Today’s Bible software includes incredibly powerful tools, ready for Sunday school teachers and seminary professors alike. Bible study software can be a huge investment–with costs ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Here, we’ll take a look at the five best Bible software options available on the market today. These all run on both Mac and Windows, although the last two use emulation software to run their Windows software on a Mac, so Mac users should probably focus on the first three options.
Logos Bible Software
Logos 7 came out in Fall 2016 and works as a basic search, reading and devotional tool for the average Bible student. However, the technical tools included will make study at a scholarly level easier. In other words, a Sunday School teacher or a seminary professor will love Logos 7.
The Logos 7 Guides often wow new users. They turned me into a Logos Bible Software user more than 12 years ago. These Guides will search your library for content related to a passage of scripture or a word/topic and organize them with links to open books right to the section about your verse or topic. The video below covers the Sermon Starter Guide, used to find tools to help teacher or preachers prepare a sermon using Logos.
Other guides will help you study a passage of scripture, do quick language study, search your library for a topic and do a language word study. Users can also create their own guide and have it search the parts of your library as you prefer. The guides are like having a research assistant that collects info from your library in seconds.
Other great features that make Logos 7 one of the best Bible study tools available include:
- New Sermon Editor – create your sermons right inside Logos 7 and make the searchable in the guides when you come back to a passage mentioned in your sermon.
- Courses – video training courses that bring seminary level training to your computer thanks to the great teachers they use in these series.
- Psalms and Proverbs Explorer – great study content about these two important books of the Bible.
- Great Custom Layouts – organize the panes of your favorite tools in a reusable layout that’s easy to reload or switch between whenever you want it.
- Excellent Visuals – great visual tools like images, atlas, graphs, etc.
- Logos Home Page – a home page that shows your prayer lists, reading plans, books in your library, tutorial videos and more (see image above).
Logos also includes great mobile versions for both iOS and Android. They offer a web version if you subscribe to Logos Now or Logos Cloud. Logos 7 Base Packages range in price from $294 up to over $10,000 depending on the amount of tools you want or need. It’s pricey, but powerful.
Accordance Bible Software
Accordance Bible Software offers Mac, Windows, and iOS versions of Accordance 12 with an Android app coming soon. It’s simple enough for the Sunday school teacher and powerful enough for the seminary professor too. It also gives users a kind of research assistant in the form of the Info Pane. Open it up and see all your commentaries, dictionaries and more. The new version adds some cool features like:
- Papers – an internal word processor that makes user created resources inside Accordance.
- Stacks – collect research kind of like you were taught to do with note cards in your English class and come back to it later to organize into a Bible study, sermon or paper.
- Custom Keyboard Shortcuts – create . your own custom keyboard shortcuts
- Upgraded Timeline
- Upgraded Bibliography Tool
- Research Analytics – the visuals, like graphs and charts offers some interactive features.
See search results in visual graphs and charts. As mentioned above, these now let the user interact by clicking to get more details about the results.
Get Accordance 12 Lite to try it out and then upgrade to one of the collections. Starter Collection starts at about $60. Others range from $200 to $30,000 for everything they sell.
Olive Tree Bible Reader
If you’re looking for a simpler Bible study tool that runs on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android and Kindle tablets, then look at Olive Tree Bible Reader. It’s the best mobile app available, since that’s where the company started back in the PalmOS days. Few people know there’s also a basic Bible Reader online.
The Olive Tree Resource Guide is another sort of research assistant, which puts all of your library’s tools in a quick to find user interface. It includes copies of other Bible translations, commentaries, dictionaries, media books and more.
Olive Tree shows original language details in popups with tagged Bibles. You also get the Quick Detail window in the lower left corner.
BibleWorks creators use a different philosophy than most Bible software makers. Instead of a large theological library, BibleWorks focuses on great tools for Bible research and language study. You won’t find a slew of commentaries, Christian life books and whiz bang features. It’s lean and powerful.
The user-interface has at least 3 columns with a search pane on the left, the Bible Browse window in the middle and the Analysis tool on the right. You can add a fourth pane to show a 2nd Analysis window.
The search pane has tabs, so you can do multiple complex and powerful searches and save. The Browse Window shows your Bible. Toggle between Browse Mode (shows one translation with a verse per paragraph like above) or Multiple Version Mode (shows one verse in multiple translations like below).
The Analysis Window shows all your study tools. It’s a tabbed interface where you see details about the passage in the Browse window. You get language tools, search tools, the Notes editor and a built-in word processor called Editor. This is where you can find cross references and the Resources tab, BibleWorks 10’s version of the research assistant the other programs offer. The analysis tool also loads ePub formatted eBooks.
BibleWorks offers the best study notes feature of any Bible study program available. The Notes editor works like a word processor and saves in RTF files so you can get your notes out of the program and use them in a word processor.
The full version of BibleWorks 10 with most of the books they offer goes for $398. They do offer a small number of module upgrades you can add to your library. BibleWorks also partners with WORDsearch to let users open some of their WORDsearch books in BibleWorks 10.
WORDsearch 11, which is powered by LifeWay, shows up last because it’s not as potent as the above tools. The simple user-interface has three tabs including a Home tab, Study tab and Library. On the Home tab you’ll see news and deals from the company with support links to the WORDsearch website. The Library tab on the right shows your installed books in either list or grid format. Click to open them in the Study tab. Open multiple books by unchecking the box above the library which reads Switch to Study tab after opening a book. Search for titles in the search box. See the video below.
Click the Study tab or open a book with the check box unchecked and it will take you to Study. The toolbar above the book panes gives quick access to tools. The panes show your book content. Each pane also has a useful toolbar.
One of the best features of WORDsearch 11 include the NoteStack feature, which keeps track of your research ready to use after you’re done finding all the pertinent info on a passage or topic. WORDsearch 11 also has a great notes feature and built-in word processor (see below). See other great features on their site.
Buy the basic program with a few books for $40 or try WORDsearch Basic to test it out first. However, most people will want to buy one of their Libraries that start for $100 for the Teach Library and cost as much as $2000 for the Preaching Library. Once you get a library of books, you can use the My WORDsearch Bible online site, the best online Bible study site in the business. Unfortunately their iOS and Android apps are some of the least useful of the mobile versions in this roundup.
No matter what Bible software you choose, you’ll be able to do far more than you ever could with a few books and pen and paper. It’s really amazing how you’ll be able to dig in and study God’s Word!