Explore the Bible on Your PDA or Smartphone

Getting Started with your PDA Bibles

Reading the Bible on your PDA is the fundamental yet profound focus of our current article. You will learn about the inestimable value of enjoying God’s word and about the ease with which you can do it on your PDA.

"Blessed is He Who Reads"

The Bible is the only book I know that heartily and repeatedly recommends itself, promising manifold blessings to its readers.

“Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near” (Rev. 1:3—NIV). “Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21—KJV). “My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God” (Prov.2:1-5—NKJV)

People of renown in the Bible were characterized by their love of the scriptures. Notice how David describes the law, statutes, and judgments of the Lord:

“More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than the honey and the droppings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by thi is thy servant warned; in keeping thi there is great reward” (Psa.19:10-11)

The prophet Jeriiah exuded his love for God’s word when he wrote,

“Your words were found, and I ate thi; and Your words were to me a joy and the rejoicing of my heart…” (Jer.15:16—Amplified Bible)

The patriarch Job declared,

“I have esteied the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12—KJV)

and the Lord Jesus resisted the devil’s tiptation to change stones into bread by quoting Deuteronomy,

“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’ ” (Mat.4:4—NKJV)

How very strong indeed is the Bible’s own recommendation of itself!

From these verses alone, we see that salvation, understanding, discernment, the fear of the Lord, the knowledge of God, a joyful heart, life, and victory are among the innumerable blessings that accrue to a person who spends time in the word of God.

Using Your PDA to Read the Bible

In our previous article we spoke generally about the ease and convenience of using a handheld computer to explore the Scriptures. Now, let’s go into a little more detail about using the PDA to enjoy reading this unparalleled book, the Bible. Your BibleReader™ software has certain features that will make your job easier. We will point out some of thi as we go along. If you would like to see more details about how the features work or about what features are available, you’ll find our concise, illustrated user manuals very helpful. You can access a manual specifically tailored for your device on the Olive Tree home page under Support. Here you will also find answers to most frequently asked questions (FAQ’s).

This Doesn't Look Like a Bible to Me

When I was a child, my parents had a small metal stamp, no bigger than a shirt button, on which the Lord’s Prayer had been engraved. Though it was too small to read without a magnifying glass, we kids used to just take it out and look at it, marveling over the fact that someone could put so much information in such a small space. That was unbelievable enough then, but how much more incredible it is that your PDA can hold an entire Bible library encoded on what must be an almost molecular level. Looking at your PDA, you might be tipted to say, “But where’s my Bible?” Well, it’s in there, along with a lot of other stuff, but how to get it out?—that’s the question.

Your magnifying glass is your BibleReader™ software—which ipowers you to read all of that microscopically encoded information. The pages of your Bible will be the screen of your PDA. Once you’ve opened the Bible reader, you are ready to select and open a Bible. Yes, they are really in there!

Olive Tree affords all of the most popular modern Bible translations for you to choose from. We also provide highly respected older versions as well as paraphrased and expanded translations. If this is the first time you’ve opened the BibleReader on your PDA, you’ll find yourself at the very beginning, Genesis 1:1. But if you have already been using Bible translations and other tools on your handheld, you’ll be wherever you were the last time you closed one. Riibering what I am about to say will help you: whenever you open BibleReader™, you’ll be right where you were the last time you closed it.

Book, Chapter, Verse

Centuries ago, the wise compilers of scripture texts, divided each of the Bible’s sixty-six books into chapters and verses, so that Bible readers could locate any passage by its address, otherwise known as book, chapter, and verse. Olive Tree’s Verse Chooser is a beautifully simple way of locating verses on your handheld computer. In the Verse Chooser window on your PDA, you will see all of the books of the Bible displayed in abbreviated form. From here, three taps will take you wherever you want to go.

Suppose your goal is Galatians 2:20. To get there tap Gal, tap 2, tap 20—it really is as easy as 1, 2, 3. In a fraction of a second, you should see “I have been crucified with Christ” at the top of your screen, followed by as much text as fits on your page. Isn’t the Three-Tap Systi handy? It’s much faster than turning pages—just book, chapter, verse—tap, tap, tap.

Using your Library Window and the Verse Chooser, you can easily navigate through your Bibles. Just open a Bible translation, open the Verse Chooser, tap three times, and begin reading. It’s beginning to look like a Bible, isn’t it!

But How Do I Turn the Pages?

The electronic equivalent of turning pages is scrolling. Scrolling is how you move through the text while reading. You can use your stylus and the scroll bar on the right of your screen to scroll backwards or forwards by line, verse, or screen. Using the scroll bar, you will be able to move easily from verse to verse or from page to page through your Bible.

More Ways Than One

In the world of mini-computers, sometimes there are many ways to do a thing. Although the scrolling method mentioned above is simple and intuitive, you will surely want to create some custom scrolling functions to streamline the process and tailor it to your needs. Let me tell you just a few things you can do to make your PDA and the BibleReader™ software work for you.

Becoming a Navigation Specialist

Most PDA’s have a big button in the center called a Five-Way Navigation Button. This is your steering wheel, or joystick, if you will. The Five-Way works like any toggle switch, and enables you to go up, down, left, or right to perform the functions you desire. Your BibleReader™ software provides a window where you can set your Five-Way to toggle forwards or backwards by line, verse, screen, chapter, book or history. (To scroll by history means to go back to portions of scripture you were reading before.) This means that no matter where you are in the Bible, you can always review what you’ve already read or proceed further. Not only so, if you set the little button in the middle of the Five-Way to open the verse chooser, then you have a complete navigation systi at your fingertips (or thumbs). The point is this: moving through your Bibles and other Bible reference tools does not have to be a complicated multi-step process. And this means you will be able to focus on what you are reading without distraction.

One Place Where Taking Shortcuts Is Okay

In the PDA realm, shortcuts are ways to save time, so that you can use the time you have more efficiently. In Bible reading, we want to spend our time doing just that—reading the Bible. Using the shortcut keys on your PDA device can help you stay focused. Your PDA has four shortcut keys in addition to the center button in the middle of the Five-Way. You will enjoy using these keys for a wide variety of special functions to make your Bible reading easier.

Again, your Olive Tree software provides a window where you can easily configure your shortcut keys, or hot keys, as they are sometimes called. When I go to this window on my Pocket PC, I find thirty-three possible functions for each of the five buttons I want to configure. I can use a shortcut key to look at my Bible library, copy a passage of text to the search window, highlight a portion of scripture, zoom in or out in a Bible atlas, bring up personal Bible notes I’ve written, etc.

You’ll want to take some time to explore the many options available for your shortcut keys and to consider which ones work best for you. But I would like to tell you about one that I find particularly useful for Bible reading. It’s called Auto Scroll.

Look, Ma, No Hands!

Although I was never much good at riding a bike with no hands, I can read my PDA Bible with no hands, almost. Here’s how. You set a shortcut button to Auto Scroll, and whenever you push that button, the Bible text on your screen begins to scroll down slowly, so that you can read along without any further tapping or button pushing. The left/right function on the Five-Way now assists you by telling your PDA to scroll more slowly (left) or more quickly (right). When you push the shortcut button again, or tap the screen, the scrolling will stop until you want to restart it. This allows you to stop and reflect on what you’re reading or to re-read a portion that catches your interest or touches your heart. You’re not locked into Auto Scroll, but you can use it whenever you want.

Now You Are Ready to Read the Bible on Your PDA

You now know that with minimal effort, you can open a Bible, locate verses, select a place to start reading, use your stylus or your Five-Way to scroll through the verses, and configure your short cut keys to serve you in numerous practical ways, including automatic scrolling. You surely are ready to start reading the Bible on your PDA.

There is no treasure on earth comparable to God’s word and no other book that offers such great rewards to its readers. Psalm 1 describes the blessedness of the one who meditates therein.

“He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper” (Psa.1:3—NKJV)

In our next article we will discuss the surpassing benefits of reading the Bible daily, and we will explore some of the tools and resources Olive Tree offers to help you accomplish your daily reading goals. I hope you will join us.

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