Bible Study Software - thursday 2003-10-30 0649 last modified 2003-10-30 0649
Categories: Nerdy, Christianity
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As a cheapskate and a lover of free software (in both the monetary and legal senses of the word free), I really don't understand why electronic text of the Bible in so many popular English translations isn't made readily available -- freely -- for people to use. I would be interested in knowing how much profit Zondervan or NavPress derives from selling Bibles.

Anyways, an intial digression, if such a thing exists. My real desire was to point out good, free Bible study software. I'd never come across The SWORD Project until this week while reading through Sean Boisen's well-named Blogos. I'd been wondering whether I should blow $300 on the study software some of the elders at my church use. I don't think I will now. With Strong's Greek and Hebrew concordances, Nave's topics, John Wesley's commentary, and several different English and other language translations, all for free, it's immensely useful. Granted, the GUI design's not great (The SWORD Project could use a little help from some designers), and I think the text processor is a little broken, with words frequently run together and a major lack of paragraph breaks, but it sure beats nothing or losing money.

I did have a way to tie those first two paragraphs together. It's hard to study the King James' Version or Young's Literal Translation or any other Bibles translated any earlier than the middle of the 20th century for me -- English changes, for good or ill, and trying to sort out the meaning of a text by first trying to comprehend archaic language is either an insurmountable barrier at worst or a waste of time at best (unless you're going for a parallel text comparison, but that's a little different). The only texts available for The SWORD Project are the ones where copyright has expired (I believe). Much as I'd prefer to look at Wesley's commentaries by way of the New American Standard Bible, I'll have to resort to my paper copy to do it, or, of course, pay my way into electronic Bible study bliss.

Nonetheless, I press forward and have been finding some interesting ties to the word agent. More on that later.


study versions

I agree that many of the available versions are either outdated or obscure (i suppose that's why they're available). However, there is an RSV, still a pretty good study version after all these years, particularly at the level of word study because it tends to mirror the original a little more closely.

Some better web-based versions are also under development.

Sean Boisen on November 06, 2003 01:03 AM

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