Android App Review: CadreBible a nice Bible resource on the go

So, yesterday I received in the mail a Motorola/Verizon Droid, compliments of Google. Since then, I’ve been putting it through its paces, and I came across something that I thought I would share. On my other Android device (the Google Ion IO 2009 Developer phone) I had an app called CadreBible, which is a very capable offline Bible (i.e., it works with or without a data connection) with an extensive library of free resources. When I received the Droid, I immediately installed it. Why? Well, in addition to allowing me to carry a number of different versions of the Bible with lookup and search capabilities into places where I will have no network access, and in much less space and weight than it takes to carry one of those pocket Bibles, CadreBible also allows me to have at my fingertips a number of invaluable study tools as well.

If you hang out at DHWC at all, you may realize that one of my favorite commentators is Matthew Henry, despite the fact that he wrote a little more than 300 years ago (1706, to be exact) and uses a lot of thee’s and thou’s, etc. I don’t talk like that, and I generally use the NIV that doesn’t read like that, but Henry still offered some excellent practical insights into the Bible. The only problem is that he can sometimes be very wordy. And the way that his commentary is organized in print (i.e., in book-form), you generally have to look in three different sections to find all the relevant information about a given passage: the book commentary, the chapter commentary, and the actual verse commentary.

Enter CadreBible. This little app allows you to jump in Henry’s commentary right to the passage you’re looking for, and when you get there, it automatically collates the book commentary, chapter commentary, and actual verse commentary into a single place. So all you have to do is read through the stuff it pulls, right then and there.

Does it save a lot of hassle? I don’t suppose it’s a huge hassle to flip through a few pages of a book, but it’s nice.

Does it save a lot of time? In the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness,” Will Smith’s character lands an internship with a prestigious stock brokerage. Out of desperation and determination to make a better life for his son and him, he finds shortcuts to increase productivity and make himself more appealing for the grand prize at the end of the internship: a job with the brokerage. One of these shortcuts was simply not hanging up the phone after he made a call. Instead, he would simply touch the flash button on the base (it was one of those old dial phones) and start dialing the next number. He estimated it saved him just a couple of seconds per call, but over the course of the day, as he made tens and even hundreds of calls, those seconds added up.

So no, it doesn’t save a lot of time, either. At least, not if you use it only once or twice. But if you use these features, like I do, on an almost daily basis, both the time and hassle add up quickly.

So I would recommend CadreBible to anyone who has an Android phone and wants to carry a Bible around with them. In fact, the only downside that I’ve come up with is that it doesn’t offer the NIV. But it does offer KJV, ASV, and a whole host of other versions, including a Greek New Testament, the Septuagint (for Greek geeks like me), and Hebrew; not to mention concordances, devotionals, and more.

And in case you’re wondering, I just downloaded the OliveTree software (which my wife has on her iPod Touch), and I’ll be playing with that, too.

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7 Responses to “Android App Review: CadreBible a nice Bible resource on the go”


  1. 1 Kelly June 29, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Thanks for your review! I’ve been looking for a bible app for Android that I can use offline. Access to MH commentaries is a terrific bonus.

  2. 2 Oswald August 2, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Thanks! I’ll check it out. Right now, I’m using the Tecarta Talking King James Bible. The price is right…FREE! haha Plus as the name implies, it talks!

  3. 3 jgeerdes August 2, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Since I wrote this review, I’ve been playing even more with CadreBible, and I’ve come across a couple more awesome features which make it even more useful: Evernote integration and parallel mode.

    Simply put, Evernote integration allows you to take notes about a passage on your Android device and then synchronize them across numerous computers, devices, etc.

    And parallel mode allows you to look at a single verse in multiple versions simultaneously. You can even bring up a verse in two or three translations and the related material from Matthew Henry’s commentaries on the same screen. To use it, click on one of the verse numbers when in reading mode and pull out the (right) side menu. Hit “parallel,” and you’ll be invited to select the resources you want to see. Very, very cool.

  4. 4 Tracy August 19, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Please help ive entered cadrebible in the market and it cant find it.

    • 5 jgeerdes August 19, 2010 at 5:19 pm

      When I search for “cadrebible” in the Android Market, it pulls up 16 results, the first of which is CadreBible. Then there are several add-on options.

  5. 6 andeeman March 18, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Can you do a critical comparison between cadrebible and olivetree’s offers? I’m about to get a tablet (android likely) and want to pick one bible app and stick with it….cadre seems to be better on price by far, which is important as i plan on slowly buying different commentaries, etc.
    Also crutial for me is the ability to take notes on the NIV I like to read… let me know

    • 7 jgeerdes March 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      Thanks for the question. Here are some thoughts.

      Olive Tree has more titles available. And you can get their software on a variety of platforms (e.g., Mac, PC). I also like that Olive Tree will let you scroll seamlessly through chapters. They use pdb format, which is a fairly popular e-book format, so I suspect it’s faster and easier for them to incorporate new titles into the library, and they can take advantage of great deals (e.g., you can get the HCSB 2009 version free in Olive Tree, vs. paying $6.00 for the 2003 version in CadreBible). I also think their UI is a bit more polished and touch-friendly. And their parallel screens feature, where you can put up two versions or resources side-by-side, is very nice.

      However, their in-app catalog is not the greatest user experience. They do offer the ability to highlight and take notes, but I personally don’t think it’s as intuitive as it could be. I would also point out that, while Olive Tree has a lot more titles in their catalog than CadreBible, a significant number of the non-free that are available on both are more expensive than in CadreBible. And a much greater proportion of Olive Tree’s catalog seems to be non-free. Also, while Olive Tree is available for Mac (I haven’t tried PC), it is only available on OS X 10.7 (aka, Lion), which is the latest version of the Mac OS. In other words, if you are a Mac user and haven’t upgraded to Lion, the “variety of platforms” advantage mentioned above is moot. Finally, I would note that, while I do like the ability to put two resources side-by-side on the screen, I think the CadreBible parallel feature is actually better for the way that I work. In Olive Tree, you can have two different resources side-by-side, but in CadreBible, you can stack as many resources as you wish and view them all, one verse at a time. I find this extremely useful in sermon prep and personal devotions as I can quickly glance through 20 or 30 different resources without having to worry about finding exactly what I’m looking for.

      In comparison, CadreBible offers all the stuff I mentioned in the post, but they’ve also added a lot of features since I wrote that. For example, their notes, highlights, etc., are now backed up to “the cloud” and synchronized across devices. CadreBible offers Evernote support. If you haven’t used Evernote, it is indispensable. And CadreBible also supports sharing quotes via just about any app on your device (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Google Docs, Evernote). Overall, none of the advantages of Olive Tree are decisive.

      You mentioned that you use the NIV. In my searching, I was only able to find one version of the NIV on the Olive Tree site. The info for it says that it was last updated in November 2010. Since the NIV2011 was not released until March 2011, I would think that would make it the NIV1984, but the description suggests that it is actually the NIV2011. There are significant differences between the two editions, so if you expect one but get the other, you may be rather disappointed. Also, given that there are actually four versions of the NIV in use today (NIV1984, NIrV, TNIV, NIV2011), having only the one available may be a problem. CadreBible offers all four on their site, and I have found each of them useful in various situations. That’s something else to think about.

      Ultimately, I suppose that which app you choose will depend largely on what you’re wanting to do with it. In all honesty, though, I have found that no one Bible app fits all my needs. Thus, I use YouVersion for my daily reading plan and CadreBible for study. But I also find that I use a lot of online resources as well. For instance, mystudybible.com has significant resources available (e.g., the complete HCSB Study Bible) for free. And esvonline.org is the online version of the ESV Study Bible, which is probably the best study Bible I’ve ever seen. Especially if you’re still using the NIV1984, now that it’s out of print, it’s going to grow harder and harder to stick with one version. And both of these offer excellent translations and compelling resources. Certainly worth checking out.


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