Friday, January 14, 2011

Review of the Youversion Bible Application for Android

Home Page
Are you tired of hearing, "There's and app for that."  Well, not only is there an app, there are probably several for whatever you want to do.  When it comes to Bible apps there are at least 30 of them in the Android Market today.  I have tried a few of them, the free ones, and have found the Youversion application to be the best by far.  This app is also available for iOS, Blackberry, Java, and a few other platforms including the web site itself.  In this review I'll go through some of the features available through this app and try to give you an overview of why this is the highest rated Bible app out there.

First of all this app is free, I like free.  Free and high quality is even better.  This app is very well put together and well tested before each update is posted.  In addition to that it's a great value.  Many of the other Bible apps come with one or two translations of the Bible, usually older more archaic versions like the King James Version of 1610.  Why is this?  Simple, it's not copyrighted so it's free to distribute.  Youversion has 48 version in 22 languages, 20 English versions.  This include such modern translations and the New American Standard (NASB) and The Message.  Some of these copyrighted versions are only available while you have a data connection.  However, Youversion has managed to get some of these translations to allow downloading of their copyrighted works to your phone for you to use when you don't have a data connection... for no extra charge.

I signed up on the website first, then installed the app on my phone.  Under setting I connected to my Youversion account, Facebook and Twitter.  Then selected the Bible icon from the home page to check out the Word.  here you can see what a typical chapter looks like. The font type and font size can be changed as needed.  There is also a "Night" version for reading in low light situations.  The fonts are very readable and the font color and background colors can even be changed to suit your preferences.  personally, in the night reading version I can't take the white on black, so i changed the font to a light grey which I find much easier on my eyes.

 Navigation is very straight forward.  The top bar includes a Home icon that will bring you back to the home page.  The center portion of the bar notifies you of the Book, Chapter, Verse you are looking at, and in parentheses the translation you are currently reading from.  By tapping on this bar you pull down the menu you can see in the picture right.  From this menu you can scroll through all of the books of the Bible and select the one you want to read from.

By selecting the number to the right of the book you can select the chapter number.  This can be a bit tricky for large fingers.  The most impressive part is this next picture, the translations available.  The icon next to most of the versions in this screen shot indicates that they are available for download to your device.  You can also see that I have the ESV downloaded on my phone.

So far I've covered features that most of us would expect from a Bible app, without them it would not be very worth while.  The best is yet to come.  By selecting a verse, or a selection of verses you are greeted with this pop up menu.  You can bookmark the verse or makes notes about this particular verse.  These bookmarks and notes are synched with the Youversion website, so that you can always get to them and they are backed up all the time.  Notes can be public or private.  To me, the best part is the ability to share verses with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter with ease.  There are also "Live" events (you can see that in my January 5 blog post).  It's very nice of Youversion to even make the code available for you to embed the "Live" event information right in your website.

** Update**

A new capability is being added to this application shortly.  The ability to listen to Bible passages.  Not all versions will be supported at first, but, at least ESV, NIV, and NASB will be available.  Testing this feature I have found it to be one of those things that I never thought I'd want, but now really like.  At the moment it will only read chapters from the beginning, not individual selected verses, but that functionality is planned.  You can even listen to the reading plans and it will update your progress.  When you reach the end of a chapter it will pause, then continue on to the next chapter or book.  This update also include UI improvements and should be available in the next couple of days, so look for it.

In conclusion, this is a great application.  One that has a growing community of users and developers that are all working to make the experience of reading God's Word easier and more social than ever before.


  1. For those encountering problems in the android version after the recent update of January 31, 2013, I just want to share the prompt advice from Paul M of YouVersion support (and I hope this will help you to continue to be blessed by this free Bible app):

    Paul M, Feb 02 17:05 (CST):
    Hello there, and thank you so much for contacting us! My name is Paul M, and I’ll be assisting you today.

    I am truly sorry that you have run into this issue, Let's try the following to see if this helps with the issue that you are having.
    We are going to clear the cache and data to the Bible app. This resolution has helped other users similar issues. Just follow the steps below it only takes a couple of minutes. Please note that clearing your cache and data does NOT remove any highlights, bookmarks, notes or reading plans. That information is tied to your YouVersion account and not with the app data you are clearing.

    1) Go to the Settings app on your device
    2) Go to Applications
    3) Go to Manage Applications
    4) Go to the Bible App
    5) Select Clear Cache
    6) Select Clear Data
    7) Power off and restart your device
    8) Log Back into the App

    If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me!

    Paul M
    Volunteer YouVersion User Advocate
    English (Android) Team

    Noel, Feb 02 08:09 (CST):
    I've been a user of this bible app for almost 4 years. I've been blessed tremendously by the many devotionals I completed. But the latest update continues to cause frequent crashes inspite of repeated installs and
    uninstalls. I'm using the android version in my HTC Incredible. I'm not experiencing any problem in my IPhone version though. Can you fix the android version soonest please?
    Your request has been marked solved and will be closed in 72 hours. If you have additional comments or need more clarification, please reply to this email to re-open your request.

  2. Talking Bible Premium is a great Bible app as well!