Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Word on the Word

This is a bit of a re-post of a re-worked article I did on "Stormbringer's Thunder". My reason for doing it again here is because I am determined to make sure people know that free Bible versions are available, and several of those rival the more expensive versions. If you want a Bible on your computer, you should be able to have one.

No, I'm not writing another essay about theWord Bible software. Today.

And I still say that, even though my loyalty is to theWord, e-Sword is also very good Bible software.

"Uncle Bob, theWord is great, e-Sword is excellent, but I need something that is a bit less feature rich. Also, something that will work on a Mac or Linux, natively." 
Enter the CrossWire Bible Society.

"We have an abundance of applications, available to support you in your Bible studies on many different platforms. Several of these applications are cross platform. All applications in this section use the same module library and most store their library in the same place on your computer. All are based on The SWORD Project You can therefore try several and see which one you end up liking best".

They are volunteers, making Open Source software available on many platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Mobile and Web-based. CrossWire's main program for Windows and other platforms is The SWORD Project, an ambitious Bible study piece. However, I have not used it myself, and it has not been updated for some time. My suspicion is that it will not work well on Windows 7, as I had considerable difficulty getting some of their other products to work properly.

Oops, time for my disclaimer: They do not even know I exist, so they are not giving me anything for writing this article. I am doing it as a public service because there should always be Bible software available, even if you have an older, slower computer or you're not a "techie". Again, I have not installed and tested most of this software. I am offering it to you to check it yourself. But this is not some fly-by-night outfit, they've been around a while, and the software is free (Open Source). Some of the Bible modules are not, but you can get some very good versions for free.

"SwordBible" did not work for me. Well, not completely, anyway. But I did not have a Windows XP machine to test it on, either. Sorry for the incompleteness of my comments, but if someone wants to try it on an XP system, I would like to know if it worked for them. Since there are so many other options available, I would suggest skipping it entirely.

Xiphos has some things going for it, and it is designed for Linux, UNIX and Windows (yes, it does say Windows 7). I was not entirely happy with it, probably because I am so biased from e-Sword and especially theWord. But that's my problem, not yours. You may very well like it. There are many features and functions available.

I used BPBible for a while because it has the capability to run on a flash drive. This is still in active development, and the beta version I downloaded was only a few days old at the time. There are still a few quirks in it that I was unable to answer, but answers may be available in their forum. You cannot print from the program, but it would not be a deal-breaker for me because you can copy and paste into another document and print from that. If I did not already have my preferences on other software, I might very well settle in with BPBible.

Rhomphaia mentioned that her husband uses Action Bible. This is not from the SWORD Project/Crosswire, but it is definitely worth a mention. If you want to just read your Bible and make journals and notes (i.e., sermon preparation), this should work for you. No maps, dictionaries or commentaries. It does not strike me as a system resource hog, either. It comes with a few e-books that did not impress me, and a couple of other features that actually seem to have been abandoned.

There are a few "features" on here that I suggest that you avoid, such as "Action Overlay" (I had to use other software to make it go away) and "RSS Feeds", which is a feed from only one site. The Help file says that it has an address book, which I could not find. 

Action Bible has a "Date Reminder" tool, and a rudimentary task list. Also, it is very customizable to make your own work display pretty much the way you desire. The Search function will let you search through more than one version at a time, as well as setting limits instead of searching the entire Bible every time.

If you do not want the trappings of other programs and just want to read, search and make Bible notes, Action Bible is worth a try.

There are still other free and low-cost Bible study software applications available, and there is no way I can take the time to check them all out. I would probably want to own lots of them, I get nutzo like that. From the feature-rich theWord and e-Sword through the various applications that CrossWire has available, or the stripped-down Action Bible, well, if you want Bible software on your computer, here ya go, Zeke.