Last year at this time we were, to a degree, getting used to the concept of electronic publishing. The approach to Electronic books (E-books) included STEP (Standard Template for Electronic Publishing), LLS (Logos Library System), Adobe Acrobat and other proprietary Bible study software programs. E-books are now fairly common and the number of titles available continues to grow at a rapid rate.
Bible study software has evolved far beyond the original concept of having the scripture text in electronic format. The CD-ROM has made it possible to package an enormous amount of study resources with a software program. This past year has seen high capacity hard drives become standard equipment on new computers, making downloading E-books from the Internet a viable way to deliver to product to the user. Accessing unlimited resources on the computer is now reality and the benefit for the busy pastor is more productivity in much less time.
The number of Bible-related software products to choose from is extensive. The challenge is to get past advertising claims and to the nitty-gritty of which software products best meet a Christian computer user’s needs. The answer is not easy because the deciding factors vary from user to user. I want to try to shed some light on the subject and give a brief evaluation of a number of these products. Not every Bible-related software company submitted its product for review, but those who did are reviewed in this article.
Bible software models
To evaluate Bible related products and decide which one may best meet your needs you must have a handle on the various concepts or “models” that have evolved over the years. The models for Bible-study related programs, from my perspective, fall into three basic categories. These basic “models” have variations and hybrids of the others. The three “models” are:
– Bible-centered (hub & spoke)
– Viewer, engine, books (library)
– Study tools
The Bible-centered approach is where the “hub” is the biblical text and the “spokes” are the additional resources viewed through the hub. An example is Biblesoft; they view their PC Study Bible as Bible-centered.
The second approach involves using electronic publishing capabilities as a library and involves a viewer, a search engine and books. This is the basic concept in the Logos Library System (LLS). The LLS standard has been adopted by a number of book publishers.
The third concept is seeing your software as “study tools.” Hermeneutika Computer Bible Research Software want users to know that BibleWorks 3.5 comes with an “electronic” tool-box with e-tools for use in serious Bible study. The GRAMCORD Institute has a long and distinguished history of producing e-tools for scholarly research.
Parsons’ QuickVerse 5 and NavPress’ WordSearch 5 are hybrids of the Bible-centric and Library models. With STEP as their common standard they (and a number of others) have developed an ever-growing number of E-books. Other companies using the STEP standard to produce E-books include Companion Bible Software, Zondervan Publishing, Rainbow Bible Publishers and Kirkbride Publishers.
Almost all of the companies providing products for this review would claim their software fits all three models with varying degrees of emphasis. With this basic awareness in mind let’s take a look at a number of Bible-related software products. A Pen-tium 233, with 32 MB of RAM, running Windows 95 was used to review the PC-based software. For the Macintosh software a PowerMac with 64 MB of RAM running Mac O/S 8 was used. All the software programs were CD-ROM-based packages and I did a minimal install to my hard drive. Because I don’t like to read manuals, I installed and used each package without reading the manual or accompanying documentation. The good news is all of the software programs installed without any difficulty. The review of each software program is presented here in alphabetical order.
Accordance for Macintosh and GRAM-CORD Greek New Testament for Windows by The GRAMCORD Institute. For more information call OakTree Software, Inc. (470) 339-5855
The GRAMCORD Institute is a non-profit Biblical software publisher. A consortium of Greek and Hebrew professors formed the Institute in 1976. Today it continues to develop Bible software geared to the demanding needs of the serious scholar. While GRAMCORD software has become increasingly favored among students and pastors, the Institute remains focused on original language research and publication-quality tools. While the Institute’s tools provides basic parsing help, parallel text display, and the kinds of cut-and-paste operations helpful in sermon preparation and student papers, the main focus is on high-quality databases and very precise concordance features for the analysis of complex grammatical/syntactical constructions.
The new GRAMCORD LXX incorporates the Taylor/Wheeler/Kraft revision of the CCAT Septuagint Morph text. The authors of the new LEH Septuagint Lexicon utilized GRAMCORD Institute software in the creation and publishing of this important new reference work and GRAMCORD’s LEH module represents its premiere appearance in electronic format.
The GRAMCORD Institute is the only “high-end/power-user” Bible software publisher that provides quality software for both PCs and Macintosh.
The latest release for Accordance/GRAMCORD for Macintosh is the new Accordance 3D Bible Atlas. The Atlas may be purchased on its own CD but can also be integrated with the entire Accordance Library. Thus, one may click on a Hebrew place name, track it in the parallel English translations, consult various reference works concerning the geography and history, and immediately locate it on the Bible Atlas maps.
For more information or to order write The GRAMCORD Institute, 2218 NE Brookview Dr., Vancouver, WA 98686 (Specify PC or Mac); call (360) 576-3000; fax (503) 761-0626; or e-mail
Bible Explorer Version 2.0 by Epiphany Software. For more information call (800) 280-7437
In an interview, Andrew Cogan, president of Epiphany Software, said that the company’s mission is “to provide Christian software products that helps people develop and enhance their relationship with God.” A superb goal, and Bible Explorer (BE2) reaches it in a very novel and unexpected way through its Bible Explorer Cross Reference System. The System automatically ties relevant information from the many books in the BE2 library to the specific Bible verse being studied. So instead of having to search for relevant information, Bible Explorer automatically searches your library and displays it for you. Each reference is only a single mouse click away. Many of the cross-reference items will search for things that you would have never dreamed of.
BE2 has a Library window which provides an expandable outline, or directory, indexing all of the Bible texts and reference materials. It contains a large assortment of materials categorized as Bibles, Christian Literature, Commentaries, Devotionals, Maps & Atlases, Photographs & Art, Study Helps, Study Notes, Topic Studies, and Word Studies. BE2 is the easiest-to-use program I tested.
BE2 CD-ROM is an expandable library. If you purchase the Trial Edition, you can add additional editions with just a phone call to Epiphany Soft-ware. Call (800) 280-7437 and they will help you secure the edition of your choice.
For more information or to order call (800) 333-BIBLE.
Bible Source for Windows, NIV Basic Bible Library ’99 and NIV Complete Bible Library ’99 by Zondervan Publishing House. For more information Contact your local Family Bookstore or call (800) 727-3480
The NIV Study Bible is a comprehensive study tool for the Christian computer-user. The Basic Library starts with The NIV Study Bible 10th Anniversary Edition Study Notes, the NIV Complete Concordance, KJV Cruden’s Concordance, the NIV Nave’s Topical Notes, the NIV Compact Dictionary of the Bible, inspirational readings, full-color maps and photos, charts and outlines and verse notes capability.
The Complete Library adds four popular English Bible texts (NIV, KJV, NASB and NRSV with Apocrypha), plus the Greek New Testament, NIV Exhaustive Concordance, The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, the Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary and The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties.
With STEP compatibility you can use this software with the hundreds of other STEP-compatible e-books.
Both the Basic and Complete editions of the Library are available in your local Christian bookstore or by calling (800) 727-3480. For additional information e-mail or visit the Zondervan Web site at
Bible Windows 5.1 by Silver Mountain Software. For more information call (800) 214-2144
Anyone looking for a full-featured Bible study program using the original languages should take a good look at Bible Windows 5.1. Bible Windows can:
– Make a concordance
– Read the passage using the unique interlinear display
– Do word/grammatical searches
– Compare Greek versions
– Compare translations
Version 5.1 has strong links to Internet resources. For example, the Greek text is linked to the Perseus Project Web site and their complete Liddell & Scott Lexicon. The Perseus site is linked to a number of other sites that contain a significant amount of classical Greek literature in Greek and English.
Bible Windows has had word-for-word glossing of the Greek New Testament for a long time; Version 5.1 adds this feature to the Hebrew Bible. The Bible Windows Interlinear display now includes the grammatical tags, dictionary forms and a translation for each word in the original language texts.
For more information write Silver Mountain Software, 1029 Tanglewood Drive, Cedar Hill, TX 75104; call (800) 214-2144; e-mail; or Their Web site is
BibleWorks 3.5 for Windows on CD-ROM by Hermeneutika Computer Bible Research. For more information call (800) 742-4253
BibleWorks for Windows (both 32-bit and 16-bit) is a Bible software product that is comprehensive with integrated multi-lingual exegetical and expositional tools. Eventually Bible-Works will cover over 20 major national languages. The current 3.5 Version contains more than 60 Bibles and Works and almost 400 MB of data. The program is integrated with a fast, flexible and versatile exegetical, comparative, expositional tool-kit search engine. The program has instant parsings and definitions, plus interlinear and parallel views.
This versatile program includes full morphological support for original language studies in the Old Testament, the Septuagint, and the New Testament. It also includes the Latin Vulgate, various Lexicons, a Bible Dictionary, and a number of English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and other translations. Several Biblical Greek & Hebrew Fonts are included.
Bible study, research, exegesis, exposition, language analysis, language learning (inductive, comparative methods) and Bible education were all key factors in the development of BibleWorks. If you are looking for an exceptional selection of Bible texts and reference materials, check out Bible-Works 3.5 for Windows — one of the finest programs available today for both Bible student and Bible scholar.
Not only does BibleWorks 3.5 come with a number of English translations and the Greek and Hebrew text, but with Spanish, Danish, Latin, German, Finnish, Dutch, French, Hungarian and Italian translations too. If you desire to do accurate exegesis in order to accomplish accurate exposition, BibleWorks gives you the needed tools.
To order or for more information about BibleWorks 3.5 call (800) 74-BIBLE, or visit the HERMENEUTIKA Web site at (Note: The Web site contains the latest maintenance updates and info on BibleWorks).
Books for the Ages Library for Windows and Macintosh by Ages Software. For more information call (800) 297-4307
Books for the Ages CD-ROM contains a tremendous amount of information. The Books for the Ages uses the Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing and searching functions. Acrobat is available for both PC and Macintosh. The predefined bookmarks allow you to jump to the beginning of any book or chapter. You then scroll from there to the verse you want. The Bible text and other text appear on the screen in pages, and the entire process works very much like a Bible that has been “thumb-indexed” down to the chapter level. This software program contains a wealth of reference texts to expand your electronic library.
The same CD-ROM runs on both the PC and Macintosh. For more information or to order call (800) 297-4307. Learn more about Books for the Ages by visiting their Web site at
Deluxe Bible for Windows 3.0 by Rocky Mountain Laboratories. For more information call (800) 743-1651
Rocky Mountain Laboratories released Version 3.0 of the Deluxe Bible this summer. Like 2.0 it continues to be a user-friendly reference tool with some added features. The program is available in the King James Version, (KJV); the New King James Version, (NKJ); and the Catholic New American Bible, (NAB).
New in Version 3.0:
– 62 Hammond Biblical maps
– Easton’s Bible Dictionary
– Built-in Word Processor
– Readings for Sunday Mass through the year 2016 in the Catholic versions Version 3.0 is network ready.
Deluxe Bible for Windows 3.0 is available either on disks or CD-ROM from Rocky Mountain Software, P.O. Box 272224, Fort Collins CO 80527. Order online at or call (800) 743-1651.
A free Catholic demo and the Deluxe New Testament is available for download from the web site.
Logos Library System (LLS) by Logos Research Systems. For more information call (800) 875-6467
Major changes are happening with the Logos Library System (LLS). In the past, the common practice was for software companies to license content for their software programs. In the last twelve months we have seen that concept reversed with LLS. Rather than Logos licensing copyrighted material to be published in LLS; book publishers are licensing LLS to publish e-books. The biggest example of this was the release of the Nelson Electronic Bible Reference Library (NEBRL) by Thomas Nelson Publishers a year ago. Thomas Nelson’s electronic publishing division released additional libraries this year. They include Charles Stanley’s Electronic Bible Study Library and Hayford’s Electronic Spirit-Filled Life Library. For more information about Nelson Electronic Publishing e-books call (800) 933-9673 ext. 2830
Logos is still publishing e-books. The Scholar’s Library includes fifty-eight Bibles and Bible reference books. There are e-books for biblical language study plus commentaries, cross reference e-books, theology e-books and much more.
Whether your looking at NEBRL from Nelson or the Scholar’s Library from Logos, the software that powers the e-books is LLS. The basic concept behind LLS is a viewer, a search engine and e-books. You can begin with any of the e-books and do a search of all the books in your library on a particular topic, doctrine or Scripture passage.
All LLS CDs have additional locked e-books that can be unlocked by calling the phone number on that CD’s box.
You may reach Logos Research Systems, Inc. by calling (800) 875-6467, by fax at (360) 675-8169, or visit their Web site at
Online Bible 7.0 Deluxe Windows CD-ROM by Online Bible. For more information call (800) 243-7124
The latest version of the Online Bible is version 7.06 for Windows 3.1 or Windows 95. Larry Pierce continues to improve this product.
Online Bible enjoys a wide distribution among Christian computer users. There are fifteen English Bibles, plus Spanish, French, German, Dutch and Russian versions, plus forty others (NIV, NRSV and NASB require unlocking fee). The KJV and the Greek Textus Receptus are keyed to Strong’s numbers and include Greek and Hebrew definitions and verb parsing.
Except for copyrighted Bible text, the material in Online Bible is free to be shared.
PC Study Bible 3.0 for Windows by Biblesoft. For more information call (800) 995-9058
According to Biblesoft, beginning this Fall you will be able to create Bible studies and reference materials that integrate seamlessly into the PC Study Bible. For a number of years Biblesoft has been working to develop an authoring system for the creation of computerized Bible studies and reference materials. This authoring system is supposed to enable anyone to create content that will integrate into the PC Study Bible. This system will be available for use by Christian publishers, ministries, authors, pastors, teachers, and everyday students of the Bible who would like to create content for use in PC Study Bible.
The first edition of the Biblesoft Authoring System (BAS) will be included in PC Study Bible version 3.0, scheduled for release in October 1998 (Please note: It may be the first part of 1999 before Version 3.0 is released).
Biblesoft has announced that a number of Bible study and Bible reference materials from a number of well-known Bible teachers, authors, and ministries will be available soon after the release of BAS.
PC Study Bible 3.0 will be available in most Christian bookstores. For information call (800) 995-9058, or visit their web site at
QuickVerse 5.0, Deluxe Bible Reference Collection for Windows by Parsons Technology. For more information call (800) 223-6925
Parsons Technology is about to release Quick Verse 5.0. At the time of the writing of this article it was still in beta testing. Parsons has a consistent history of not announcing a release until they are confident they can ship it. You can expect QV5 to be available by the time you see this in print. The following information was shared with me by Craig Rairdin, vice-president of the Church Software Division of Parsons Technology, and the creator of QuickVerse. He said, “Unlike past versions where Bibles, maps and reference books all appeared in different programs, QV5 will be an integrated solution, with Bibles and all reference material in our standard STEP data format. PC Bible Atlas maps have been redesigned to match the higher color capabilities of current video cards, and will simply be another multimedia type that you can link to from a book. That is, a STEP book can contain a link to a map which will open in another window and support most of the PCBA map-viewing functions (distance measuring, hyperlinking, scrolling, copy to clipboard, print, etc.).”
All the QuickVerse Bibles have been recompiled in the STEP format. True paragraphs and poetry indenting have been added, making the text much more readable. User notes have been expanded so that notes can be added to any book, not just to Bibles.
QV5 will be available in three CD-ROM collections: Standard, Expanded and Deluxe. An add-on containing the Greek New Testament and Greek language reference books can be purchased as a stand-alone or as a complementary product to the CD-ROM collections. As always, QV5 is a great value, with over 60 titles included in the Deluxe collection and hundreds more available to be unlocked.
QuickVerse 5.0 continues to be compatible with Parsons’ Online Library. Users with Internet access can subscribe to the Online Library service and have access to over 250 books for a low monthly subscription rate. Since the Online Library first became available the monthly subscription price has come down and the list of available books has grown larger. I really encourage you to check this out.
For more information about QuickVerse and QuickVerse Library e-books, or to order, contact Parsons Technology at (800) 223-6925, or via their web site at QuickVerse and related products can be downloaded directly to your hard drive from the web site.
Rainbow Study Bible Version 2 CD-ROM by RainbowSoft. For more information call (800) BIBLE-4-U
The Rainbow Bible is one of the most popular study Bibles ever printed. It is used by over a million people for Bible study. Last year RainbowSoft released the first electronic version of the Rainbow Bible. ASTEP-compatible product, it comes with its own STEP-Reader. Version 2.0 is now available and is much improved over Version 1. For those who love the Rainbow Bible the electronic version is an excellent addition. There were not a lot of additional e-books on the review version I received, but remember that the Rainbow STEP-Reader can access all STEP-titles.
The Inductive Bible Study Companion for Windows from Companion Bible Software. For more information call (800) 526-2796
The Inductive Bible Study Companion is a part of the Companion Bible Series from Loizeaux Inc. The Companion Series include the Family Bible Companion, the Student Bible Companion, the Teacher’s Bible Companion and The Inductive Bible Study Companion. The latter was developed in association with Kay Arthur and Precept Ministries. All the versions are very user-friendly and come with a large selection of Bibles and reference materials. The current status of your work can be saved in four different desktops. This can be very useful when working on more that one study project.
The copy I received for review was the Inductive Bible Study Companion. It is a stand-alone product that provides the opportunity to use the computer’s power and convenience to do inductive Bible study made popular by Precept Ministries. Kay Arthur, founder of Precept Ministries, says, “we think the Bible Companion is one of the best electronic Bible study systems available. Consequently it is the program of choice for Precept Ministries.”
The New American Standard Bible (recommended text of Precept Ministries) is included along with several other word study tools. Terry Wilson, of Bible Companion Software says, “The most powerful aspect of this product is the Markup Toolbar which allows the user to mark the Bible text with up to 16 colors and 128 symbols and then instantly transfer the results with the automatic Chart Builder.”
If you use the inductive approach to your Bible study and want to make use of electronic tools you will enjoy this product.
The Bible Companion Series software include:
– Personal Authoring Tools
– Original Language Study
– Word-Processor Support
– Full Customization of screen colors, screen fonts and printer fonts
Bible Companion Software is a ministry of Loizeuax Brothers, Inc. For more information about all four versions of The Bible Companion Series, write Bible Companion Software, P.O. Box 277, Neptune NJ 07754; call (800) 526-2796; fax (908) 922-9487; or visit
Thompson Bible Study Library CD-ROM for Windows by Kirkbride Technology. For more information call (800) 428-4385
Last fall when Kirkbride Technology replaced HyperBible with the Thompson Bible Study Library I wondered about the wisdom of their decision. The question was quickly answered as the Thompson Bible Study Library was warmly embraced by those whose study Bible of choice is the Thompson Chain Reference Bible. The Thompson Bible Study Library is powered by the WORDsearch engine (see review of WORDsearch below) from NavPress Software. The Thompson Bible Study Library uses STEP technology and allows users to access any STEP-compatible product easily and seamlessly.
For more information about Thompson Bible Study Library call (800) 428-4385, e-mail or visit
Verse Search For Windows 6.3 by Bible Research Systems. For more information call (800) 423-1228
Bible Research Systems is one of the pioneers in Bible study software. They have had a product available for over seventeen years. THE WORD Processor is an approach to electronic Bible study that begins with Verse Search. Verse Search is for searching the scripture text and copying the verses/passages into your lesson/sermon documents. As your need for additional resources grow you can add a number of fully-integrated products. The list of add-ons is extensive. Here is a short list of some of my favorites:
– Librarian – It gives you the ability to create your own personal Bible studies library.
– Bible Dictionary – The 20 maps give you the location of key events, nations, cities, rivers, mountains and geographical regions referenced in the Bible.
– Bible Outlines – Every book in the Bible is outlined giving a structure to the content and identifying key concepts.
– Greek & Hebrew transliterators
– Vine’s Expository Dictionary
– Matthew Henry Concise Commentary.
Plus a number of others!
For more information or to order, write Bible Research Systems, 2012 Wells Branch Parkway, #304, Austin TX 78728; call (800) 423-1228; fax (512) 251-4401; e-mail; or visit their Web site
WORDsearch 5 for Windows by NavPress Software. For more information call (800) 888-9898
NavPress Software has scheduled the release Version 5.0 of WORDsearch sometime in September. Here’s a brief summary of the new features that will be included in WORDsearch 5 according to Gary Cantwell, director of marketing for NavPress Software.
– Original Language Capability WORDsearch 5 can now fluently display and search the original Bible languages. Using the latest version of STEP, WORDsearch 5 gives you access to Biblical Greek and Hebrew in an Interlinear Bible text, Lexicons, Concordances, and Dictionaries. Search all your commentaries for any Greek or Hebrew word. Original language works include: Nestle-Aland 27th edition Greek New Testament, Louw and Nida, Barclay Newman, Hebrew Old Testament – Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Westminster Hebrew Morphology, and others.
– Biblical Analysis and Research Tools (BART)
In partnership with the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL, a sister organization of Wycliffe Bible Translators), NavPress Software has created BART, an in-depth Greek and Hebrew Analysis Tool. Designed for use by Bible translators worldwide, BART enables you to search and analyze the original languages of the Bible. Starting with a flexible interlinear display, BART guides you effortlessly through all the tools of language study: searching, grammar tags, glosses, lemmas, lexicons, pronunciation — you name it.
– Interlinear Greek New Testament. WORDsearch 5 features a STEP version of the New Greek-English Interlinear New Testament from Tyndale, with 6 levels, including the Analytical Greek New Testament by Friberg, Strong’s numbers, and audio pronunciation.
– Talking Strong’s. WORD search 5 takes original language study a step further by providing an audible pronunciation of all the original Greek and Hebrew root words found in the Strong’s Dictionary and Concordance. Just click to hear any Greek or Hebrew root word pronounced!
– Latest Version of STEP. WORDsearch 5 with commentaries and reference works use the latest version of STEP, which is compatible with QuickVerse 5. These new STEP tools have increased language capability and take 20-30% less space on the hard drive.
– Free Tutorial. WORDsearch 5 CD’s come with an interactive, multimedia on-screen tutorial that takes you step by step through the basics of WORDsearch and LESSONmaker, making it very easy to learn how to use these programs.
To order WORDsearch 5 Greek and Hebrew Library, call 1-800-888-9898. For more information about these and other products, visit the NavPress Software Web site at
Bible study software is no longer a novelty; it’s a readily available and affordable study aid for those who study the Bible. Computer hardware continues to get more powerful at less cost. If you haven’t used computer Bible study products before there’s never been a better time than now to get started.
The choices of software are many and selecting a Bible related program will not come easily. Understanding your own particular approach to Bible study is vital in choosing the program that best meets your needs. Bible study software programs usually reflect the approach to Bible study practiced by the original developer of the product. I found a program that was developed by someone whose study habits were similar to mine. The program is an invaluable asset to me because it meets my needs. If you’re just starting, I encourage you to identify your needs, make a list of what resources (books) you want to use and analyze your approach to Bible study. With that awareness you are ready to begin your selection process.
Understanding the models mentioned in the introduction is the next step in finding a Bible program you can use effectively. (If you would like a fuller explanation of these models e-mail me at Fortunately there are a number of excellent programs available. All of the companies mentioned in this article will be more than happy to send you information that will help you be fully aware of what their products offer (there are many additional programs available which are not reviewed because they were not submitted). Don’t hesitate to call or e-mail them and ask for more information. Also, a visit to their Web sites can be a great help in understanding what they have available
Pricing was not included because of the different configurations of software packages. The information you request from the different companies will provide pricing information.
As I stated last year, “ministry resources are growing and more technology tools are on the horizon. Take advantage of these tools that can help you be more productive and efficient in doing the work of the ministry. Don’t be discouraged by what, at first, seems hard. The learning curve is part of the reality of using computers, but the benefits are well worth the effort.”

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