The web started off like the Wild West – all the homeless hopefuls and get-rich-quick entrepreneurs made their way there in a huge wagon race. The web was free – free of cost and free of restraint. Among the first colonists were Christians, who are always looking for the next way to spread the best message in the world. In the early days there were six times more Bible sites than sex sites, but that soon changed.
We have all grown a little older and wiser, and realize that nothing is free. The internet is not free of cost because human effort and bandwidth are valuable. However, the internet does still work largely without restraint, and this is good for Christians.
The internet is still full of rubbish, but this is becoming easier to recognize. School children are now taught how to judge the value of websites, and on the whole, Google does this for us very well. Google’s “ranking” is based largely on linkages – if lots of people refer to a site, then lots of people thought it worth recommending. But they do not realize the value of a lot of things out there. The following essay will identify the best recommendations. I will admit from the start that I often point to my own sites, but that is because they are usually the easiest paths to the best software out there.
There are more than one hundred English translations on the web, <https://sites.google.com/site/biblicalweblinks/bibles-in-modern-translations> and even commercial versions that are not available on free study sites, can be read on their own site. There are not as many in other languages as one would like to see, but more are coming. For good collections, visit <http://worldbibles.org/>, <http://www.ethnicharvest.org/bibles/>, and <http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/>.
BIBLE STUDY — COMMERCIAL TOOLS
When it comes to studying the Bible, there are a host of good and mediocre sites. Commercial software is still better than the free sites, so I will quickly mention the best.
BibleWorks <http://www.bibleworks.com/> is best for quick results. I use it by default on the PC. It is great value. To explore the capabilities of BibleWorks, visit <http:// http://tyndaletech.blogspot.com/2011/09/getting-most-out-of-bibleworks-9.html>.
Logos (Libronix) <http://www.logos.com/products/bstudy.asp> is best for integration with thousands of Christian books. To explore the capabilities of Logos, visit <http://tyndaletech.blogspot.com/2009/09/getting-best-out-of-bible-software.html>.
Accordance <http://www.accordancebible.com/> is the best, in my opinion. Although it was designed for the Macintosh computer, I use it on a PC through the use of a free emulator provided by the company. Accordance has the best tagged texts. To explore its capabilities, visit <http://tyndaletech.blogspot.com/2010/12/accordance-tips.html>.
BIBLE STUDY – FOR FREE
Identifying the best tools is preceded by a determination of what one wants to accomplish.
Sword <http://www.crosswire.org/study/parallelstudy.jsp?key=Matt&del=all&add=WHNU&add=NASB&Footnotes=On&Cross-references=On> by CrossWire provides the best access to all the free resources, including, e.g., the OT in parallel Greek, Hebrew, and English; or the NT in parallel Greek and English, with linked parsing. Many other software projects use their data to make interesting tools.
Biblos <http://www.biblos.com/> has added some commercial Bibles in addition to tools of their own. Especially interesting are the multi-version concordance <http://concordances.org/bible.htm> and the Greek/Hebrew interlinears that are linked to good lexicons.
The BlueLetter Bible <http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Gen&c=1&v=1&i=conc#1> is still helpful, especially for easily assessing Greek and Hebrew.
If you are interested in Textual Criticism, Laparola <http://www.laparola.net/greco/index.php> is best for the NT. There is no equivalent for the OT, apart from a paid subscription to SESB <http://www.sesb-online.de/>. For an early review, visit <http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/index.php?page=frame&add=http://www.tyndalehouse.com/TTech/SESBreview/index.htm>.
There are a number of exciting developments and specialist sites to keep your eye on in the coming years.
The NET Bible <https://net.bible.org/#!bible/Matthew+1> is slowly adding some very exciting features. The NET Bible is already known for its wonderful translation notes, but now interlinear and other tools are becoming available.
BibleCrawler <http://www.biblecrawler.org/> is especially designed for finding quotes and allusions. (BibleWorks also has wonderful tools for this).
BibleWebApp <http://biblewebapp.com/study/#ref=Gen%201:1%7Cver=he_wlc,en_nasb> makes it easy to read Greek and Hebrew, and its Reader App <http://biblewebapp.com/reader/> gives one as many (or few) helps as one may want.
BibleArc <http://www.biblearc.com/> is a great way to analyze the NT text even though it is not free of charge. For the OT, use Tanak Analyser and turn the Masoretic punctuation into a visual structure.
Studying the full meanings of words is getting easier.
2LetterLookup <http://www.2letterlookup.com/> finds Hebrew, Greek, and other ancient language words by clicking on just the first two letters. It even finds weak verbs, saving countless time, and even connects one to real full-text lexicons.
Perseus <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/collection?collection=Perseus:collection:Greco-Roman&redirect=true> has the best free tools for Greek and Latin sources outside the Bible. One can easily search for Greek or Latin words in texts that usually have translations. The mirror at Chicago <http://perseus.uchicago.edu/greek.html> is sometimes useful, especially for Greek searches.
TLG (Thesaurus Linguae Graecae) <http://www.tlg.uci.edu/demoinfo/demo.php> connects one to virtually all of Greek literature. Some facilities are free of charge, including the online LSJ lexicon <http://www.tlg.uci.edu/demoinfo/demo.php> where links go to the full text.
The Tyndale Toolbar <http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/toolbar> sits at the top of your browser waiting to know which chapter or which word or which subject one wants to look up or read more about.
Numerous weblinks (background studies, links to online books, church history, etc.) exist for students of the Bible.
<https://sites.google.com/site/biblicalweblinks/>. One can add these pages to one’s own website. See them, e.g., at Tyndale House <http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/index.php?page=frame&add=https://sites.google.com/site/biblicalweblinks/tyndalehouse>. And if one’s favorites are missing, one can add them, or ask to edit the site.
There are many good things among all the rubbish on the web. The great thing about the treasure one finds on the web is that one can both share it and keep it.