e-Sword is one of the most popular Bible study software packages, and it’s easy to see why. It’s free to download, and has 25 English bibles (including the ESV), plus dozens of commentaries (including Matthew Henry and Keil & Delitzsch), 14 dictionaries, nine volumes of the Church Fathers and several other books. All these are free, but you can also add some paid-for resources such as the NIV (£20), or NKJV (£10).
e-Sword is a little clunky, and if you have lots of resources the display can seem cluttered. Nevertheless, it’s hard to get lost, and everything works fairly intuitively. Unfortunately you can’t search all your resources at the same time, however, each has to be searched individually. On the plus side, there is a Windows Mobile version, so you can take your library with you if you have a Windows Mobile device. There are also several non-English language Bibles available, including the Revised New Welsh Bible.
Verdict: e-Sword is remarkable software. You get an awful lot for nothing, and have the added advantage of being able to purchase in-copyright books such as modern Bible translations for relatively little. If you can live with the dated interface, and only need a moderate number of resources, what are you waiting for?
- The Word is very quick and has a nice interface. It has less resources than e-Sword, and no add-ons, but is slightly easier to use.
- Bible Explorer is a cut-down version of WORDsearch (see below). It only comes with a handful of resources, but you can download hundreds more, also for free, or purchase WORDsearch modules. The quality of the free resources is quite mixed, however, and doesn’t include several resources you can get for free (or nearly-free) elsewhere, such as Calvin, Matthew Henry, Vine, etc.