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Palm OS Scripture (Bible) Program Review: Bible With You, Bible +, Bible Reader +, BibleThumper, MyBiblepage 3 continued
posted Nov. 2003 by Tanker Bob

BibleReader+ 3.51e015, from Olive Tree

Olive Tree has been a mainstay in the Palm OS Bible software arena for many years. As far as I know, they and Dave Fedors started the Palm OS Bible application world. I tested BibleReader+ with the KJV with embedded Strong’s numbers and associated Greek/Hebrew lexical dictionary with Tense/Mood/Voice as a bundle ($24), the parsed Greek New Testament (free), and the JFB Commentary (free). At a later time, I also received the GRAMCORD Greek NT ($45) and the Parsed Hebrew Masoretic Text ($70) to test the Greek/Hebrew font capabilities. Although the basic reader is free along with quite a few Bible versions, Olive Tree’s non-free products are commercial, not shareware.

The basic reader possesses some interesting features. It starts up initially with a nice little tutorial. The reader is highly configurable, and the top bar supports searching, bookmarking, notes, and forward/back buttons. The display supports up to three windows. When using two windows, the second window can either be 1/2 or 1/3 of the screen. Three windows are 1/3 of the screen each. They enable the user to have the Bible, the dictionary, and a commentary all open together. You can set the verse chooser options so that the selected windows jump together to a common verse, after which they’ll be synchronized for scrolling (except for dictionaries/lexicons). The scrolling only stays locked using the page up/down buttons. If you use the scrolling arrows, the windows don’t scroll together.

The split screen display is a nice concept. On a 320x480 display, each window shows six lines in each of three windows with normal font size. Olive Tree support s the Palm DIA, greatly increasing the usefulness of three windows on the screen. Better yet, you can designate one window to receive the dictionary information regardless of the source window. That's great, because you can have an English version and original language version both displayed, and no matter which window you seek dictionary or lexicon information from, it doesn't interfere with your main Bible displays as indicated in the illustration. This furnishes a powerful learning and textual study tool.

Databases can be stored on the card in the /Palm/Programs/Bible/ directory. This includes the font files—a nice touch. Reading large databases off of the card was a bit slow, though, even on the 400 MHz T3.

BibleReader+ stood in the top tier in search capability. Searches can be conducted at three levels--basic, simple, and advanced. The Options and Method buttons in the advanced mode lead to other screens to bracket and tailor the search. Searches can be limited in scope, phrases can be matched exactly or you can find verse with those words anywhere in them or even within a specified number of verses, case sensitivity may be chosen, and you can even specify the number of words before and after the target word to display in the find window. BR+ can also search on Strong number--a very powerful capability for language study. Speed comes in at the middle of the pack, especially for databases on the card, but isn't bad or annoying. If complex searches are your forte, BibleReader+ will quench your thirst.

Speaking of complex, Olive Tree’s Scholar’s Tools stand as the crown jewels of their language products--and of the Palm OS Bible study realm. Both GRAMCORD Lite (parsed) and the Hebrew Masoretic Text/BHS with parsing provide very powerful language tools in your palm/Palm. If these seem expensive at $45 and $70 respectively, consider that Logos Software (my choice for PC Bible study) offers the Hebrew BHS with morphology for $99.95 and the Greek Nestle-Aland 27th Edition with morphology for $99.95 for your PC--and that doesn't include the advanced lexicons that come bundled with the Olive Tree offerings. GRAMCORD Lite comes with the UBS Dictionary+ and the HMT includes the BDB lexicon, both powerful language references, especially when combined with Tense/Mood/Voice. These advanced language tools set a new, higher standard for Bible language study in your palm/Palm. BibleReader+ offers a preference menu just for Greek/Hebrew font support , which includes syntax coloring and font size.

Olive Tree offers a large number of commercial Bible versions and study resources, and in quite a number of languages, at reasonable prices. The Hebrew/Greek Theological Dictionary seems to be the same as the one in BWY except that it also includes Tense/Mood/Voice, a very powerful study aid. BibleReader+ can display Greek or Hebrew fonts in OS 5, and mix them with English on the same display. The Greek UBS Dictionary+ and BDB Hebrew Dictionary mixed Greek/Hebrew and English in the same window. The advanced font files with accents and breathing marks only come with the Scholar's Tools. The free Greek texts will use the Greek fonts from the Scholar's Tools, but will display transliterations without original font files. The free version of the Greek fonts comes in their Byzantine Greek New Testament which at no cost, but there is no free Hebrew font offering.

After living with BibleReader+ for a while, I've found it the most advanced Bible study tool available for the Palm OS when using its Scholar's Tools.

Pros:
Outstanding search capability, including Strong numbers
Highly configurable
Nice tutorial available on initial startup
Split screen display, up to three windows
Great Hebrew/Greek lexicon w/TVM
Outstanding Scholar’s Tools for original language study

Cons:
No free original language font support for Hebrew Bibles
Slow reading databases off of a card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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