We live in a world of technology, and while God’s Word is unchanging, the way we access it can adapt to current technologies. For example, at the time the latest technology of Gutenberg’s printing press was used to spread Martin Luther’s Theses and later Luther’s German-translated Bible. Today, pretty much everyone has a smartphone, with access to millions of apps that do everything from keep time, do calculations, play a game, watch videos, make videos, read books, and so on. Oh, and make a phone call. With all these options, it should be no surprise that we can, and should, include apps to help us keep in God’s Word, have devotions, and even answer Christian questions. These apps can be used on your smartphone or tablet to help you reflect God’s love in your daily life (see what I did there with our congregation’s Vision Statement?). Note that while these are listed numerically, these are not ranked, but rather listed with some order of God’s Word apps first, then Lutheran specific apps, finally general Christianity apps. Next to each app name is a link to download the app for Android and iPhone(iOS).
1) ESV Bible (Android, iOS) – This app gives you access to the Bible on your smart device. Obvious by its name, this app is the English Standard Version only. It is free, basic and simple to use. It does allow you to take notes and highlight verses to spot for reading in the future. However, these notes/highlights are only accessible on your device. This bible is great for when you want to quickly look up a verse, or simply read the bible anytime, anywhere. Also, it works offline, meaning you don’t have to have a data connection to use it!
2) Logos Bible (Android, iOS) – Logos is another Bible app which is a much more comprehensive app for reading and studying the Bible. It offers many features, such as choosing from many translations (NIV, ESV, KJV, even Lutherbibel), notes, highlights, read verses aloud, and even ability to scan a bulletin and find bible references on it to save for study. All these features can allow you deep dive and customize your study. Additionally, Logos has an online sign-in function so that you can use it on their website, or the app on another device. This could help for scanning the bulletin with your phone, save the verses, then study them later at home on your tablet or online. The app is free; however, there may be additional features which require purchase.
3) Portals of Prayer (Android, iOS) – That’s right, the same Portals of Prayer that you might have in paper/booklet form. The app gives features such as reading the devotion to you, save favorites, and even set reminders to help you get into the habit holding your devotion each day. There is a cost for the app; after a free week trial, the app requires a subscription ($9.99/year); however, if you are already subscribed to the digital Portals of Prayer, then you will have full access to the app (and are probably already using it).
4) Luther’s Small Catechism (Android, iOS) – This app provided by Concordia Publishing House (CPH), is very easy to use and is available for free. It contains the Six Chief Parts, daily prayers, table of duties, and Questions/Answers for Christians preparing to receive Holy Communion. The same can also be found online at http://catechism.cph.org. This is a great resource to always have the explanation of our faith in your pocket.
5) KFUO Radio (Android, iOS) – This app allows streaming the live broadcast from the KFUO radio station out of St. Louis. KFUO is the LCMS radio station which has programs such as Thy Strong Word; Issues, Etc.; and The Lutheran Hour. Pastor has been a guest on Thy Strong Word a few times. The app also makes available their classical music station for listening anytime.
6) Life 88.5 (Android, iOS); Air1 (Android, iOS); K-LOVE (Android, iOS) radio station apps – Music can be a great way to motivate you throughout the day. Music is also known to affect our actions, language, and attitude; so, it makes sense to surround ourselves with positive, Christian music. I’ve listed individual apps that live stream Christian music to your device which coincides with the respective radio station available locally. Life 88.5 app is designed for the KC station, so you will hear the DJs and info for happenings in the KC area! The other two: Air1 and K-LOVE, you will get the great contemporary Christian Hits that those stations play throughout the country. These also have a feature to show the frequency for the radio station wherever you are (or manually entered zip code), this is great for tuning in on the radio when traveling (either in the car on a road-trip, or tune your radio when you get to your destination).
I hope these apps provide a great way for technology to play a part in your walk with God. I look forward to sharing more technological (and other) information with you through these “Elder’s Corner” articles that the Elders will be publishing.
Jason Atcheson, Elder
Hosted by Rev. Will Weedon, LCMS Director of Worship and International Center Chaplain.
With guest Rev. Jeremy Loesch from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Grandview, Missouri.