Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Five great, free bible resources!

There's a surprising amount of high-quality Bible study material and helps available online nowadays, and with just a little effort your library can exceed what once would have required literally yards of bookshelf space. Let's look at five of these, each one of which has its own unique flavor.


Christians haven't ignored society's increased reliance on the Web, and are also taking note of the "Web 2.0" phenomenon, where web applications can replace, or nearly replace desktop software. A new entry in the online bible study field, eBible.com, consciously takes a Web 2.0 approach by allowing you tag verse and save bookmarks. Several different Bible versions are available and they seem to be adding features. Note: this is a beta release.

This site boasts an impressive number of Bible resources and free commentaries, and also hosts a lot of articles, audio resources, pastoral and worship resources, etc. Visually, this site is a litle cluttered, but I can excuse that because they are packing so much into it. It's a great place to poke around.

Those who want to do a little more theological digging should try out Bible.org. This site also seems to be growing by leaps and bounds, probably capitalizing off the interest in their NET Bible translation. If you want to read a deep, exegetical commentary on the Book of Nahum, this is the place for you! Another bonus: the organization not only enables you to freely download their translation, but to use it without fear of copyright infringement.

Blue Letter Bible
I've had this one bookmarked for a long time - and for good reason! It has some great features, including easy phrase searches. If you still rely on Strong's Concordance, you'll find it a joy to be able to search phrases like "Kingdom of God" without going blind in the process. Lots of study tools round out the picture, including audio and video from preachers past and present such as J. Vernon McGee, Ray Stedman, and many of the well-known Calvary Chapel pastors.

This last one is a real gem - the most powerful free Bible software you are likely to find in the English language. This is not a website, but a free software download for Windows and Pocket PC. Developer Rick Meyers believes in "freely you have received, freely give," and he demonstrated it here. He compares E-Sword to $500 packages that the typical layperson finds inaccessible - and he's not bragging. A number of additional "modules" can be downloaded to add extra dictionaries, concordances, and other well-known works. There are powerful note-taking features and basic word processing for your own writing. A fuller feature list is available here.

Whether you're looking for a good daily devotional or are up to your elbows in serious study, even sermon preparation, these free resources will prove to be a great blessing.

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