As a kid, my interest in the Bible began not in church, but in this huge, old hardbound edition my parents had sitting next to the encyclopedias. Before I could read, I was fascinated by its gory, baroque depictions of decapitated giants and its brutal imagery of the crucifixion of Christ. That was the coolest Bible I’d ever seen…until perhaps now.
What is it?
Glo Bible is an interactive Bible for your iPhone, iPad, Mac or PC. The basic version is free, but if you update to the premium version for $49.99, you’ll be able to install five copies across these platforms, making sure you always have a copy with you.
The iPad version is my favorite, even though it’s not as feature rich as the computer version, because it seems so natural for the device. Glo Bible is an interactive media experience, after all, giving you the full NIV, NIV Study Notes, KJV, ESV and the Message translations of the Bible with a vast amount of supplemental videos, photos/paintings, virtual tours, and more.
How does it work?
Glo Bible actually works (and feels) more like a virtual textbook than a study guide. The material here doesn’t just present scripture, it digs into it and helps you understand it with guides and supplemental materials. Most of these materials are web based and therefore only accessible with a Wi-Fi or 3G connection, but you’ll get access to the text when offline, of course.
The iPad version focuses all of this into two “lenses:” Bible and Media. This helps you get directly to the content you want, but it’s worth noting that searches will span both lenses and offer results for each. So, if you’re search for, say, the story of David and Goliath, you’ll get both scripture and media results.
The interface can feel a bit clunky at first, but once you get a feel for how Glo Bible works, you’ll be able to find your way around without too much trouble.
The design, though, has a modern, somewhat dark and spacey feel to it that imparts a sense of scope on what you’re reading. I liked that. The entire presentation, in fact, is very sophisticated and professional, and thankfully not the cartoony, “sing-songy” design that can often make products such as this feel goofy.
Is it contagious?
How you feel about Glo Bible will be determined by how you read the Bible. If you’re the type who likes to find a solitary place for moments of quiet reflection, Glo Bible isn’t nearly as intimate as that old printed version you received at Confirmation. But if you prefer to take a more educational approach, Glo Bible provides a tremendous amount of material to help you understand both the meaning of what you’re reading and the context in which it was written.
$49.99 is a lot of money, yes, but considering you then get access to the Mac or PC version which has even more material and functionality, it’s a fair price. And since the initial download is free, you can take it for a quick spin to see if this digital presentation of the word of God works for you.