Windows Phone Thoughts: Laridian's Life Application Study Bible Notes

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Saturday, March 15, 2003

Laridian's Life Application Study Bible Notes

Posted by Ed Hansberry in "CONTENT" @ 10:59 PM

The Life Application Study Bible Notes (LAB) is the electronic version of the Life Application Study Bible. The LAB doesn't have the Bible in it like the paper version does though, just the notes. It is meant to be used with the translation or translations of your choice that you have installed in Pocket Bible from Laridian which is great for studying.

Navigating The Commentary
The first thing you will see when use the LAB is the commentary. The best way to use it is to find the verse in your translation of choice, select View|Synchronize from the Pocket Bible Menu. This will synchronize all books and translations in your library to the same verse you are at in the translation you are reading. Then select View|Two Books and pick LAB from the list and press "OK" as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Selecting a second book in Pocket Bible. "LAB" is the Life Application Study Bible Notes.

You will now be in a dual window view with the Bible verses at the top and the LAB at the bottom as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: The top half of the screen is the Bible verses. The bottom half is the commentary.

Notice right below the commentary Pocket Bible shows "LAB: John 3:16" in the status bar. This is your visual indicator as to where you are and which window is active. When you do an action it is the LAB window that will be the object of that action. For example, if you press the joypad up, down, left or right, it is the LAB window that will scroll up or down or will turn to the previous/next page. If you select View|Synchronize from the menu, the LAB window will be the source and the other window will synchronize whatever book is at the top to the same verse as shown in the LAB window. To change the active window to the Bible in this example, simply tap on the top window. The status bar will change to "NIV: Jn 3" in this example.

You can also use the index to navigate to any verse directly as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: The LAB Index.

I think View|Synchronize is the best way to navigate the commentary but you should become familiar with how the index works. It can take you to places that are not directly linked to verses, which I'll discuss later.

The Commentary
Now that we have the LAB and turned to the verse we want to study, what will we find? For this exercise I have chosen John 3:16.

Quote: NIV: Jn 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

The LAB will have the following commentary available:

Quote: 1: Jn 3:16
The message of the Good News comes to a focus in this verse. God's love is not static or self-centered; it reaches out and draws others in. Here God sets the pattern of true love, the basis for all love relationships—when you love someone dearly, you are willing to give freely to the point of self-sacrifice. God paid dearly with the life of his Son, the highest price he could pay. Jesus accepted our punishment, paid the price for our sins, and then offered us the new life that he had bought for us. When we share the Good News with others, our love must be like Jesus'—willingly giving up our own comfort and security so that others might join us in receiving God's love.
Cross References:
John 3:16—Ro 5:8; 8:32; 1Jn 4:9-10; 5:13

2: Jn 3:16
Some people are repulsed by the idea of eternal life because their lives are miserable. But eternal life is not an extension of a person's miserable, mortal life; eternal life is God's life embodied in Christ given to all believers now as a guarantee that they will live forever. In eternal life there is no death, sickness, enemy, evil, or sin. When we don't know Christ, we make choices as though this life is all we have. In reality, this life is just the introduction to eternity. Receive this new life by faith and begin to evaluate all that happens from an eternal perspective.

3: Jn 3:16
To "believe" is more than intellectual agreement that Jesus is God. It means to put our trust and confidence in him that he alone can save us. It is to put Christ in charge of our present plans and eternal destiny. Believing is both trusting his words as reliable, and relying on him for the power to change. If you have never trusted Christ, let this promise of everlasting life be yours—and believe.

The commentary for John 3:16 is a bit unusual in that it has three different sections on it, but that is because there is so much in that verse. Most other verses or even groups of verses only get one section comprised of a few paragraphs and cross references. Note that the verses that are cross referenced are hyperlinked. Simply tapping on them will change whatever is in the other window to those Bible verses assuming you have two windows open. If you have the LAB in a full screen view and tap on the cross references, Pocket Bible will take you to the full screen view of those verses.

This is somewhat similar to how the paper version of the LAB works. The Bible is at the top of the page and the commentary at the bottom. The cross references though are usually in a center or edge column and not directly linked with the commentary. The commentary in the electronic version of the LAB is identical to the paper version. The cross references, however, appear to be more complete in the electronic version. In this example, my wife's NIV version of the LAB only has Romans 5:8 and 1 John 4:9, 10 as a cross reference to John 3:16. Romans 8 and 1 John 5 are missing. A quick check of other verses shows this to be the case quite often.

I have included the commentary from the Life Application New Testament Commentary (LANTC) review on John 3:16 as well so you can compare how the two commentaries differ.


Here the electronic version falls flat. There are absolutely no maps or visual diagrams at all that accompany the paper version. This is not a limitation of Pocket Bible either. It is quite capable of linking to JPG and GIF images within its HTML based engine. I would guess it was a matter of storage space. I have no idea how many maps and diagrams are in the paper version of the LAB, but even if it were only 500 and they were each only 15K in size, that would still be over 7MB of just images.

Book Overviews

In addition to the commentary on verses, there is an overview of each book of the Bible. To access this information, you need to use the LAB index as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Navigating to the book overviews

This is very similar to what you get in the paper version. The first thing listed is the timeline of the events discussed in the book.

Figure 5: Timeline of the book of John

Next you have the vital statistics of the book.

Figure 6: Vital Statistics

Vital statistics include the purpose of the book, who the author was, to whom the book was written if it was a letter, the setting, key verses, key people, key places and special features. Note that not every book has all of these vital statistics. Ruth, for example, is missing in many of these sub-sections.

Note that in the paper version, the "Key Places" section usually includes a map and a paragraph or two of discussion. The electronic version does not.

Figure 7: Book Introduction

Figure 7 shows the first few sentences of an introduction to the book. This will give you a sense of what the book is about, its reason for being written, how historical events at the time impacted the writing, etc.

Figure 8: Blueprint

The blueprint is an overview at 50,000 feet that breaks the book down into large sections. John, for example, is broken down into three sections, the birth of Jesus, the message of Jesus and the death of Jesus.

Figure 9: Megathemes

The megathemes are the key themes presented in the book and why they are important. Several of the above items also exist in the LANTC. In some cases, they are word for word and in others they have the same concepts, sometimes with more information and sometimes with less. If you get both the LAB and LANTC, there will be some overlap when it comes to the New Testament, but it isn't a whole lot. Definitely not enough to consider one or the other redundant.

Figure 10: Charts

Here the electronic version differs quite a bit in how these charts are presented but the content is virtually identical. In the paper version, the chart appears in the middle of the text so as you are reading, you can pause to look at the chart. This can be very handy in giving you information in a way you may not have considered it before. In the electronic version, the data is there but it is disconnected from the text. The charts appear here in the overview and then again in one massive chart section at the bottom of the LAB index where all 250 charts are listed. I would prefer that these charts be linked in some way to the LAB commentary so you can see them. The LANTC embeds its equivalent of these charts in the commentary making them more accessible, though it has its own small shortcomings.

But wait - there's more!

I've covered the meat of what is in the LAB but there are a few other items included.

Figure 11: Timeline of the Bible and World Events

This is a basic timeline of world events and how they correlate to key events in the Bible. It starts at creation, which is undated and takes you through A.D. 95 when John writes the book of Revelation.

Figure 12: Personality Profiles in the Index

Figure 13: Personality Profile of Ruth and Naomi

The personality profiles covers 100 people in the Bible. It gives a brief story of his or her life, why he or she is mentioned in the Bible, his or her strengths and accomplishments, weaknesses and mistakes, lessons you can learn from, vital statistics, like where he or she was born or his or her occupation, and the key verse he or she is mentioned in. Again, the content is identical to what is in the paper version of the LAB, but unlike the paper version, they are at the end of the index. I am not sure that really matters though. Some, like the one of Ruth and Naomi above obviously belong in the book of Ruth, but where do you put the profile of Paul? Having it at the back makes it easy to find. Fortunately for paper users, there is an index in the back that tells you where the profile is located.

Figure 14: 250 Events in the life of Christ

The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are often called the Harmonies. This is because many events in each book are often in one or two of the others. This section of the LAB takes the life of Christ, breaks it down into 250 key events and then tells you the place or places they occur in the Harmonies.

Figure 15: Touchpoints in the index

Figure 16: Touchpoint of Acceptance

In the last section, there are over 200 issues we deal with every day. It has a brief commentary on the subject then hyperlinks to relevant scriptures. I couldn't find this in the paper version anywhere, so this is either unique to the LAB from Laridian or it is something that just wasn't included in the paper NIV translation my wife has.


Like all other books from Laridian, you can add your own notes to the LAB. Also like all other books from Laridian, your notes aren't searchable. :( I can't tell you how many cool notes I've taken but can't remember exactly where in the Bible I was when I wrote them down.

The LAB seems to work with every Bible translation Laridian offers, even the new verseless paraphrase "The Message".


There are a few things I would like to see added or improved in the electronic version.
  • The Charts mentioned above should be linked to the commentary so they are near the relevant verses they cover.
  • I want the maps! I know, it might be HUGE but it is only memory card space. I'd gladly accept a 7, 10 or even 20MB folder of maps that were hyperlinked to from the commentary.
  • The View|Synchronize method of syncing the Bible with the LAB isn't always 100% accurate. For example, if you navigate to 1 Corinthians 1:20 in the Bible then View|Synchronize, the LAB won't do anything. It just sits there. This is because the LAB doesn't comment directly on verse 20. It talks about 19, and then verse 22. This means you must use the index to get the LAB at least into the same book and chapter you are in. Because the LAB is so comprehensive, this doesn't happen often, but it does happen.

Where to Buy

The LAB is available from Laridian (affiliate link) for $16.99. As noted before, you must have Pocket Bible installed and the translation of your choice for the LAB to be of any use to you.


Pocket Bible requires Windows CE 2.11 Palm Sized PC's or any Pocket PC to run. The LAB alone requires nearly 4.3MB of storage space. It will work just fine from your storage card.


There is no doubt that next to the Bible itself, this is the most used book in my considerable 32MB library of Pocket Bible books. If you only have the funds or room for one commentary to go along with your Pocket Bible, LAB is the one to buy. To see what other commentaries, translations and books I use with Pocket Bible, visit my web page.


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