Wednesday, March 09, 2005

How Many Bibles Does One Guy Need?

I will freely confess to being a bibliophile and this love of books extends to a love of multiple translations of the Bible. I have a smattering of Greek study in my past and can muddle my way through German text so I like having the Bible in these texts available to me as well. Since adding software to my Tablet doesn't increase the weight or bulk of the computer, why not have a dozen or more Bibles on my machine?

One of the things I love about my Tablet is e-Sword, a Bible software tool written by Rick Meyers and given freely by him to the body of Christ. I've looked at others, such as Theophilos, which I have liked but I kept coming back to e-Sword and ended up installing that one on every Tablet I've owned, my wife's computer, several friends' computers, and even my desktop at work. One of these days, I would like to do a full-blown review of the various Bible software packages and re-evaluate (especially since Theophilos is now free) but for now, the choice for me is e-Sword.

e-Sword gives me the capability mentioned above and more. In fact, I currently have 28 translations, or variations of them, on my Tablet, including my favorite translation, the NASB. In addition, I have 14 commentaries and 12 Bible (or related) dictionaries. Folks, this is an incredible set of resources to have with me everywhere I go!

Now, you could put this same piece of software and all these Bibles, etc., on a notebook computer and technically have them with you in the same way, but a Tablet PC is just so much more usable and unobtrusive that it is no comparison. I don't even carry a paper Bible with me to church anymore. My Tablet goes in the bag I carry (I usually carry a lot of other stuff with me) or under my arm and it is no more inconvenient than a Bible would be. I hold it on my lap, just as I would a Bible. I hold it in my arm when talking to someone about a passage. It's a great combination!

Now, all that said, e-Sword isn't perfect.

For one thing, it is not a Tablet PC application and doesn't understand ink at all. Nor, based on conversations I had with Rick several months ago, is it likely to any time soon. So, if I want to make notes on a passage, I have to copy the verses somewhere else (I use OneNote for this) first. Still, that is only a minor inconvenience, and e-Sword supports several verse layouts for this kind of copying.

For another, it is a bit slow on the Tablet. (Or perhaps more accurately, it is one of those apps that shows the Tablet to be a bit slower than a desktop.) Not too much of a hassle, most of the time, but an issue I wish were different. To be fair, part of this is because I have so many translations... It is faster with fewer installed.

Some people might be turned off because the NIV is not available. This doesn't affect me, but it might others. I did have to pay for the NASB, but then I considered that well worth it. Personally, I would like to see the Modern Language Bible available, but I'm not sure you can even get that in paper anymore.

Still, these are mostly just niggling quibbles. (Well, lack of direct inking is more than that, but there is an acceptable workaround.) This is a piece of software that I highly recommend to anyone who carries a Tablet PC.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too enjoy using E-Sword on my tablet and PDA. I don't know if the ESV would qualify as a modern translation, but I have found it to be very readable and use it now as my primary bible. It is offered free on E-Sword. Thanks for keeping up on your blog. I enjoy your content!

8:22 AM  
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