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 8 Bible Software
Logos 8 launched on October 29, 2018 bringing some interesting new features to the popular Bible software program for Mac and Windows. They also updated their mobile apps for iOS and Android and launched a significant update to the Logos Web App. These updates unify the Logos experience.
Previous versions of the Logos 8 Home Page included a mixture of articles from the company’s websites, snippets or images from books, and links to various books and features in the program. Most advanced Logos users turned off the Home Page and opened the software directly to their favorite layout or last used workspace. Faithlife changed the Home Page adding what’s called the Dashboard. As a result, users may prefer to leave it as the default look when opening Logos 8.
The built-in Logos 8 Workflows are:
- Basic Bible Study
- Basic Biblical Topic Study
- Biblical Person Study
- Biblical Place Study
- Expository Sermon Preparation
- Lectio Divina
- Passage Exegesis
- Praying Scripture
- Word Study (Original Language)
Accordance Bible Software
Accordance Mobile, the iOS and Android version of the great Accordance Bible Software brings Bible study to the iPhone, iPad and Android phone, tablet, or Chromebook using Accordance books. The mobile version of Accordance lands firmly in our list of top mobile apps for advanced Bible study while mobile.
At first glance, the Accordance Mobile app on iOS or Android looks deceptively simple and even simplistic. Simple is good since it makes the app easy to use and learn, but simplistic means the app lacks power. That’s not the case with Accordance Mobile. While the screenshot below shows a sparse user interface, the real power hides below the surface.
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 offer 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
Olive Tree Bible Software successfully launched before the smartphone and, unlike most Bible apps released long ago, it’s still going strong in the modern era of smartphones, tablets, and even runs on a desktop or laptop. The makers of Olive Tree Bible Software recently updated the mobile app with a new Audio Bible feature letting users listen to God’s Word in addition to studying it as they could before.
Olive Tree offers one of 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.
WORDsearch 12, 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 12 includes 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.
The most advanced of these apps come from Laridian, which helped pioneer mobile Bible study with apps for Palm and Pocket PC devices a long time ago. Then when the iPhone and iPad came out, they jumped on the bandwagon and made one of the best iOS apps before many others. It’s improved over time. Now they offer apps for both the PC and Mac.
Laridian has some free content, but you will need to pay for more advanced tools and modern translations or reference books. They offer competitive prices on Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries, lexicons and more. The free app often gets free updates.
I love that PocketBible lets the user display more than just two window panes and to customize the user interface better than most of the apps in this round-up. On a large screen, you can have a bunch of them open at once. On a phone, more than two might be too much. But while using my 12.9-inch iPad Pro, I like to open up four windows and show a couple of translations and a commentary with a dictionary all at once.
The app has a great user interface that’s both simple and works well. The toolbar across the bottom of the mobile phone app has everything you need. There’s also a nice feature that grabs all your library info about a passage and presents it in an easy-to-find way to save you time. This feature costs extra. Laridian offers an advanced feature set that will cost $9.99/year for each platform or $17.99/year if you buy the bundle that includes all the platforms. That’a much better deal if you’re going to use two or more platforms.
PocketBible handles all the basics well like reading, searching, bookmarks, highlights, and notes. Sync those with other platforms to keep them ready to use on your phone, tablet or computer.
PocketBible doesn’t come in the Amazon Kindle Fire app store, so you’ll need to download the file to install it as a “side-loaded” app. That means you manually install it. The video below shows how to do this or go to their help site to get instructions.
Laridian also has a book creation tool. Book Builder ($19.99) or Book Builder Pro ($49.99) helps you make books for your own use. Find links to each version at the bottom of their home page.
PLATFORMS: iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire (not through their app store, but by side loading), PC and Mac apps.
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.