Which Bible Study Software Should I Choose?
Be-Attitudes Part 8
Rev. Joe Kramer
I got asked a question as to what software is best to use for Bible Study. Well here are my top 6 software choices for Bible study. This will be broken down into 3 categories. Top 3 Paid, Top 3 Free and my Top 2 recommendations. I will then give you my overall recommendation.
Logos 4 Bible Software
Depending on what you are looking for it has 9 different packages which range from $150 for a Home edition to $4,290 dollars for the Portfolio edition (has every major work in Christendom throughout history!). I won’t tell you which one I got but it wasn’t the most expensive by any means!
This is the program that I bought while doing my Master’s Degree. Logos is my all-time favorite computer program. It is multi-platform. This works on Windows (XP and Higher), Mac OSX, iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets. The best feature is that if I am studying on PC when I open that resource on another computer or iPad/Android device it picks up where I was reading aut-magically.
This program has multiple layers on which to choose. It is great for the novice and the scholar alike! It may seem a little steep but they offer no interest payment arrangements that make it affordable for just about any student. [Click Here] For a comparison of the different base packages
LOGOS Research Systems just came out with an app called faithlife (http://faithlifebible.com) which has an amazing interface and extensive commentary. For those who have LOGOS you can get it for free right now. When it is fully released it will cost about $30.00. The Best thing is that the app integrates all of your LOGOS material into its interface. This has become the way I study on the go on my android phone and iPad.
The following review video explains in a lot more detail
The cost of this program is currently around $350 for the preacher’s library. The problem with this program is that their website doesn’t have specific bundles listed in an easy to find manner. A quick search on the internet will result in different bundle prices. You can get additional books and resources from their website. It is a windows and Mac software.
Next to LOGOS, WordSearch is one of my favorite programs. It has an amazing feature that allows you to type in a range of verses and it pulls all materials (lexicons, dictionaries, commentaries, etc.) and produces them for you to go over and study. You don’t have to even do a search through the electronic resources. It does it for you. This is the one feature I miss having in LOGOS.
This has a lot of material for use within it and it is a good value at its price point.
The following is a good video that overviews the product
YouTube Video (Click Here if you can’t view, Having issues with embedding)
Bible Explorer 4.0 Limited Edition
This is a windows only program it is produced by the same company that does WordSearch, but this program only Costs $14.95. While it is by no means expensive it does offer you some great classic commentaries and study tools with a good mix of contemporary materials for devotions and spiritual growth.
It features 14 Bible Translations and 121 hand-picked reference works
Please see their website for more details.
e-sword is by far the best program available for free. It is only available on windows, but it has an intuitive interface with a lot of out-of-copyright works. If you are going to go free, this is the best one by far. I love that this has the original Webster’s dictionary with the scripture references in it.
The following is what the maker of this program has to say
- “e-Sword is feature rich and user friendly. This combination is what I pursued, and as such there were decisions I had to make when implementing various features. If a feature became too complicated for anyone other than a software engineer to use, then I abandoned the design in favor of keeping things simple. The $500.00 software packages might be able to do more “things”, but does the average user know how to take advantage of them? No!”
This program is available for both Linux and Windows. It integrates into the SWORD project. This is a project that seeks to take all of the out-of-copyright materials and makes them available for developers to integrate into their programs.
This program has a great way of getting content. You simply go into the download manager, select what resources you want and it downloads and integrates them into the program “auto-magically.”
The following is a snapshot of features from their website
- Tabbed display
- Show each version in a separate tab, or create tabs just to hold images, maps, or to read books. Tabs are remembered each time you re-open Xiphos, and you can even save a particular set of tabs and open them at a later time.
- Built-in module manager
- Install, remove, archive, and index modules with the module manager. You can install modules from a variety of sources, including the Crosswire and Xiphos repositories. Video Help Online Help.
- Fast indexed search
- Once you have created an index with the module manager, you can do extremely fast (almost instantaneous) searches over entire books. Search features include searching for Strong’s numbers, wildcard search, specified range search (eg, Old Testament), and many more.
- Multi-book search
- With Xiphos, you aren’t just limited to searching Bibles. Commentaries, dictionaries, and all other modules are searchable. In addition, you can search multiple books at the same time. You can set up sets of books that you can later use in your searches. Read more.
- Map and Image support
- Xiphos has great map and image support. Images are resized automatically to fit in the space allotted them. If you need to see an image full size, you can click on it to open it in an external viewer. Like many other things in Xiphos, the resizing is completely optional. If you don’t like it, simply go to Edit->Preferences and turn off the option.Editing Preferences
- Pseudo-interlinear display
- With the mozembed rendering engine, Xiphos arranges text with the Strongs Numbers and morphology directly below each word, rather than following the word as many programs do. This creates a clean, easy-to-read interface.
- Read Aloud
- With the Festival speech engine installed (we package it by default on Windows), Xiphos will read aloud the text to you. You can have it read every verse as you change verses, or you can select a region of text for it to read. This can be nice for those with hearing difficulties, or those who simply want to have the Bible or some other book read to them while they are doing something else.
- Localized interface
- We have translations of the interface in 11 different languages. We have particularly good support for Right to Left languages such as Hebrew, Arabic, and Farsi. If your language is available, we’d be glad to have your assistance in translating the interface into your language. It is a small commitment of time, and will be beneficial to many other people around the world.
- User-created modules (journals, prayer lists, commentaries)
- Xiphos allows you to create your own modules in the form of prayer lists, journals, and commentaries. You can keep these for your personal use or share them with friends.
Eloquent (formerly MacSword)
For my Mac OSX folks out there in the world, I like Eloquent. This, in my experience, has been the best software for Mac OSX that is free. It is simple intuitive and free!
Here are the features they list.
- “Eloquent (formerly MacSword) is a free and open-source application for research and study of God and His Word. Eloquent (formerly MacSword) is developed specifically for Mac OS X, and is localised in French, English, German and Swedish. Eloquent (formerly MacSword) allows you to read and browse many different bibles translations in different languages from Hebrew to Albanian. As well as reading devotionals, commentaries, dictionaries and lexicons, it also supports searching and advanced features such as services so that you can access the Bible in any program.”
- By reading my quick notes on LOGOS you know that I recommend this program simply because they are constantly updating it, works on multiple devices, and is very polished no matter what your study level happens to be.
- This one would have to be e-sword. Though e-sword can be harder to get content to put into the program (simply because each book is its own installer that has to be downloaded and installed) it is very easy to use and polished. Xiphos lost this in my mind because it just isn’t polished enough in my opinion. It is almost like it can’t get out of its’ own way so that we can just do some study.
Overall Preferred Program
LOGOS Bible Study Software
For more free Bible study Software please go to http://www.crosswire.org/
If you have one that you think should be added to this list, please place it in the comments section.