ESV iPhone App Released

If you're not on the Crossway mailing list, you might have missed the big announcement: a free, full-featured ESV iPhone App. I've been playing around with it for a little while, and so far I'm impressed. Navigation is simple and intuitive. You can select passages and click Details to see cross references and add your own notes. If you're already using the ESV Study Bible software from Olive Tree, I'm not sure this will replace it … but for those of you looking for the text of the ESV in an elegant, easy-to-use format, the new iPhone application fits the bill. 



For more info on the features, visit

16 Comments on “ESV iPhone App Released

  1. Just received that email from Crossway and downloaded app. Very nice. And free too. Can’t beat that. Now, if I could just get Harper Books to offer the NRSV the world would be a cozy place.

  2. Very nice. And all the clever touches of a smart iPhone app included. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate those things and notice them when they’re gone. If I hadn’t bought BibleXpress way back when, this would be my go-to Bible app. May become that anyways.
    By the way, I’m sure a few of you bought BibleXpress when it first came out. Does anybody know what happened to the author’s promise to constantly add new versions? I know a few versions refused permission, but does anybody know anything else?
    Anyways… Thanks for the heads up Mark.

  3. Wonderful – thanks Mark! There are some wretched free/cheap Bible apps, but this one is terrific.

  4. Crossway has always done a good job with the ESV. It’s too bad they give it away themselves then make everyone else pay a royalty so the other software publishers look like bad guys. 🙂 And it’s too bad this program doesn’t have any good add-ons like you can get in apps like the free PocketBible for iPhone ( The page layout is gorgeous, though. Thanks for pointing it out.

  5. “free” is what makes this a good app. I bought the Reformation Study Bible back when it was on sale… I can’t remember exactly what I paid but I think it was less than $10. I’ve been very happy with the functions. I prefer it over this app, the Bible Reader app, and even the logos app (for reading & note marking).

  6. 1. It’s absolutely wonderful that it downloads a local copy of the ESV text so that the app can be used without any internet access. That is a problem with some other bible iPhone apps.
    2. The layout is nice. The white-on-black Century Gothic-esque font on book selection menu looks a LOT like the Zune/Windows Mobile 7 OS menu system.
    The scrolling is fast and smooth. The text font itself is very clean and readable.
    3. The notes and highlighting features should be standard in every bible app. Unfortunately, they are not. Nice job, Crossway!
    4. The search function really needs work. I haven’t found a way to search for a phrase. Searching for “the word was god” returns every verse that contains any of the words THE, WORD, WAS, or GOD. Putting quotes around the phrase doesn’t help.
    5. An option to choose between “verse per line format” and “paragraph format” would be nice. Especially since the font is so nice and readable compared to some other bible apps.

  7. @Sung —
    I thought the same thing about the layout. It looks very similar to the Zune software. Now if only there was something like this for the (non-HD) Zune, I’d be a happy man. Much as I like it, I can’t see getting an iPhone just for the Bible apps. 😛

  8. Wow! Thanks for sharing! And I love that it is free! One of my problems with the other free Bible app I was using was how many taps you had to make in order to change book, chapter, and verse. This is so simple! And I LOVE that it’s installed on the phone and that there is no internet connection needed! Very cool!
    I continue to love your blog, J Mark! Keep it up!
    -I Am Husband

  9. Maybe just stating the obvious, but this app also works on the iPod Touch.

  10. I have an iPhone 3G (not 3GS) and other bible apps seem to require more system resources which makes them take a while to open from the springboard or cause the app to crash entirely. This new one from Crossway seems light in comparison. It always loads VERY quickly and allows me to navigate throughout the bible quickly and efficiently, with no crashes so far. As far as I know it is the only free, downloadable ESV for the iPhone, which yes, does mean it works fully on the iPod Touch. After you have downloaded the app you have no more need for an internet connection!
    In response to the comment about Psalm 119:127, for those of you who have not used it yet, a notable navigation difference between this app and other iPhone Bible apps is when you are choosing where you would like to go, it asks you to select a book, then a chapter, then goes to the first verse of the chapter. Every bible app I have used to date has required me to select which verse I would like, something which has annoyed me. With the exception of Psalm 119, I think I would rather go to the first verse of a chapter every time I am navigating the bible. Even if I am not reading the first verse it is not a hassle to scroll down to the relevant verse and along the way get some valuable context of what came before the verse I am looking up. Obviously there is only one chapter in the bible where this is less than ideal, Psalm 119.
    Additionally, the navigation is in a clean, large gothic font that requires scrolling to get to the desired book or chapter. Compared to the small grid system employed by other bible apps, I find this navigation system to be preferable but it is a subjective choice.
    It is worth noting that the search feature requires some work. When searching for a single word, this app is superb, it returns results quickly and neatly organizes the results in an easy to navigate format. It compresses multiple hits in a book into only two per book with a link underneath that opens “more entries in Proverbs”, this makes finding a word that you have some idea where it is, a very painless process. For instance, if you are looking for a reference Paul makes to the “spirit”. You can more quickly scroll past Old Testament entries, and just expand the results from the letters of Paul. However, I had experienced the same problem as Sung Im, that searching for a phrase by using quotes is not recognized by the search engine. Instead it returns entries that contain any one of the words you searched for. This certainly decreases this app’s usefulness, but I am sure Crossway will resolve this obvious oversight with an update soon.
    Even with the flaws of the search function, this bible app is a must have for anyone who uses the ESV translation.

  11. As the writer stated above, no need to worry about reading in “airplane mode” as the Bible downloads completely…so you can be offline and still read. Nice feature.

  12. This was new to me too:
    Lots of different daily Bible reading plans to choose from, which is what really makes this on-line Bible unique from BibleGateway. Chapter/verse numbers and reference footnotes in muted colors makes this one easy to read as well.
    You can set up an account so it remembers your settings and gives you some formatting customization options, such as making Christ’s words red or removing the reference “apparatus”. And registering lets you sample the Study Bible notes for a limited time, unless you have purchased a print version which gives you permanent access.
    Worth a bookmark.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *