As I mentioned in a previous post, while I own five different Bible software programs, I really utilize only two of them on a regular basis: WORDsearch Bible Software and Logos Bible Software. Both are very good, solid programs and there are a fair number of similarities that make either one a great study tool for personal spiritual growth. As would be expected, each also has its own strengths and weaknesses, especially when compared to each other. However, I find them to be quite complimentary, as well, when used in tandem for personal Bible study.
Next week we’ll look at Logos Bible Software, but I thought it appropriate to start with the first Bible software program I ever purchased and still rely on heavily today.
1) THE RESOURCES MENU
I really like having one click access to my entire library of resources, sorted by category (my default selection), title or author. The expandable menu tree, which resides on the left side of the desktop, can be set to auto-hide or be anchored open and is great for easily accessing your library of books. You can create your own categories and subcategories and reassign resources to your liking, but I find the default category chosen by the people at WORDsearch pretty right on most of the time. You can also access your list of “favorite” resources and any verse lists you’ve created in just one click. Finally, the ability to filter your search for a book in the resource bar by typing the first few letters of the title or author’s name is a very nice touch.
2) TOPICS SEARCH
I am one of those people who often likes to see what the resources in my library have to say on a certain subject and WORDsearch’s “Topics Search” feature makes that incredibly easy. With about 1,400 total resources amassed in my WORDsearch software library, it’s next to impossible to remember which book, periodical or Bible study talks about a specific subject, and while I can do a normal search for a keyword or phrase, the Topics Search is often the best, most reliable and most comprehensive option. For example, if I do a Topics Search on the word “miracles,” in addition to a list of “hits” on the broader topic, I am also presented with a sizable number of other options, including “Miracles of Christ,” “Healing Miracles,” “Miracles in Acts” and others from which to choose. When I decide on a specific (sub-) topic, I can sort the results by book or location (category), if I want.
3) INSTANT VERSE STUDY
When I am in a hurry and want to print out some material to read and/or reference away from my computer, nothing beats the convenience of WORDsearch’s Instant Verse Study or IVS, as it’s referred to on the menu bar. It’s a simple, incredibly fast three-step process: 1) I type in the Bible verse or range, 2) Check the boxes next to the Bibles and/or commentaries I want to pull material from and 3) click on the “Copy Study Text to Clipboard” button. Then I simply open up a blank document in Microsoft Word, click paste, click print and I’m good to go. As an example, doing an IVS on just Romans 12:1, selecting six Bible translations and eight of the Bible commentaries I use most often resulted in 17 full pages of relevant, insightful text that took almost more time to print than to create. I can now easily read and highlight my study material as I wait at the pharmacy for a prescription or while I ride the bus to/from work.
4) BUILT-IN WORD PROCESSOR
One of the features I like best is the ability to easily add my own resources to the library, whether it be a “public domain” resource from a site like ccel.org or an online article I find especially interesting. The built-in word processor allows me to either type in information or copy and paste it from MS Word or directly from a web page. (I do the latter almost exclusively.) Two really nice features are activated when I save the document. First, the software indexes each word so if/when I search on, let’s say “salvation,” any of the documents I’ve added will be included in that search. The second nice feature is that any verse references I added to my document will automatically become hyperlinks so that when I hover my mouse over the reference, the actually Bible text will appear in a pop-up box, just as it does in the resources created by WORDsearch themselves.
5) THE SALE PRICE$ OF ADD-ON BOOKS
While the WORDsearch web site has a number of resources that seem to be on perpetual sale, (where they just give it a new title depending on the season), their weekly and even daily sales offer some pretty solid resources at some excellent prices. Similar resources for other Bible software platforms, including Logos, (my other software of choice), are almost always more costly, sometimes significantly so. As an example, as I write this, one of my favorite commentary series, the College Press NIV New Testament Commentary sells for $349.95 on the Logos web site, but is only $139.95 on sale on the WORDsearch web site, a significant difference of $210. Even basic items that aren’t on sale, such as the Amplified Bible which is $10 cheaper for WORDsearch than it is for Logos, can often be acquired for less in the WORDsearch format.
- The easy-to-understand and easy-to-use menu bar
- The extensive library of add-on books targeted for the “layperson”
- Over 200 free Bibles and books for download