27 August 2009

Olive Tree Greek NT and Hebrew OT for iPhone (review)

by Dan Phillips

Olive Tree Bible Software lays out a very impressive array of resources for the iPhone. A surprisingly large list of free books are available on the site. In this review, we take a look at Olive Tree's Hebrew and Greek Bibles.

(Click all images to enlarge.)

The Hebrew text is the standard Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS). I really love the display: very clear characters, sharp vowel-points and accents. In fact, their Hebrew display is even clearer than in my dearly-beloved BibleWorks.

There are a couple of temporary glitches, which actually allow me to illustrate another Olive Tree strength. In some displays, the Hebrew text is cut off (i.e. in the right margin of Psalm 32:4). But this has been reported through their online forum, and Olive Tree support is always very responsive. They're working for a resolution.

One other oddity about the text; in just a few passages that I've seen so far, boxes are inserted (see left, Isaiah 7:14). They are also aware of this problem, and working to resolve it.

You would not expect a textual apparatus for such a small display, and there isn't one. However, the text does preserve the kethib/qere'. [The former preserves the traditional text without emendation even when it made no sense to the copier; the latter is the way the text should be read aloud.] The readings are indicated by bracketing the kethib between single hash-marks, and the qere' between double marks, as in the image at the right.

The Greek text is the 27th Edition of the Nestle-Aland Text of the Greek New Testament.

It is also a very sweet, clear display, very easy to read. Like the BHS, the Greek text also contains no textual notes whatever. After Mark 16, the text includes both the "shorter ending" and vv. 9-20 in French brackets. Same with John 7:53—8:11, as in the following image.

Another very nice feature of Olive Tree's iPhone software is the ability to split-screen. Thus you can have (say) the Hebrew text and its English translation:


...or the original Hebrew OT prophecy and the Greek quotation in the NT:

Navigation is performed by selected book, then chapter, then verse. The application even supports Hebrew and Greek searches, either by exact spelling, or using wild-cards.

You can alter the font sizes, if you prefer larger or smaller displays, change colors, and perform other customizations.

I don't think anyone looks to his iPhone to support a full-orbed study program such as BibleWorks or Logos. But I think these are some absolutely terrific apps for redeeming the time (Ephesians 5:16), "using up odd moments" as F. F. Bruce once wrote me. Waiting for the doctor, or the DMV clerk, or the teller in the bank — you could be listening to some nice classical music, and reading your Hebrew OT or your Greek NT.

What was a pointless aggravation becomes an occasion for firming up your grasp on the very Word itself.

Sweet!

(I also have the ESV Study Bible by Olive Tree on my iPhone, and plan to review it at a later date.)

Dan Phillips's signature

36 comments:

donsands said...

Pretty cool.

I wonder what it was like for Titus to study the Scriptures?

The lord surely has blessed His pastors in this 21st century.

JackW said...

For those of us that are language challenged, there is the NASB with Strong Numbers and Greek and Hebrew dictionary. I also have the ESV Study Bible and MacArthur New Testament Commentaries on mine. I used Olive Tree for years on my Palm and recently switched over to iTouch. All the content that I had purchased for the Palm transferred to the iTouch with the exception of a Bible Names dictionary which I expect will be available in the future. Solid product, I second Dan’s recommendation..

JackW said...

Oh, one other thing … you can download The Pilgrims’ Progress for free and the Bible references are hyperlinked to a pop-up window of the Bible verses. How cool is that!

James Kubecki said...

"I don't think anyone looks to his iPhone to support a full-orbed study program such as BibleWorks or Logos."

But if you do want them to offer a full-orbed study program, please read this article from the Logos blog, and fill out the accompanying survey:

Logos Bible Software for Mobile Devices?

mike said...

this blog may be out of order at times, but never out of service.

DJP said...

Mike's replying to a link-troll whose comment I deleted after he did the same thing to another post.

mike said...

I didn't even notice that the post was missing, as the "this post was deleted by big meany" note wasn't there.

Sadly, as my company has Verizon service i am stuck with a HORRIBLE I phone wannabe called Storm. So i almost am unable to maintain any semblance to Christianity while you guys talk about a phone that has actual applications and works.
I’ll just be over at the other place watching Charlie bite Harry some more.

DJP said...

That should help, Mike. It still cracks me up.

Stephen said...

Thanks for the great review. Gloss with links to BDB and UBS are coming :)

Here are some screen shots

https://www.olivetree.com/uploads/iPhone_Simulator-374.jpg

https://www.olivetree.com/uploads/iPhone_Simulator.jpg

Stephen

DJP said...

Oh, sweet!

I mean, if you don't already know all the words.

(c;

~Mark said...

Very cool! I doubt I'll every buy an Iphone but it's good to know for those that love them that this opportunity is there.

Kevin Purcell said...

This is pretty cool. I'm working on a review for Christian Computing Magazine which will give some more info on this and other iPhone software. OT is a great program though. The pop ups for linked scripture et. al. is nice.

JackW said...

Don't need an iPhone ... works on the iTouch just as well. The title should say "... for iPhone/iTouch"

DJP said...

Everyone's a critic.

stratagem said...

Is there an application that can help me to be able to read greek and hebrew, and to be able to afford an iPhone? :-)

Stan McCullars said...

stratagem,
Is there an application that can help me...

Perhaps something like that will be included in the next stimulus package.

CR said...

Dan,

Do you know if there are any iPhone resources for Greek Lexicons? I have Louw/Nida, Gingrich and Freiberg and would love to have that electronically instead of just book form.

Stefan said...

I don't have an iPhone or anything fancy-schmancy like that, but I just figured out how to convert Bible verses into simple HTML files and load them into my low-end cellphone!

Stephen said...

CR, Olive Tree will have Greek lexicons available for iPhone this fall. You can sign up for the newsletter to be notified when they are available. http://www.olivetree.com/newsletter/index.php

CR said...

Thanks for the tip, Stephen.

DJP said...

(I think Stephen is a plant.)

(c;

Kevin Purcell said...

(I think Stephen is a plant.)

Like a Weeping Willow or maybe a Rhododendron?
Actually he is a developer for Olive Tree.

Stefan said...

For the record: Stefan (olive branch avatar) has no connection to Stephen (Olive Tree developer).

Now, if only Olive Tree offered an app that offers anointed healing power (using virtual olive oil, of course), this thread could easily go to a couple of hundred comments.

Stephen said...

Yes I am a developer at Olive Tree. I primarily work on iPhone. If you want to follow the updates check out http://twitter.com/StephenLJohnson

Stephen

J. P. said...

I really enjoy having OliveTree's BHS and GNT on my iPhone!

Mac users should definitely check out Accordance (Mac-native since 1994). If JackW is a Mac user, he might be interested in the Strongs-tagged English Bibles (currently, KJV, NIV, NASB, ESV, and NRSV) which highlight the corresponding Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek words if you have the original texts open in parallel (e.g., see fig. 12).

Alan Kurschner said...

Dan:

"I really love the display: very clear characters, sharp vowel-points and accents. In fact, their Hebrew display is even clearer than in my dearly-beloved BibleWorks"

This is the sharp display that Accordance users experience everyday. Come over to the dark side ;-)

DJP said...

Alan: my response.

J.A.W. said...

I have both the NA27 Greek New Testament and the ESV Study Bible on my iPod touch. I highly recommend both. It's just about everything I need, except a lexicon, which is apparently in the works.

BTW, I was actually in a Greek class at Talbot Seminary with DJP himself back in the '80s.

DJP said...

...back when Algore hadn't yet invented The Internets, the faculty had cutting edge Kaypro II's, and I thought personal computers were a gad? Ah, the misty past.

stratagem said...

Secretly, I really do miss the Altair.
Now, can I have that module that I plug into my brain that allows me to understand koine?

Echindod said...

You can get Liddell and Scott for the iPhone. And it is only like 5 bucks. Its the little Liddell, but still really cool.
Thanks for the review Dan, I just don't know if I can convince my wife to pay 40 bucks for the BHS when I already have two hardcopies...

DJP said...

Hey! Who's in charge? Who wears the pants?

What you do is you square your shoulders and you march in there, and you say...

..."Oh, pleeeeeeease?"

(c;

lmcfadden said...

Any news on the dictionaries coming out? This is what's preventing me from picking deciding on Olive Tree. My main want is Greek and Hebrew to go, and I need dictionaries! The NASB with strongs looks decent, but I'd rather have the UBS dictionary.

DJP said...

I'll try to get you an answer.

Stephen said...

Parsed BHS with BDB and paresed GNT with UBS are in beta right now. We are hoping for a nov release.

Stephen
Olive Tree

DJP said...

Ta daaa.

Maybe I'll be able to do a review.