Free Bible Study Software

My favourite way to study the Bible is using my computer. The software now available is easy to use, has comprehensive features and, very importantly, can be downloaded for free from the Internet. In this article I want to look at the features you can expect to find in Bible study software and overview three of the best Bible study packages currently available.

Bible Study Features

All Bible software available has powerful features. Included among them are:

Multiple Texts

Bible software has the ability to display multiple versions of the Bible at the same time, enabling users to read and compare different translations. Most software provides different English translations -- both modern and classic -- foreign language versions and original biblical language versions.

Verse Look-up

Verse look-up is a basic function of Bible software. Users should be able to jump to a particular verse quickly and easily.

Search Capabilities

Good Bible software should be able to perform concordance searches quickly and easily. These include searches for a single word, multiple words and phrases and complex searches. These capabilities enable users to do a variety of searches to see how and where a word or phrase is used.

Reference Tools

Good reference tools are also an important feature in Bible Study software. Available reference tools include lexicons, Bible dictionaries, commentaries and various topic and cross referencing tools. These tools are helpful in providing in-depth information on particular words, topics and books of the Bible.

Other Features

Other features including personal note files, bookmarks, daily devotional readings and Bible reading plans are also available with most software.
Bible Software Downloads

There are a number of web sites that provide good Bible software for download. This software varies in both features and usability. Personal preference has a lot to do with the choice you will make, but in my opinion three of the best examples of free Bible software are e-Sword, Online Bible, and Sword.
e-Sword

e-Sword (www.e-sword.net) is produced by Rick Meyers who provides the software and most of the resources for free. It also includes The Message and the Contemporary English Version (CEV) Bible which normally have to be purchased. The best feature of this software is its ease of use. The screen is simple in its layout, providing easy access to all features. Most users find that they can use e-Sword with little or no training and no manual. Searching is easy and it is very fast. e-Sword also includes a daily Bible reading planner, a prayer diary, a devotional and a number of graphics such as maps and charts. This is a great piece of software, but only available for Microsoft Windows.

Online Bible

The Online Bible (www.onlinebible.net) has been around for many years and has been the standard in Bible study software. The user interface is flexible and although it is not as intuitive as either Sword or e-Sword, after a little use and customisation it is highly useable. Searching is easy and very fast. The Online Bible is a good Bible package available for Windows and for Macintosh users.

Sword

Sword is produced by the Crosswire Bible Society (www.crosswire.org) and is easy to use with many powerful features. Sword provides very powerful searching capabilities and a comprehensive list of books and other resources available for download. One of its key features is that it will run on different computer systems -- Microsoft Windows, Macintosh OS-X, Linux and several PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants).
All three of these packages are very good. My favourite is Sword because it runs under Linux which I use on my computer, but for Windows, e-Sword is probably the best choice. All three of these tools provide access to numerous resources including different Bible versions, lexical works, commentaries and dictionaries. All are easy to use, have powerful search features and cost little or nothing.

Please note that these programmes are large so downloading them may take a while -- but it is worth the wait. I would love to hear of other free Bible software that you may use, please e-mail ([email protected]) information about them.

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