A review of free Bible study software

One of the things that are vital to spiritual growth in Christ is daily Bible study. In an effort to aid you with this I’ve decided to review four freely available computer software programs.

Bible Explorer 4

Installation was straight forward and without problems. Software requires Internet connection to install 3 books. Three books should automatically be installed with the setup program instead of requiring another download.

The layout of the software looks very practical and uncluttered although there is the possibility to open up too many panes and create a cluttered look. Navigation through the software is very straightforward.

Bible Explorer 4 contains a personalized Bible reading planner where you can set up a schedule to read the Bible. After choosing what and when to read, a calendar is created with the specific chapters that need to be read. This planned schedule looks to be very useful.

Nave’s Topic is another useful feature of the software where you can study and read the Bible in a topical or keyword fashion. This is a very nice feature and can assist in bringing more meaning and understanding to various texts.

ESword

Installation has a bit too many next screens to click through and your PC requires restarting after installation. Automatically creates a desktop shortcut icon without giving you the option not to have one.

Once inside the program my first impression is that it looks confusing, although the tips that came up when starting the program make it seem promising. The main reason for the confusing appearance is because in the Bible window nearly every word or phrase is annotated with Strong’s Hebrew and Greek dictionaries. The software offers a few useful features such as the ability to maintain a prayer list, one click pasting of verses into your study notes and the option to display a paper texture so that it looks like you’re reading from a book rather than a computer screen. I was not able to find a way to disable the annotation and tame the confusing appearance of the ESword software. That alone doesn’t make the software conducive to Bible study so I cannot recommend its use.

The Word

This was the easiest installation of any of the programs. The program’s interface seems to be the most intuitive of them all and offers the option to increase and decrease font size amongst other features. Searching for words and phrases works great. The software offers a parallel view where verses that you choose are shown from different Bible translations in parallel. There is also an area where you can type in study notes. The program offers three methods to navigate to a particular verse. You can navigate through the Bible tree, verse reference or search. Overall it is an easy to use, straightforward and intuitive Bible study software.

The Sword Project

The installation of this program is the most complex and Internet access is definitely required. About 75% through the installation a readme window opens up and subsequently the Crosswire home page opens up. This left me pretty confused as to what to do next. On the right side of the Crosswire page there is a block with the title Download new modules for your Sword library. I clicked on the Crosswire official repository link and on that page there is an installation help link. I followed the directions on that page and filled out the ftp information. After saving the information the software provides a list of modules that are available for installation. Browse through the list and double click on the modules that you would like to install. The program downloads the modules and installs them. Closing the window allows the software to finish it’s installation routine.

This program offers a parallel view of various Bible translations and three different daily devotionals or in other words, readings. Book marking verses for future reference is very easy to do. Editing the bookmarks is managed nicely as well. Searching for words or phrases does take quite a bit of time and seems slow. To add personal study notes a new window pops up but it would be better if you could just type them in on the screen. Font sizes and colours can be adjusted easily to your liking. This software is very powerful and feature rich.

I would recommend The Word software since there were no big issues with this software. The layout worked and the program was easy to use. Using the program was an enjoyable experience from beginning to end.

If you are computer savvy and serious about your Bible study then the Sword Project is the right software for you since it includes many powerful features. All of the Bible study software reviewed here can assist with your spiritual growth in Christ, and best of all the software is free.

praise our Lord,

Dennis

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