internet to read it. Approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This is value-priced considering the fact that it can be downloaded to your device and it comes with so many features listed below:

– Easily switch between books by touching book title
– Move between chapters via swipe left/right gesture
– Increase/decrease font size by pinch in/out gesture
– Search verses, filter by chapter, book, old, new, entire bible
– Bookmark verses by touching a verse
– Copy multiple verses
– Highlight verses
– Tweet verses
– Book introductions
– Hypertext footnotes
– Hypertext endnotes
– Hypertext references
– Daily Readings
– History of Last 50 Verses Visited
– Stories, Parables, Miracles, Prayers found in the Bible 

Revised Standard Version -Catholic Edition– ($4.99) iOS only. This Bible version is also known as the “Ignatius Bible.”From developers: This is “an authorized revision of the American Standard Version, published in 1901, which was a revision of the King James Version, published in 1611.”  It includes the deuterocanon (seven full books with additions to two others–unique to Catholic Bibles), and explanatory notes. Features: highlight and e-mail text; search word(s); change font size; low-light mode; bookmark; opens to last page read; reading plan. This version is ideal if you prefer a very classic translation void of modern contrivances like inclusive gender sensitivity.
CatholicOneBibleCatholic Bible by Just 1 Word ($1.99) iOS only. This app comes pre-loaded with the New American Bible Revised Edition – NABRE. This is the Bible (in English) which is approved for use in the United States and is the one used for the English Roman Catholic Mass readings. Also available in Spanish, Dios Habla Hoy, as an additional purchase $6.99.

Laudate (Free) iOS and Android. NAB-RE Bible when connected to internet only. It also offers Douay-Rheims Bible which is local so you don’t need to be connected to the internet. This makes for a large file, so they recommend moving the app to your phone’s SD card if you’re not using an iOS device. Laudete is a highly popular Catholic app which is loaded with many Catholic resources like a Roman Missal, dozens of prayers, Roman Breviary, rosary, Church documents, and much more in this valuable all-in-one app.

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iPieta.($2.99) Full version in iOS and Android is split up into several lite apps. Contains the  Douay-Rheims, Clementine Vulgate (Catholic and public domain) Developer note: Psalms are COMPLETE but numbered as in the Vulgate. iPieta bundles many other Catholic resources like hundreds of prayers (some in audio format), Church documents, classic Catholic books, liturgical calendar and much more in this valuable all-in-one app.

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WordsWithJesusWords With Jesus (.99 cents) iOS and Android Here’s a neat concept: a Scripture app that only serves up the words of Jesus Christ. That’s right. If you just want to encounter a quote from Our Lord to meditate upon, this is your app. Not only do you get a daily short Scripture passage with the words of Jesus (that can be set with a daily reminder on your device), but you get a nice little reflection to go with it.  You may easily share the passage on Facebook and Twitter through this app. Topics can be filtered by category. A link from the passage takes you to an on-line Bible to read it in its entirety in context. This is a terrific way to weave Scripture into your daily life and delve deeper into the Bible with targeted meditations from the mouth of Our Savior.

Catholic Bibles in Spanish las Biblias Católicas

Biblia-CatholicaBiblia Católica (Free) Android Misma traducción a la utilizada en la página web del Vaticano!
Autorizada por la Fundación Palabra de Vida. Contiene los 73 libros de la Santa Biblia Católica, Ester Suplementos Griegos,Daniel Suplementos Griegos y Carta de Jeremías.Te permite un busqueda rapida por capítulo,
asi como compartir el verso elegido en otras applicaciones. Puedes publicar los versos en Facebook. Acceso al Evangelio del Día

CatholicOneBibleCatholic Bible by Just 1 Word ($1.99) iOS only. This app comes pre-loaded with the New American Bible Revised Edition – NABRE. This is the Bible (in English) which is approved for use in the United States and is the one used for the English Roman Catholic Mass readings. After you download this app, you can select an approved Spanish Catholic Bible, Dios Habla Hoy, as an additional purchase $6.99.

Catholic Audio Bibles (some contain full text of Bibles too)

Lighthouse Catholic Media Bible. (Free with purchase for available options) Apple App Store, on Google Play (the Android Market), and for the Kindle Fire. Nook. This includes a RSV-CE Bible AND audio of the New Testament. You get the audio of the Gospel of St. John in the free version with the ability to purchase more New Testament audio books. From Developers: “…electronic version of the entire RSV-CE Bible, packed with incredible content from various Catholic apostolates intended to bring Sacred Scripture to life! With over 50 purchasable Lighthouse talks on various biblical topics, and FREE audio presentations from Dr. Scott Hahn and the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology…you’ll go deeper into the Scripture than ever before. And now you can also purchase Truth and Life – the award winning “radio drama” of the entire RSV-CE New Testament…This amazing audio New Testament is endorsed with an Imprimatur from the Vatican and includes a foreword by Pope Benedict XVI”

Truth-Life-audio-bibleThe Truth & Life Dramatized audio Bible New Testament ($19.99 or separate books $1.99 ea; Download Free version includes the Gospel of Mark on audio and a complete Bible text, RSV-CE translation).  iOSAdroidWindows PCKindle FireNook This is the best audio version of the New Testament in the market in this format. Imagine a celebrity-filled “radio drama” of the entire RSV-CE New Testament complete with movie-quality sound effects and an original music score!

From Developers: “More than 70 actors help bring the scriptures to life in this 22-hour audio production, complete with This award-winning audio New Testament is endorsed with an Imprimatur from the Vatican and including a foreword by Pope Benedict XVI.” 

Although you only get the audio version of the Gospel of Mark with this free version, developers note that at any time you can purchase the full New Testament audio AND the full Ignatius Catholic Study Bible annotated by Dr. Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch. Download link to full package here. Developers note: “The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible includes superb notes, essays, and commentary, as well as a doctrinal index.”

Individual audio books of the New Testament are $1.99 ea; the complete new Testament is $19.99 and the entire package audio and study bible is 29.99. Stuck in traffic? On a long road trip? Fire up this app and enjoy having the Gospels read to you while you listen to the oars of Peter’s boat slapping the water on the Sea of Galilee or the crowds gasp in amazement on witnessing a miracle from Jesus. The background music does not interfere with the dialogue but actually enhances it. In addition to exhilarating audio, the app features:

  • Complete text of RSV-CE synchronized with audio [text highlights move with the audio reading- very cool]
  • Go directly to any verse and hear and see the Bible instantly [very cool!]
  • Use the built in playlist to hear the New Testament in 40 days or in Chronological order [built-in reading plan]
  • Create your own playlist of verses [who else provides that?]
  • Remembers where you left off.
  • Easily fit entire 22 hours of audio on your device.

Check out the video promotion for this app:

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Catholic Audio Bible in MP3 format (Trial version is free.) iOS and Android. Requires internet connection. Douay-Reims translation of Latin Vulgate in which you can listen to the entire Catholic Bible, both Old and New Testament. The trial version is the lite version which you can download for free and sample a few Scripture chapters. Upgrade to the Pro version to have unlimited access to the complete Old and New Testament. These MP3’s are streamed, not downloaded, so they take up no storage space on your device. Keep in mind, this is not a high-tech modern recording. Developers note this is a vintage recording digitally transferred from tape recordings. You may enjoy that particular audio ambience coupled with the male reader’s British accent.

Catholic Study Bibles

Study Bibles come with tremendous extra resources to help you dig deeper into the text for your study or devotional purposes. Want to discover treasures hidden within Sacred Scripture? A Catholic study Bible is a great place to start. These resources typically include commentaries, extended footnotes, maps, lexicons, photos, Church documents, search capability, Hebrew and Greek translations, concordances and much more.

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verbum

Screen shot of one of the many pages filled with resources in Verbum.

Screen shot of one of the many pages filled with resources in Verbum.

Verbum (Free for basic components) iOS and Android and Kindle Fire and Mac and PC. This is the best Catholic Bible study app in the market. It is produced under the Logos Bible Software product line, a powerful Bible study platform all on its own. While Logos is primarily Protestant in orientation, its developers have created a Catholic version of their popular Logos App under the brand, Verbum. Not all Bible study apps are created equally. This one caters uniquely to Catholic study in that it incorporates sacred scripture and tradition. That means that documents of the Church, writings of Church Fathers, Catholic commentaries and the teachings of the faith (various Catechisms) are  among many Catholic resources included in the bundle. But it goes beyond that. Verbum integrates Church documents and writings and commentaries into your experience of studying sacred Scripture. That’s because the search function includes your entire library, not just Scripture. So, you can enter Scripture or a topic in the Passage Guide and within seconds it finds material from all the books loaded into the app including the Scriptures, Church Fathers, Medieval theological works, and contemporary theology— all linked to the page you need. If that is not enough, the Exegetical Guide introduces you to original ancient languages, even if you don’t read Greek or Hebrew. You can split screen to read Bible verse with another book simultaneously. The complete Roman Catholic lectionary is included in the free version, so even if you only got this app for the Mass readings, it’s worth it. There is a lot more to this exceptional Catholic Bible study app including highlighting, bookmarking and note taking capabilities which it saves on line so you can access your information and open to the last page read among your mobile devices or your computer. A video tutorial is bundled with the app to help you learn how to use many of its features. Here is an in-depth review that will sell you on this power-app if you are not convinced of its value already. Some of the valuable resources bundled into the full version of Verbum ($49.95-which you can pay for and download after you load the free Verbum app) include:

OliveTree-bible

Olive Tree Bible Study (Free to $24.95) iOS  AndroidKindle FireWindows TabletApple Watch, Mac and PC. A reviewer characterized this app as the “gold standard of Bible study apps.” Check out these videos to see how the various functions work. You will be amazed! The interface to delve into all the various tools is elegant and smooth. All the popular Catholic editions are included in their offering. So much is packed into this gem of an app: extensive footnotes; option to include maps and charts; search capability; load optional commentary; verse chooser; text highlight; book ribbons; pop-up lexicon; ability to make notes in the text. It has a split-screen capability to view two passages simultaneously, so you can keep Greek or Hebrew open while you read English, for example. Free Bibles available in dozens of editions including Catholic. But it does not include  or incorporate documents and writings from the Church’s sacred tradition, so that part of your experience of studying Sacred Scripture is not available in this app. If you want that included, choose the free Verbum app instead and skip this one. If you choose an Olive Tree Bible, the FIRST thing you do is download their Bible Reader software (Free). The Bible Reader is the program used to read the text–much like Kindle software is used to read digital books. Once the software is loaded, set up an account and then choose Bibles you want to download from the developer’s web site (includes all the popular versions, study versions, non-English, Greek and Hebrew Bibles!) Prices range from free to $24.95 and the site explains how to retrieve your book for your Bible reader. Bibles and books can be purchased directly from within the app on your mobile device, or they can be purchased through the Olive Tree web site and downloaded to your device later. There are hundreds of free books and study tools in Olive Tree’s catalog. Video tutorials are loaded on the app to help you use its many features.

Mobile Bible Software for advanced Greek and Hebrew Olive Tree Bible Software offers the standard scholarly Greek and Hebrew texts, parsing and morphological information at the touch of a finger, and fast and powerful searches on words or morphologies – developed for all mobile devices. Watch the video to see how it works. This. Will. Blow. Your. Mind.

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Categories: Blog for Catholic Apptitude

Author:Jennifer Kane

Content Evangelist, Jennifer Kane, is a secular Carmelite (OCDS), wife, mother, grandmother and avid Catholic app user who works in the field of corporate communications --BA Journalism; MA English--and is communications director at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Olean, NY. What began as an e-mail service to priests and seminarians looking for quality Catholic apps for mobile devices has grown into a world-wide community of Catholic app enthusiasts looking for and recommending great Catholic apps.

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