Review Archives

February 13, 2004

Recommended Review

Late last year, Jim Barr pointed me to an excellent review by H. Van Dyke Parunak, published in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS 46/3, September 2003, pp. 465-95) and entitled Windows Software for Bible Study. I have requested permission to make this review available online. Meanwhile, you can download a PDF version of the full article by clicking here. I will be referring to this review in the next few days.

February 20, 2004

Review of iLumina Gold

A fresh review of iLumina Gold has been made availabe by David Lang, Content Editor of CMUG (Christian Macintosh Users Group). iLumina is a very innovative product available for both Windows and Macintosh users. Enjoy!

April 26, 2004

Online Review of UBS' New Testament Handbook Series

Susan Lochrie Graham reviews the Libronix version of The United Bible Society's New Testament Handbook Series at Review of Biblical Literature. You can follow the link to the PDF version.

May 3, 2004

Online Article

Check out the latest article by Bible Software reviewer Ken Ristau, entitled E-Search the Scriptures.

October 11, 2004

A Rough Comparison

If you want to see, at a glance, a very general comparison of different Bible software packages, this table by Mark Vitalis Hoffman may prove to be a good starting point.

October 16, 2004

Review of Bible+

I have posted a new review of Palm Bible+. I want to thank the author, Holger Szesnat, for his valuable contribution to Bible Software Review.

This is the first in a series of reviews of different Palm and PocketPC products. Let me repeat, once again, that your feedback and suggestions are always appreciated.

November 17, 2004

Latest MacSword Review

MacSword 1.1.2, released earlier this month, has been reviewed by Charles W. Moore at Applelinks (thanks to Jesse Sng for the heads-up). This complements my earlier review of version 1.

November 19, 2004

Review of SwordSearcher

Another full review has been posted today. More are under way... Check out what's new, or go directly to the review.

November 23, 2004

Bible Software With You

I'm pleased to announce that another review has been posted today. Bible With You and Bible Concordance With You are two of the great applications for Palm and Pocket PC put out by GMPSoft.

I hope you'll enjoy reading the review as much as I have enjoyed using the programs on my PDA. There's only a problem. I still feel somewhat embarassed when I think about taking my handheld to church. I guess I'll overcome it... It's such a blessing!

December 4, 2004

Accordance for the PC

Earlier this year, Southwestern Journal of Theology carried a review by Scott Callaham, where he deals specifically with the use of Accordance running on a PC under emulation.

December 9, 2004

SESB Review

After quite a bit of work, a review of the Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible has been posted today. I do hope you like it. It's good stuff, and most certainly not for the faint-hearted.

December 22, 2004

SESB Review @ TIC Talk

Sarah Lind, Editor of TIC Talk (Newsletter of the United Bible Societies Translation Information Clearinghouse), reviews Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible in the latest online edition. If you read my own review alongside hers, I think you will agree that they complement each other rather nicely. We both agree that the new material offered by SESB is good news indeed, and that there is quite a bit of room for improvement in future versions.

Some of her comments about the Help system reinforce my own feelings about it. Bible software companies in general should realize that good (read clear and comprehensive) online helps and printed manuals are key elements to a successful use of the software. Detailed examples of all the different search capabilities available are a must, IMO.

To write good helps may not be easy (it isn't) or cheap (it isn't), and it may delay the release date (it often does), but it's just something that has to be done. The more complex a program gets (and there are quite a few of them out there that could well be classified as "sophisticated"), the more necessary it becomes to have a full, trustworthy, user-friendly guide to help the user overcome the dreaded "learning curve." That's what I think, anyway.

December 31, 2004

PocketBible Review

I didn't want to finish 2004 without posting a new review of one of the most popular Bible software programs for handheld devices. You can now read a review of PocketBible and see for yourselves what it has to offer.

January 18, 2005


Yet another SESB review :-) can be found at the Bryn Mawr Classical Review website.

Note that this review, written by Catherine Conybeare and a group of five "senior undergraduates or first-year MA students," has some oversights that could have been easily avoided with more thorough tests, but you might want to check it out nonetheless.

January 22, 2005

Link to BibleWorks Review

I have added a new link to a recent review of BibleWorks 6 (with thanks to John Kendall for the heads-up) written by Moisés Silva, and published in the Fall 2004 edition of the Westminster Theological Journal (Vol. 66, No. 2). Good read by a well-known scholar.

March 17, 2005

Interesting Reviews

H.V.D. Parunak has updated his previous review on Bible study software for Windows. Like the original one, it was also published in JETS late last year. Now, an enlarged version (PDF) of this new review is available here. He focuses on LDLS 2.1a (with Scholar's Library) and BibleWorks 6.0.011a. Part of his concluding summary reads thus:

The latest revisions have made two powerful software packages even more useful. The changes are clearly in the direction of moving each package toward the other's main strengths. Lib (Libronix DLS), the leader in general-purpose digital library functionality, has strengthened its tools for searching the biblical text, in support of detailed exegetical study, while BWk (BibleWorks), the leader in exegetical searching, has integrated a number of collateral resources most likely to be of interest to the exegete. Still, each tool remains dominant in its original area.

Also, the Summer 2004 edition of Emmaus Journal, (pp. 168-171), carried a review of the latest incarnation of Logos' Scholar's Library [Scholar's Library Silver Edition (QB)], which can be read here. Rather than writing a "standard" review, Sean T. Lillis presents a number of scenarios where this product could provide a valuable service to different kinds of users.

April 30, 2005

BibleLink Review

I have posted a new review of BibleLink. This program can work on any Wintel system as well as on a handheld device (Palm or Pocket PC), and offers some interesting features. Check it out.

May 4, 2005

Interview with Logos and New SESB Review

Contributed by guest blogger Ken Ristau

Daniel Foster of Logos Research Systems graciously accepted my recent request for an interview regarding their announcement of new Mac version. The interview is available from my Libronix / Logos Bible Software Review page. For those of you, who would like to access it directly, it is available in PDF.

Also, Tyler Williams at the Codex Blogspot has reported on his first impressions of the Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible. He promises a forthcoming review of the software, especially geared towards its Hebrew Bible capabilities.

May 26, 2005

Review of Zondervan Bible Study Library

I have posted a new review of Zondervan Bible Study Library: Scholar's Edition, powered by Pradis. I am not aware of other relevant online reviews of this particular product, so I hope you find this one both interesting and helpful. As always, feel free to share your opinions and/or questions.

Incidentally, the FAQ section of BSR has also been updated.

UPDATE (May 28): Actually, the only review of Zondervan's Scholar's Library I could find online is this one, dating back to November 2003.

June 13, 2005

Updated Review of MacSword

I have added a new updated review of MacSword 1.2, which supplements the one previously available on version 1.0.

David Lang has also posted a review over at CMUG. Good timing!

June 16, 2005

The Blue Letter Bible

There are some helpful online Bible search and study tools out there, and today I'd like to mention one of them: The Blue Letter Bible.

It is based on the KJV, but it can also display other versions, like NKJV, NLT, NASB, Webster's, Young's, Darby's, ASV, HNV, RSV, Vulgate, and Greek NT. The Greek text is Stephen's TR (1550), with no accents, breathings, diacritics, or punctuation. There is another Greek text available -- also unaccented -- that combines the text of Wescott-Hort (1881) with NA variants. Besides, all verses can be listened to online in any of the three audio Bibles available (KJV, NKJV, and NLT). In the KJV, chapters, verses and words are heavily linked to a whole slew of study helps and reference materials, which can be accessed right from the Bible text by clicking on the buttons displayed to the left of the verse reference. The K button is used for cross-references (Treasury of Scripture Knowledge), the C button for Concordance/Lexicon information, and the D button for Bible dictionaries (Naves Topical Bible, Torrey's, Easton's). There are other buttons for multimedia helps (audio/video commentaries, study tools and text commentaries), images and maps, hymns, and other translations. Hymns are in MIDI format, and the different audio files in Real Audio. When a number of resources are available, a drop-down menu lets us select the one we want to jump to (as shown below).

All the information and hyperlinks are clearly displayed in tabular form, so that we can conveniently take the course of study we prefer.

Clicking on a Strong's number opens a new window with the usual information found in Strong's dictionary.

But it goes one step further by adding Thayer's Lexicon entry and a KJV English Concordance listing all the verses that contain that number.

A blue down-facing arrow indicates that the English translation contains two or more words, and that the next one is further below. Conversely, a blue up-facing arrow indicates that the English translation contains two or more words, and that the previous one is found above.

By clicking on Tense we can access the full Tense/Stem information of a verb, whereas clicking on PHR. automatically performs a phrase search. Searching is pretty basic but effective. AND and OR searches are easy to run, and an asterisk (*) can be used as a wild card suffix if need be. It is also possible to search for Strong's numbers. An explanation of the different word and phrase search options can be found here.

Finally, all online Scripture references in a website can be linked back to the Blue Letter Bible. Thus, if you click on John 1:1, you'll be taken to that particular verse in the KJV.

All in all an excellent resource, although you really need a broadband connection to make the most out of it.

UPDATE (June 17): In his blog, Brandon Wason, one of the programmers for the Blue Letter Bible, points out one feature that I missed. The LexiConc is a wonderful little tool that lets you type any English word and finds the related Hebrew and Greek terms. I tried it with the word "love" (yes, I know, not very original...), and it immediately returned the results shown below:

All I can say is that this one feature greatly adds to the usefulness of BLB, and that I missed it because it is probably a little bit too buried under the Search main menu option. It surely deserves to have a more prominent place, if I may say so. Anyway, thanks for the heads up!

July 9, 2005

QV Mac Reviews

QuickVerse for Mac is barely out, but there are already a couple of reviews available at CMUG: "QuickVerse Bible Software Comes to the Mac: First Look at the newest Bible program for Mac OS X," by David Lang, and "Review of QuickVerse for Mac: My Impressions of the Latest Bible Program for Mac OS X," by Rino Dattilo.

I am still waiting for my own review copy to arrive...

July 29, 2005

BAR and BAS CD-ROMs Reviewed

The Winter 2004 edition of the Emmaus Journal features a review of The Biblical World in Pictures and Biblical Archaeology Review: The Archive 1975-2003 CD-ROMs, written by John H. Fish III. Incidentally, I should be able to post a review of an excellent series of CD-ROMs on the geography of the Bible before too long. Stay tuned.

August 1, 2005

RBL Review of Scholar's Library Silver Edition

Contributed by guest blogger Ken Ristau

The latest edition of the RBL Newsletter reports that there is a new Bible Software review:

Scholar's Library Silver Edition
Reviewed by Jan Van Der Watt

While I think it is great that RBL is publishing reviews of Bible Software, I am disappointed by the nature of these reviews. This review and previous ones contain precious little information that couldn't be gleaned from a quick perusal of the producing company's website and, while this would be alright for a newspaper or a magazine review, a scholarly review should examine the accuracy and usefulness of the morphological databases and searches with them, provide benchmark tests, and display a greater awareness of the leading scholarly products from the competitors. The reviews by H. Van Dyke Parunak in JETS, which can be found through the reviews page of this website, are a good model for what I would expect from RBL and there are plenty of biblical scholars with the knowledge to do this sort of work.

August 20, 2005

QuickVerse Mac Review

I have just posted a new review of QuickVerse Mac. Hope you enjoy reading it.

I had mixed feelings writing the review, and I think this shows. I realize that other reviewers have expressed similar thoughts. So it seems to be a general thing. I've already mentioned that Mac users are a tough crowd to please, haven't I? Well, there is your proof.

October 10, 2005

e-Sword Review

I have posted a review of e-Sword for Windows submitted by Holger Szesnat. Holger has already contributed to Bible Software Review in the past, and I appreciate his insights. Thank you!

November 10, 2005

Bibloi Review

I have uploaded a new review of Bibloi, and updated the FAQ section of BSR. Enjoy!

April 20, 2006

BiblePro Review

A new review is available. I have also updated the links in the Companies, Retailers and User Groups sections.

July 6, 2006

Short Review of BibleWorks 7

Dan Phillips has posted a brief and popular review of BibleWorks 7 here and here.

December 29, 2006

Spanish Review of BibleWorks 7

David E.C. Ford has posted a Spanish review of BibleWorks 7 to the Recursos Teológicos website. There is also an English edition of the review here.

David E. C. Ford ha escrito una reseña crítica de BibleWorks 7 en la página Recursos Teológicos. Por si no lo conocen, la lectura de su blog, titulado Mi Convivencia Teológica, resulta muy recomendable.

February 19, 2007

New Review of iLumina in Spanish

I have added a new review of iLumina Gold in Spanish.

It is good to see that some Bible software tools are being made available in Spanish, although there is still a lot that could must be done to meet the needs of the growing Spanish-speaking market.

March 9, 2007

Pictorial Library of Bible Lands Review

I have posted a review of The Pictorial Library of Bible Lands. Please take a look. I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I have enjoyed using it!

You may notice that the overall rating is rather low, despite the fact that I think very highly of Todd Bolen’s pictures. The reason is that the rating is automatically calculated and based on the features present in most Bible software products. Since this is not a Bible program as such, and there are a few N/A (not applicable) categories, the average rating achieved is a bit poor. But don't let you this fool you. I am very impressed with PLBL and I can warmly recommend it!

March 20, 2007

Spanish Review of BECA Profesional

Another Spanish review has been uploaded. It is now the turn for Biblioteca Electrónica Caribe - Edición Profesional.

More reviews are underway. So stay tuned!

April 12, 2007

Biblioteca Académica Bilingüe

You can now find a new review of Logos' Biblioteca Académica Bilingüe. This top-of-the-line bilingual edition includes, for the first time ever, Spanish reverse interlinears for the Old and New Testament (also available in the Spanish-only Biblioteca Pastoral). It is based on version 3.0c, and comes with lots of goodies for Spanish-speaking users (supplemented with standard English reference works). It surely fills a much needed gap in Spanish biblical studies.

This particular review is written in Spanish, and it is quite thorough, but two or three new English reviews should be ready soon.

April 21, 2007

SESB Review Updated to Version 2.0

I have updated the review of the Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible. I have been very pleased with the new additions (e.g., UBS4 and critical apparatus!) and enhanced functionality of version 2.0. It is exciting to see that gradually all of the main scholarly works are becoming available in electronic format.

June 2, 2007

Review of Logos Bible Software 3

I have just uploaded a brand new review of Logos' Scholar's Library: Gold. Take a deep breath and plunge into it if you want to discover some of the goodies it contains. Remember that you can get a nicely formatted version for printing if you follow the Printable version link at the top.

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