Mantis Bible Study in Review – A Bookshelf in Your Pocket
The number of useful references at the App Store is growing rapidly. Just months ago, was was no Enfour AHD4 or Deluxe Oxford nor had Amazon’s Kindle been released to provide competition for eReader and Stanza. Truly the iPhone as a platform is evolving: able to stand toe to toe in some applications with computers for its usefulness as a reference. What once was relegated to libraries because of size, weight, volume and expense can now be carried in one’s pocket. The Bible is a resource that I would like to be able to tote in a bag along with a dictionary but until now has been impossible. In the App Store, there are many free and commercial Bible apps that bump shoulders vying for your download or purchase. While many do their job commendably, it still is hard to separate the chaff from the wheat if your needs, beyond simple reading and devotions, demand resources other than the Bible itself.
Mantis are a dedicated Bible Software company who have brought entire Bible libraries to the App Store and ultimately your pocket. What they offer at base is a free Bible reader and King James Text with easy lookup, search and note-taking tools. Additionly and for purchase, is a library of useful if not necessary resources for Bible study that should equally excite the Bible student, pastor and scholar as well as the average Bible reader.
Mantis Bible Study is a practical and pretty app that covers all fronts. Commentaries, concordances, dictionaries, Bibles – everything – is well integrated, making searching and studying seamless and easy tasks.
Perhaps the best feature however is Mantis’ customer service. With so many module choices in their website, deciding which one best fits is difficult. Thankfully, after a few emails and suggestions by their staff, my needs were put sussed out. Now, I have a virtual Bible library at my fingertips. Considering that many of the resources they provide are costly, the help and support they provide in finding software to fit your needs is indispensable.
Mantis Bible Study is now in its fourth revision. Developer Mark Burggraf fastidiously works to implement customer requests and fix errors or add functionality. His work has made Mantis Bible Study the premiere Bible software in the app store.
This is a concise list of features in Mantis Bible Study:
• Comes with the full King James text
• Works offline — no network connection is necessary for reading and studying
• Additional Bible translations, commentaries, dictionaries, devotionals and other books can be purchased and installed immediately (with more than 80 titles already available.) Check the “Bible Store” for available titles and other free resources
• Two-touch translation chooser instantly shows the current text in any installed Bible translation
Great navigation options:
• Tap in the top right and drag down to jump to any verse in the current chapter
• Tap in the top left and drag down to jump to any chapter in the current book
• Tap in the bottom left and drag up to jump to any book in the current volume
• Tap in the bottom right and drag up to jump to any installed volume (KJV, NASB, etc.)
• Quick History – jump from verse to verse and back again quickly, even across different volumes
• Quick-reference chapter and section headers make finding the right text easy
• New Grid Mode – jump to any book, chapter, and verse in 3 quick taps
• Tap the book name to navigate the book, chapter, verse chooser
• Tap the chapter number to navigate to to the chapter, verse chooser within the current book
• Landscape (sideways) operation now available throughout the program (type notes and make searches using the larger, wider keyboard!)
Fantastic study tools:
• Fantastic support for Bibles with integrated Strong’s Numbers – tap a number to open a definition, tap it again to close it
• Additional support for Strong’s Numbers: drill-down to root word(s), tap to find where a number is used throughout Scripture, then tap and preview verses
• Easily create bookmarks, notes, and highlights for any verse in the Bible, or even for commentaries, dictionaries, devotionals, or other books
• References to Scripture inside personal notes are automatically turned into one-tap cross-references
• Create, edit, and move bookmarks and bookmark folders
• Unique “Analyze Verse” feature shows a single verse in multiple translations on one page, along with any installed commentaries for the selected verse
• Fast and flexible, yet simple search system
• Save search results as a named folder full of bookmarks
• Personal notes and translation notes appear inline with the text and can be toggled on and off, making it easier to view the notes within the context of its related scripture
• Highlighting Bar allows highlighting of individual words and phrases in 4 colors
• Inline verse-display toggle links for all cross-reference links (in commentaries, dictionaries and other books containing scripture references)
• Jump directly to Biblical text from cross references inside commentary, dictionary, devotional, or other books
Mantis is full to the brim with helpful navigation, look up and study tools to make you as productive as possible. I have my Mantis Bible Study with me everywhere in the last few weeks; it has been my church Bible, my devotional and of course my study tool. Everyone’s needs are different and I hope that my uses will match at least some of yours and that this review will help you decide whether or not this software is for you.
Mantis Bible Study is a well laid-out software with many iPhone-esque icons and navigation features. It is smooth in both portrait or landscape mode and offers many different look up methods and a great search engine that you can tweak with wild-card searches, exact phrase matches among others. It is incredible to see what is possible in a mobile platform. As mentioned earlier, Mantis is updated often which is helpful as it is also has a number of small bugs. Some selection screens ‘stuck’ after moving to other sections there are loading times for certain look ups, however with software with this much depth and power to it, I am not surprised.
Some icons I found spaced too closely together to operate smoothly and often times, after tapping a selection, I will find that what the software thinks I tapped and what I think I tapped are two different things. This is not usually a problem but for highlighting (a great feature), it sometimes becomes annoying as my ‘highlighter’ will scribble all over the page.
Saying that, there is simply no end to the depth that the interface, look up shortcuts, hot corners and intricate search engine provide to the user. Mantis is as fully realised as MacOS or Windows Bible Software, makes no aplogies for its meagre platform and performs admirably considering its weight and depth of features.
For the Scholar
Mantis’ resources are instantly accessible and easy to use. Users of Strong’s Concordance will be relieved that there is no need for thumbing through the Bible, the Strong’s number reference and finally the Strongs Concordance. Rather, Mantis allows you to choose between Strong’s numbers and underlined, searchable words. In either case, a simple tap will open up the Concordance references for that word. Please look at the video below for Mantis’ explanation.
Comparative studies also are ready at your finger tips. By clicking on verse numbers, a menu dialogue will open with the following options: analyse, bookmarks and notes. If you have more than one Bible installed, you can execute a version to version comparison of a selected verse, switch to commentary or other resources, add bookmarks and notes from the same menu.
As a scholarls tool, Mantis Bible Study has nothing against it except the platform itself. If you are used to books and a spreading desktop of manuals, papers and piles, then compiling your workspace into a tiny 480*320 handheld screen may be difficult. However, if you are used to using a computer and Bible Software as your main resource for Bible studies, then the Mantis Bible Study may be a great substitute for your indoor workspace.
My father, a minister and missionary of more than 40 years’ experience is the former. As a primary reference tool, Mantis Bible Study is incredible however, it won’t replace a pen, paper and many open books for those who like him or me, prefer to lay into paper rather than tap at a screen. The Bible is not a page-by-page book. Like a dictionary, there is much inspiration on each page – but with digital apps, you are limited to one page at a time. While this is fine for hobby reading, deep study may be hampered without print versions.
However, as a secondary tool for your work or and one of a group of primary tools, Mantis Bible Study is incredible. It lacks nothing, is smart, constantly updated and operated by a staff who implement customer requested changes into their updates.
For Your Personal Walk with God
Similar to my conclusions about the scholar, using an electronic Bible in the place of a printed one is a personal decision. Devotions are amazing. With the ability to switch versions, perform searches and read from scheduled reading plans, the Mantis Bible Study software can greatly impact an individual’s quiet time. Of course, you can download devotionals and other materials to help out if that is what you need. However, writing in the margin and clipping pieces of other articles is not possible. Personally, using Mantis was more enjoyable than reading from one book as it opens up so many more possibilities and inspiration.
As with any software, there are bugs in the interface and performance tweaks that are as of yet, unrealised. However, Mantis Bible Study is as peerless as Enfour’s dictionaries in iPhone Bible Software. Free at its core with good functionality, it harbours space and power for so much more. If you need a mobile Bible powerhouse, look no further – Mantis Bible Study is the only step you need to take. However, replacing printed text with ones and zeroes, a glass face and cold metal or plastic is a very personal decision that not everyone will be able to make lightly. As I mentioned, for personal use, I much prefer the flexibility Mantis Bible Study brings, however for study, I need paper and a huge desk. By all means, download the free app, spend some time and make the decision for yourself.
Mantis Bible Study gets Kissed by TouchMyApps.
|Title:||Mantis Bible Study (V 4.0)||Developer:||Mantis Bible Company|
|Price:||Free, but upgradeable via Mantis’ site. Reference prices vary.||App Size:||6.1 MB for free app. Individual references come in varying sizes.|