Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bible Software Review

It's done. Finally. Six months after I started, five months longer than I thought it would take, a full review on every single Bible software package available, with a couple noted exceptions.

I have been a fan of Bible software for many years. The right software can enhance your study, improve your teaching, and give you access to a library that would cost more than most of us could afford if we had to purchase the printed equivalents.

I thought it would be fun, and hopefully useful, to review all the available Bible software packages on the market, and provide information and opinion on which ones I thought were the best. While it was fun, it definitely was more work than I expected. So, at the very least I hope it is useful to someone.

Listed below are all the packages with their final overall score, on a scale of 1-5. For a detailed overview of individual scores in six different categories, an explanation of my review criteria, and why some products were skipped, please visit my Bible Software Review page.

(Click on the product name to jump to an in-depth review of that product)

1.WORDsearch 8............4.0
2.The Word 3..............3.8
2.SwordSearcher 5.........3.8
4.Bible Explorer 4........3.7
5.Logos 3.................3.5
6.e-Sword.................3.2
6.QuickVerse 2008.........3.2
8.Pradis 6................3.0
9.Theophilos 3............2.7
10.The SWORD Project......2.2
11.Bible Pro 12...........2.0
12.Online Bible...........1.6
13.Lightning Study Bible..1.3

I've learned you always make someone angry when you do software reviews, so whether you agree or disagree with my conclusions, please feel free to leave comments or send me an email.

Thanks!

92 comments:

Eternally_Gifted said...

I am somewhat disappointed. By your study you are saying that the Wordsearchbible sofware is better than Logos? Also, that the limited - you get what is on the disk- freebies are better than Logos? Hmm seems a little lopsided, considering that should you go to the WS discussion groups and count the numerous request for book corrections and hypertext corrections, also the postings that it "was/is a known issue there were problems in certain books but they sold them anyway"..needless to say that there are still un-updated program issues that continue within the program functionallity, that WS is a better product than Libronix (?)

True you may pay more for Libronix, but you get a better product, and yes the learning curve may be a little higher but the help/support video section is more informational than the limited WS, not to mention that the prices for the Libronix books are reasonable and with better quality.

Libronix has an edge on WS, this may be true, but to put WS ahead of them by reading the discussion group postings is by far 'not fair, nor adequate reasoning'. Having both programs and user of both I personally cast my vote for Libronix. WS created WS8 and made it link with WS7, so if you failed to 'uninstall' WS7 before installing WS8 you were good, but if not then you had major issues with WS8 when you unistalled WS7 after installing WS8, did not see this with Libronix, when they did a major facelift of the program, it rewrote all and there was no need to have two programs of the same product. Bad programming for WS. They might have learned something from this and are now trying desperately to resolve the issue, slow but atleast trying, do not see this with Libronix. As to your comment about the notes and adding commentry reviews within the Libronix system, I believe you may have been a little sided with WS, Libronix is in my opinion easier and the notes/personal remarks work better, again we refer to the discussion groups postings of WS and you can see there are still existing issues within the functionallity of the program. Where did you get your information?

we could go on, but these are just my thoughts.......

Jerry said...

Hey eternally gifted, thanks for your thoughts.

Yes, I am saying that WS is better than Logos...for me. My main review page was careful to state that (a) my reviews were done with *me* in mind, and (b) they were just my opinions. That last statement is important because we will not all agree. If we did, there would only be one program out there!

Concerning your statement: "Also, that the limited - you get what is on the disk- freebies are better than Logos?" That suggest to me that you have not tried them. Some of them are very good. And they don't come on disk! :)

As to your question: "Where did you get your information?" Just like you, I am a user of both programs. I got my information from day to day usage of both. And in the end, I come down on the side of WS for 90% of my teaching and preaching study.

I do frequent the WS discussion groups often, I know exactly the problems you are talking about. But, I read the Logos newsgroups as well, and guess what - they often have problems with their software and their books as well.

I am glad you use and enjoy Logos. May God bless you and your studies.

Jerry

Rich DeRuiter said...

Just a bit of a response to your summary of Logos at http://www.fostertribe.org/reviews/logos.html

INTERFACE:
First, yes you can turn off that annoying startup sound. Go to Tools>Options>General and click the "Interface" tab on the left. The first check box is "play sounds." Uncheck it and the sounds don't play.

The home page is a pretty easy interface to use, and you say so later in your review.

I haven't used any other Bible Software for years so I can't say how they compare. I can say that, as an experienced Logos user, I do not find the interface to get in the way of my Bible study. Your use of windows, tiling, etc. didn't mention tabbed windows (you can have multiple windows covering the same real estate tabbed to easily switch back and forth.) Nor did you mention the ease at which you can cycle through a series of Bibles and Commentaries by just using the right and left arrow keys.

I am glad that Logos does not automatically link my resources. I would be constantly unlinking them. Linking is great for some commentaries, but horrid for others. For commentaries that take a verse-by-verse approach, it works just fine, but for commentaries that take a pericope-by-pericope approach, it just doesn't work at all.

SEARCHING:
Your search criteria seem all about speed and not about results. Of course, searching 100 books is going to take less time than 2000. But time isn't the only factor in searching. The more significant one is what does the search process provide me with? What is the breadth and depth of the searching I can do? What results do I have and how are they organized?

While I think the search results report can be improved (weighted by relevance, e.g.), it often provides me with just what I'm looking for, and always what I'm asking for.

Also you're a bit too harsh on the Quick Search module. It's a 'search as you type' module that is very, very fast. You don't have to wait for LDLS to finish searching "ho" before typing the l or y. In fact, if you can type "Holy Spirit" at about 20 words per minute, you're not likely to see anything but your final results. I just did this and had 215 hits in 102 verses in about 3 seconds (on a 5 year old Dell with less than 1GB RAM). Of course these results show all verses with both the word "Holy" and the word "Spirit." As in most search engines if I want to search for the exact phrase "Holy Spirit" I put that in quotation marks. About as fast as I can do that I get 94 hits in 93 verses (it's used 2ce in Acts 19:2).

BTW, you didn't mention the Graphical Search or the Morphological search add-ins which are also very powerful, though not easy to learn (IMHO).

On the other hand Logos offers free training videos on many of its features, including searching, at its web site.

VALUE:
I don't agree with your assessment. I've looked at a few of the packages you also review. I rejected them because they did not have all that I was looking for. So while I could do some basic Bible study with some programs, or I could do in depth, original language study with others, I need to have all my favorite commentaries open at the same time. If I have to supplement my Bible research program with my print library, one or the other will get dropped.
Further, the boxed sets, while expensive, offer so much that it's hard to complain! An extensive print library is also very, very expensive. I know. I have one (I should probably sell much it, since I have almost everything I need in Logos!). By comparison, the value of the more expensive boxed sets offers huge savings off of print library costs, and buying individual books or sets. Granted, there is a problem for those who don't have the money for "Gold," but getting an $11,700 library for $1380 is a bargain.

In other words, the value for the dollar is directly proportional to how much you have to spend. The more you spend the greater the value. Your advice to start small, actually advises getting the worst value for your money.

But value for me, is calculated not on what you get for your money but the functionality of what you get. By purchasing all these resources in one package, I'm guaranteed that I will be able to use them together with every other resource I have, search them simultaneously (in a Passage Guide, for example), and find them as quickly as I can access "My Library" and type their name. I can't do that with print works. I can't do that if I buy some of my books from one company, and some from another. I can't do that, if I have to switch between programs.

A second aspect of value, is expandability. How much can my library grow? Logos has so many books available, no other Bible software competitor comes even close.

Just my 2cents.

Steve R said...

First, thanks for taking the time and effort on this. It's a well-structured, well-documented breakdown of your experience and opinion of the various software packages. As someone who is in a "similar boat" as you, student of the Bible and "power-user" of various Bible software packages, but not a pastor or seminary student, I have had overall common assessment, appreciation of the strengths and understanding of the weaknesses. As an owner of Logos, WORDsearch/BE, Quickverse, PC Study Bible and very recently Pradis, here are just a comments and a few of my opinions that differ a bit:

- While Logos does have tons of add-on books, most are not targeted for people like you and me, (i.e. the lay person), but more for the those in formal ministry positions or preparing for such. There library of books for the "average Believer" in the areas of general Christian living and personal spiritual growth is fairly sparse and would be much more so if it wasn't for the books and author's libraries that are actually published by Thomas Nelson for Libronix, (also available from Logos for more $). I'd give them a "3" in this area from the perspective as it relates to us "lay persons."

- Where Logos has excelled in my experience is in the area of support, (and I've talked to each company on multiple occasions). Their people, but more importantly, their website with it's comprehensive knowledge base and library of training articles and videos (which I love) stand out. A well-earned "5" in my book.

- While I use Logos and WORDsearch for 90% of the time, I wish you had found a way to review PC Study Bible. It's not that I'm a big fan of it, but while it does have it's faults, it is still (in mu experience and opinion) much more stable than you've been led to believe (I had problems with loading and registering, but zero with the software itself). In fact, I'd rank it well above Quickverse which has two resources that refuse to open and will stay that way until they answer their support phone, return an email or get their problem submission web page working.

- Finally, and this is a minor thing but something I was surprised to find missing from your review of WORDsearch is that they will upgrade Quickverse STEP books to their format for free or just a few bucks. (This is the main reason I upgrade my QV program, which I seldom use.) That said, since "5" is as high as you go in "value" and WORDsearch is already there, it's all good.

Thanks again!

Steve R

Jerry said...

Rich -

Thank you for your comments. I'm sure many will appreciate your perspective as a longtime Logos user.

I wish to respond to one thing. I do believe Logos has great value. In the review I stated: "But if you are a major student of the Bible, a pastor or teacher, and have cash laying around, then Logos is a very good investment."

But my problem with the value of Logos, and what I tried to bring out in the review, is that they provide you with a very difficult choice. You can either start small and forever miss out on the extra books and features available only in the boxed sets. Or, you can start big with a boxed set and enjoy all the benefits but you have to come up with a big chunk of money from the get go.

Remember, my target audience is not pastors or seminary students, but the people sitting in my Sunday School class who are wondering if Bible software will help them improve their study. They're not going to drop $200 or more for their software investment. Since starting small in Logos is a bad investment (as you said yourself), I feel Logos does not offer a good value proposition to this group of people.

BTW, the review has already been updated to denote you can turn off the startup music. Whew! :)

Jerry

Jerry said...

Steve R - thanks for chiming in, and thanks for your kind words. You've brought up some great points and I appreciate the viewpoint.

I do wish to review PC Study Bible soon. But since I have to purchase this software myself I didn't want to buy something that was a total lemon. But, based on your comment, as well as what I'm reading in their forum about the newest patch, I do hope to purchase and review the product some time this year. I have to be honest, I do need a bit of a break for now, that was much more work than I ever thought.

God bless.

Jerry

Richard Wilson said...

I want to suggest another program you could try: LaParola at http://www.laparola.net/program/.

Although the program has existed for about 10 years in Italian, this new English version is relatively new so there is still a bit of work to do on it. Especially adding new texts to be used with the program, although since it can import e-Sword and ThML files from CCEL there are a lot of texts out there that can be used. The aims of the program are extensibility and flexibility in the interface.

Dave said...

You commented about the English-Strong's Indexer "that I found only in SwordSearcher".
Libronix v3 has a similar ability when you right click in either KJV or NASB95 bibles and get the Strong's number with a option to keylink (look up info about the associated Greek word) and an option to search for all occurrences in that bible (the Englishman's Concordance).

I started small with Christian Home Library ($US150), but it has this basic Greek capability. And I have twice upgraded to a full feature set and 400 resources over 4 years (total cost about $US700). The consideration is what you want to do, or progress to, versus the cost, and to say that one will "forever miss out on the extra books and features" is simply not true. I could max out at $1380, but I have ALL the features and sufficient resources for my Greek and Hebrew study needs! So I also disagree that Logos is a "bad investment", even if more expensive than other packages.

Jerry said...

But Dave, spending $150 is not "starting small" to me. You started with the Christian Home Library, which is one of the boxed sets. This is exactly the point I am trying to make - without at some point shelling out the big bucks for one of the boxed sets you are forever locked out of certain features (such as the PBB Key) and books (such as the ESV Reverse Interlinear) which are not sold separately; they are only available in one of the seven Logos-brand boxed sets.

In my opinion, starting small is $25 or less, preferably free. Here are the options for starting small in Logos:

- Download the Libronix engine free of charge from logos.com and purchase your books individually.

- Utilize the Nelson eBible free demo

- Purchase Nelson eBible Deluxe ($25)

- Purchase Nelson eBible Standard ($20)

- Purchase the NAS Electronic Library ($26)

For the record, in my review I said Logos was a "good investment" not a bad one - if you have the money. It is a bad investment if you start small and purchase one of the small packages above because you will have to eventually purchase a big boxed set duplicating most of what you already purchased.

God bless.

Jerry

VcdeChagn said...

I have to admit to a great deal of surprise at your conclusions...primarily because I agree with most them. I find myself using Wordsearch far more than I do Logos...and my investment is far less. Wordsearch is also the only package for which I have purchased extra books.

I do have one suggestion about value. I would rate Libronix as a 4, because there are a great number of free resources available at www.stilltruth.org . Of course, the program is still an arm and a leg :)

I also recommend purchasing the 2007 Quickverse for a significant discount and then upgrading to 2008. It will be cheaper in the long run and MacArthur is gone in the 2008 version but still present in the 2007 version.

Thanks for the great review. I plan on linking it.

Jonathan Morgan said...

Your reviews look thorough and informative, and I am hardly surprised that they took considerably longer than you expected.

However, while your review of the Sword Project for Windows was fairly just to the product, I felt that it somewhat missed the purpose of the Sword project. The major achievement that the Sword project has made is in making the modules that are provided readily available to software developers. The version number reflects the version of the underlying library (which is actually one major version further on, since Sword for Windows does not appear to be actively maintained). This has meant that a large number of applications have been created using this. Bibletime and Gnomesword are probably the best Bible study tools for Linux (and both of them are significantly better than Sword for Windows). On Windows, you can use the same modules with Bible Desktop, which you might want to have a look at. There is also a new project called BPBible, which, while not yet complete (only at 0.2), is already IMHO much more usable than other free software I have used (disclaimer: I am associated with the project). If you are interested, you can find it at http://code.google.com/p/bpbible/. In addition, the Bibletime project is considering a move to cross-platform development, and I think I remember hearing a guess that they would be able to support Windows by the end of the year.

In short, while the Sword Project for Windows as an application is not a brilliant Bible study tool, the Sword Project has other applications and other work being performed that is far more promising. While the issues about module availability are likely to remain for all such applications, I think that the tradeoff is fairly reasonable for those who are just looking for free Bible Study software (and as you mentioned, this does include both the ESV and the NET, as well as older and more obscure translations).

I will look with interest at the other reviews to see some of the areas where Sword applications can improve in.

mgvh said...

Thanks for this summary, Jerry. With your interests in mind, one other program I would recommend you check is Laridian PocketBible. There will be a cost ($30 for the program alone but bundles starting at $50), but note that this gets you both a desktop and a portable version. (The desktop version can even run solely off a USB drive, so you can easily carry the program around with you.) Searching is a particular strength of this program, imo. Thanks again.

Jerry said...

Jonathan Morgan -

Thank you for your clarification on the purpose of The SWORD Project and how it is being used. I appreciate you taking the time to spell this out and to inform me on how it is actually being used.

Jerry

Jerry said...

mgvh - I will definitely consider adding Laridian to my reviews at a future point. I was unaware the product could run on the desktop as well as a mobile device. Thanks for the tip!

Jerry

John Calvin Hall said...

Your evaluation of the software is extremely biased. Though you have the right to your opinion, it is clear that the results are not objective.

I have used Bible Software since Online Bible 3, and have carefully watched the movement and trends relating to Bible software. By far the best "bang for buck" ratio is e-Sword. You cannot beat it for the power to price ratio.

I personally use both Logos 3 and BibleWorks 7 (of which you didn't review). I am amazed that you even place WS at the same level (regarding Resources) with Logos. This clearly shows your subjectivity. At this moment I have approx. 2400 Resources just in Logos. How many resources do you get with WS?

With BibleWorks, extensive language analysis can be performed with incredible speed. And you want to place WS on this level? That's ridiculous.

Your evaluation is your opinion. And that's it.

TS_Northgate said...

Jerry - thanks for the review. I imagine you'll get a lot of comments since it was linked from the ESV blog. (also maybe a biased of the comments too)

While I've not used all the software, I have used Logos, and at one point worked for them and wish to point something else out...

quantity does not equal quality

Jerry pointed this out very clearly. I bought a copy of the Leader's Addition for my pastor and talked to him later. He uses perhaps 10% of the books included. Those 10% has greatly increased his Bible study, but having hundreds or even thousands of books is not an advantage to everyone.

If I could have ESV, NKJV, NLT, Reverse-Interlinear ESV, and a 3 good commentaries, a lexicon, and a dictionary and I'm good. :-)

AndyC said...

Regarding John Calvin Hall's comments: e-Sword is solid software with many free modules, but Bible Explorer is also free and has more free books available, along with the option to purchase thousands of additional volumes if you want to further expand your library. So e-Sword is not the only good value out there.

Regarding his comment that he owns 2400 texts in Logos and asks how many are available in WORDsearch, there are currently around 2600 available.

John makes a valid point about BibleWorks and its superb original language analysis features. That's an area that Jerry clearly said he wasn't focusing on. Clearly for users who want to do advanced Greek and Hebrew studies, BibleWorks is unmatched. However, most pastors and teachers have a different focus, and for them programs like WORDsearch, SwordSearcher, Logos, etc., are better choices.

PaPaMarc said...

Thanks for the information you have compiled. I know it took a lot of work. I have been doing my studying and teaching the old fashioned way and have just started looking in to software. One of my pastor friends recommends Logos but it is just too expensive for me. This is a timely post for me.
Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

One additional benefit of WORDsearch that I didn't see mentioned was the FREE live interactive training available. You just sign up at their web site.

MacSword said...

Of note, the Sword project has a number of front-ends for various operating systems. All of which support the same library of texts. If you are a Mac user, you may be interested to know that we have just released a new build of MacSword.

Rich DeRuiter said...

Just a quick note.
You say that if you start small with Logos you "forever miss out on the extra books and features available only in the boxed sets." No you don't. You can buy the boxed sets at any time. I have bought and upgraded several throughout the years. Upgrade plans are generally very good values, even if one does already own some of the resources included in the upgrade package.

You are right that Logos is designed for serious Bible students, but one ought not assume that applies only to pastors and seminary students.

I think we could probably agree that for those wanting an extensive and growing library of books Logos does offer a good value for your money.

Jerry said...

Jerry,

How were you able (as I see in the screen print in your review) to get the ESV to work with "The Word 3"?

I have a non-password ESV on my e-Sword, but when trying to import it into "The Word 3" is thinks that it is password protected. it appears that none of the other sources utilized by "The Word 3" have the ESV available.

Thanks.

Jerry said...

John Calvin Hall - most of your objections to my reviews were answered by other posters, so I won't bother with that.

I'm glad you acknowledged my reviews are just my opinion and nothing more - that means we agree on that point! :)

It appears you have strong opinions about e-Sword, Logos, and BW. I am very glad that you have found Bible software that works well for you. Hopefully God will continue to bless your study.

I would respond to only one thing - you asked how I could place WS on the same level as BibleWorks. Since I didn't review BibleWorks, I haven't made any comparison between the two.

Thanks.

Jerry said...

Hey Rich -

Thanks for your comments. The one statement I made about being "forever at a disadvantage" if you start small with Logos seems to be a sticking point with Logos users.

Yes, I know nothing is stopping me from purchasing one of the boxed sets at any time. But, if you start small and grow your library bit by bit, as I have, then the incentive to purchase a boxed set is a frustrating one, and gets more frustrating the longer you go, because it means your investment up to that point is wasted money, as most likely all the books you have purchased will be in the boxed set.

So, I would rather just grow my library as I need it. But Logos throws another stumbling block in my way by making key resources only available through a boxed set.

Interestingly enough, I think Logos agrees with me on this topic, at least to a point. This is directly from their web site:

"We would never tell you not to buy our product, but please remember you only get one chance to be a first time buyer, and the bigger the collection you buy, the better the deal. Of course you can always add titles in the future, but you can save up to nearly 90% over individual prices depending on the collection you buy. This is one time where buying the biggest collection you can the first time provides dramatic savings."

Anonymous said...

eternally_gifted, there are plenty of requests for corrections in Libronix books as well. You won't see most of them because Logos has a built-in typo report feature, whereas WS uses their discussion group for the posting of typos, which everyone sees. Both Logos and WS are fine programs, and WS happens to mesh better with Jerry's approach to Bible study.

John Calvin Hall, your comments appear biased as well. How is eSword so far ahead of Bible Explorer in bang for the buck? And Jerry gave a reason why he didn't review BW7 - It doesn't fit the audience he is targeting with his review. As far as how many books are available for WS, from what I've seen, the number is over 2,500 books. But, again, your bias is showing in that, to you, the number of books is apparently a key factor in how you rate Bible software. For many of us, the only issue is the quality of books. I, for one, don't need to search 2,000 books. But you are right - this review is Jerry's opinion. And your comments are your opinion.

threegirldad said...

Jerry wrote:
Remember, my target audience is not pastors or seminary students, but the people sitting in my Sunday School class who are wondering if Bible software will help them improve their study. They're not going to drop $200 or more for their software investment.

I'm curious if you meant this in a broad sense, or if you really were thinking of just the people in your Sunday School class. Also, is the cost a strictly financial issue (really can't afford it) or something else?

I'm neither a pastor nor a seminary student, so in sense, I'm part of your target audience. I've tried, used, and suggested various programs to others for years (including e-Sword), and have nothing at all against "free" or "inexpensive." Nonetheless, when the Logos Bible Bus stopped at my church last summer, I didn't bat an eye when I purchased one of the boxed sets (and out of the 50 or so people in attendance, I'm guessing that about half did the same). Warts and all, I'm glad that I did. And I actually like the startup music -- call me weird. ;-)

Do you happen to know if it's possible to create your own books for any of these other programs (IOW, something equivalent to Personal Book Builder)?

Thanks for going to such effort in this review. I'm going to be referring people to it.

Jerry said...

threegirldad - Yes, if you like the startup diddy in Logos, you are certifiably weird. :)

I am (pleasantly) surprised that so many lay people in your church purchased a Logos boxed set. I think that is awesome. In my experience this is rare, based on the churches I have attended over the years, and all the classes I have taught.

But perhaps my experience has been too narrow and I've shortchanged my target audience. You raise a good point about financial versus other reasons. Maybe there is just an overall lack of desire to study in the first place? Ack - maybe I'm just a bad teacher!

As far as I know, the ability to create books in the program's native format is available in:

Logos (extra $)
SwordSearcher (free)
QuickVerse (free)
Theophilos (extra $)
The SWORD Project (free)
Online Bible (free)

That was off the top of my head, so if I missed any, I'm sure you guys will let me know. :)

Thanks for your comments.

(Another three-girl dad. And one boy.)

Anonymous said...

Jerry,

Since I was the source of the "Biblesoft employee" comment about the company NOT being satisfied with earlier PC Study Bible 5 releases, let me state that I (and our customers) am much happier since our release of V. 5.0F.

All software has its problems (including our competitors), but we additionally discovered many performance issues in V. 5 that caused added frustration for our customers. While the release 5.0F has not solved all issues, it has gone a long way to restoring the confidence of our more vocal (and more financially invested) users and it has cleared up many bugs.

We have found that a very high percentage of V. 5 customers (prior to the release of 5.0F) were using the product with minimal issues and much satisfaction, but those who were using the most reference works were experiencing the greatest performance issues.

If cost is an issue, we will gladly provide a copy of the product for your use in a "soon rather than later" review.

Hoping to hear from you soon.

Kirt Willis
Biblesoft, Inc
willisk at biblesoft dot com

threegirldad said...

Jerry: But perhaps my experience has been too narrow and I've shortchanged my target audience.

Well, I won't presume to know that. What I do know is that I've felt shortchanged at times. I wish that SS teachers generally expected more, not less. But my only point in saying that is to explain my motivation for buying Logos rather than another program.

Jerry: You raise a good point about financial versus other reasons. Maybe there is just an overall lack of desire to study in the first place?

I've certainly been far too guilty of this in this past. Did I act as if I really believed Psalm 12:6 and Psalm 19:7-12? I'm afraid not. So, I have a sense of urgency about making up for so much time that I wasted rather than redeemed.

Jerry: Ack - maybe I'm just a bad teacher!

Just to be clear, that thought never entered my mind. And I'm betting that it isn't true. :-)

Regarding PBB, you said this in your review: Logos finally buckled recently (sort of), and as of 1/29/2008 they are waiving the annual feel if you use your PBB in conjunction with teaching (I have a feeling a bunch of people suddenly decided to become teachers).

For some reason, Logos didn't explain this on the product page as specifically as they did in their blog post announcing the change in policy. Their definition of "teacher" in this case is pretty broad, and I think they should get credit for that. Also, the cost of the Standard Edition has come down quite a bit (~$170 vs ~$250), but I grant that it is still expensive.

Jerry said...

Kirt -

Thank you for taking the time to update us on the current status of PC Study Bible. Like I said, I was planning on doing a review after taking a short break. Perhaps I can find time to work it in sooner. I will send you an email.

I have been lurking in the PC Study Bible forums for a while now and have been watching your tireless and endlessly patient support. The Godly attitude you exhibit with your customers, especially the frustrating ones, is a lesson for all of us.

Thanks again for stopping by, I feel honored.

God bless.

Jerry said...

threegirldad -

Also, the cost of the Standard Edition has come down quite a bit (~$170 vs ~$250)

I must have missed that. Thanks for letting me know, I have updated the Logos review accordingly.

Jerry

Eternally_Gifted said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

fostertribe, have you even looked at Accordance? I find it remarkable for Mac and many I've spoken too consider it far superior to Logos and have considered switching platforms to take advantage of the user friendly interface and module selection. I know Oaktree has an emulator program for PCs. It's certainly worth reviewing for the sake of your audience. Worse case, you can download some of their sample videos to review the strength of their software. accordancebible.com

Jerry said...

Yes, I have read about and researched Accordance, but have never used the program itself. I have heard nothing but good things about it.

But, I'm not sure that I will put a review of Accordance on this site. Given my target audience, I want to stick with Windows software. The emulator is 67 MB in size alone and I would like to keep things simple.

That being said, I am downloading the emulator right now, and we'll see how it goes. Thanks for the suggestion.

Derek said...

I also second Accordance. I know many people have switched to the Mac just to use this software. I like Logos, but the modules seem to be for "shelf stuffing" (for me anyways).

Check out some of the endorsements: http://www.accordancebible.com/about/endorsements.php

Cross said...

Hi Jerry! Thanks for all your hard work. I learned a quite few things I often wondered about and some I never thought of.

I am a man of seventy years. I have used WS5 and 7 for many years and, aside from some inconvenient software glitches having to with highlighting and linking, have had no need to advance further for the sake of learning the Bible. I have always thought one should learn it and then write his own commentary. [Most Bible teachers these days quote commentators as the gospel] With "Pentecost" in one's life as a helper, writing one's own commentary should be a "delightful striving". I have found much joy in my endeavor in doing so. God is Good!

However, and to my question. I was considering upgrading to WS8 when I found BE4 "Limited" edition being offered for $15.98 including shipping from CBD. That is quite a bargain considering it is a 90.00 program. However, can you expound on the difference I might expect? Just curious because I couldn't pass up that deal. ))

Thank you,

Sincerely in Jesus,

Cross Reference

Tonny said...

Hi,

In related to Bible Software Review, does anyone have tried Alkitab Bible Study ?

Alkitab Bible Study is an open source and free desktop bible study software.

Any feedback is very appreciated.

Jerry said...

@Cross - I used BE4 before I purchased WS7. While BE4 was very solid, I don't think I went wrong by moving to WS7, and now WS8.

Unfortunately, I can't remember all the differences, especially since I moved to WS8, which is a huge improvement over WS7 in so many areas.

I do recall BE4 did not have Verse Lists, and it also marks the verse you are on with a pointer in the left margin instead of highlighting the verse. This seems minor, but it means it was sometimes difficult to see exactly which verse you were on if the verses were in paragraph form.

Sorry I can't be more help, but that is all I remember.

Jerry said...

@tonny - I have never heard of Alkitab, so I don't have any feedback. I do see that it is another front end for the SWORD project from CrossWire.

I will investigate further at some point and see if it is worth including in the 2nd phase of my roundup (coming spring 2015 :). But the number of SWORD front-ends is proliferating quite rapidly, and I'm not sure it is worth it to hit every one. We'll see.

Thanks for the notice.

Les said...

Just curious how the PC Study Bible review work was coming. I'm interested to see how you think it stacks up.

Les Miller

Jerry said...

Les -

It has been a very busy and difficult summer for us, much more so than anticipated. We have a mentally handicapped daughter whose issues have taken a major turn for the worse the last few months, and it has really drained us emotionally and spiritually.

I am still planning on adding it to the reviews (along with about 7-8 other packages I've become aware of since), but I can't promise when.

So sorry. Ironically, when summer is over and school starts for the kids I anticipate having more time in the late evening to do this.

Thanks for your patience.

Jerry said...

New reviews added to my Bible Software Review page in the last month:

Laridian PocketBible
PC Study Study Bible 5.0F
BibleSpeak 4.0

Les said...

It was nice to see your review of PC Study Bible has been posted. I appreciate your website because I think it can be very helpful for those in the market for Bible software. Your opinions are very valid, and I agree with most of what you said about PC Study Bible.

In the past I've been a fan of PC Study Bible and currently own version 5.0f that you reviewed. Version 2 was the best in my opinion, but the resource list outgrew the capability of the Interface and it had to be reorganized. Since then Biblesoft has messed up the ease of the Bible notes portion of the program and they've been terrible at putting out new versions too early, so I'm not as big of fan (but their great customer support makes it hard to leave).

Anyway, as a result of the above experiences, I purchased Quickverse on a great closeout deal three years ago and I've tried several of the free programs as well. I've updated Quickverse along the way because of new resources offered for a great price, but the program's ability to link one to all material relevant to the verses being studied still lags way behind Biblesoft and others and so frustrates me. When it comes to the free programs, they just don't offer the books I want. Based on your evaluation, I'm left wondering if I should have purchased Wordsearch.

With all that said, however, I still would like to put in my two cents worth for those using your site and also to perhaps persuade you to adjust your evaluation of PC Study Bible a bit in one and maybe two areas. First, I think the Interface score should be at least two points higher because once getting used to the fact that it works differently than other programs, it is very powerful and intuitive; and more importantly because it actually does do a good deal of what you apparently thought it did not do.

For example, if you switch from the Explore mode to the Focus mode the program will open a commentary in the adjoining window instead of in a new tab. For another example, though comparing verses in the parallel window panes might at first appear more difficult than in other programs, if one chooses to change the paragraph mode with the button on the bottom toolbar or in the preferences set up, every verse in a translation can begin on a separate line which makes it relatively easy to look from one pane to the next to compare verses. For a third example, I've never experienced the moving Bible tab syndrome mentioned. Maybe there is a navigating option that does such, but I've not run across it. I'm using Windows XP. Perhaps there is an issue with such when using Windows Vista, or maybe there is a preference setting inside the program that was changed on either your program or mine?

The second area that I would have given a higher score to (albeit simply opinion)is in the area of resources. Your website gives Quickverse a value of 3, E-Sword 4, and Biblesoft a value of 2 for resources, but after one considers different counting schemes it appears to me that Biblesoft has more resources available than Quickverse and many more than E-Sword. I know you are considering price and availability in base packages in your scoring, but since you have a separate category labeled "value" I would think price would have a low enough weight in the "resources" category to certainly put Biblesoft higher in this area than E-sword. And considering both the bit larger number of resources available (depending on the counting scheme) as well as the linking capability of the resources in Biblesoft compared to Quickverse I would think Biblesoft would at least tie if not beat Quickverse in the resource area too.

Well, so much for my opinions. That is just what they are and in no way do I mean to demean yours, but your readers might want to consider some of the above. Thanks for letting me weigh in.

P.S. Quickverse 2009 now has the delayed hover option for anyone interested in knowing. Also, even in the updated version of 2008 you can attach the quick search line to the window border so it is always available, unlike was the case at the time of the review listed on the website.

silkroadcowboy said...

Jerry, You must not value commentaries and original language dictionary tools/strongs #s. Otherwise I don't see how you could rate "the Word" so highly as it mentions nowhere in it's featues about commentaries, dictionaries and strongs. Though I've never used it. eSword has a nice interface -- but the limit of having a maximum of 2 different passages (in context) open at one time?! WEAK. And the interface for this very limited ability is cumbersome.
I agree with your sentiments about the Online Bible interface - but regardless of a 'pretty face' it is a powerful work horse tool (maybe a donkey :-) )that far outperforms eSword for both power and flexibility. Though eSword has an unmatched menu of available modern translations among freeware programs.

I'm not fully content with Online Bible; discontent enough to seriously shop around every couple of years. But so far I've seen nothing (among freeware) in your list that matches the diversity of features, power and available resources of the Online Bible. Your review of the Online Bible leads me to believe that you didn't spend more than an hour using it. It does the program a disservice and leads people away from a powerful tool.

Jerry said...

Cowboy -

The Word actually does handle commentaries, dictionaries, and strongs, and it does so very well. Even if you didn't want to try it out yourself (which I would humbly suggest is a good thing to do before arriving at a conclusion), I did mention all those things in detail in my review of The Word as well.

I am very glad that you are using Online Bible. As I mentioned in my main review page: "If you enjoy one of the packages that I rated low, then more power to you. Use what you like and be proud of it."

Finally, I just wanted to address the thought that I must not have spent more than an hour with Online Bible. I'm not sure if you actually read the whole review, but I would hope the thoroughness of the review would show that I actually spent many hours on the product. I know that understanding software takes time, and I take that seriously.

I stand by my final conclusions with Online Bible, though I understand that many find it a very useful and powerful tool for their study. And I think that is awesome.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jerry,

I just wanted to say thanks for the reviews! You did a great job!

Like all reviews it is impossible for the author to remove all bias (though we try). I feel you did an admiral job in attempting to be as bias free as possible.

I use WS8 and I am satisfied with my choice. I can understand others feeling loyalty to the products they use. I am sure those that paid large sums of money carefully thought-out their choice(s) and are happy with their product(s) and in my opinion that is what counts that we all get the product we want and need. As this was targeted at local students the review had a different priority than simply selecting the most dominating and best Bible software ever. It was about the providing a general review guide for first time purchasers. With this goal in mind it was an excellent review.

I am really blessed that there are so many great products out there for those who wish to know Jesus Christ better by studying and sharing the scriptures. Like many of you I remember a time where just having a Bible on a computer was an answer to prayer. Now I have one on my phone, MP3 player, CD player, laptop, desktop, etc. I am simply running out of excuses for not being more effective in my calling. It’s not like I have to dig up a jar somewhere to find a scripture or something… right? 

I will be recommending this review to many with the targeted audience in mind.

Thanks,
David Richardson

Jerry said...

Thanks, David!

Glenn B. said...

Jerry,

Thank you for your in-depth review of these Windows Bible Study Software packages. As I am not a Pastor or full-time Minister, I am looking for the very things you appear "biased" in regarding these reviews. :)

I searched high and low all over the net and your review page is the most extensive one I've found....and it weighs more with me because you aren't employed by any of the companies mentioned.

When considering your next update, please add Mac coverage and maybe a column for Mac compatible. Some of the software you reviewed have Mac versions now(WORDsearch via WINE and X.11, natively for QuickVerse, and Logos) and of course there is a Mac Only software-Accordance.

I currently use Logos 1.1 for Mac and PC Study Bible 5.0F(via Parallels) and find Logos a bit of a learning curve. Hopefully that will diminish over time.

Thanks again for the time and effort of your reviews. I find them to be SPOT ON!

crossone said...

Greetings!

I downloaded The Word ver. 3 (it's now out of beta) & was disappointed that that it does not include any commentaries, dictionaries, or other goodies at all. Your review stated that it would include them. Could you please clarify.

Thanks! God bless you & your family.

Jerry said...

crossones - you have to go to the following page to download the extra resources for The Word:

http://www.theword.gr/en/index.php/w/beta.download

God bless.

crossone said...

Why doesn't the Word importer tool import all of my eSword modules?

Jerry said...

crossones - Probably because you are trying to import a password-protected e-Sword module. The Word will not import these modules, because they are copyrighted and not public domain.

If you have any further Word questions I would suggest you use their forum. It is a great place for support, usually from the author himself.

http://forum.theword.gr/

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Jerry, thanks for your reviews. They were very good. I was going to go with Logos but then since I had an old version of Quickverse (Version 7) and with my wife not working, I decided to save money and go with Quickverse Deluxe 2009. Hopefully the 2009 version will be a little better than 2008. I know no Greek or Hebrew so I am just going to use it for Bibles and commentaries primarily.

Quickverse Deluxe seems to have a good selection in that area. For my simple use I hope this will be fine. The price was right ($110 + $20 for all 3 NIV versions which was not included in the package). So only out $130. Getting 22 Bibles, 64 Commentaries and 12 Bible Study Notes (Scofield, Ryrie, Nelson Study Bible for NKJV etc). They say it has 226 books total.

Now I only hope the software will be better than below average. I will not be a "power user" I am sure, just casual studying.

Hopefully by going with the less expensive I will still be satisfied. This retails for $349 but can be bought for around $200 at some online places. I think 2010 will be out by the end of the year, so it is my guess this is why it is being discounted now.

Thanks again Jerry for the time you put in on the reviews.

Bob

Jerry said...

Thanks for the kind words, Bob. Hope QV works out for you. It would be great if you post back here with your experiences once you use it for a while.

Anonymous said...

Jerry,

I will let you know what I think of the Quickverse software after I use it a while. Again, my use will be very limited in the beginning I am sure.

A good thing I saw while looking at the Bible Explorer 4 product is that it will convert most Quickverse Step books into it's format. Then they could be used in either Bible Explorer 4 or Wordsearch it appears.

So if I find Quickverse not to my liking, I can convert about 80% of what I bought and use it in Wordsearch. The cost to convert is very reasonable (many are free) and because both products overlap many of the books, it is a nice second option and I would then have the equivalent of the $199.99 offering from Wordseach for about the same price ($200). I would not have known about this option if not for your reviews.

Hopefully Quickverse works and I will have saved around $75.00.

Thanks again,

Bob

Anonymous said...

How cool to find a review that was done over a year ago is still actively discussed! Thanks, Jerry, for your hard work on all these reviews. I think you are "right on the money" in identifying the different overall purposes between the various software (especially WordSearch and Logos). In fact, the titles of their respective "flagship" boxed sets seems to verify your position: WordSearch's big package is called "The Preacher's Library," while the Logos' collections are called "Scholar's Library." Again, it's all about purpose. As a seminary student, Logos has become my best friend, as it excels in exegetical work and recent theological scholarship (though at a price, I agree!)

I think it is also worth pointing out the seemingly different theological thrusts of the two. As a Lutheran looking at WordSearch's references and collections, there is relatively little there that would be regarded as acceptable scholarship for seminary research. Logos, on the other hand, does have a wider selection of "mainline" resources that match Lutheran theology and homiletics. Just thought I'd put that out there for further information. Thanks again for the great work!

Neil

Jerry said...

Hi Neil,

Thanks so much for your post. I appreciate the comments, and your further insight on some of the differences between WS and Logos. I'm sure it will be useful for some who read this later.

I also appreciate the kind words, and the understanding of my emphasis on purpose. I tried to be very clear that my scoring system was based on a particular scope, but many still took it way too personally. I am thankful that Logos has been such a rewarding package for you, just has it is for so many others.

God bless.

Jerry

fiery said...

I found Jerry's review at the beginning of this year (2009) while I searched for a good Bible software (with some contemporary Bibles). So, I decided to purchase Jerry's 1 choice WORDsearch as well as Bible Explorer. My first impression was good, except for the omission of a reading mode, that would allow me to read the Bible without any distractions. Then a bug in WORDsearch consumed several days to investigate it and report back to their support. Next came a problem to reinstall both apps on Windows XP when I downgraded from Vista Business. The provided WORDsearch key works only twice which I accidentally used for a second time thinking that I will update all purchased bibles the same way I installed them. So I wrote to the WORDsearch sales an email and since now there is no answer. After several trials I successfully moved all necessary folders to Windows XP. The Bible Explorer CD seems to do the trick that allowed WORDsearch Bibles to work as well. So, my suggestion if you ever purchase WORDsearch - choose the CD box version. During this time I found that WordSearch puts over 4000 registry keys in the Windows registry which they don't remove after the uninstall. Another disappointment with WORDsearch was that the provided Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionary doesn't helped me find in which verses the same Strong's index is used. The last but not least disappointment with WORDsearch is price. When I start the program (as well as by email) I'm always informed that a new module is available (for some hundred dollars). I didn't use their software for a long time (only a few months), but that desire from the WORDsearch Corp. to get more money from me and give me less value somehow disappoints me. Notice, that I always pay for the software I use and I'm glad to support software developers when I find their software really useful.

Finally, I installed the second software in the Jerry's chart - The Word. Since then I never looked back. (Now, I'm on Windows 7 without the purchased WORDsearch and Bible Explorer programs installed).

What "The Word" gave me over WORDsearch?
1. A better interface. Advantages over WORDsearch are several, but I will mention the main two for me: Fonts are more readable; Each pane has its own zoom function;
2. A better search function - all kinds or search expressions including regular expressions. The last version includes searching in morphological data as well.
3. King James Concordance - available for free. Exactly what I looked for.
4. You can add Bibles available in most world languages, including my native language. Program is translated in some of these languages as well.
5. You can easily find all files that the program installs in the application about box and backup them for a future Windows upgrade. I moved The Word for a few minutes when I upgraded to Windows 7. I found exactly 5 Windows registry entries for The Word. So your registry is not filled with unnecessary data.
6. Absolutely FREE software. I really wonder why Jerry gave 5 for Value to WORDsearch and Bible Explorer and 4 to The Word. It is free and for me it gives more value for the price than both of the other two.

That's why I made my choice which means that I also made a donation to the "The Word" developer. Also, I updated the translation of "The Word" 2 to version 3 in my native language (it took me several months). In addition, I purchased an add-on commentary for the exact price I gave for WORDsearch and I will be glad to support "The Word" developer in the future as well.

So, my suggestion is before you start with WORDsearch install the free "The Word" program and look if it will fit your needs.

Thanks,

Jerry said...

Fiery - I appreciate your honest comments, and I am glad that The Word has worked out so well for you. I did want to respond to just a couple things.

- For anyone else reading this, if you have a technical issue, I would strongly recommend calling them directly. WordSearch usually does a great job with phone support.

- You can find all the verses where a particular Strong's index is used via the Search, simply by pressing the [Strong's] tab and entering the number in question.

- When I start WS it jumps directly to my default library study screen, not to any offers for new modules. This is an option in the program's settings.

- I'm curious about the problems you had with the upgrade. WS has a very nice backup/restore feature, which backs up all your personal data; you simply upgrade your OS, reinstall WS, the restore your backup.

But the main topic I wanted to mention was the question of value. I think you are right, The Word has the best interface, search, and functionality hands down; and I think I was clear on that in my review. But to me, overall value supersedes all that to include the entire study experience. For me, this means the accessibility of contemporary bible versions, commentaries, dictionaries, and study guides. These are not available in The Word, and for that reason the overall value of WordSearch I felt was a notch higher.

Again, I am thrilled that my reviews pointed you in the direction of a wonderful piece of software that meets your needs. The Word is fantastic, no doubt.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

YOWZA!
I've been keeping an eye out for a replacement to e-Sword since they overhauled their database, and your site helped immensely!! Thanks for the time you've invested in this project!

I love spending time in the Bible, but just can't bring myself to spend hundreds of dollars. And not knowing Greek/Hebrew, I'm betting some of the fancier tools on the more expensive packages are not up my alley. But who knows - one day I may learn what I'm missing (and your reviews will help to that end). In the mean time, I'm checking out The Word, and so far, liking what I see!

Biggies for me:
-variety of Bibles, dictionaries and commentaries (although I usually only use 3 Bibles)
-keyboard shortcuts (life is too short)
-cost

I was leaning very strongly to BPBible till I came across your review. Here's hoping the folks at BPBible will keep up the good work. They've got excellent potential.

Thanks for the hard work!!

TIM

Jerry said...

Thanks for the kind words, Tim. I'm glad that even 1.5 years after the original posting, the reviews are still helping. Someday I'd like to do a round 2. Yeah, right, maybe when the kids are all out of the house, I retire, and my wife goes to work to support us. :)

God bless.

Rosie Perera said...

Looks like you need to take a look at the new Logos 4 and update your review (and possibly your opinion) of Logos. Probably won't change your decision about its value, as it's still expensive. But since your site is a good comparison of all the top contenders, it would be good if you had a review of Logos 4.

Jerry said...

Thanks, Rosie. I have been following L4, and I see there have been substantial improvements. But the other Bible software packages have not been standing still either; most of them have released major revisions since my original reviews. So to be fair I would need to update all my reviews.

Even better, I'd like to do a "Round 2" and start from scratch on each software package. But it took me over a year to review the 20 packages on the site now (it is hard work!). So unfortunately, I don't see that happening anytime soon. At least until I get all my kids pushed out the door. :)

Theology Today said...

Hello,

Thought you might be interested in my review of PC Study Bile 5 Advanced Reference Library.

http://theologytoday.blog.com/2010/01/18/the-pc-bible-study-5-advanced-reference-library/

Phil

Andrew said...

Thanks for your review. I agree with your assessment on Wordsearch verse Logos. I've been a Wordsearch user for years and it has beeen extremely helpful. The reason I started with Wordsearch was because of the large box-set prices of the Logos software but I’ve always been a little "jealous" of all the material Logos offered. Now that I'm a bi-vocational pastor I want to expand my library considerably and am considering one of the expensive boxed sets but the big hiccup is that I'm worried about a big learning curve in switching to Logos. Your other readers post were very helpful as I was not aware of the extensive tutorials for Logos. Thanks for your review!

April said...

Thank you for your review! I know that must have taken a LOOONG time. It is very helpful to see a list of all the softwares out there and how you think they rank.

JJ said...

I understand your favoring WordSearch over Logos and other packages. Here is the main issue I think many struggle with:
What do I really want to do with my Bible Software program???
Since this is different for everyone, the software choice is different.

If you really value extensive searches that use high end and valuable resources, you are going to be looking at Logos, BibleWorks, and Accordance (for Mac). It is hard for any other popular software to compete with those three for in-depth study, Greek & Hebrew tools, and usability.

However, if you are a user who doesn't need recent resources, doesn't need to do comparative studies, doesn't need to do in-depth searching, just basic Bible searches with some reasonable tools, then WordSearch or any number of other Bible Software programs are going to be "just fine."

Shoot, for many people, Glow or Ilumina would be a phenomenal buy for them. See, it is just a matter of what one wants to accomplish.

By the way, there are ways to use Logos 4 for free or for very low cost. No, you won't have access to all the tools, but you won't pay for them either.

Jerry said...

Thanks for the comments, JJ. I'm just curious if you have used WORDSearch or any of the other packages I reviewed. Because I would argue that some of them compete very well with Logos in terms of in-depth study, deep searching, usability, and yes, even recent resources.

I do think that Logos,and BibleWorks especially, have a leg up in the Greek and Hebrew tools departments, but after extensive use of all the packages I reviewed, I wouldn't so quickly concede the other areas.

I know there are ways to use Logos cheap; I even mention some in my review. But that still leads back to my main beef with Logos - if you don't purchase a boxed product, you will be excluded forever and always from the ability to purchase key components of the software.

Dean said...

Jerry:

Thank you very much for your outstanding review of all the Bible software programs. Being a Sunday School teacher and a former public school teacher and a student of God's Word I'm always looking for help in being a better presentor and ways to make the lesson come alive.

With computers in most every household I endeavor to recommend to my Sunday School class members study helps that are low cost and/or free. Bible software such as you reviewed would be great for them to better be prepared and further their education in Bible study. Which also will make it more exciting for them.

Again, thank you.

Dean

Jenn said...

Hello!

Just wanted to say thank you and God bless you for taking so much time to write this review. I pray for blessings on your life and hope your daughter is doing better.
You hoped your review was at least helpful to someone and it was, so if any comments made you feel like it wasn't useful, that's just the devil trying to discourage. It's a shame the very first comment had to be so negative!! I hope more people make sure to read through the comments to see that many more people found it useful rather than disappointing!

God bless you and your family,

Jenn
http://www.thetentalents.blogspot.com

Jerry said...

Thanks for the kind words, Jenn, I really appreciate it!

cometcal said...

Jerry,

The Bible study that I attend recently started digging into the book of Isaiah. I felt I needed to study a variety of Bible resources rather than to just rely on the study guide.

I have never used Bible software before and decided to look on the web for a comparative analysis of the different types.

Your user reviews, scoring chart and the variety of reader comments all were invaluable in helping me make a decision as to which one to get. I even found the critical comments and your diplomatic responses to them to be valuable as well.

Thanks for taking the time to provide such a helpful service for novices such as myself. Thanks for assisting me in my quest to understand God's Word better.

Many blessings.

Jerry said...

Thanks, "cometcal" for the kind words. They provided quite a lift for me this evening! Even though the reviews are quite dated now, I'm glad they were still of some use to you.

Isaiah is a rich and very deep book. May God bless you and your continued study.

engellion said...

Hello.

Thanks for a great review. I started using theWord about 18 mths ago as a result. Here's some updates on some deficiencies you noted back then:

Searching
Based on version 3.2.1 of theWord, there are two search views available: Bible Search View and Book Search View.

Since your 2008 review, the Bible Search View has been updated to include searching multiple Bible versions at once. Bible versions to search can be selected per search or saved as Bible Sets. (Saved Bible Sets are system wide so are also accessible as optional Parallel Bibles in Compare View mode within the Bible View pane.) The Bible Sets feature enables you to save all your original language Bibles (eg OT: LXX (Greek) & NT: TR, WHNU all together) as a searchable Bible Set using Greek. The same can be done for all your Hebrew language OT version modules. Alternatively, you just might want to search the NIV, ESV, KJV, and NASB all at once. You might want to search all Bible modules that follow a Literal translation philosophy, or only those that follow a dynamic equivalence philosophy. You can save these as Bible Sets and search them all at once. A history of searches is maintained for each desktop layout. “Fuzzy” searches are also possible using the NEAR operator.

The Book Search View pane allows you to search ALL other resource modules including commentaries, dictionaries, and any other books (including your personal notes and commentaries). You can search on module topic (chapter) headings or the full contents of a resource module. Again, these can be setup as predefined sets of books (just commentaries, just dictionaries, just books, or a selection of desired modules) and searched individually, in groups, or library wide.

Resources
Since 2008, theWord’s database of official contemporary resources has steadily grown. FREE English Contemporary Bibles include ESV, ISV, Holman Christian Standard Bible, NET Bible,The Scriptures (ISR) with Footnotes (1998 ed.), Lexham English Bible (NT). PAID English Contemporary Bibles include NIV (1984), NIV (2011), NASB with Strongs, NLT (New Living Translation), NKJV, GEB (Good News Bible), GWT (God’s Word Translation (Baker Pub.), Amplified Bible.

Ancient Language Resources include: FREE Greek NT – Westcott & Hort with NA/USB variants; TR; Modern Greek NT; Byzantine Majority text with Strong’s numbers and parsing info. Also Greek OT LXX; PAID Greek NT – NA27 (Nestle Arland); UBS (4th Edition).
FREE Dictionaries include: Liddell-Scott-Jones Lexicon of Classical Greek
Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible
Thayers
Brown, Drivers & Briggs
PAID Dictionaries include: BDAG - A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd edition (BDAG)
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (EDB)
New American Standard Exchaustive Concordance (NASEC)
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume (TDNTa)
Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT)

Extensibility
Since your 2008 review, the Personal Notes or Personal Topics editor is now fully WYSIWYG. Topics can be printed with one click from within theWord. Great for preparing and printing Bible Studies. The Copy & Paste feature is very powerful and customisable. It also allows you to type a verse reference in MS Word for example Matt 1:14 – highlight the verse & right click “Copy” and a window opens up with the verse and options to copy it directly to your Word processor.

Interface
There are too many additions to the interface since your 2008 review to mention here. Some of the standout ones would be the ability to set one Bible View pane as the default one for all cross references clicked on in any other pane to appear in. There is also multiple predefined desktop layouts or the option to fully customise multiple ones of your own and save these. The list goes on.

Thanks again for all your hard work in providing your review.

Cheers,
Paul.

Jerry said...

Thanks for the update, Paul. I have been following The Word's growth, and it is indeed a very compelling option.

God bless.

Genghis7777 said...

Your comparative review has been really useful for shopping amongst all these programs. Unfortunately its 2011 now and a lot of these packages have undergone a few changes. Some of them transformational. For example, Logos 4 is quite different from Logos 3. I know the last one took 6 months to complete but might I suggest that the review is ready for an update? Please don't get grumpy!

Jerry said...

Yes, Genghis, you are correct, it is time to wipe the slate clean and do it all again. Logos isn't the only one of these packages that has had a major update. And I would love to do it.

Unfortunately, right now, it is not an option. It actually took a year to do all those reviews (if you go to the actual review page, you'll see there are actually 20 reviews). I am in a stage of life right now that precludes that sort of commitment for the time being.

Maybe by the time Logos 5 comes out? :)

Genghis7777 said...

Hi Jerry

I understand that the original survey was a big job and don't blame you for not having the resources to do it all again.

I wonder how much would be lost if 20 volunteers did 1 each. I suppose then everyone would be biased toward the one they already owned.

tfa said...

Hi Jerry,

I have never left a comment about product reviews before but had to say thanks for your hard word putting these reviews together.

I found them while trying to find something to replace my PCSB Vs.4. which had all the same problems you mentioned in vs.5.
I had purchased vs.2 and loved it so when I found vs.4 on sale I grabbed It (The Advanced Reference Library...expensive even on sale).

I've downloaded a couple free versions of the bible previously (e-sword being the best) but still not what I would like.
I came across your reviews and downloaded "The Word" based on your comments about it.

Thank you again for pointing out a suitable program to replace my PCSB and also confirming that I'm not the only one to have major problems with it.

Ted A

John Doughtry said...

Thanks for the time and effort you put in to gather this. I know from decades of comparisons of software, some of it has to do with taste, or personal requirements, or the ability to perform some much needed function as a driving force.

Your list helped me to decide what to purchase, since my old QuickVerse no longer runs on a 64-bit Windows 7 operating system.

Thanks again.

DarqueKritik said...

Just found your blog so have not looked at it in detail yet. But I am wondering if there is any program or online applet, etc that actually lists what number in numerical order the word is? In other words, if I put in the number `3847' it will show me what the 3847th word is in the KJV starting at Genesis? Can any one suggest where I might find this?

Jerry said...

Hi Darque.

Sorry, I am not aware of any product that does what you are asking. Good luck.

Jerry

Libor Diviš said...

Hello,

My name is Libor Divis. I am a Christian from the Czech Republic, and I am also the author on-line Bible software "SOB" (www.obohu.cz/bible). The program provides an in-depth Bible study without knowledge of the original biblical languages - Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine Greek. At this time, the application includes more than 150 Bible translations, dictionaries, concordances, lexicons, commentaries, etc. This application also allows searching, comparing any translations, online listening narrated bibles and much more...

PeaceByJesus said...

Thanks for the reviews. I have used e-Sword, TheWord, Online Bible, Bible Analyzer 3.7, BibleMax, BerBible, ISA Davar3, BibleDesktop, Bible Explorer 4, and The SWORD Project, and for study the best two overall are the first two.

The E-sword interface is better than the Word, though you have even more options with the latter.

But for quick basic searches and copying, which i have done a lot of, thank God, and which allows copying as formatted (so that words in italics stay that way) - which is missing in most others - then i have found BP Bible is the best. This also allows you to make and edit your own copying template.

You can add modules such as TSK for cross refs, and it has some other features, though it is a (slow) work in progress. The programer would likely welcome some help.

It runs in Widows from at least XP to W/8

You do have to install the Sword project software and modules you want to add, and then set the sword path and add books from under the File menu.

Also, for older PCs, the old free QuickVerse lives up to its name (from http://www.genesis.net.au/~bible), but being 16 bit, it will not run in XP if ram gets too low (Win 16 subsytem resources too low) Runs fine in Vista though, but not W/8.

Libor Diviš said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Burrell said...

I wonder if you might be interested in STEP Bible.

It's another SWORD-based frontend, at the moment available online only. One of its goals is to make the study of the Bible and the richness of the ancient texts alive to people (like me) with no knowledge of the Greek / Hebrew.

There are lots and lots of screenshots in the user guide

Jerry said...

Hi Chris.

The STEP Bible looks very interesting, and it looks like you have some very lofty and worthy goals.

These reviews are going on 6 years old now. Someday I hope to do it all over again, as there have been many changes in the Bible software world, including mobile, online, etc.

God bless.

Mark N said...

I just wanted to give you a simple (but BIG) thank you for taking the time to do this parallel product review. Perhaps it was more useful to me, than to others who had criticisms, because I am your intended target audience. I am a Christian of several decades, who has not done serious Bible study in too long. My last Bible software was Quick Verse, which was so old it was on 5 1/4" floppies. LOL Since that medium became obsolete to me years ago, I have used online tools to do quick verse searches, etc., but lately have been wanting to obtain a solid (but reasonably basic and easy to use) product without a large dollar investment. While I knew I enjoyed QuickVerse years ago, I did not want to just blindly purchase that again knowing there would be far more options today. Your reviews steered me to what I needed to know and introduced me to theWord (now version 4). After loading it I was a bit overwhelmed, but after only about 15 minutes of resizing windows, and configuring colors and cross-references, it is already a usable and personalized tool. I'm sure for my usage needs (searches, cross references, Strong's lookups, and an occasional commentary glance) that I will never outgrow the power or options this tool has (and I've barely begun to explore them) - and of course the price of "free" was among its many strengths. So thanks again for a job well done from one very happy reader of your reviews. Your time and effort are much appreciated. God's Blessings.

Jerry said...

Hi Mark.

Thanks for the kind words, and for taking the time to comment. I am so glad the reviews helped. May God bless you and your studies. The Word is a super program, and I'm sure you will be even more pleased the more you use it.

God bless.

Jerry

Erik Jon said...

Hello, again, brother.

I wrote to you, two years ago, to commend you on what seems to be a one-of-a-kind comparison of all the popular Bible-study programs. I find sites with a comparison of two or three at a time--and not very good, at that--but I know of no other that includes so many and with such great attention given to the smallest details. I noticed that even "TheWord" has been posting a link to your site.

Even so, I must admit that time has passed since you first posted, and newer versions of the programs have come out, names have been changed, and some of the links that you mention have gone to be with the Lord. Flaws that you had mentioned have, in some cases, been corrected in newer versions.

At the same time, I should say that, if all of them have improved simultaneously, some of them seem to have retained the same shortcomings that they had originally.

I use TheWord every day, for example, and although it seems to be much better than it was when you reviewed it (now at version 5.0), I still see that it is a "one-man show", and the greatest drawback continues to be the lack of contemporary materials. I have 1,000 modules installed, but most of them are 70 years old or more, created by different volunteers using material of expired copyrights. While much of the older research is better than the new, in the sense that much attention is given to small detail, and all is presented much more eloquently than what we usually find today (e.g. John Gil's commentary), there are certain subjects on which one needs the latest research, regardless of how it is presented. TheWord is very limited in that area. (I see only one new Bible dictionary offered, and it is liberal, at that). Esword is not much better on that point, with only a few more contemporary materials available, as compared to BibleSearch, Logos, and others mentioned, who may have hundreds.

Consequently, while the jist of your article is still good, I think it would be nice to ask a trusted friend to go through, little by little, and "update" the information, assuming that you have not had the time yourself. Newer screenshots would be good, too.

Thanks again.

Erik Jon

Erik Jon said...

On other note concerning TheWord and eSword, worth mentioning in your article. Three men in particular seem to have taken it upon themselves to prepare free modules for use in both programs: Josh Bond, Dave T. Thomason, and David Cox. Their websites provide quick access to nearly any module, especially to those not offered on the ESword or TheWord websites. (Rev. Cox offers lots of material in Spanish, as well)

Jerry said...

Hi Erik!

Thank you so much for your comments.

You are exactly right - it's been seven years since I published my reviews, and much has changed in the Bible Software landscape. Many of those I reviewed above no longer exist, some have had their author actually pass away, others have lapsed into oblivion, while a number seem to be growing stronger. A few new ones have landed on the scene as well.

In other words, it's more than just an update. In fact, so much has changed, I wouldn't even know where to start. No, what is needed is a full redo - reset the landscape and start fresh. That is my desire. Will it happen soon? Probably not. Between family, church, and work, I just have too much on my plate. But someday I will return and give this effort the overhaul it deserves.

God bless.