NA28 Greek New Testament in Olive Tree iOS, reviewed

Olive Tree logo

Which Bible software program should I buy? As 2014 begins, my answer to that question is still by far the most-visited post at Words on the Word.

Olive Tree is another popular Bible software option, running on just about any platform and device, whether iOS, Mac, Windows, or Android. I began to review their Bible Study App (for Mac desktop/laptop) here, with the Greek NA28 New Testament in view. In this post I look more in-depth at the NA28 in Olive Tree, with screenshots from their iPad (mini) app.

The Bible Study App for iOS

The Bible Study App is smooth, visually appealing, and easy to learn and use.

Here are a few things I especially like about the app:

You can use “flick scrolling” (as in iBooks) or “page scrolling” (as in Kindle). This accommodates just about any user. I prefer the flick scrolling, so that the books move as a Webpage on my computer would move.

You can search any resource, and view both the results-in-context and individual hits together. As in this screenshot:

Search Results

The app allows for you to view one or two resources at a time. This is the same as the iOS apps in Accordance and Logos. What I like about this app is that you can choose whether you want to sync the two windows or not. You can also choose which of the two windows “leads” the other, if you tie them together. Or you can set it up so that whichever one you move (top or bottom/left or right) causes the other to move:

Main and Split Window

There is a whole host of “Gestures/Shortcuts” preferences in the “Advanced Settings” menu. You can assign shortcuts to various gestures. I don’t know of any other iOS Bible app that is this versatile. My two favorites:

  • Two finger swipe left and right takes you through your viewing history, which makes navigation through various passages all the easier. This even works across modules, so that I can swipe between the NA28 and the iPad User Guide I might have just had open. No need to go through menus.
  • Two finger tap takes you from any screen right to your library so you can quickly get at your resources.

NA28 in Olive Tree

There are a few purchase options for the NA28 in Olive Tree. I’ll look here at the “NA28 with Critical Apparatus, Mounce Parsings, and Concise Dictionary,” which you can find hereAt the time of this blog post, it’s on sale for 50% off, so $45 instead of $90. You won’t find it cheaper elsewhere, in any format. The text and apparatus are what you’d get if you bought a print version; the parsings give morphological information, and the dictionary gives lexical detail.

There are some distinct differences between the NA28 and the NA27. If you go about halfway down this post, you can see more detail (as well as click through to some good links) as to what the changes are.

Here I have the text and apparatus open, and have simply tapped once on a Greek word to bring up a pop-up window with a gloss and parsing:

parsing popup

Another possible arrangement would be to use one window for the Greek text, and a second window for an English translation. In that case, one can click on the sigla in the NA28 text for a pop-up with the apparatus. (And still get parsing popups from the surface text, when needed.) This is a good way to economize space:

diglot with apparatus

I appreciate that just a short tap is all that’s required to bring up details about a word or information on a text-critical sign. I find the app overall to be quite intuitive and aesthetically pleasing.  It’s fast on word searches, too.

One critique of the NA28 apparatus is that the text-critical sigla are not hyperlinked to their meanings. In the Accordance version of NA28, for example, when you hover/click/tap on sigla and abbreviations from the apparatus, you instantaneously see (in a popup window or instant details window) what they represent or stand for. In Olive Tree, there is a workaround (described here: bookmark the relevant section of the introduction for quick reference), but this is not an improvement on what one would have to do with a print text anyway. It’s not unmanageable, but also not what one might hope for in this medium. So one will need to regularly consult the NA28 introduction, which is included with the text.

Olive Tree has one of the more active and better Bible software blogs I’ve seen. I’ve learned a good deal from it. Check it out here, especially this post that shows how to use a dictionary in the iOS app.

Since Olive Tree is new to me, and since I already use other Bible softwares, I’m still trying to figure out how it will make its way into my overall workflow. But its smooth interface, speed, and snazzy iOS app will have me coming back for further exploration.

Thanks to Olive Tree for the NA28 with Critical Apparatus, Mounce Parsings, and Concise Dictionary for the purposes of this blog review, offered without any expectations as to the content of the review. You can find the product here

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