Friday, April 11, 2008

E-Sword: An Incredible (Free!) Software Tool

A friend recently made me aware of a fantastic Bible software package. For a long time I used QuickVerse for computer Scripture study. It's a simple but inexpensive package. But when I (belatedly) upgraded my home computers to Windows XP, my version of QuickVerse stopped working and I was too cheap to upgrade.

What I would really like is one of the more advanced software packages out there for Bible research, including Bibleworks and Logos. But either of these, with the add-ons that I need (which include the original language texts of the Bible), are quite pricey.

Now I find that there's a free tool out there that does 99% of what I want to do. It's called E-Sword. Here's the main page:

Once you have the program, you can download Bible texts and other reference tools off of that site. From the main site I got:

  • Douay-Rheims Bible with the deutero-canonicals (Note that the author of this software is Protestant, so although he thankfully included support for the complete canon, the software does not include internal support for the complete text of Daniel and Esther.)
  • King James Version with Strong's numbers (very useful)
  • King James Version with "Apocrypha" i.e. the deutero-canon (Yes, the KJV was originally published with the complete canon of Scripture.)
  • Septuagint (LXX)
  • Vulgate
  • Keil & De litzsch Commentary on the Old Testament (a fairly conservative Lutheran commentary)
  • Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions
  • International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
  • Nave's Topical Bible
  • Robinson's Morphological Analysis Codes
  • Thayer's Greek Definitions
  • American Bible Society Maps
  • CIA World Factbook
  • Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd
  • Ancient Mediterranean Maps
  • Ante-Nicene Fathers
  • Creeds of Christendom, by Philip Schaff (a useful, but sometimes hostile-to-Catholics, work on Christian creeds)
  • The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, by Alfred Edersheim
  • The Temple - Its Ministry and Service, by Alfred Edersheim
  • Antiquities of the Jews and Wars of the Jews, by Josephus

(Many of the works above are from Protestant sources. Used with prudence, they remain highly useful for research.)

From other sites I have gotten:

  • Catechism of the Catholic Church (link)
  • New American Bible w/deuteros (link)
  • Catholic Encyclopedia (link)

This software package allows you to do quick searchs for words and phrases in the text of Scripture (including in the Greek or Hebrew). As you find verses of interest, you can view that verse in a "comparison" view which shows the verse as presented in all the translations (and original texts) you have installed.

And it is elegantly set up to allow you to capture your results and add commentary, so as you're working on a project you can keep all of your notes conveniently right in E-Sword. Here's a screenshot of a typical research session for me (click on it to get the full monty):

Highly recommended. And if you end up using the software, send a "thank you" and a few bucks to the author. Tell him you're a Catholic who loves God's written Word.


Hans Lundahl said...

Douay Rheims, with Catholic Commentary and Vulgate:

Douay Rheims Bible Online

(Society of St Pius X, with other traditional - as well as neopolemical? - links)

Anonymous said...

You might want to check out my site. I review about 20 different Bible programs, from free to very expensive. There are a number of free and inexpensive options out there for Bible study.

God bless.