Software for Biblical Studies

Picture from Tyndale House

Free Bible Software for PCs and Macs

Commercial Bible Software for PCs and Macs

Bible Software on the Web

Bible Software for Palms & Pocket PCs

Recommendations: (for details, see below):

Accordance is the easiest to use and most powerful. It is less pretty and slightly slower on the PC because of the emulator.
It exports Greek & Hebrew in Unicode, so that you can create documents which are future-proofed and readable on PC or Mac.

BibleWorks is what I use mainly on a PC, mostly because it starts up quicker than Accordance on a PC, and has most of the same tools.

Libronix is necessary because it has exclusive rights to so many important works, but personally I don't like the interface. 

Online Bible is useful on one of my old laptops, because it is so fast. Basic searches only, but that's all you need for sermon writing.

Sword online is just the thing when you are at an internet computer. Its Web 2 programming means that it can have pop-up lexicons and parsing.

BiblePlus on the Palm is what I used most. In my pocket I carry: various Bibles in English, Hebrew, and Greek (with basic parsing & lexicon); Targums in Aramaic & English; complete Josephus, Philo and even Nag Hammadi. Views two versions at once with a split screen. All free!

These are personal recommendations. For more unbiased and factual appraisals, see below.

Free Bible Software for PCs and Macs

The free Bible software is remarkably good, and sometimes faster and easier to use than the commercial equivalents.  

Online Bible - not pretty, but very fast even on old computers
- very many free Bibles & tools, incl. Greek & unpointed Hebrew plus copyrighted translations for a small fee
Many sites with useful collections for download, eg: here and here

E-Sword - much prettier, and a little slower
- includes most texts available for Online Bible plus more Greek 

The Sword  - (different from the above!) for PC, MAC, & Linux
- includes most texts available for Online Bible plus a Greek LXX with gramatical and lexical tags and many translations

Bible Database - a new and promising project for PC & Web

MTR - DOS program for Hebrew texts - Bible, Talmud, Tg Onqelos, Mishneh Torah etc 

Davar - Pointed Hebrew text with linked lexicons - a remarkable free program. Takes getting used to.


Commercial Bible Software for PCs and Macs

The price of these packages is largely due to royalty fees on the modules. When you count up the cost of the equivalent books, all of these are a bargain.   

Biblical scholars are pampered. Unlike almost any other discipline, all our primary texts and most of our background texts are easily available with full searching and parsing facilities.  The software keeps getting better, at such a bewildering speed that packages are hard to compare.

The top five:
Libronix (Logos)  the big one  - for PCs and soon for Macs. Still growing in size and sophistication.
Accordance  the pretty one  - for Macs and PC with emulator. Does everything, and remains easy to use.
BibleWorks  the all-in one  - for PCs. Does everything, but takes time to learn.
Gramcord  the old one  - very good, but it lags behind the competition.
Pradis (Zondervan)  the sturdy one - this may grow into something significant.

John Glynn has produced a wonderful review of the top five commercial Bible Software packages
(he is the author of the Commentary & Reference Survey, Kregel, 2003) 

Bibloi (was Bible Windows) - for PC, good texts. 
AnyText  - for Mac, good fonts. 
Theophilus - for PC, cheap. 
QuickVerse - for PC, friendly.
Theolphilus - for PC, with cartoons!


Bible Software on the Web

The modules in free Bible software have migrated to the web, as well as some commercial Bible texts which free software cannot supply.   

Scholarly texts with parsing & lexicons:
The Sword online is becoming the best Bible on the web. Its Web 2 programming gives almost-instant pop-up lexicons and parsing.
eg see OT in parallel Greek, Hebrew & English LXX & MT or NT in parallel Greek & English with linked parsing
BlueLetter Bible - OT & NT, very good links incl. full Thayer and Gesenius lexicons
StudyLight - Hebrew BHS, LXX, NA26, linked to lexicons, with English. Fast.
Greek NT with Variants - multiple Greek editions & MSS, with variants, linked to very good lexical aids.
ZHubert - Greek parsing and vocab of LXX and NT, which is sooo easy on the eye [currently being rebuilt]
Perseus Greek NT - W&H ed. with links to superb lexicons & grammatical analysis. (If down, try Chicago, Berlin, Oxford)
BibleBrowser - nice multi-version concordance, and lexicons linked to Hebrew & Greek. Useful layout.
The Online Greek Bible - NT only, click on any word for lexicon & morphology
OliveTree Bibles - search Greek & Hebrew, eg seach for hilasmos

English Translations:
NT Gateway All-in-One: gives access to lots of Bible versions and translations on various sites, including:

21st Century King James Version
American Standard Version
Amplified Bible
The Bible in Basic English
The Complete Jewish Bible
Contemporary English Version
Darby Version
Douay-Rheims Bible
English Standard Version
GOD'S WORD translation
Good News Translation
Hebrew Names Version
Holman Christian Standard Bible
International Standard Version
King James Version
Literal Translation Version (Green)
The Message
Modern King James Version (Green's Translation)
The NET Bible
New American Standard
New Century Version
New International Readerís Version
New International Version
New International Version (UK)
New King James Version
New Life Version
New Living Translation
New Revised Standard
Revised Standard Version
Third Millennium Bible
Today's English Version
Today's New International Version
Websters Bible
Weymouth NT
World English Bible
Worldwide English NT
Wycliffe NT
Young's Literal Translation

See more lists of Bibles here & here & here & here.

Bible Software for Palms & Pocket PCs

PDAs now run software as sophisticated as early PCs, and many Bible packages are available. Some of the best are free.   

Palm BiblePlus - the best free bible software on PDAs  
* View two versions at once (eg LXX in Greek & English)
* Search for words in English or original language
* Make bookmarks with descriptive titles
* Tyndale Scholar's kit - collection & instructions for Palm OS5 (or for high-res Clei with OS4 see here)
* includes Bibles in English, Greek, Hebrew & Aramaic; Josephus, Philo, Nag Hammadi; Lexicons for Greek, Hebrew, Latin. And more.
* academic texts from McLean, Sudbury BC, Joseph Park, Chan, Darlack, NTCS, Mechon,

Other free programs:
UniBible for Palm. A new program which shows promise, with lots of foreign translation.
Sword Reader free for Pocket PC. Still being developed, but stable.

Commercial programs have to be really good, with this free competition:
Olive Tree - all PDAs. Sscholarly Gramcord texts, with integrated parsing & lexicons. Very comprehensive.
Bible With You - Palm & Pocket PC. Scholarly Accordance texts, with parsing. Very fast. 
Laridian (Zondervan) - all PDAs, NIV text and many others.
Quickverse - Palm & Pocket PC.

See the comparative review of commercial packages.