Christian organizations are widely thought to be slow in adopting new technology and innovations. But there are a number today that are breaking the stereotype and catching on more quickly to what the secular marketplace has embraced.
One of the latest tools churches and Christian companies have picked up is application software, or apps, for portable media player.
YouVersion, created by LifeChurch.tv, is a popular iPhone and iPod touch app that allows users to read their Bible on the go. Users can select their translation of choice, including the New International Version, the King James Version, and American Standard Version, among others. The app also allows people to read the Bible in other languages besides English. Some of the available languages are Arabic, Spanish, French, Italian, Korean, and Russian.
Altogether, YouVersion offers 41 translations in 21 languages.
The free iPhone app also suggests Bible reading plans, searches for requested key words in Scripture, and allows people to read user-submitted analysis on a particular passage.
Logos Bible Software also brings the Bible to iPhones and iPod Touch but it offers a wider and deeper selection of biblical tools and resources to help Christians dive deeper into the Bible's text.
The leading publisher of high-end Bible software recently released its free iPhone app that instantly allows users to access more than 30 titles from devotionals, commentaries, and biblical language resources.
Some of the available titles include Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, Easton's Bible Dictionary, Systematic Theology, New Nave's Topical Bible, Strong's Concise Dictionary of the Words of the Hebrew Bible and the Greek Testament, and Dictionary of the Vulgate New Testament, among others.
People who have purchased the Logos Bible Software's desktop application can use the companion iPhone app to access more than 3,500 currently available titles. Logos Bible says it plans to add more titles for the iPhone until it reaches more than 10,000.
"I think what is really cool is that you can tap into a library of 3,000 Bible reference works and it's growing all the time," said Bob Pritchett, president of Logos Bible Software. "Most of the mobile phone Bible apps I've seen have a small library of books that are available. [But] because we are harnessing the power of our existing platform, we are able to offer thousands of titles right off the bat."
Pritchett says the company is interested in seeing people have more and better Bible studies. He hopes that by making the Bible tools more accessible it will help people "go to the next level" in their Bible studies.
Meanwhile, the world's largest religious broadcaster and America's most popular inspirational channel, Trinity Broadcasting Network, has also taken advantage of the iPhone's popularity to reach its viewers. Earlier this year, TBN released an iPhone app that allows viewers to access all of its 24-hour networks.
"We live in a mobile society, where people just don't sit down and watch TV at home as much anymore," said Paul Crouch Jr., TBN's chief of staff. "But they still want access to their favorite programs, and we've developed an iPhone 'app' that lets them watch all of TBN's channels at home, at work, on the road, or wherever they are."
Some of the channels and networks people can access using the TBN app include the Church Channel, the JCTV youth network, Smile of a Child kids network, TBN Enlace USA Spanish language network, the Arabic language Healing Channel, and Nejat TV in Farsi.
Other popular or noteworthy Christian iPhone apps that are currently available include: The Love Dare: Reminders, Prayer List – Request Organizer, Christian Rock Music, Bible Trivia Extreme, Dance Praise, and My Utmost for His Highest.
Introduced in the United States by Apple in 2007, iPhones are currently being used by more than six million people in the United States. The iPhone 3GS is the most recent of three generations of the iPhone.