I keep forgetting to write this one. I write a lot about Bible software, because we’ve gone (in this last days) far beyond the pencil-notebook-Bible days. Bible software (for the most part) used to just give you an electronic platform to read your Bible. Then it moved to the “Complete library” phase. We’re now rapidly moving past that to study tools that alllow you to do the kind of analysis and study that was impossible to do without advanced knowledge, access to many scholarly (read: unsaved) books, and lots of time. Most people are not interested in pulling down a half dozen books on Greek and Hebrew and studying.
But when it’s built into your Bible Software package, and a simple typing in of a word or search term yields results in Greek… suddenly its open to you.
There are several Bible programs that have these kinds of features. One is interesting, but I have to finally rule it out. Ready for the list? Read the whole thing, I’m on a caffeiene kick, and some of this may be funny.
Bible Analyzer. This program does things no other program does, and it’s free. It has little in the way of original language tools. Get it. Everyone needs this program. No setup needed.
Bibleworks: I like the fact that the Bible Works people actually listen when you ask for the Ben Chayim Hebrew Texts, and don’t dismiss what you’re talking about. The program has one option – $395. That’s it. you get everything it has. While some people love it, it runs afoul of several things necessary to Bible Study… no Bible dictionaries, handbooks, encyclopedias, or commentaries. Any other electronic texts, no. All it really has is Bibles, and tools. That’s it. So when you come across a verse that makes you hesitate, or it has a word in Greek that is used less than a dozen times in the Bible and you want to see any entries on it in contemporary Greek texts… sorry. You’re on your own. If you feel like you completely understand the Bible with no help from others, great! Bible Works has it all. I will say that apparently either Wordsearch books are compatible, or they’ve been slowly, casually, making some Wordsearch materials backward compatible for Bibleworks. I’m passing on this unless I somehow invent the left hand carrot peeler and make millions. Then quite literally, i’m buying every Bible program known to man! Mwahahahahaha!
Wordsearch. Some foreign language tools.You’re pretty much limited to looking in Strong’s, then a dictionary. From what I’ve been reading, the Morphology explorer is a waste of the $80 they want for it. It’s been promising upcoming capabilities since 2011, and they’ve yet to do it.
Wordsearch has a lot of other strong points. If you’re not doing much in the way of Greek or Hebrew study, it may literally be the piece of software you’re looking for. Up until this year, I was a die-hard Wordsearch person. But as I moved into acutally using what I learned in Seminary, I found that I was quickly moving beyond what Wordsearch was capable of offering. Another review I read of Wordsearch describes it accurately of stopping “just short of excellence”. he’s right. If they’d just done a little more work on it, trying to polish every feature to better than “Good enough for now”, it would be a world-class piece of software.
How to set up Wordsearch… This actually took me years to figure out. If you open every book, you’ll crash. You just don’t have enough memory for it! The Wordsearch library is HUGE, and I think offers you more books than any other competitor. This is their strongest point! So… before you install this software! If you managed to snag Quickverse 2010 or 2011 from Ebay or Amazon or even a yard sale, install Quickverse first! If you also had Bible Explorer 4.0, same thing – install that first. The installation of Wordsearch afterwards will automatically import all of your books from Qiuickverse and Bible Explorer into it.
Next, run the software help wizard. It will take you through preferences, and let you set it up the way you want it. Wordsearch is very limited on how the layout is set up. I used to run Quickverse 3.0 and Logos 2.0 with multiple tiles per window. Wordsearch really doesn’t let you do that. But it does have display settings of font sizes for older people. You can change all the fonts to several font families (it ignores this, by the way… I suppose its on their list of things to fix) and font sizes.
Once you’re done picking your colors, fonts, default books, etc… go to the Library window. Open one Bible, one commentary, one dictionary. Okay? Now, here’s how to open a million books without crashing the program! In the bottom left hand corner of every book window that supports it is something called a carousel. I didn’t really start using this until this year
Open the Carousel window, and it will show you every book you can load into it. Once that’s done, you can save it, and simply cycle back and forth between them. I’m not happy with that, but there you go. It’s their way to let you keep 300 books open without crashing the program.
You’ll need to create a notebook in Wordsearch, for all your findings. The word processor in Wordsearch is abysmal. I suppose it’s on their list of things to improve, and they’ll get to it during the Millennium, I suppose.
Accordance: Accordance to me is a little odd. They offer a substantial program, but the way they do things is odd because it’s written for Mac. Yes, it does work in Windows. You’ll need a username and a password to run the settings wizard. Because I just got stubborn and am tired of getting one more “User Name: philipdean” to keep track of, I never did it. I did click open the “Preferences” and poked at it a little.
Accordance supposedly has a large library they can offer, but browsing through their book store, I’m not seeing it. They prefer to sell exclusively in bundles. So if all you want is Smith’s Bible Dictionary, you have to buy the bundle that has that. I’ll say this for Accordance – it’s a lot easier to use than Logos. If you’re not a software guru type, this may be your option. It’s easier to work with the Greek if you don’t know Greek in this program! clicking on the English word shows the corresponding Greek word by highlighting it. Enough of that, and you literally learn it! You can choose to see the word in the Greek, and by having a Bible window open with Strong’s visible, you can see the lemmas highlighted at the same time. VERY handy. You cannot import Bible books from other programs into Accordance.
I would start by opening a window with two KIng James Bibles,, and making the Strong’s numbers visible in one. Choose to show the Greek lemmas. Now, in the same window, add a Textus Receptus. How do you do this? Open a King James, then click the “Add parallel”. As you can see from my screen shot, I’ve got tabs open to other books, probably some of which I really don’t need open. Originally I was going to make August as “Accordance” month, and really give the program a fair shake, but…
Supposedly, if you use Accordance enough, it learns what you like to research, and will prioritize that for you. Creepy…
Logos. To set up Logos, you have to open it up, and poke at the preferences. like the other programs, you can save your desktops. It’s not something I bother with too much in other programs, but I do switch my desktops far more in Logos than I did in any other program. There’s no setup wizard like the other programs. But since Logos changes desktops depending on what you’re trying to do, that’s not too much of a problem. I did have to poke at program preferences to get the program how i like it.
If you click on the layouts button, you can see a number of displays. Logos will organize your own books according to types. Every now and then it makes a mistake, or puts a book where I don’t need it, but I can just drag and drop. You’ll have to prioritize your library, otherwise I think it makes the ESV the default Bible. In the Logos videos they tell you to prioritize 5 of everything. Bibles, commentaries, lexicons, grammars, encyclopedias. It will open those resources in that manner.
Now, if you want a simple layout, just open a bunch of study titles. Grammars, any user books you’ve imported, Bibles, commentaries, encyclopedias, etc. To do this, once you’ve prioritized your library, click on the taskbar repeatedly. It’ll open things in the order you’ve prioritized. If you click the layouts button, you’ll see several icons of layouts. just click one.
Logos arranges your books. Choose to save it as a named layout, and now you can just choose it later. Be sure to update the active layout regularly. You’ll see what I mean when you use Logos.
Sorry, but I’ve got a sinus headache, and I’ll have to finish this another day.