Worth Checking Out, Part 1: Bible and Devotional Apps

Every so often I like to publish a list of books or other resources that I’m using for my own personal devotion and enrichment. If you haven’t had a chance to read or check these out, maybe this summer is a good time to do so.

Bible Apps: YouVersion, and Dwell. If you find yourself doing more and more reading on your devices and less and less with hard copy print, why not do the same with your reading of the Bible? The YouVersion app has been around for several years now, and though you can program it to read Bible verses aloud, it is especially helpful for readers who interact with the written Scripture text. Advantages are that you can use it to read the Bible in various languages and Bible versions. YouVersion also has curated photos with Bible verses that you can use meditatively and even streams “video Bibles” that allow the Word of God to come alive visually. The Dwell app, which I have only recently discovered, highlights the spoken Word. You can choose the reading voice and combination of instrumental background music for the Bible passages you want read aloud, and stream it when you have time to simply listen and meditate on the Scriptures. I find this to be especially helpful…I discover things listening to the Bible in the car when I’m driving that I never discovered in the same way while reading the written text. Both the YouVersion app and Dwell app offer various reading plans for everything from reading through the Bible in a year to nodding off in bed with comforting words of Scripture being read aloud. Both YouVersion and Dwell are available on iOS and Android platforms.

Devotional Apps: Luther’s Small Catechism, Lutheran Hour Devotions, and Our Daily Bread. These apps are a good place to start in helping your smartphone be a “good” distraction! The Small Catechism app is easy to use and navigate. It is the catechism…nothing more nothing less…and so will be handy as a resource for church teachings on the Creeds, Ten Commandments, etc. Confirmation youth will find that getting the app on their phone will make learning the catechism more convenient. The Lutheran Hour Devotions allow users to either read or play devotional content. Each devotion comes equipped with questions at the end and allows users to add notes to their reading of the material. Our Daily Bread is similarly equipped for either written text or audio, and allows users to develop reading plans or connect with other readers for feedback. I like the feature of ODB devotions called “Insight” that allows interested readers to dig a little deeper into the words or thought-world behind a text. You might be wondering: What about Portals of Prayer, the in-house devotional of our church body, published by Concordia Publishing House? There is an app for it, but I have found several user complaints on-line, attributing access issues to “bugs” that are yet to be fixed. Once CPH releases an update and fix for the current app issues, I will update. Also, the app requires a subscription to Portals of Prayer and is itself not free ($9.99). All resources listed here are available from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Please add your comments below if there is anything you can add about these apps or others that you might be using.