Friday, August 3, 2007

Bible Study Software Update

Some time ago I did a quick review of all the major free or cheap Bible Software packages available. That review is available here, and while many of my conclusions still apply, a number of things have changed since then. So, I decided to give a quick overview of the packages currently on my hard drive. There are also some specials going on at the moment that are worth looking into. Read on.

WORDSearch. I highly recommend WORDSearch. From my experience it has the best combination of price, library, usability, and speed. The interface is superb. The parallel Bible view, for instance, is the nicest of all the products I have used. And I really like the company behind the product - small, but very dedicated and passionate. However, it is light on original language tools, so take that into consideration if these are important.

Libronix (Logos). Logos is currently the market-share leader, and it is easy to see why. An excellent library of books combined with some great study tools, including excellent original-language products that are pretty hard to beat.

The downsides are numerous - a relatively clunky interface, slow searches, and expensive. Even if you don't spring for one of the super-expensive base collections, individual books and Bibles are still a pretty penny. For instance the NASB Bible is $50 in Logos, but only $15 in WORDSearch. The New American Commentary set is $500, but only $220 in WORDSearch. And so on.

But, here's a tip: Nelson Publishing has revamped their eBible line (which is based on Libronix). You can get eBible Deluxe, with a great startup library for $17. Add to that the NASB Library for $26 and you have a very compelling Libronix-based package for only $43 total. Then you can expand from there with just the books you need. To get these prices, go to the Rejoice Software site, scroll down to the Libronix section and look for:
  • eBible Deluxe Edition $16.95
  • NAS Electronic Bible Library Version 2 $25.95
You can also spring for the eBible Expanded for $60. To see the comparison chart for Deluxe versus Expanded, go here.

SwordSearcher. I really like SwordSearcher. Great product. It is the fastest Bible software I have ever used. It's search capabilities are awesome. However, it is KJV-only and also has very few contemporary works. Which means I hardly ever use it anymore.

Pradis 6.0. The proprietary software from Zondervan. Version 6 is very nice - crisp and usable interface, efficient use of screen space, decent library of Zondervan books. However, I am put off by the actual linkage between books. While books stay in sync as you search and scroll, the linking does not happen at the verse level, which causes some some frustratingly wasted time as I have to read through the text of linked books to find the corresponding entry for the verse I am on.

Also, although other Bibles are available, the software is very NIV-centric, which may or may not be good for you.

In any case, if you do want to try out Pradis, you can do so very cheaply right now. The engine is free, and a $25 coupon code is available for books. This gives you a base library at an inexpensive price. In fact, if you play your cards just right, you can get a few books and/or Bibles for under $25, effectively giving yourself a full product demo for free. Go here and register an account:

Then start shopping. At checkout, enter the following coupon code in the Source Code field for $25 off: AVZCS8

If you know me you know I am not a big fan of technology, especially when it takes away tried-and-true practices that have worked for hundreds of years. But Bible software can be a huge time-saver and I would strongly recommend taking the plunge if you haven't already.

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