Bible Study Together App 3.0 is Officially Here For Everyone!
2021 was a huge year for Bible Study Together as the release of version 3.0 marks the complete rewrite of our Bible study app. The rewrite started in 2020 when we began laying the foundation for our vision of having Bible study, prayer, and fellowship all linked together in one app. We rolled out our first iteration of this at the end of 2020 and into the beginning of 2021. Version 3 of our app brings all these features together and makes it easier than ever to stay connected while reading the Bible.
Creating Version 3.0
Our goal with this version of the app was to improve the Bible reading experience. Before we could get started with this we needed to get licensing from Crossway and the Lockman Foundation to put their translation offline within our app. We signed a contract with both of them around March of 2021. With the licensing in hand the work began converting the Bible text into a format which the app could read and recompiling all of our content to integrate into the new framework. Once we got it working, we added features that connected the Bible study to the prayer and fellowship parts of the app.
The biggest change for version 3.0 was the addition of the NASB and offline Bible reading. Having the Bible reading offline also enabled us to add deeper integrations with the Bible text. The app now shows the current chapter and verse at the top while scrolling, so you no longer have to scroll all the way back up if you forget what section of scripture you are reading. Verses became clickable in this version, giving users the ability to pray about a verse that stands out and more easily share with their thoughts on a passage with their groups. Questions got an easy share button too, so now group members can quickly respond to the questions and chat about them in their groups. Overall, the Bible reading part of the app is much more snappy fast and in the long run should prove more stable than previous versions.
Thank you to everyone who has helped identify bugs in the app along the way. Though the majority of users have had a fairly smooth transition to version 3.0, some have had some bumps along the way. If you ever have a problem with the app. Please reach out to us and let us know. The app is under active development and a single report of a problem might save thousands of other people from ever experiencing the issue you are facing. Also, if you have a feature request, please let us know… it very well might get added in the next version!
After communicating with many users as countless groups got started in the new year, it is obvious that the next thing we need to focus on is improving the group experience. People want bigger groups and want it more clear how to invite members. They want some kind of notification for new messages and to be part of more than one group. The groups have been left small for two reasons at present. One is it is hard to really connect with people in a big group and the other is scalability. This will change this year when we overcome the scaling factors needed so our app can remain free as groups become larger and more active. We also plan to allow people to be part of more than one group later this year as well.
Updates to the Bible reading and Prayer parts of our app should roll out later this year too. Some new features planned include variable audio Bible playback speed, more reading plans, making our two year plan easier to schedule to be read in a year or less, more study resources, and more integrations. The prayer part of the app should get optional haptic feedback while praying, pause while praying, and edit prayers while praying.
Pray for Us
Bringing version 3.0 to fruition was intense. Most of the work being done on the app is by Peter Schrock. He has his own business that supports him and has done all this work for free over the last several years. Since he is a husband and father of four small children (ages 0 to 6 years old), the time he works on this project is often after everyone goes to bed. Leading up to the end of the year, there have been many very late nights. Sickness has run through his family multiple times over in the last month and a half. Please pray for the health of his family and that God would continue to enable him to work on this project. Also, please pray that he could stay near to God as there are so many things in this season grabbing for his attention.