Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bible Software: You get what you pay for

I've been demonstrating Accordance and BibleWorks 7 and reviewing Bible software in class recently. We did a group order for both -- first time I've ordered Accordance -- with a group discount and without a hitch.

While there are up to date websites: Bible software Review, there seems to be more on the web not covered by every site.

So J and I did a brief survey of free Bible software on the web asking about usability, coding (of Greek and Hebrew), and bias.

If you have a stable on-line connection you can use free bible software on the net easily. If you don't, then you will need to buy bible software.

In the public domain there are limited English translations. The NRSV translation (approved for lectionary use in the Episcopal Church) has proprietary costs. Similarly, if the version of the Septuagint is Tischendorf's, it is not an up to date critical edition of the Greek text of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament.

Some sites we examined use Bullinger (d.1913) for Greek Word Study, Short Definitions. His lexicon was published in 1877. Longer definitions of Greek Words might be from Thayer whose lexicon was published in 1899. These tools are completely out of date now since they take no papyri discoveries or modern linguistic tools (e.g. semantic domains) into account.

Zhubert has a link to the Perseus lexicon which is more up to date but focused on classical texts and literature. You really need access to BDAG for the Greek.

Standard Greek and Hebrew coding is CATSS, Computer Assisted Tools for Septuagint/Scriptural Study.


Rev Dr Mom said...

If I'm reading you correctly, none of the on-line resources measure up to BibleWorks or Accordance. How are the students liking Accordance?

Deirdre said...

Right--unless you live in Estonia with permanent on-line connection and even then you don't have access to everything you need :) The students who have Accordance love it tho' there's still lots to learn. The students who have BW7 love it too (I think--again with lots to learn). I have both in different places --at home and in the office--and think there are different strengths to both. One day I'll post on this challenging topic.

Sean said...

I'm biased of course since i work for them, but any discussion of Bible Software should also include Logos Bible Software.
Here is a recent review hosted by Christianity Today (which does not work for Logos :-)

Anonymous said...

I've been using the new Bible Study Tools on and I think it offers great access to an extensive library of Bible Study Tools. The reason I like it so much and want to share it with you is because I can read so many commentaries, 29 translations, lexicons, Greek and Hebrew, devotionals and more all for free. I could never afford these books nor would I have the time to search through all of them! I also like that I can highlight text and save notes. The screen is split-panel that lets you compare versions, commentaries, etc. so it's really easy to use. I hope you get a chance to check it out! It's been a blessing for me and I want to let others know that they can find tools to understand the Bible without having to go to seminary!

Unknown said...

I've been using the Free Bible Explorer, it's free and does everything I need for daily Bible study. It's got tons of free resources that don't require going to an internet site. Last time I checked you could get over 180 free Bibles and resources.

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