ESV Bible (free) and ESV Bible+ (£8.99) applications by crossway are currently the best Bible reading experience for the iphone and iPad. I highly recommend them, and if you’re put off by the seemingly high price of the ESV Bible+, realise that the full printed Study Bible version of the ESV runs for about £50 on amazon.
The free ESV Bible app is a no brainer of a download. It’s clear, a great translation of the Bible, and best of all free. It doesn’t require the internet to read the bible, so that means even if you’re someplace with zero wifi or network, you’ll still be able to read God’s word. And best of all because it’s free it means that you can try it and see if you like it.
ABOUT THE ESV (taken from ESV Online)
The English Standard Version (ESV) Bible is a new, essentially literal Bible translation that combines word-for-word precision and accuracy with literary excellence, beauty, and depth of meaning.
Not an easy question to answer!—because the ESV Bible builds on the legacy created by hundreds of devout and godly scholars over the last 500 years. With this legacy as the starting point, a world-class team of Christian Bible scholars carefully compared the ESV text against the best Greek and Hebrew manuscripts.
Altogether the ESV translation work involved an exceptional team of more than 100 worldwide, including: (1) the twelve-member Translation Oversight Committee, led by Dr. J. I. Packer as the General Editor; (2) sixty leading Bible Scholars; as well as (3) a sixty-member Advisory Council—all of whom are committed to historic Christian orthodoxy and to the timeless truth and authority of the Bible.
First published in fall of 2001, the ESV Bible has been widely embraced by churches, ministries, and denominations around the world—and by millions of individuals who believe and know, as Jesus said, that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
Both the ESV and the ESV+ app allow you to easily search the Bible, make notes for each verse, highlight verses, and mark verses as favourites. It’s searchable by word, verse, browsing history, notes, highlights and favourites. It is cross-referenced well, and as a nice detail, you can easily find your way back to the original verse after jumping to take a look at a cross reference.
You can change font size from small, medium, large, and extra large, and the text is well rendered and very readable. In particular, the iPhone version does a great job of making the Scripture the main focus of the reading. On the iPad, they leave the navigation bar up, which may be useful to sum, but negligibly annoying to me.
But the ESV Bible+ App really stands out, and makes the £8.99 price a real bargain.One great feature is an audio Bible, which scrolls the text as it reads. The speaking is clear, and in a human voice, not in a computer digital voice. Whether you’re listening in your car, or using it for personal study, the audio Bible is a great addition.
Secondly, they’ve added a robust set of notes from the ESV Study Bible. The ESV Study has historical, linguistic notes for individual verses of the Bible, and can really add to your Bible studies.
Finally, it comes with a wealth of articles and additional reference materials. Diagrams, maps introductions to books of the Bible, background information and historical context are all there. It has a range of things for new believers to more mature believers making it a great tool to strengthen your Bible reading and knowledge.
I can’t recommend these apps enough. If you currently don’t have a study Bible, you need to get one. If you’ve discovered that you’re doing more and more of your Bible reading digitally, then you really need to pick up the ESV Bible+ app. Great typography, good interface, fantastic study material, and a solid translation makes this a Must Buy Recommendation.