Friday, October 26, 2012

The Best Bible Software

A mate of mine recently asked me what Bible software I would recommend for Greek and Hebrew. Here is my answer to him, which I thought I would also post on this blog:

This is a tough question. First I will explain what I use and why:

The software I have had the longest is Bibleworks. This is excellent for exegesis of just about any language Bible. However, once I switched to a mac, I stopped using Bibleworks. However, when I was doing work on my Dmin, I found I missed the speed of Bibleworks and so started using it again (with parallels). I really like Bibleworks, but miss the fact that they don't have a mobile app. I also have Logos 4. I do not find this as useful for exegesis. When I'm in Bibleworks, I really feel like I'm in the text, when I'm in Logos I feel like I'm using software. However, there are some things that Logos does that I really like:

1) I have lots of commentaries on there, which means that by using the "Passage guide" feature, I can instantly call up all the commentaries I have on a particular verse.

2) I have lots of systematic theologies on there. This has been very important for my Dmin work on a Catechism for Council Estates (The Roehampton Catechism). I can very easily look up topics in multiple books, without creating a big mess in my limited space.

 3) It syncs with the iPad/iphone app really well. I can be working at my desktop and highlighting systematic theologies, and then I can lie down later when my back's hurting and continue working with my iPad. I can call up the same highlights, and start making new ones.

 4) Word Study - whilst I much prefer doing word studies in Bibleworks, I do find that word study in Logos quite good. I like to see the graphical pie chart of how a word is translated, and I especially like that I can do word studies in the iPad app.

5) Iphone/Ipad app - the Logos app is really good. I can do word studies using BDAG, TWOT, NIDOTTE etc. As I'm on the move a lot, I find this very helpful. This for me is big drawback of Bibleworks at the moment - they do not have an app! I do however run Bibleworks on my iPad using logmein - but I need a wifi connection for this.

I also have OliveTree Bible reader on my ipad/iphone (which I think they now wanna call "The Bible study app"). This is excellent for reading and studying in English or Greek or Hebrew on the go. It doesn't have the functionality of Bibleworks, but its great for reading a text and being able to look up words (and even do some simple word searches). This is what i use if I just wanna read Hebrew or Greek in my devotions. I also have some commentaries and maps on OliveTree - and there is a desktop version.

All these programs are great. However it is frustrating paying for all three. I have bought BDAG for both Logos and Bibleworks, and have bought Greek and Hebrew texts for all three! If I was starting all over again (now with a mac and iPad and iPhone), I would start investigating Accordance, to see if it was worth it. In fact I did recently try, but their demo version was too limiting to be able to asses how good it is for Biblical exegesis in the original languages. I like the fact they have a mobile app. But I don't like how expensive their modules are. Then again, perhaps if I was only buying one set of modules then it would work out around the same price? Anyway, for me Accordance is an unknown quantity, so please don't think I am suggesting it for you.

I will write more on this topic later….