Swordsearcher really is one of those programs I’ve always liked, but you know, $59 goes a long way in this world. Every time I get a new computer, I load in the Swordsearcher demo and play with it, trying to decide whether or not to buy it. Yesterday I finally took the plunge and bought it.
I really can’t describe the emotion I went through buying it. I own how many Bible programs? I’ve paid for several, including several hundred dollars for Logos (and saved quite a bit of money the way I did it!). But for some reason, I felt the most incredible satisfaction buying it.
I do know most Fundamentalists swear by Swordsearcher. If you’re a narrow is the way King James Only Fundamentalist, apparently Swordsearcher is the most commonly used Bible program.
I’ve written a few articles using Swordsearcher, and this current one is no exception. What makes Swordsearcher so special? I’ll tell you. While the Greek Textus Receptus is available in many programs, the Hebrew Old Testament is not. Quite literally, Swordsearcher is the only one to feature the Ben Chayyim Masoretic Hebrew texts.
I need to explain that just a touch. All the Bible programs offer the Ben Asher Masoretic text. The words “Ben Asher” and “Masoretic” do not go together. It’s like the “Majority text” name – the manuscripts it is connected to is not the majority of the Greek texts used – that’s the Textus Receptus – but they changed the name of the modern texts to confuse Christians. In other words, they lied.
It’s the same with the Ben Asher. They lied to confuse Christians. Only the Ben Chayyim should be used, and only the Ben Chayyim should be called Masoretic. The Ben Asher is invalid under Jewish law.
Now that I’ve explained that, what do you do when you purchase Swordsearcher? They make that clear, just in case there’s problems later. Take the install files you downloaded, and copy it to CD Rom or to a USB to permanently safeguard it. Also, I’d put the download key, download link instructions and the registration number into Evernote immediately. I’ve done that with the registrations for every program I own. Almost losing all my e-mail earlier this year nearly cost me passwords and registration numbers to all my software, so I put all that into Evernote immediately.
The next thing you want to do is go to the User tab on the menu bar, and click “Create New User Commentary.” Call it whatever you like. “My commentary” is good, but it seems like the kind of name you’d call it and think later on, “I wonder what that is?” I’m kidding. I called it My Commentary.
Next, create a user book. Call it “My Topical Studies.” Here’s a list to get you started.
Prophecies of the Messiah
Prophecies of the End Times
That’s just a few of the topical studies you’ll end up with.
You’re ready to get started. You’ll see that there’s four little icons on the very left of each verse. The one with 4 diamonds is your commentary. If it’s grayed out, you have nothing written there. Well, of course – you just created it. The goal is after 3 years, you should have ZERO verses in Swordsearcher with grayed out commentary icons. Every one of them should be black. This will let you know that you’ve written something there.
So, get those two made, and go to your “My Topical Studies” user book. Under Bible, click to edit it, and then add “Luke 8:21”. Click the green arrow, and it saves it. Ta-da! You’ve got your first entry made in what is your own Topical Bible.
Under Luke 8:21 in My Commentary, I added these words…
ἀκούοντες, hear the word of God, λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ
I did this as a test, because a lot of Bible programs cannot save Greek or Hebrew. I did go to the interlinear page in Swordsearcher and check, but it only shows the Lemma of the form, not the actual manuscript. That’s a fancy way for saying it only had the dictionary form of the Greek word, and not the Greek text itself. When you go to the TR tab (Textus Receptus), you’ll see the Manuscript form. Don’t fall into the trap of only looking at the Strong’s KJV tab – start learning some Greek and learn about tenses and sentence structure. The tenses are important!
Okay, let’s get into how to study the Bible using Swordsearcher.
Set up a reading plan. Understand you’re going to first read your Bible, then go back to the beginning of it and start study. Remember, reading is not study. If Swordsearcher allowed it, I’d say set up two reading plans – one is your reading plan through the year (such as a 120 day schedule for reading your Bible), and the other your study plan. But to my knowledge, Swordsearcher does not allow it.
As you study (the study part, not the reading part), try to put a comment in at least every third verse. Next year will be one of the other ones, and the year after that, the only verses you haven’t put commentary in. Guess what? If you’d started this in 2016, this would be your last year of doing it!
So, write comments in Gen. 1:1, and the next one you’ll comment in is Gen. 1:4.
BTW, if you know your shorthand, the way to quickly get to a book in the Bible is Ge 1.4 for Genesis 1:4. Type that in the reference window.
Start using the Webster’s 1828 to accumulate definitions, and cross check that against the Greek. ANYTHING you learn should go into your “My Commentary” window.
A good way to get started is to also put in every cross reference to your active verse (the () icon) inside your commentary. That’s your road map.
Remember, reading is not study. You have ALL the tools you really need inside Swordsearcher.
Now, if you REALLY want to REALLY learn your Bible, this year do 120 day reading plans. Make the third time through in the year a 125 day reading plan, so you’re finishing up on the 31st instead of on the 26th.
If you want to make HUGE inroads in your study, you can buy the Way Of Life Encyclopedia and Things Hard to Be Understood by David Cloud for Swordsearcher. The WOLE will quickly be your go-to dictionary. I strongly recommend it.
Try to find at least two words at random to look up in a dictionary. If of course, you see a word you’re not sure of, then that should be one of the words. But the act of looking things up in the Webster’s and the WOLE will greatly benefit your understanding of the Bible.
Again, the goal is not to complete your commentary in one year. It usually takes ten years to complete a commentary on the Bible. You’re going to get something in every verse after three years, and then you can leisurely refine it over several years after it.
Here’s the exercise – it’s half an hour after the Rapture. Someone finds your laptop sitting open in your house. Swordsearcher is open. And for the unbelieving person who just found your computer, something that explains EVERY VERSE in the Bible is now available.
That’s what you’re writing. And if you’re a pastor, do them a favor and make sure you put copious notes in Timothy and Titus on how to run a church!