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It’s been over ten years since I’ve written a comprehensive review of Bible Software for Christian Computing Magazine and the last one I did took weeks to complete (which I don’t have available currently). But, I thought I could afford the time to offer some suggestions on the best free Bible software for the PC on the market currently. Although there are 12 free desktop Bible applications currently, 4 of them warrant your consideration, in my opinion.
This software application is currently in beta 1 phase. But, it is pretty stable. It is a significant improvement over version 2 in terms of interface design. If you are willing to do without the more common contemporary translations, this application is intuitive and well designed. It’s search capabilities are reasonably good. If you are into original language studies, this application will give you a lot of options. This application is only available for the PC.
Bible Explorer provides a clean, simple user interface. It downloads only with the KJV installed but you can download 19 other free translations (no popular contemporary translations) along with dozens of commentaries and other books. If you choose to purchase a popular translation like the NIV, NASB, NLT, etc., they will work with any upgrades you make to Bible Explorer or if you move up to their high-end WORDsearch application. The latest version of Bible Explore (4) is available for the PC or Mac. You can purchase additional translations but they tend to be a bit expensive. If you like the free version of BE, you may want to consider some of the upgrade packages as they are cheaper than buying the individual translations (if you find a package that has the translation you are looking for).
The latest iteration of e-sword is built on a new data format so if you’ve been running earlier version, you will have to do some reinstallation. One thing that I really like about e-Sword is that the Bible translations you purchase are much cheaper than they are with similar applications (usually around $20 versus $30-40 with others).
Xiphos provides a nice interface. It’s ability to add translations and resources from directly within the application is very helpful. I have experienced the Module Manager hanging up on me that requires the app to be restarted. It supports Windows, Linux and UNIX. It is part of the SWORD project and so the files it uses are inter-operable with other SWORD applications and projects.
MacSword can read the same files as e-sword. MacSword is like Xiphos a CrossWire application using the The SWORD Project’s underlying programming librariy and modules. Both MacSword and Xiphos are open source programmes.
Well, I won’t go into any more detail since these are free applications, you can download them yourself, compare them and see what you think.
Also, you iPhone users will love YouVersion’s free online Bible application. It offers every popular translation you can imagine for free. I love the user interface too. But, you do have to have Internet connectivity to access it. You can find it in the Apple App Store. My friend Stephen suggests Olive Tree’s free Bible reader for the iPhone. It offers a lot of free translations but if you want the popular translations, you have to pay for them. Instead of being an online application, Olive Tree downloads the translations directly to your phone so you can access them when you don’t have connectivity.
If you have any thoughts or feedback, please share them…
I am actively hunting for a job… hopefully here in the Dallas/Ft Worth area… Just posted my resume here.
I’ve come to the conclusion that many, if not most, people make little progress toward their purpose in life because they are easily distracted – so much so that they are more focused on distractions than they are on purpose. Let me give you a few examples:
- A person has a dream of how they want to change the world. Yet, they have fears or failure, fears of success and just plain fears that occupy a large part of their thought-life. They run what-if-scenarios through their head constantly and the outcome is more often negative than positive. They take one step toward their dreams and then two steps back in response to fear.
- A Christian wants to live a godly life and yet they are more guided by their focus on their sin than they are on pursuing God in His righteousness. They keep their gaze on their sin instead of God. In other words, they are sin-focused or focused on distractions. They take one step of faith toward experiencing God’s goodness and two steps backwards because they sin.
- A person wants to train and coach others. But, they have some rejection and abandonment issues from past traumatic and unresolved events. They make some progress toward helping others but the first opposition they encounter in someone brings their rejection and abandonment issues quickly to the surface. They can’t stay focused on meeting other people’s needs when they are so easily distracted by unresolved internal issues within them.
Distractions are a part of life. The difference between advancement toward purpose and getting stuck under current constraints is how one responds to distractions. If you allow distractions to shift your focus off of your purpose, you will seldom make significant progress. If you learn to recognize a distraction for what it is, you empower yourself to resist distraction and remain focused.
It isn’t that fears or sin aren’t real. It’s just that they are distractions – unimportant and unnecessary. When a fear comes, you may want to acknowledge it, consider any wisdom it might bring but then you dismiss it from your presents. Overall however, fear or distractions seldom contribute anything positive to your journey. Instead, you keep your gaze focused on your purpose. When sin happens, you acknowledge it, confess it, repent of it and then move onward in faith undeterred.
If you stop and linger on distractions, you’ll never get far. They are like traffic lights set to red. Have you ever gotten behind someone who was too distracted to see that the light had turned green and so they just sit there through the green light making no progress at all? Some of us need a good honking at because we’re just sitting through one green light after another.
Spending time at the altar of fear or sin, for example, does nothing but keep you from advancing forward. Focus is the ability to distinguish that which is essential from everything else. Scripture says that without a vision people perish. In other words, if you don’t have something of hope in the future to fix your gaze upon (purpose) then the only thing to occupy your thinking is distractions and there is no hope for change in a life focused on distractions.
If you are worshipping at the altar or fear, sin, or failure, isn’t it time to leave it for higher ground? I was recently in the country of Bosnia helping people get emotional healing. One particular young man I worked with was so preoccupied with sin that he could think of nothing else. He said he was stopping every 5 minutes or so to repent for his thoughts. This is someone who is sin-focused. He’s focused on the wrong thing – distractions. It permeates his thought-life. Success isn’t possible when you are focused on distractions instead of purpose. Many people are the same way toward fear, rejection, abandonment or countless other distractions. Repentance need only take a second to change your thinking on something and not distract you from your purpose and mission.
Let’s try an experiment. Try to draw a picture of a blue dog in your mind while verbally repeating the phrase pink elephant out loud. How much progress were you able to make? It isn’t likely that you’ll make nearly as much progress in this state of distraction as you would focused. Focus gives you clarity of thought. This is an essential ingredient in progressing toward your destiny.
Consider another example.Imagine driving on a two-lane undivided highway heading northward toward your destination. Yet, instead of driving in the North-bound lane, you are driving in the South-bound one. Periodically, you encounter a vehicle heading straight toward you. You have to swerve out of the lane in order to avoid being hit. You swerve into the correct North-bound lane for a moment and begin making progress. But before long swerve back into the South-bound lane. Others may even make a u-turn when confronted with an oncoming vehicle and began heading southward. They find themselves moving from North to South with little progress forward, at least in the desired direction.
This is a picture of how people live out of a distraction-based paradigm. Maturity comes when you learn to quickly identity distractions so you can move your focus off of them and back onto your destination and hopefully never even loose your focus in the first place.
If you can’t get there alone, get help. There is nothing broken within you that God can’t completely and permanently heal you of. God’s purpose is to fully restore you of everything you’ve lost or given up. He wants you to get back on track and heading with focused clarity toward your purpose and destiny.
Now that you’ve read this blog entry, it’s time to get back on track heading toward your destiny with focus. Recognize the next thing that pops up as a distraction that moves you in the wrong direction.
If you read this blog and have any thoughts about it or it had any impact on your life, would you mind taking a moment to post a comment at the bottom of this page? Thanks! I like to use my time wisely and if no one is getting anything of value out of these I have plenty of others things to do without getting distracted .
What I like about living in the U.S.
- Air conditioning
- Cheap gas (yes compared to about $8 per gallon in Bosnia)
- Availability of diversity of goods and services
- Cheap electronics
- More privacy
- Comfortable beds
- Having my own bathroom and shower
- Fast internet connectivity and easy access
- The variety of food at restaurants
- Large shower you can turn around in and hot water all the time
- Cheap clothes (compared to Europe)
- The religious freedom
What I don’t like about living in the U.S.
- Fast-paced lifestyles that leave little time for the simple things in life
- Commercialization of everything
- Demands on time and schedule
- The focus on productivity over relationship
What I like about living in Bosnia
- Constant social interaction
- Dependency upon one another to make life work
- Awareness of neediness
- Appreciation readily expressed when helping the people
- Cheap food
What I don’t like about living in Bosnia
- Constant social interaction
- Superstition that permeates the older culture
- The evident tension between the Serbs, Croats and Muslims
- The lack of hope and encouragement
- The influences of communism that linger socially
- The constant remainders of the war in destroyed buildings throughout the country
- The difficulty of learning the Slovak language
- The heavy institutionalization of religion
- The lack of employment opportunities
Our final day in Bosnia was full. Anita and I scheduled a counseling/prayer session with a young believer from a Muslim background we ministered to last year. She is a beautiful 21 year old girl from a challenging background. Our friend Cory helped us coordinate with her to come in. We started the day with her session. As I listened to her tell stories of her children, it really broke my heart. The measure of poverty, neglect and abuse was hard to believe given her good disposition.
The session went really well and she had some awesome breakthrough. We dealt with a particularly painful event when she was 6 that led to her parents divorcing. She was able to forgive her parents and change her thinking about herself as a result of some of the things she went through. Women are so much easier to have good sessions with because they are more in touch with their emotions and can listen instead of just churn the gears endlessly in their head. The session lasted two and half hours. It was great. Anita had some good things to share with her. We spoke hope into her and prayed for her ability to get into college despite having practically no formal education. Our new friend Katie translated and she did a great job. I gave her opportunities to pray and speak encouragement in Bosnia and she did so.
We shot some video of a couple of people thanking us for coming after our session ended. Then, we packed everything up, had lunch and said our goodbyes to all our friends there in Mostar and some of the pastors and leaders who had gathered there for training at the bible school. They were having graduation that evening and two of our close friends were graduating from the school – Beki and Dejana. But, we couldn’t stay because we had an early flight out of Sarajevo in the morning.
On the drive back the old car four of us were driving in started overheating in the think rush-hour traffic of Sarajevo. It broke down and started smoking. We pulled over and signaled the van with the rest of the team in front of us to pull over as well. We ended up sitting there for about 2 hours while we waited for it to cool down, to put water in the radiator and such. It was the first stressful experience we had in the trip. We thought we might have to split up the team and try to make it back to Breza separately. But, some mechanics came by and helped get the car patched up enough to make the rest of the trip to Breza.
Several of us went out to dinner once we got back to Breza. It was one of our favorite restaurants there but we hadn’t been on this trip. After wards, we spent time repacking our for the flight out. Some of us took cold showers. We got to bed at Midnight and then had to get up at 4am to head out for the airport.
The travels went smoothly on the way back home. We only had 16 hours of actual flight time. I stayed awake on all the flights in an effort to readjust to the 7 hour time difference when we got back home. We parted ways with Ben, Ali and Suzy in London as they were going on to Scotland for a week and then Ali and Suzy were going to Israel after that. Anita and I watched about 4 movies on the 10-hour flight from London to Houston. Overall, it was pretty comfortable. Our connecting flights were close together and so we didn’t have any significant layovers.
We were greeted by several people from Becky’s church in Houston. Liz Ramos drove our car to the airport. We decided to go ahead and try to drive back home from Houston to Arlington. We felt that would give us the best chance to rest and recover instead of spending the night in Houston. We made a Starbucks run for caffeine and made it home just fine. I stopped and got some groceries on the way into town so we didn’t have to get out the next day.
All told, it was about 26 hours between leaving Breza and arriving home in Arlington. It took 30 hours in the opposite direction, so it wasn’t bad at all. We’ve been back for a few days now and we still haven’t fully recovered for some reason. But, we are doing well. We are back on a normal sleeping schedule but our energy levels and digestive systems haven’t quit returned to normality.