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Zondervan’s NIV Study Bible for Palm OS and PPC
Posted December, 2004 by Tanker Bob

As PDAs have grown in power, Bible software has kept pace. Handhelds of today can now do what was limited to desktops just a few years ago. With the growth of RAM and card space on PDAs, larger references became feasible to migrate to the diminutive platform. Following in that tradition, Laridian has brought Zondervan’s NIV Study Bible to both the Palm OS and Pocket PC platforms.

Craig Rairdin, founder of Laridian, originally created QuickVerse for the PC before approaching Parson’s Technology with it. Bob Parson brought Craig onboard and the rest, as they say, is history. After Bob Parson sold his company, QuickVerse became part of succeedingly larger acquisitions and Craig again began programming at home, this time for the Pocket PC platform. He and Jeff Wheeler left the corporate life to start Laridian (the name comes from the Greek for small book) with PocketBible. In 1999, they licensed Dave Fedor’s Servant Software Scripture application for Palm OS as MyBible. Through talented programming, offering the newest translations and great customer service, MyBible has become quite a success in the PDA market. You can read our previous review here. Laridian recently changed their licensing arrangement concerning MyBible in order to open the horizons a bit and include the underlying functionality to support study references.

Zondervan’s New International Version (NIV) translation, sponsored by the International Bible Society and under general editor Ken Barker, has also enjoyed considerable success in the market, becoming the most popular translation in evangelical circles at one point. The NIV Study Bible, first published in 1985, added excellent explanatory notes and cross references to the popular translation. Revised in 2002 by the original translation team, the NIVSB remains very popular amongst evangelicals, making it a good choice for Laridian's initial entry into the handheld Bible study market. While I haven't used the NIV Study Bible as my primary study Bible in some years, I must say that I'm impressed by their recent note revisions. In the midst of Zondervan’s TNIV controversy, I am pleasantly surprised to see conservative scholarship reigning in these updated notes. I found competing conservative views to be fairly presented.

Although Laridian supports both Palm OS and Pocket PC, I only tested its implementation on a Palm Tungsten|T3. The Palm OS MyBible reader works equally well in all the T3’s display modes and orientations.

 

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Perhaps the best news about Laridian’s NIV Study Bible implementation is that it will look and feel very familiar to long-time MyBible users. They implemented the textual study notes essentially using MyBible’s existing note structure. Study notes link from the asterisks, NIV text notes from the ° symbols, and cross-references from the ¤ symbols.

 

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Tapping on an asterisk pops up an overlaying window containing the notes for that verse or section of verses. If the note is longer than one screen, navigation arrows appear on the lower right. You can also use the page up/down buttons to navigate the notes. All verse references hyperlink to the underlying Bible. Coming back from hyperlinks requires the menu or a command-b sequence, which could be improved with screen arrows and/or button presses. Text notes and cross-references work exactly the same way. The NIV Study Bible includes over 100,000 cross-references and 21,831 explanatory notes providing a cornucopia of helpful information.

 

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The NIV Study Bible includes excellent discussion about each book of the Bible. MyBible’s method of reaching them seems a bit awkward. To get to these book notes requires use of the menu system, selecting Options/About this book. While this makes it convenient to get to this information from anywhere in a book, it seems more logical that these notes would be attached to an asterisk link in front of the very first verse in the book. Those who don’t read instructions (like most Americans don’t) may miss this valuable feature.

 

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That said, the notes themselves are excellent. Headings in these write-ups can include: discussion of the title; authorship; date and place of writing; a discussion of the historical setting and background; theme and theology; and an outline of the book. Headings vary a bit with the books depending on what’s appropriate. Again, all verses hyperlink to their reference location. Navigation remains the same as with other note fields.

 

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The NIV Study Bible requires the updated 040910 version of MyBible 3.0 or later. The MyBible reader has limited Preference settings, consisting simply of verse style, footnote symbol, format, and limited navigation options. It doesn't support small or tiny hi res fonts, nor does it do original languages. On the plus side, searches are still blindingly fast even from an SD card and search results display in verse context. It also supports highlighting and user notes. MyBible has no multiple window capability at this time.

The NIV Study Bible sells for just $29.99 in either its Palm OS or PocketPC form. Both platforms require a separate reader that sells for $10. As you’d expect for such a volume of information, the NIV Study Bible files take about 10.7 MB of space which can be placed on your card. If you’re looking for a first-rate study Bible for your Palm or Pocket PC, this implementation of the NIV Study Bible may have your name on it.

 

Pros:

Palm OS and PPC support
Great study notes in the NIV Study Bible
Familiar, simple to use interface
Fast Bible searches

Cons:

Navigation needs some work
Less-than-intuitive access to NIV Study Bible book notes
No multiple window support

Pocket PC
Palm
 
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