Many people are turning to Bible apps for the convenience of carrying the book on their phones or tablets.

Many translations are available; however, the popular New International Version was hard to come by.

That recently changed. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the commissioning of the NIV, publisher Zondervan has released a free NIV app for Apple and Android. The app allows you to stream the NIV for free during 2015. The basic NIV Bible text is available to download for $5.99 to use after the year’s end.

The app is heavy with features similar to some of the other top Bible apps.

You can take notes, underline or highlight passages, or bookmark your spot.

Study Bibles from the NIV line can by downloaded for $14.99 each. Their notes show up with the text. Full-access trials of four devotional versions are available through March. Other devotional and study versions are available for a three-day trial. All downloaded Bibles are available for offline use if wanted.

A resources area contains a one-year reading plan, as well as articles and video about the history of the translation, and important people in the history of English Bible translation.

Searches can be made by keywords or tagged words, which access cross-references and footnotes.

The app can read passages to you and has a night-reading mode as well as controls for font size and type. It is also set up to let users share verses via social media and email.

Visit thenivbible.com to learn more.

Crucial passages

Looking for a way to use your new NIV app?

Consider a reading plan offered through the blog at BibleGateway.com.

The Jan. 2 entry was “The 100 Crucial Bible Passages to Know.”

Its author, Jonathan Petersen, suggests reading two passages a week for 50 weeks to get an overview of the Bible.

This plan starts with Creation, the Fall and the Flood in Genesis. It moves into the stories about Abraham and his family. Then it heads onto Moses and the nation of Israel, the kings and prophets, and a few Psalms and Proverbs.

The New Testament starts with Jesus’ birth, the Sermon on the Mount, some of Jesus’ miracles, his Crucifixion and Resurrection. If follows with the stories of the early church and ends with five passages from Revelation.

Visit biblegateway.com/blog/2015/01/the-100-crucial-bible-passages-to-know/ to see the complete list.