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Tech watch: Boost your Bible study

Three software programs to take your Scripture explorations to the next level.

For many pastors, Bible software is part of the toolkit they use each week to prepare sermons and study materials. These programs have also become a mainstay of Biblical language courses in seminaries, replacing stacks of reference materials. Far from being tailored for preachers and scholars, these applications are useful additions to resources used by clergy and laity alike. Although several quality programs are available – along with some free options – I’ll focus on three offerings that are easy to use, cross-platform, expandable and, in certain configurations, affordable. In alphabetical order, they are:

  1. Accordance
    With a clean, modern interface, Accordance has grown in popularity as it has expanded its language study and devotional offerings. While not as comprehensive at parsing biblical languages as Logos, it offers everything a preacher or small group leader will ever need. The introductory package is currently $19.75; Greek and Hebrew Starter packs are $99.00 each; and the Greek and Hebrew combined Discoverer collection for serious original language study is $399.00.
  2. Logos
    This software has come a long way since I purchased its “Scholars” edition in 1997 and installed it from 20+ floppy disks! With continually updated resources and the best Greek and Hebrew search and reference tools on the market, it’s hard to beat Logos. But this powerful tool doesn’t come cheap — the Starter pack is $295 and the Platinum is $2,150, with several options in between.
  3. Olivetree
    Making a name for itself as a smartphone Bible app, Olivetree is also available for PC and Mac platforms. While the base package is free, adding resources such as other Bible translations, commentaries and Greek or Hebrew study aids are added on a per-item basis. Original language tools are not as robust as the other applications, but for many people – including many pastors – Olivetree will be more than enough in its base configuration.

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