As I mentioned in one of my first blog posts, I firmly believe (and am quite opinionated about it, in fact) that the “Key to Easy” when it comes to Bible study is having the “right” Bible study software. By “right,” I not only mean software with a great interface, powerful features and a robust library of books to choose from, but the “right” one for you.
Before, I tell you about the five Bible software libraries I own and how I use (or seldom use) each and why, I want to give you a quick user profile of me.
I’ve been a Christian since making the decision to accept Jesus as my Savior and give Him control of my life as a little kid. After college, (a State college, not a seminary or Bible school), I went into the “mission field” of the business world. While I have been involved in lay ministry off-and-on since college, only recently have I formally made the transition into ministry vocationally, as a Director of Ministry (and Director of IT) at a local church.
So, with that “church-employed layperson, serious Bible ‘student,’ adult Sunday school teacher” background in mind, here are the Bible software programs I own:
- Started With: Their “Discipleship Library,” a selection of Bibles and study resources specifically designed for laypersons. (It was the first Bible software I purchased about 10 years ago.)
- Since Then: Have purchased many additional resources, primarily through bundled packages and frequent sales of books.
- Why I Own It: Great interface; Truly makes Bible study easy; Able to build growing library at reasonable cost.
- How Often I Use It: Frequently; In addition to resources for Bible study, I own and read a number of “Christian Living” books in the WORDsearch format.
- Started With: Their “Bible Study Library,” a solid selection of Bibles and study resources specifically designed for laypersons who are “serious” students of the Bible. (Logos currently offers nine different Bible software library packages.)
- Since Then: Have upgraded to the “Leadership Library” and purchased many additional resources, primarily through their “pre-publication” discount program and their occasional sales of books.
- Why I Own It: Their “passage guide” is the most powerful study tool built into a software package, in my opinion; While the rest of the interface was a bit confusing and complicated in places, the most recent version of their software (version 4) has for the most part fixed that.
- How Often I Use It: Frequently; When I am looking at really digging into a specific verse or passage of the Bible, this is where I start.
- Started With: Their “Deluxe” Bible study library, a good selection of Bibles (except the NIV, which Quickverse charges extra for) and fairly large amount of study resources, although many are “public domain,” meaning I could find them free online.
- Since Then: Upgraded to their “Platinum” library through a VERY affordable upgrade special offer. Also purchased their “Sermon Builder” software.
- Why I Own It: When I first bought QuickVerse years ago, it was relatively inexpensive; In the few times I have upgraded, it has been for selected resources, such as books of quotes and illustrations.
- How Often I Use It: Seldom, as I find the library value limited and don’t care for their “ribbon interface”; When I want to tap into my biggest library of quotes and illustrations, and if/when I want to explore the writings of authors whose work is now in “public domain” and not in my other libraries.
PC STUDY BIBLE (www.biblesoft.com)
- Started With: Their stand-alone “Pulpit Commentary Library” product. (Didn’t have that resource and got it cheap off ebay.)
- Since Then: Upgraded to their “New Reference Library” (again, through a special promotion offer). Also purchased their “Contemporary Christian Classics Collection,” which is a 30-book assortment of the books I read and enjoyed in hard copy in my younger days, including “Out of the Saltshaker and Into the World.”
- Why I Own It: Essentially just for the ability to have electronic access to the resources highlighted above.
- How Often I Use It: Rarely; Never for true searching and “study”; used to spend time in selected resources on occasion, but the fact that Biblesoft has still not upgraded their core software to “play nice” with Windows 7 has now made that impossible on my primary-use computer.
- Started With: Actually purchased the basic Glo Bible software for my wife, but found it to be a “resource hog” on her machine, so I adopted it.
- Since Then: Nothing really. Glo doesn’t have add-ons, like the other software libraries, and probably isn’t even “Bible study software” if you want to get technical.
- Why I Own It: Like I said, I bought it for my wife; I keep it on my machine more for the possibility that I might use it more someday, as it really does do a great job of helping people visually explore and experience the Bible and Bible times through a variety of multimedia.
- How Often I Use It: Occasionally/rarely; This software has pretty much been limited to helping me better visualize some of my Sunday School teaching topics, when appropriate. That may change with Glo’s partnership with YouVersion (a phone/tablet Bible app) and other new strategic uses.
So, in summary, I personally frequently use, greatly benefit from and truly enjoy both WORDsearch Bible Software and Logos Bible Software. I also own, but use on a very limited basis, mainly for specific needs and projects, the QuickVerse, PC Study Bible and Glo Bible software products. That’s my Bible software story and I’m sticking to it.