preacherpen

Bible Software for Linux

In Bibles, Computing on July 31, 2008 at 10:28 PM

Linux is my operating system of choice, but there is a very real shortage of native Linux programs in the Bible study genre. There a few very capable Linux packages, but it seems to me Windows has the market share of exceptional programs for those people who rely on Bible study software. All hope is not lost, though, and there is possible some relief for this software void on the horizon, but nothing is definitive at the moment.

My needs are pretty basic, and there are a couple of Bible software packages installed on my computers. These are not my favorite ones, but they certainly get the job done. There is a wonderful little package called BibleTime for use in KDE. It really is a pretty slick program, but isn’t nearly as polished as my favorite program, the Dake Reference Library (DRL), which is a Windows program built on the WordSearch engine.

is pretty straightforward, and gives me the ability to cut and paste into my word processor of choice, OpenOffice Writer. The version I’m using is 1.6.5, but there has been a new release, which just fixes some bugs. If you use Linux with KDE, you might find this is a very acceptable program for basic Bible study.

Here’s a list of the modules I’ve got running:
Bibles:

  • KJV – King James Version
  • ESV – English Standard Version
  • RNKJV – Restored Name King James Version

Commentaries:

  • Clarke – Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible
  • MHCC – Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
  • Personal – Personal Commentary. This is a place for me to take notes on any verse.
  • RWP – Robertson’s Word Pictures
  • TSK – Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Lexicons:

  • Easton’s – Easton’s Bible Dictionary
  • ISBE – Internation Standard Bible Encyclopedia
  • KJVD – King James Dictionary
  • Nave – Nave’s Topical Bible
  • StrongsGreek – Strong’s Greek Bible Dictionary
  • StrongsHebrew – Strong’s Hebrew Bible Dictionary
  • TCR – Thompson Chain Topics
  • Torrey – R. A. Torrey’s New Topical Textbook

There is an enormous amount of material which is free for the asking, provided you are not prohibited by the country you call home. I just looked at the Crosswire remote library, and was pleasantly surprised to see what has been included in the new updates. There is now a book section with many well-known works, so I will be installing some more material shortly. Actually, the marerial you can use is constantly changing, and I can’t seem to find the ESV any more. Better hang on to what I’ve got!

There is a wonderful tool for Linux called WINE, which allows a person to run native Windows programs in the Linux environment. While I believe this should be unnecessary, there are some programs that are Windows-only. There is no doubt BibleTime is quite useful, but just doesn’t do what my favorite Bible study program, DRL can. With WINE, I have a great Windows program running on my laptop computer called e-Sword. It’s a very nice program with more modules than I need, and works quite well in Linux. Now, why its creator, Rick Meyers, hasn’t ported it to the superior Linux platform is quite beyond me.
e-Sword Home

I am patiently awaiting the day when those who produce Bible study software will embrace the value and stability of the Linux platform. If the intention is to spread the Word of God, then why not use every means available? I personally know several people who would be thrilled to have good, sound alternatives to Windows offerings. Now, understand, I am very grateful for what is available in Linux, but would like more choices. Linux is steadily growing, and software companies need to include us in their plans. President Randy Beck of WordSearch, are you listening?

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  1. [...] Read the rest of thsi great article at The Preacherpen’s Desk [...]

  2. [...] work much better than their Etch counterparts, such as gtkpod and gPodder. One of my favorite apps, BibleTime is a gem to use here, too. Some of the people from the MEPISlover’s forum have created a [...]

  3. Take a look at http://www.someya-net.com/concordancer/index.html

    Possibly useful for your line of work. You can also do a lot of text analysis with simple AWK scripts. If I had more functioning neurons, I would use PERL, but for now, AWK will do for things like word count, bigrams, trigrams, bigrams with n intervening words, and so forth. Just about every Linux distro has AWK, and many useful scripts can be found ready-made online. Additionally, sites such as http://www.textanalysis.info/ might be useful. There appear to be a number of free bible texts online, so source material in a usable format is not a problem.

    Here is a slightly dangerous question. Some sites and companies have data mining software that crunches up huge amounts of text, and then tells you what the major ideas in the text are, in order of importance, based on statistical analysis of the text. And if you input something like KJV through one of these automated processes?

    The reductio ad absurdum of all this is like the old joke about the college professor who set up a tape recorder to give his lectures, and found, a few weeks later, that all of his students had been replaced by tape recorders capturing the output of his tape recorder. Something like that for computer analysis, I think. For the words to mean anything, eventually a person has to read them.

    Regards,
    SBS

    • Thanks, Steven. My, you waxed quite eloquently on this one!

      IMHO, Bible study software for Linux is just a tool I use to quickly look up scriptures and commentary in order to support what I’m studying at any particular time. For example, I might be in the process of studying a topic relating to people’s view of Christ. Opening BibleTime and invoking the search module yields 2 scriptures after putting “whom do men” in the search field. It took just seconds to get results after opening the program and typing the search string.

      I just use the software instead of filling my desk with volumes of books, which there’s no room for to begin with. In the end, Bible software in Linux could be better, but it certainly is sufficient for my needs.

  4. I agree with the author. That was exactly my thought also, “Why not use every means available to spread God’s word.” Microsoft does not own the computing world, and Linux and Mac should be involved in especially bible study software.

    • Rob, if there’s Mac software, there should certainly be Linux equivalents. If the idea is to get the word of God into the hands of those who would benefit by using it, then the more platforms it is supported on the better it would be. As I’ve already stated, I would have no problem purchasing a license again for software I would use routinely.

      Come again.

  5. There is a software called Xiphos (xiphos.org) which has packages developed for some Linux distros: Ubuntu, Fedora, etc. The latest version was published past October.

    Hope it works well!

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