I’m always looking for some cool ways to present God’s word in my preaching and teaching ministry like the app Bible Mark Up. When I started watching John Piper’s Look at the Book video series on YouTube, I loved the simple and elegant black background with white Bible text that he uses in these videos. He draws on the text and screen using colorful marking pens. I investigated and discovered that Piper’s using something that inspired the developer of the app Bible Mark Up. The developer liked the videos and wanted a mobile version and so he created Bible Mark Up for Android and then ported Bible Mark Up over to iOS. We talked to Ernie Lail of Maranatha Technologies on this week’s Theotek Podcast seen below. The audio is at the bottom of the page.

Bible Mark Up App

This free iPad or Android app inserts the Bible text from one of a number of translations on a black background. The teacher or Bible student uses the 9 colors to draw on the screen in Bible Mark Up. Watch John Piper to use a tool similar to Bible Mark Up, which inspired the app, in his “Look at the Book” video series on YouTube (seen below).

Logos Bible Software users can also buy these videos along with a nice study guide that goes with the videos. The free video series puts the videos and the study guide right inside Logos Bible Software.

Bible Mark Up app used by John Piper Look at the Book

Piper draws circles and lines and underlines the text showing relationships between ideas and words. He uses colors to connect one part of the text with another. It’s simple but skillful. I’ve begun using it in my teaching ministry and plan to do more.

The app includes some cool features. It’s got a lot of international translations in addition to the ESV, NASB and KJV. Sadly, they don’t offer my preferred HCSB translation. For teachers who use original languages it includes Greek Textus Receptus and Hebrew Aleppo Codex.

We also get access to some public domain works like Strong’s, Lexicons and some Commentaries all online. I haven’t used anything but the English Bible texts, since I don’t plan to do my study in the app. I just use it to present.

Bible Mark Up scripture selection

Ernie Lail, the developer of Bible Mark Up, told us that he created primarily as a study tool. He wanted something that lets him mark up the text like Piper does in his videos.

Here’s the workflow. The opening screen asks the user to type in a Bible reference (see above). It will then copy the text to the black screen in portrait orientation at first. Tap on the end of the line to change the line breaks. At the bottom of the screen there’s a button that reads Modify Breaks. Tap it to move the next line up to the current line that you tapped. Repeat this till the lines all show up the way you want. Then tap on Scale & Move at the bottom and pinch to zoom or shrink the text. Remember to keep the text large enough so people in the back of the room can read the text.

When you’re ready, turn the tablet into landscape mode and tap on Draw. Use the colored inking and markup buttons to draw when you wish. I will often underline or circle key words, put parenthesis around a phrase I’m discussing or draw lines to show relationship between words or phrases. Use multiple colors. For example, if a text is discussing one topic but has some sub topics, circle or underline all the words related to one of the subtopics in one color. Then use another color to visually link the next sub topic. Use lines to connect pronouns with the proper noun they represent.

Bible Mark Up demo

The app could use an update and here’s what I’d include?

  1. An erase button that removes all the markups in a single tap. Ernie told us he may add that soon.
  2. I’d like the ability to pay extra for other modern translations or reference works. I understand the app developer can’t make it free if he adds paid content, but I’d love to pay to get that kind of content.
  3. Add shapes like lines, ovals, boxes and more.
  4. Change from black to white background.
  5. If you change the background color then you need to change the text color. It’d be great if I could highlight a word or words and change just the color of those words.

Even if the developer never adds the above features, it’s still a worthwhile tool to install on your iPad or Android tablet.

Our Favorite Things

This week we actually started off with the first recommendation.

Ricoh Theta S 360-degree Camera

Watch as a I demo the Ricoh Theta S camera at the top of the podcast. It’s a nice little 360-degree camera that uses two ultra wide-angle fish eye lenses to take a complete 360-degree photo at the tap of the button. It also shoots HD video. Users can post the photos and video online to the company’s website made just for their shots or to YouTube in the case of video. Use the editing app to trim video or another one to create interesting images using the shots taken with the camera. Check out the examples below:

high peak church taken with ricoh theta s

The shot above shows the interesting results you can get with the Ricoh Theta S and the image editor on iOS.

The front of High Peak Baptist Church #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

I haven’t posted any videos I’d want anyone else to see. Here’s one from the online gallery at theta360.com.

Passing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

I love my camera, but it’s not cheap. Get it on Amazon for a couple bucks less than at Ricoh’s online store. It’s $350.

Dark Sky for iOS

dark sky app iphone

Rick showed off the great weather app called Dark Sky. They call it “hyperlocal” weather. It’s incredibly accurate even nailing the start and stop times for rain. There’s an Apple Watch extension built into the app.

iPhone SE

apple iphone se

LaRosa John chose to highlight the new iPhone SE. It’s an iPhone 5s with the power and guts of an iPhone 6s without the 3D Touch screen. Apple sells it for a little less than they sell their flagship phones. He likes the smaller size and wants to pick on up.

13 thoughts on “Bible Mark Up App Presents Bible: Theotek Podcast #063

  1. Kevin,
    I love what Piper does in the Look at the Book series. Unfortunately, I’ve found the Bible Mark Up app to be disappointing. It’s off too a great start but needs a lot of work. There’s too much wasted space on the screen and the interface is a little bit clunky. I have a Galaxy Note 10.1 that I teach with and I’ve been using the S note app to do the same thing. Just import a text from any bible app and start marking away.

  2. Hi Kevin,
    do you happen to know what Piper is using? I’d love to find something like this for my iMac. Thanks 🙂

  3. Last night I listened to your Bible Mark Up section and downloaded it on my Samsung 9″ tablet, my Note 4 phone (that’s not being used as a phone) and on my Galaxy phone and it wouldn’t work on any of them. It would not recognize my Wi-Fi connection. Checked with my provider and there was no problem with my Wi=Fi and I could get on the internet. Tonight I listened again. This time, I deleted the program from each device, went up on the internet and downloaded it from the internet. Don’t know why, but now it works. Thanks for your instructions on using it. I will be using it for personal Bible study

  4. Hi Kevin,
    I’m trying to set up podcasts where I can teach, but having a hard time figuring out the right configurations to incorporate a Bible Marking program with software. I currently use Quick Time with my Mac for just recording a message. But now, I’m looking at doing more. Do I need to use Screenflow, which has a mark up with drawing pad available? I thought that may be the way to go until I saw your video on Bible Mark Up when trying to figure out how Piper is doing his teaching.

    Any information you can pass along I would appreciate.

    Thanks brother,
    Rob Bonser
    Grace Reformed Church
    Oakland MD

    1. I think Piper is just using a computer with something like a Wacom tablet. I don’t have or use Screenflow so I can’t help with that. I also don ‘t know what hardware you have so hard to answer that.

      I teach in my church connected to a projector with an iPad and the text of my Bible passage copied to a Keynote presentation or PowerPoint presentation. The apple pencil is great for this. I also have a Windows computer with a pen that can draw on the screen and I’m thinking of using it after the pandemic.

  5. How does John Piper incorporate his voice along with his scripture mark ups.

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