Bible Study/Library Software

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humble_soul

Puritan Board Freshman
I've spent time and money building up my printed library and have neglected the blessings of computer based Bible software for too long! I've been using web based Bible Study tools, but I find those somewhat lacking..

What is the best Bible/Library/Research software available today?

Price isn't the top factor. I am willing to spend more for quality.

I'm a power user and software engineer by trade. I'm willing to invest time and effort in learning the software.

The most important factors are (not in any particular order):

1) Extensible (i.e. the ability to add new works like commentaries, dictionaries, lexicons, and etc). I suppose this would require some kind of formatting on of the text. If the software could import these formats, that would be good enough.

2) Multiple Bible translation built-in or in a format the software can understand.

3) Mutliple extras already built-in (like the commentaries and other tools mentioned above in #1) or available.

4) An exportable format that other software can use so if the software is dropped for some reason I can move my library to another software!

Does this kind of software exist, or am I dreaming?

Thanks,
hs
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
[quote:5bd4093601][i:5bd4093601]Originally posted by humble_soul[/i:5bd4093601]
I've spent time and money building up my printed library and have neglected the blessings of computer based Bible software for too long! I've been using web based Bible Study tools, but I find those somewhat lacking..

What is the best Bible/Library/Research software available today?

Price isn't the top factor. I am willing to spend more for quality.

I'm a power user and software engineer by trade. I'm willing to invest time and effort in learning the software.

The most important factors are (not in any particular order):

1) Extensible (i.e. the ability to add new works like commentaries, dictionaries, lexicons, and etc). I suppose this would require some kind of formatting on of the text. If the software could import these formats, that would be good enough.

2) Multiple Bible translation built-in or in a format the software can understand.

3) Mutliple extras already built-in (like the commentaries and other tools mentioned above in #1) or available.

4) An exportable format that other software can use so if the software is dropped for some reason I can move my library to another software!

Does this kind of software exist, or am I dreaming?

Thanks,
hs [/quote:5bd4093601]

Chris,

I have been extensively using both the Bibleworks and Libronix/Logos programs. In addition, I have used Online Bible and E-Sword, which are free. Here are my thoughts:

First, be aware that every program has its strengths [u:5bd4093601]and[/u:5bd4093601] weaknesses. Anyone who tells you otherwise has not used other programs extensively.

Second, you need to get a handle on what you want to use the software for. That is probably the most important thing. Having said that let me give some summary comments, and then urge you to run a search on the site for software, because there are a few other threads on this issue.

[u:5bd4093601]Bibleworks ($300)[/u:5bd4093601]
Pro: the search function for original languages is unparalleled. It is fast, easy to use and handles about every version known to man (yes, you can search in Rumanian if you want). You get "morphology" for all the major Greek text bases (MT, TR, USB4, etc.). This is VERY useful if you use the Majority Text instead of the critical text. It has add-ons for every aspect of Greek/Hebrew study (HALOt, BADG, Futato's grammar, Gensenius, Wallace's grammar, etc).
It has some non original language-based add-ons (Matthew Henry, Westminster Confession, a nice Timeline), but that is not a major "pro" in my book. It uses Greek and Hebrew fonts, which are very well made and can make it easy to use, but hard to send files to someone else who does not have the fonts. It has a good diagramming tool.
The interface is very good for viewing text interlinearly on the verse level, not so good on the passage level (i.e. it is hard to fit all the versions in the window if there are more than a few verses.
It has a great set of instructional videos.

Con: There is almost nothing in the way of non-language add-ons. This is intentional from Bibleworks and will likely not change. The program is designed to be "tightly intregrated" So if you are looking for Calvin's commentary's (or basically anything beyond Henry) don't look here. I also find the interface a bit annoying when I want a passage (say 1 Cor 13) open in both the Greek and English for cross reference (usually while attending a lecture). And of course since it has no real add-ons, it cannot run searches there.

[u:5bd4093601]Logos (Scholars' Library $450)[/u:5bd4093601]
Pro: Add-ons, and add-ons, and add-ons. You can get just about everything for this, and if they don't have it, it is probably coming - Church Fathers, Calvin, Study Bibles, maps, etc. The interface is great for having multiple windows open, allowing simultaneous viewing of two passages (or at most 3). The search function is good for resources, not original language. It has a nice "homepage" where you can set up prayer lists, bible reading schedules, etc.


Con:
It is not so good for interlinear type viewing - there is no way to have multiple versions open in one window. So if I want to see 1 Cor. 13:8 in 6 versions, I use Bibleworks. It is just easier. Technical support is not so good, usually a long wait. Beware - many of the original language tools require a $150 supplement.


Of the two free programs, I like Online Bible more than E-Sword. Online Bible is completely free if you can download MB files from the net, and it has probably more resources than Logos. The Greek/Hebrew text is unaccented/unpointed, which makes it hard to use, but english searches are fast and good (almost as good as Bibleworks). Check it out at www.onlinebible.net

In summary, if you were going to do a good deal of heavy, technical language search work - which I would peg more at the academic level than pastoral - go with Bibleworks. If you want a portable library on your laptop, go with Logos. A good compromise might be Bibleworks with Online Bible; or Logos with a used version of Bibleworks from Ebay (the latest is 6.0, you can get 4.0 pretty cheap - maybe $100-$50)

Any specific questions?
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Fred,
I read a brochure about BibleWorks on their web site and was amazed at how powerful the program is. Much more than what I would need, but I admire the horsepower under the hood. In addition to the multitude of other things you can do, you can even search for words that appear in verses up to 3 verses apart from each other. Nifty.

Anyway, there is one feature that I liked and I was wondering if in your "Bible Software travels" you've come across other (cheaper/free) software that includes a Bible timeline similar to what BibleWorks has? I'm trying to gain a better feel for the OT books, when they were written, over what period of time they were written, and where they fit into the overall picture. A simple timeline would be very helpful.

Thanks,
Bob
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
[quote:f1e3e5a26c][i:f1e3e5a26c]Originally posted by blhowes[/i:f1e3e5a26c]
Fred,
I read a brochure about BibleWorks on their web site and was amazed at how powerful the program is. Much more than what I would need, but I admire the horsepower under the hood. In addition to the multitude of other things you can do, you can even search for words that appear in verses up to 3 verses apart from each other. Nifty.

Anyway, there is one feature that I liked and I was wondering if in your "Bible Software travels" you've come across other (cheaper/free) software that includes a Bible timeline similar to what BibleWorks has? I'm trying to gain a better feel for the OT books, when they were written, over what period of time they were written, and where they fit into the overall picture. A simple timeline would be very helpful.

Thanks,
Bob [/quote:f1e3e5a26c]

Bob,

I haven't run across this feature in another program, but there are probably many websites that would have the similar information. Again, if you like that, and did not need the "super" features of Bibleworks, you should hunt around for a Bibleworks 4.0 (which I think has it).

If you go to Phil Johnson's Hall of Church History site, he has plenty of resources like this.
http://www.gty.org/~phil/hall.htm
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Fred,
Thanks for your response. I'll search the web and see what I can find.

I visited Phil Johnson's web site. I mean no disrespect to anybody, but I couldn't help but chuckle when I followed the link to the [u:bb5acdd12f]Floor Map[/u:bb5acdd12f]. He's got quite the sense of humor.

I'll poke around his site to see what else I can find.

Bob
 

exscentric

Puritan Board Freshman
There is a bible timeline out there, but can't remember which program it was on. You might check the extra downloads at e-swort.net.

Olivetree.com has a ppc and hpc bible that is pretty good for the price (free for the basics, if you want strong's numbers it is 25.).

http://www.ageslibrary.com has a lot of books in pdf format. I have seen a number of offerings online also in pdf.

As to the thought of adding resources, there has been a lot of talk about getting together and there is some success but not much. Step reader format is one that multiple programs work with. There is some info that can be used with different programs.

I find myself using two programs most of the time and then others at times if I am not finding what I want in the normal twol
 
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