Biblical Studies software
and Bible versions on the net.
This is a brief review of some of the Bible Studies programmes available for use with your computer as well as some web sites which give access to versions of the Bible. The sites and products listed below are those which I have found in my searches on the net.
Note: I would like this page to be useful to many people so if you know
of Bible Studies software or of a version of the Bible available on a site
not given here, please let me know so that I may be able to include it.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bible versions on the net
There are many web sites which give access to versions of the Bible. Due to copyright restrictions not all versions readily available in print are available in electronic form. Moreover, some web site programmes only give access to a verse of Scripture at a time, and search facilities can be limited, so they have limited usefulness. Others will give a substantial portion of text around the search text.
1. The most comprehensive list of all is that provided on the site Virtual Christianity: Bibles. It contains links to sites which provide access to multiple translations. It has separate listings for the KJV and the RSV, followed by a list of other versions of the Bible. There is a list of search engines with an emphasis on sites related to Christianity, sites with the Apocrypha available, then original or ancient language Bibles, and finally a long list of foreign language Bibles available online.
2. Another page that gives you access to some of the web sites below and lets you search them straight from the initial page is Bible Versions and Translations, constructed by Mark Goodacre of Birmingham University.
3. Tyndale House in Cambridge, UK, has a useful page listing many English versions of the Bible, each with its own page describing the version and giving an illustration of the language and style.
4. The Unbound Bible has an excellent search facility with access to a number of English translations of the Bible (Including RSV and NRSV), other modern language translations, and some ancient language versions.
3. The Electronic Text Center at the University of Virginia in the US has the KJV and RSV online. You can also get a copy of the Koran here. If you have trouble with this address go to the University of Virginia, click on libraries, electronic text center, collections, English, online holdings, and finally religious resources.
4. The NET Bible Online has a new translation of the Bible available online. Copyright 1996 by Biblical Studies Press. I could not locate a list of translators for the project and have only searched it briefly to check on its translation. It seems to me from the few passages I have been able to check to be a reasonably literal translation (as opposed to a dynamic equivalence translation). The site also offers footnotes on the translation outlining some of the issues involved in the work. These too seem helpful. Once in the home page you can search the translation by book, chapter and verse. The programme will then give the text beginning with your designated verse and the footnotes are then indicated, so the programme aims to help people in their biblical study, not just give them the verse requested.
4. The Bible Gateway page contains a number of English "versions" of the Bible. The major ones available are the NIV, New American Standard, and the CEV. Some of the "versions" are paraphrases, which should be distinguished from authorised translations of the Bible. I would not recommend these paraphrases for Bible Study. One very good feature of the site, however, is that it has search capabilities not only by biblical reference (i.e. by book, chapter and verse) but also by keyword. You can use the Bible Gateway from your own web pages by linking directly to Bible Gateway search result pages.
5. A number of versions and tools not available on other sites are present on the Hypertext Bible. This site gives access to the KJV, the Apocrypha (translation not stated), the Vulgate, transliterations of the Greek NT and Hebrew OT, versions of the Hebrew Bible in unpointed and pointed form, as well as the 1917 Jewish Publication Society English translation of the Hebrew Bible. This last version is also available at the Bible Database site. The Hypertext Bible site also gives access to Elizabeth Cady Stanton's 1898 Woman's Bible as well as various texts in Judaism.
6. The Bible Database site (see above) also gives a number of translations of the Bible in languages other than English. I cannot vouch for the standard or importance of these.
7. The Jewish Publication Society 1917 version of the Hebrew Scriptures is available through BibleKeeper.com.
8. The New American Bible, a modern American Catholic translation, is available at the web site for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Click on Bible on the home page.
9. The web site World Wide Study Bible gets you to the NRSV online. It is a very easy site to navigate. Bible on the web.com has search facility for the RSV as well as the KJV.
10. Other sites have extensive lists of English and other language versions.
These include Crosswalk.com
(which lets you search for topics within specified areas of the biblical
of Biblical Studies: On-line texts; and the World
Wide Study Bible. There are many more which could be added but they
give much the same links and access to the same versions.
Biblical Studies Software
Below are two groups of biblical studies software suppliers. List 1 contains software products which either I or colleagues of mine use or have used and have found helpful. These have excellent search facilities in a range of English Bibles and often have versions which allow study of the Bible in its ancient languages. Sometimes, additional versions of the Bible are available in add-ons. List 2 gives providers with which I am not familiar. In the latter case my comments are limited to what I have seen on their web sites.
I need to stress that before purchasing a product it is important to
investigate what a software package can do, what it contains, the system
it requires, and the level of biblical studies it is designed to support.
All the products listed have search capabilities on the Bibles within their
programmes. Some products are suitable only for PCs or Macintosh computers.
Others come in a range of levels. Some contain mostly tools geared for
the study of the Hebrew or Greek versions of the Old and New Testaments.
Many of the products are expensive and you want to make sure you get what
you need and want. These programmes will often include a lot of resources
beyond the biblical versions themselves (dictionaries, so-called commentaries
etc). They look as though they offer a multitude of resources. However,
a lot of this material is dated, or written from a particular slant, and
personally I find it of limited value. What I do find important are the
search capabilities of the programme, the availability of quality English
translations of the Bible, lexicons and other morphological tools for the
study of the biblical text in its original langauges, and the ability to
work with documents created from the biblical text versions available.
List 1 of software providers
These supply Accordance Bible Software. Note this is for Mac users only. Two programmes are available, one for study of English Bibles and one for the study of the Greek and Hebrew texts (Scholar's edition). A special Jewish collection is also available with additional Jewish resources. The English Bible programme is available in several levels from 'introductory' to 'premier'. The premier edition has some Greek texts on it but not Hebrew. For scholarly use or for study of the biblical text in the original languages you do have to opt for the Scholar's edition. Note that according to the web site the Scholar's edition utilises Gramcord programmes (see below) for Greek and Hebrew texts. It utilises the Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domains (Louw Nida) for Greek and BDB for Hebrew. Several modules can be added to the English edition including biblical maps and a photogallery. These come as part of the Scholar's edition and are integrated with the basic programme. The Scholar's edition also has texts from the Apostolic fathers, Josephus, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Hebrew inscriptions in the original languages.
Logos Research Systems
These publish a range of biblical study programmes from the basic Bible Study Library to the Scholar's Library. The former comes with a host of English Bible versions and many resources. Of particular usefulness is the Logos Bible maps programme and the Images of the Holy Lands photographs. At the other end of the scale is the Scholar's Library which has the Nestle Aland 27th ed. of the Greek NT and the BHS edition of the Old Testament. For dictionaries it has the Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domains (Louw Nida) and the intermediate Liddell & Scott for Greek, and BDB for Hebrew.
The latest software package from BibleWorks is BibleWorks 5. The web site says that BibleWorks 5 is not specifically designed for Macintosh computers but that some of them can run the programme adequately. Mac users should check the web site thoroughly before ordering. BibleWorks 5 does not come in different versions at different levels. Rather when you open the programme you can choose at which level to work in the programme on that occasion. In short unless you are going to use all the ancient language resources then you will need to compare this product with others ones carefully before purchase. BibleWorks 5 comes with Greek, Hebrew, and Septuagint Bibles, as well as translations in English, and many other languages. It also has a variety of lexicons, dictionaries, and morphological tools. The Greek lexicons include Louw-Nida, UBS, and Liddell-Scott. You can also add at extra cost A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition (Bauer, Walter. Edited and revised by Frederick William Danker). For Hebrew there is the unabridged BDB-Gesenius 1905, and for those with scholarly interests there is the option of adding at extra cost The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, 4th Edition (Koehler-Baumgartner-Stamm). Both simple and complex searches can be done, the screen layout can be changed to suit your work and the user can type in Hebrew (right to left) and Greek characters. The CDRom comes with nearly 4 hours of a demonstration video on the programme.
The Gramcord Institute
This is a non-profit organisation specialising in computer assisted biblical studies tools. They have programmes for PCs, Macintosh computers and even Palm/Pocket PCs. All levels of programming have tools in the original biblical languages. The various programmes available come on a single CDRom which can then be unlocked to install the level of programme ordered by the user. The basic level contains the Greek NT (Nestle-Aland 27th edition), a few English Bibles, and the basic library. The Scholar's Bundle adds Old Testament texts with Hebrew (BDB) and LXX lexicons. At the other end of the spectrum is the Ultimate Bundle which offers further translations and the Louw & Nida Semantic Domain Greek Lexicon (for the Greek New Testament). The user can expand their system at any time by simply ordering new passwords to open new levels on their CDRom. The Macintosh version of the programme is connected to the Accordance programme mentioned above.
One other programme that should be mentioned is Nota
Bene. They offer a suite of software tools designed specifically for
the needs of scholarly writers. The basic package consists of three separate,
but integrated programmes: a full-featured word processor (Nota
Bene), a bibliographic database manager (Ibidem) and a note-taking
and text-retrieval program (Orbis). A fourth module (IbidPlus)
extends Ibidem to provide a customized database programme. The Lingua
Workstation is designed for scholars who use Hebrew, Greek, and other
specialized characters. It contains the same programmes as the Scholar's
Workstation, but adds multilingual support for the original language alphabets.
It allows sorting and searching in the original language biblical texts
and in parallel texts and concordances.
List 2 providers of software packages
Following is a list of providers with which I am not so familiar. While one or two of the programmes offered have similar characteristics and facilities to those listed above, several others do not. Again you need to examine the programme and its features to decide what is best for you.
Parsons Church Division
This sells QuickVerse software which is limited in the Bible translations available but is much less expensive than the programmes in list 1.
Olive Tree Bible Software
Offers Bible software for handheld PCs.
Silver Mountain Software
Offers Bible Windows which has original language capabilities and many of the features offered in the programmes in list 1.
Thomas Nelson Pty Ltd
Publishes a number of eBible packages. Search for eBibles on their website. Nelson's Ultimate Bible Reference Library, which comes in 2 CDs, is available relatively cheaply from a number of online outlets. It has a limited number of English translations which includes the NRSV and RSV and has a basic search capability with some maps, basic Heberw and Greek facilities and other resources.
A useful article on programmes for biblical study, although somewhat dated now, is that by Ralph W. Klein, a well known Old Testament scholar, entitled: "Something new under the sun: computer concordances and biblical study," The Christian Century (November, 1997) pp. 1034-1037.
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