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Studying the Scriptures by the help of bible study software is quite different from studying by using printed materials. The old way, when one used for instance a printed interlinear bible with Strong’s numbers and a concordance and so on, cannot in any way compete with what can be done with some of the more recent computer bible suites.
The following contains some notes on bible study software. Also, there are some links for download of computer bibles.
A note: Some people might feel that computer bibles are too complicated for them. If this applies to you, then go to the article nga020.htm which provides easy keys to deeper understanding of the Scriptures. Those keys can be used even when one studies by the help of printed books.
Some might say, is it not enough that one reads a printed bible? Well, consider this: All bible-translations contain dogmatic bias and errors and all too often even purposely twisted things. That is one of the areas where the more extensive computer bible suites can be used as a help. They provide an easy and quick way to view multiple translations parallelly, and they even provide ways for checking what the Hebrew and Greek texts say and mean.
(If you have been subjected to dogmas which claim that some particular bible-version has all things right and has no errors, make sure to read the article nsa030.htm.)
In short: Modern computer-based study packages provide many new ways for in-depth study of the Scriptures. It can be said that rightly used, they can revolutionise one’s study.
Some might say, “I do not have time for such deep study”. In that regard, it must be noted that with a computer bible, one can study a given matter in the Scriptures much faster, and deeper, than by using printed books. (Provided that one first finds out how the program works.) As to time – believers must have priorities; that includes one’s use of time. The article nwa060.htm contains a challenge in that regard, and provides a simple way for getting more time for important things such as active family life, and even bible study.
Now, even computer bibles and the contents of their modules – bible-translations, lexicons, commentaries, note-sets and so on – have been produced by men. And so, they all contain errors and dogmatic bias, just as their printed versions do. But, with the help of the more extensive computer bible suites, one can get a better understanding of what the Scriptures really say and mean, also in regard to the Hebrew and Greek texts. In that way, one can endeavour to look beyond the bias, errors and twisted things that are found in all translations, lexicons and commentaries. (Later in this article, there are some notes on Hebrew and Greek lexicons.)
Many computer bibles provide also a way for making one’s own “marginal notes” on each verse of the Bible. Those notes are saved in the program, and can then be viewed and edited at a later time, as one’s study goes on. In some bible suites, those verses where one has written a personal note, become marked in some way.
All bible suites do not provide a simple way for making backup copies of one’s personal verse-notes, or an easy way for restoring the backup into the program. So, if you plan to do serious study where you write your own verse notes, find out how one can make (and restore) backup copies of those notes, in the software that you intend to use.
If you merely want to read the Bible, then there is no reason to acquire a computer bible. Books are best read in printed form, while in-depth bible study is best done with a modern, extensive study suite on a computer.
Some have bible-programs on handheld computers or some other small gadgets. But, for several reasons, effective study cannot be done by using such things. Real in-depth study of the Scriptures requires a large screen and a full-size keyboard.
There is commercial bible study software at different price levels, but there are also free (gratis) alternatives. – Read on.
The bible suite by the name theWord contains numerous English, Greek and Hebrew texts, and lexicons and dictionaries and much mote. Most of its parts are available as free downloads, but that suite is also sold, ready-installed on a USB flash drive, for $30 (price as of July 2017). For some of that suite’s modules, one has to buy unlock codes. In the purchasable USB version, some of the otherwise locked modules are included without an extra cost.
TheWord-suite has modules with accented Hebrew and Greek (OT and NT), and a number of Greek and Hebrew lexicons and dictionaries.
A word of caution: TheWord-suite displays added, passage-headings inside bible-text. Those added headings are disturbing and confusing and at times even severely misleading. If you use theWord-suite, turn off those added things. In version 5, this is done in the program via the “Tools” menu, subheadings “Bible view options” and Paragraphs and headings”, by ticking off the selection-box “Show passage headings”.
There are many other free (or seemingly free) “computer bibles”, but those that this writer has seen, lack several important features. Because of this, they are more programs for reading the Bible, and not for deeper study.
A note: Earlier, this page used to mention even the Online Bible suite, but it appears that those who have produced its recent versions, have not been able to keep up with the latest developments in regard to programming and newer operative systems. That suite has bugs and other faults and lacks and problems.
Those who are familiar with deeper study with a computer bible, and now feel that they might have use for more advanced tools, can take a look at BibleWorks which is a commercial study suite. For more info, including system requirements, see the links below.
In July 2017, the price for BibleWorks was around 390 US dollars, for a USB flash drive with the new version 10. (A download alternative is also available, at the same price.)
A word of caution: If you do not have any previous experience with computer bible suites or with deeper bible study in general, do not spend 390 dollars on BibleWorks. It is best to begin with some of the free packages, such as the earlier mentioned theWord. After one has for a time used one or two of the free programs, one will see how far one actually is able to go in one’s study, and what further tools might be needed for that.
There are other commercial bible suites, such as Logos, QuickVerse and WORDsearch, but their “basic” packages cannot compete with BibleWorks, and their “full” packages are very expensive.
Many makers of commercial bible suites try to sell their products by offering a limited version at a low price or even for free. But, limited versions are just that – limited, and not worth their price and not worth the effort.
(Even with the above-mentioned BibleWorks, some modules cost extra, but its “standard package” contains a great number of already paid modules and cannot in any way be called “limited”. – There are also some free user-made modules available, for use with BibleWorks.)
One of the main problems with many computer bibles is that their Hebrew and Greek lexicons are “biblical” ones – that is, works written by churchmen: Limited and with dogmatic bias and often severely misleading. Strong’s “lexicons” are an extreme example of this, but again, all of the so-called “biblical” lexicons of Hebrew and Greek are limited and contain dogmatic bias and misleading things.
A word of caution: Sometimes, makers of computer bibles modify (abridge or edit) lexicons to their own liking, without making it clear that they are modified products and not “Brown-Driver-Briggs”, “Thayers”, “Liddell and Scott” or similar.
Important: See what was said above, regarding lexicons in computer bibles.
Among the most extensive Greek lexicons are ‘Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon’ Lexicon by Liddell and Scott, and especially the larger, unabridged ‘Greek-English Lexicon’ by the same authors. Even those lexicons contain some religious bias, but they are more extensive and can, if rightly used, give the reader a better view of the meaning of the words in the Greek texts of the NT and the Septuagint (LXX).
See the article nsa010.htm for more on those lexicons, in printed, downloadable and online-variants.
BibleWorks has the full as well as the abridged versions of Brown-Driver-Briggs(-Gesenius) lexicon plus other reference-works on old Hebrew, and several optional additions. TheWord suite has some form of the Brown-Driver-Briggs lexicon, and two optional additions at a fee.
This writer does not in any way endorse all that is contained in the bible suites and lexicons that are mentioned here. As was mentioned earlier, just as it is with printed bibles and other study materials, even computer bibles and the contents of their modules – bible-versions, lexicons, dictionaries, commentaries, note-sets and so on – contain dogmatic bias and error.
But again, if used wisely, a modern and extensive computer bible suite can help one to gain a better understanding of what the Scriptures really say, even in regard to the Hebrew and Greek texts. Putting that in other words: With the help of a more advanced study-suite, one can endeavour to look beyond the bias and errors that are found in all bible-translations, lexicons, commentaries and so on.
For those who find that computer bibles are too complicated for them, there are certain easy and simple keys to deeper understanding of the Scriptures.
The article nga020.htm provides a number of such keys. And yes, those keys can be used also when one studies the Scriptures with the help of a computer bible suite.
See also the “recommended reading” section, below.
Please send or mention the address to this site to others. You can also link to these pages. The address to the table of contents page is biblepages.net/articles.htm
Recommended reading here at the Bible Pages
On the King James translation. The story behind king James’ bible, including the men who were involved in producing it. → nsa030.htm
How to study the Bible in a deeper way. → nsa010.htm
Easy keys to deeper understanding of the Scriptures. → nga020.htm
Check your bible-knowledge. A self-test with fifteen questions. → nsa040.htm
A challenge to all believers, regarding something important. → nwa060.htm
Whom should one listen to, in regard to spiritual matters? → nsa050.htm
On the words and concepts “clergy” and “laity”. → nsa070.htm
What does the word “doctrine” really mean? Likewise, what is the meaning of the terms “dogma”, “creed” and “tenet”? → nsa080.htm
Table of contents – Key-word index – Search function – Goal and purpose of site, contact address
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