iPhone app review: The Love Dare and Olive Tree BibleReader

Summary:One of the apps that appeared yesterday on the App Store's "What's Hot" list is called The Love Dare: 40 Dares. I found out that this app is a part of the Olive Tree Bible collection on the Olive Tree blog and thought readers may like to find out a bit more about the application and Olive Tree's iPhone products. I recently posted on Laridian PocketBible, but also think you should seriously consider the Olive Tree BibleReader software that is also FREE and has note taking capability.

One of the apps that appeared yesterday on the App Store's "What's Hot" list is called The Love Dare: 40 Dares. I found out that this app is a part of the Olive Tree Bible collection on the Olive Tree blog and thought readers may like to find out a bit more about the application and Olive Tree's iPhone products. I recently posted on Laridian PocketBible, but also think you should seriously consider the Olive Tree BibleReader software that is also FREE and has note taking capability. Check out screenshots from both applications in my image gallery.

Image Gallery:Check out screenshots of the Love Dare and BibleReader applications on the Apple iPhone.
Image Gallery: Split screen mode on BibleReader
Image Gallery: The Love Dare

The Love Dare: 40 Dares

There was a movie that our family enjoyed a few months ago called Fireproof and while the acting was a bit cheesy, the story and message was excellent for those who want to have a strong and healthy marriage or repair a failing marriage. The film focused on The Love Dare approach and now this iPhone application brings the principles to you so you can go through each of the 40 dares and complete them with your spouse. It is only 99 cents so I bought it for myself immediately after reading about the application. We all need to appreciate each other in our marriage and this application helps focus you a bit and gives you some great life lessons that are valuable to all of us.

When you launch The Love Dare: 40 Dares (iTunes link) you will see a splash screen of the app. You then simply tap the screen to get started and go to Dare 1. The dares are written text with tasks for you to complete with your spouse. There are hyperlinks to the verses that apply to each dare and tapping it brings a pop-up of that verse for you to read. Tapping the hyperlink again close the pop-up. After you complete the dare you then tap the box and a green check appears over the box. You then tap to go to the next dare.

You can navigate through the dares by visiting the table of contents or by tapping the forward and back arrow icons. Tapping on the "i" icon brings up the More screen with settings, Olive Tree account, and about screen options. Available settings include font settings, color settings, hyperlink settings, scrolling settings, and other settings (showing Strong's Numbers). These are consistent settings that you will find in Olive Tree BibleReader and allow you to customize The Love Dare to your personal preferences.

Tapping the icon over on the far left, LifeWay, brings up a screen showing all the available LifeWay Digital products that you can find on iTunes or online.

I just purchased the application and am getting started with the dares so I cannot comment on my personal experiences just yet. I browsed through some of them and it appears that they are very helpful and we can all use assistance like this to help us focus on our spouses and realize what a blessing each of them are to us. For 99 cents, I think every married person should try this out because if the dares are followed it should improve and/or strengthen your marriage, which is good for all of us.

Olive Tree BibleReader

The Olive Tree BibleReader (iTunes link) has been out for quite some time and is constantly being improved by the Olive Tree developers. I have had it on my iPhone, but wasn't using it much until they added notes support because that is an important feature for me. The Olive Tree BibleReader application is available for FREE and you can get the New English Translation, Modern King James Version, American Standard Version, and more for free as resources to get started. There are over 40 Bible translations available for the iPhone. You can also purchase or download over 200 resources by logging into your Olive Tree account. The different Bible translations are priced reasonably too at prices such as $5 to $10 per translation. A great feature of Olive Tree Bible purchases is that you can download other books you have purchased that are available across all mobile platforms they support. Thus, I can access the same Bible I purchased for Windows Mobile on my iPhone. Olive Tree has BibleReader applications for BlackBerry, Palm, Symbian, Windows Mobile, and Windows PCs and they continue to work on other platforms so I imagine we will eventually see Android and WebOS applications.

When you first launch BibleReader on your iPhone you are taken to a main page that shows one of the loaded translations with an upper and lower toolbar. Along the top are buttons for accessing your library and for navigating to a verse to read. In the center you will find the name of the book you have open (in most cases the Bible translation) along with the selected verse that appears at the top of the page. Tapping on Verse accesses the verse chooser where you can quickly tap on the book, chapter, and verse to navigate where you want to be. This is extremely fast on the iPhone and is a simple experience.

Tapping on Library takes you to the Catalog section where there are lower toolbar tabs for favorites, all books, catalog, my account, and more. You can browse the catalog in a number of ways and view the books loaded on your iPhone. Tapping on a loaded book takes you immediately to that translation, again in a flash.

One function you will find on the main reading pane, if you have it setup in the settings (on by default), is the split screen icon located in the lower right corner. You can view multiple translations on one reading pane so you can study them or view notes and the Bible at the same time. You can manage the split to synchronize books, appear in different places, and more.

Along the bottom of the reading pane you will find arrows for going forward or back in the different steps you have performed. This does not go forward and back within a Bible. You flick up/down or right/left to scroll through the Bible and this is managed in your settings.

The next icon in the bottom toolbar is a + symbol that is used to add a bookmark, add a note, or copy a verse. Bookmarks and notes are manage in the same area where your history is also available. You can create custom folders for bookmarks and notes. Within notes you can delete the note, change the note icon, change the folder or jump to the note location in the Bible. One thing I am very excited about seeing in a future release of BibleReader is the ability to use Evernote to export notes taken in the program. With Evernote integration you would be able to use Evernote to search through all of your captured notes with a very powerful search engine algorithm. I actually capture notes now in the Notes application and email them to my Evernote account, but this would allow me to remain within the BibleReader application to achieve this same result. I use notes to capture the sermons during Sunday services and find this functionality to be essential for my mobile Bible solution and Olive Tree does it quite well on the iPhone.

The next icon in the bottom toolbar is the magnifying glass for Search. Search options are available in the search window that allow you to apply filters and limits on your searches to make them faster and more accurate. You can also call up Greek and Hebrew iPhone keyboards to search Greek and Hebrew texts, which I am sure Bible scholars will find extremely helpful. I do not know any Greek or Hebrew so I can't speak from experiences using this capability. You can also manage how search results are presented. I found the searches to be very fast in BibleReader. You will find that your recent searches appear in the Library list too so you can quickly access the search results again.

The last icon on the far right of the bottom toolbar is the Menu icon that gives you the ability to access your Bookmarks & Notes and Settings. I already discussed bookmarks and notes above so I won't go into detail on this again. Tapping on the settings icon lets you access settings for font, color, hyperlink, scrolling, Olive Tree account, split window, and other settings. Each of these settings screens have choices for you to personalize the BibleReader experience.

If you want to take the Bible with you on your iPhone, I highly recommend you give Olive Tree BibleReader a try. It is available for free so there is no risk in trying it out and you may come to like it as much as I do. The note taking capability is essential and since I know they continually work on further developments I know that the application will just get better and better.

Topics: iPhone, Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones


Matthew Miller started using mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host, with ZDNet's Kevin Tofel, of the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned more than 2... Full Bio

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