David Instone-Brewer on Getting the Most out of Bible Software

David Instone-Brewer writes fabulous “Tyndale Tech” notes from Tyndale House, Cambridge. If you use Bible Software, perhaps you’ve wanted to sit down with someone who could “give you the skinny” on how to do things. David I-B has given you exactly what you need.

Here’s the email I got this morning (get on the mailing list here):


Dear James,

Getting the best out of Bible software
Software is better in the areas of Biblical Studies than in almost any other discipline except computing. The free software is amazing, and the best of the commercial software is outstanding. Although ease of use is a key element in every package, getting the best out of these complex programs takes some experimenting. I’ve spent hours hunting out and summarising what each one does best, and how to do it easily, in the posts listed here. If I’ve missed your favourite tip or hidden feature, please add it to the Comments.
1) BibleWorks for PC  

* best value all-in-one package
* intuitive straight-forward interface
* very fast even on slower PCs
* integrates well with web and other software (eg Logos)
* specially good tools for finding links and allusions
… more details

2) Logos for PC and now for Mac 

* easy-to-use Bible software including reverse interlinears
* highly configurable and detailed interface
* thousands of add-on books, well-integrated and linked
* specially good at highlighting all translations of a Greek or Hebrew form
… more details.

3) Accordance for Mac & emulated on PC 

* superb range of gramatically tagged texts
* good range of lexicons and other background add-ons
* beautiful and intuitive interface
* fast on even older Macs and PCs
* specially good at cross-version searching.
… more details

4) Other software – mostly free  

* More commercial software
* Free software on the web
* Free software for downloading
* for Mac, PC and increasingly for phones
* showing 35 programs and mentioning many more
… more details.


5) SESB – the Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible

* The ‘official’ Greek & Hebrew OT & NT texts (BHS, NA27, UBS4)
* includes the full apparatus of these texts – searchable and well linked.  (this is the ONLY electronic source of these textual details)
* plus Rahlf’s LXX, first vols of Quinta, basic lexicons and more
* good facilities for complex morphological searches
* versions available for Accordcance and Logos, which integrates with BibleWorks on PC
… more details.
My recommendation: Buy the cheaper USA version of SESB then try out the freebies.
When you find that you can’t do what you want to do, find out which commercial package can do it. 

And, if someone keeps asking you what you want for Christmas, give them a heavy hint!


David Instone-Brewer (Technical Officer)

Join the Conversation


  1. Dr. Hamilton,

    I just wanted to point out that while Dr. Instone-Brewer’s round-up was helpful, most of the content he linked to about our software was quite out of date. In fact, since he posted that review in Sept. 2009, we’ve completely re-worked our software from the ground up. We no longer use the Libronix name or system, have over 12,000 (not 2000) resources available, etc.

    One of the reviews our site visitors have found most helpful was given us unsolicited from Dr. Adams from Concordia Seminary. I pass it on because it’s one of the most thorough and objective reviews I’ve personally seen from an academic-oriented user.

    Just an FYI. If there’s anything I can ever do for you or any of your readers, please contact me personally at stephen.smith@logos.com


    Stephen Smith
    Public Relations
    Logos Bible Software

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