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Palm OS Scripture (Bible) Program Review: Bible With You, Bible +, Bible Reader +, BibleThumper, MyBiblepage 2 continued
posted Nov. 2003 by Tanker Bob

Bible+ 2.47, primarily by Yih-Chun Hu and available at SoureForge.net

Poetry Poon created the original reader in Open Source, but later took it to shareware in order to accommodate copyrighted Bible versions. Yih-Chun became dissatisfied with the direction the software took, so went back to an earlier Open Source version to take the program in a new direction. The result became the very popular Bible+, one of the strongest offerings on the market. I tested version 2.45 with the American King James Version, the KJV with Strong’s numbering embedded, several Greek and Hebrew versions, some interlineal and some with Strong’s numbering embedded, and a host of study resources, including Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, the B_D_B Hebrew Lexicon, the 1599 Geneva Bible notes, a verse cross-reference database, and several commentaries. All of this was Open Source freeware!

The reader itself provides some of the strongest features in this review for Bible study. It supports a synchronized split screen and can display Roman, Greek, and Hebrew fonts simultaneously in the split screens— the only app in this review capable of multiple languages on the same screen without using hacks. Thus you can display, for example, the LXX and AKJV together, following the Greek and English versions together. The same holds true for languages like Chinese. Bible+ also supports a variety of font sizes and spacings, which can all be different in each window, on Palm/Sony high resolution displays, and supports 320x480 and landscape on both Palm and Sony devices. The font support comes through the use of “skins” rather than hacks, providing seamless compatibility with all Palm OS versions. However, at this writing, Bible+ doesn’t support accents, vowel pointers, etc., in the Greek/Hebrew font displays. Databases can be stored on the card in the /Palm/Programs/PPBL/ directory.

The large screen support makes the dual window display truly useful. On the 320x480 T3 screen with a normal font, Bible+ displays a full nine lines in each window of the split screen. Smart scrolling enhances the windowing as well. If you have a commentary in the bottom screen that contains a long comment on a particular verse, then paging down can be keyed to that window by tapping in it so the entire comment may be read. You can change that by tapping on the other window to move through the Bible text more rapidly. You can also “pull” text through a window by tapping and holding in the window. Double tapping on a verse number brings up a window of cross references if you have the cross-reference database loaded.

The top line of the display holds icons for choosing Bible/study material versions, swapping windows, jumping to books/verses, creating/selecting snapshots, searching, and handling bookmarks. There is also a rich selection of graffiti shortcuts to accomplish virtually everything.

Searching holds much in common with other Bible apps. One can limit searches in scope— including logical, preprogrammed groupings (tap the folder icon in the upper right for the latter)— and language. Like a few other apps reviewed, Bible+ searches through databases on the card were not particularly quick even on the T3. Bible+ has the ability to search Greek and Hebrew transliteration, but not on Strong’s numbers.

Bible+ enjoys great support from the Open Source community, and therefore has a tremendous number of Bible versions, study resources, and font skins available. These include English, Greek, Hebrew, and Chinese language versions, as well as classic commentaries and notes. These seem to grow in number every day. If you don’t see something you like, you can find instructions for converting from various PC formats to Bible+ on their web site. There are also interlinear versions and some that link through Strong’s numbers embedded as notes strings, making for very powerful tools. At this time, however, no copyrighted material is supported (NIV, NKJV, etc.). Bible dictionaries and lexicons are supported explicitly through KDIC DA ($9), a shareware Desk Accessory. I found that it works more elegantly with BDicty (there is a free public version of the reader) with separate B-D-B Hebrew and Thayers Greek lexicons.

Pros:
Free reader and LOTS of free resources--everything is free
Mixed English/Greek/Hebrew font support through “skins”
Native Palm OS DIA support
Split-screen display available with fully synchronized windows
Snapshots to save study configurations

Cons:
Slow searching
No modern copyrighted Bible versions
External dictionary implementation

 

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