Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Word

Wow. My goal with this blog was to write at least once a week, maybe every other week if I got busy. But that was assuming I would have something interesting to say. I am determined not to write just for the sake of seeing me write - there's enough drivel on the net these days without adding mine.

Anyway, on to the subject at hand. If you've read this blog or my personal web page you probably know I am a big fan of Bible software. I love to try them out, test them, and see what's new. I currently am using WORDSearch and Logos, two very fine packages. The smaller packages on the market actually seem to have better interfaces, but cannot match the available library and resources, nor do they usually offer many contemporary versions, as publishers don't usually work with the minnows in the pond.

But, I have to tell you about one such minnow - The Word. Someone who had read one of my Bible software overviews pointed out this package to me. I almost ignored it due to time constraints, but I'm glad I didn't. The Word is a feat of user intelligence smarts. I am completely enamored with the product. Too many Bible software packages make you conform to their strict interface paradigm, which nine times out of ten, is not exactly how you would use the software. The Word fixes all this - the interface is your servant, to be molded and conformed to your liking, all the while maximizing your study. If you have a wide-screen monitor you can fit an amazing number of constructs on your screen in a logical and consistent manner that does not feel cluttered.

There are so many nice touches throughout the product it's difficult to even start listing them. For instance, all verse references in the search results are colored either red or green, depending on whether the verse is in the OT or the NT. This might seem odd or unnecessary, but it works very nice in practice.

The only downside is the same for all single-author Bible software products out there - lack of modern versions and resources. While the standard public domain texts are all available (KJV, Strongs, Matthew Henry, Adam Clark, ISBE, etc.), it's a shame we can't have more in order to take advantage of this wonderful product. Hopefully the author will be able to convince some of the publishers to release their versions in The Word format, but it is difficult to imagine this happening and the product remaining free (yes, that is correct, The Word is free).

The author has created an import tool that will import e-Sword modules directly into The Word. This is very nice. Unfortunately, the author of e-Sword has password-protected most of his modules, even the ones that are in public domain. However, there are many e-Sword modules out there you can find and import. Additionally, the import tool is slated to handle other formats in the future, such as ThML, the document markup language specific for all the awesome resources at Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

Anyway, I can't recommend The Word enough. But this is important - make sure you download the Version 3 Beta product instead of Version 2. While it is beta, and you will therefore notice the occasional non-working feature or bug, V3 is so far ahead of V2 that I can't recommend V2 over V3 at all.

God bless.