Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Review of Wordsearch 9 Preaching Library Bible Software

I have always loved computers.  It probably has something to do with the fact that my dad was a computer programmer so I always thought they were interesting.  As I have grown in my faith, I have learned that the computer can be used as a great tool to study the Bible more efficiently and in-depth.  My first exposure to bible study software was the old Nelson Electronic Bible Reference Library on Windows 95.  However, I recently acquired a copy of the Wordsearch 9 Preaching Library from Wordsearch and let me tell you, bible study software has come a long way since I got started using it.

First of all, the sheer volume of material in this library is pretty overwhelming.  The library contains 22 different bibles including some Greek New Testament tests and an interlinear, more than 20 commentaries (NT, OT, NT/OT, and individual books), numerous books on theology, word studies, not to mention books on culture, sermon preparation, and more.  There are literally thousands of pages of clear biblical scholarship, searchable with merely a mouse click.

However, it's not just the size of the library that is impressive, but it's also easy to use.  The software opens up with a browser-like interface that is both attractive and fairly intuitive.  Basically, if you've used Windows, Internet Explorer, or any other graphical user interface in the past 10 years, you will have no problem navigating your way around the software.

Of course, I've only had the software for a few weeks so I'm still learning things about it, but I'd like to point out what I think are some of the most attractive features of the software.  First of all, the ability to customize the appearance of the software makes it easy to find what you want in a snap.  You can set a preferred bible, commentary, or with a single click open up a customized parallel bible with translations that you choose.

Further, not only can you search bibles, or your whole library, for words or phrases, but Wordsearch 9 offers a new feature that lets you see your search results in a graph.  It's like having an interactive concordance.

Finally, the most impressive feature in my book and the one that makes the software absolutely invaluable to me for bible study is the Cross Reference tool.   Here's how it works:  You click on a verse in the text of the bible that you have open.  Then you click the "Cross Reference" button at the top.  The software automatically searches through every book in the library for any reference to that verse.  It is amazing.  Instead of having to hunt and peck through your library, with a mere click you have access to everything mentioned anywhere in your library (commentaries, theology, word study, history, etc) in a simple, easily organized window that you can examine, saving literally hours of time searching through the library.

When you add to that the fact that Wordsearch is the exclusive distributor for the software version of the Complete Biblical Library (it's not available from Logos or Accordance), free training available on their website, and the fact that you can add even more volumes of material to your library, I really don't see how you could go wrong with this product.  Quite simply, if you want to harness the power of your computer to better understand the bible regardless if you are a pastor, teacher, or lay person, this is one tool you can rely on to help you do that. 

No comments: