Scholarly bible software for pauper prices

The final post in my current series on higher Christian Education will discuss free bible study software. The prices for good software are varying. While some are within an acceptable range that I would have no problem paying. Others breach the ridiculous price threshold and are not worthy of such large amounts of cash. While you can contact various publishers of the higher end software and request review copies, it is often easier to find free comparable programs that will serve your basic needs.

In lieu of racking up several hundred dollars in bible study software lets start with these:

E-Sword

E-Sword Software and E-Sword Live: Visit e-sword.net to download nowSome of the best things in life are free, and as the old saying goes, this is actually for real. This program is by far one of the best programs for students of the Word to become equipped, do word studies, compare translations, and even learn the Greek and Hebrew meaning of the scriptures. There is a plethora of add-on’s now available through the new downloader built-in to the software. Some of these are free, and some require a nominal fee. With the 1,000’s upon 1,000’s of free software, paying for some of the modules pales in comparison. Either way, it’s worth it. If you like it, donate to the author and he will send you a copy ofE-Sword Live E-Sword on disc. Note: The live version is extremely convenient as it allows you to set up a personalized online account and gives you access to E-Sword from anywhere there is internet access. Also, BibleSupport.Com has a plethora of free tools add-on’s and hard to find commentaries to add to your e-Sword toolbox.

TheWord

theWord Bible SoftwareThe Word appears to be a fantastic alternative to the E-Sword free bible software. Over the years, E-Sword has been unprecedented in bringing bible study software to the masses for free, while be comparable to many of the paid modules on the market. But, TheWord has demonstrated itself a worthy alternative with as many, if not more modules freely available as well.

Some of the functions I really enjoy are the enhanced graphical interface, the plethora of free modules and resources available, the compatibility with E-Sword modules (has a built in module converter), and the portability of the USB option. You can install the entire module library, plus the software on a single USB drive and take your Bible software and library anywhere you go. There is also an alternative MAC installer available through Douglas Hamp’s website.

WORDsearch Basic

Rich in resources, free tools, books, and commentaries, this program is also a must have for any student of the bible. There is so much to this program it could WORDsearch Basic Software Pageeasily take an entire site to detail it’s incredible value. But wait, there already is one here. You can also download it straight to your PC or MAC and be up and running in no time. Be ever watchful for the free books that are made available from time to time. Manage a library of theology and have instant access to topical studies, commentaries, and many more tools right from your desktop.

Hopefully, this will prove helpful as you begin to develop your ability to dig into the Word of God. I also hope that you are able to develop your own Christian Education effectively with better theology, plenty of books to make your bookshelves look smart, and excellent scholarly bible software to faithfully disseminate and teach the word.  Most importantly, that it would make you a better witness for Christ Jesus.

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This post is part of a series on higher Christian Education:

  1. I never knew being a disciple would cost so much money!
  2. How to have seminary theology without the expense.
  3. Free theological books to make your bookshelves look smart!
  4. Scholarly bible software for pauper prices

Free theological books to make your bookshelves look smart!

Free Library Books
1/2 My library of mostly free books

In my current series on higher Christian Education we have talked about the expenses related to professional ministry. In my first post we covered the overall financial obligation of seminary and professional ministry. In a follow up post we dug deeper into practical ways to get similar knowledge without the expense. I suppose you could call it armchair theology. I like to keep higher Christian Education as free as possible. How about a proof text to back up my agenda?

(Mt. 10:8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Granted, publishers and authors need to make a living off of their work, I don’t like paying for books. The realm of Christian publishing  has increasingly become a niche market where books get churned out of the mill strictly for profit. Being selective of the material we consume is important. Unfortunately the cost issue will come up time and time again.

So if cost is the core contention in this series, let’s look at some options for securing free theological books that will make your bookshelves look smart! I will list a few suggestions that I use regularly to secure great books at zero cost.

Book reviews: This is my primary source of free books. Book reviewing has its pros and cons. The primary pro is obviously the books are free. The most significant con is the need to produce reviews that are substantial and actually benefit the publisher for providing you the book copy. There are several things you can do to get these books.

Write the publisher of the book you are interested in. Ask them if they will provide you with a reviewers copy and ensure them a post on your blog, Facebook, or other media outlets at your disposal.

Cruise the blogosphere! Zondervan publishes a blog with weekly Wednesday giveaways at their academic blog site Koinonia. You are bound to get a great title here and there if you are diligent in entering the giveaways. Follow popular blogger websites like Tim Challies, who posts a regular blog featuring free and low cost book deals at least once a week.

Join services that specifically targeted to bloggers interested in reviewing books. Here are just a few of many:

NetGalley is home to a very large number of publishers. They cover every genre in the publishing realm. They also provide copies early before the items are even in print. Although the copies are digital, completed reviews are often awarded with print copies if its in the publishers description to do so. Works with most popular E-readers as well.

Blogging for Books is the reviewing program developed by Waterbrook Multnomah. Ebooks and hard copies are available in limited quantities to reviewers in exchange for reviews on their websites.

BookSneeze is the reviewing program developed by Thomas Nelson. Hard copies and Ebooks are available in to bloggers/readers in exchange for “honest reviews”.

I also keep my eye out for free books on the discard shelf at local libraries. If your thrifty, you can even find low-cost deals at garage sales, inconspicuous used book shops, second hand stores, and even local churches who discard older books indiscriminately. Sadly, they often discard older gems in favor of newer and more “progressive” titles.

While this may not put all the best titles on your bookshelves for free, it is a great start. Honestly, it is also a significant way for you to afford that library that will have all your friends thinking you are a scholar, even if you haven’t read most of them!

Next, we’ll talk about Bible Software. Finding good sources for bible study while expanding your theological library digitally.

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This post is part of a series on higher Christian Education:

  1. I never knew being a disciple would cost so much money!
  2. How to have seminary theology without the expense.
  3. Free theological books to make your bookshelves look smart!
  4. Scholarly bible software for pauper prices

How to have seminary theology without the expense.

biblestudyIn my current series on higher Christian Education I discussed the cost of professional ministry. Remember ministry is the obligation of all those who are disciples of Jesus Christ. Of first importance, your obedience to His commands and attention to His word (the Bible) are at the very top of any list.

Lets address option one, education. Here are a few tips and pointers that can get you on track to receive the knowledge you desire.

Read your Bible and pray. This might seem laughable at first, but think about it. If you need a bible but don’t have the money for one there are plenty of ministries out there who will set you up. You can also approach other online and parachurch ministries that provide these tools free of charge to those seeking to equip themselves for the work of service to others.

Become familiarized with the basic tenets of the Christian faith. You can call it the who, what, when, why, and how of church. Just becoming acquainted with Theology, Bibliology, Hermeneutics, Mankind, The Nature of God (Godhead), Ecclesiology, and Eschatology can establish a sound framework. Granted you might also become an excellent heretic if left to your own devices with theological things. My advice in that case is simply this, if you are going to be a heretic, at least be consistent!

Accumulate free online, print, journal, and periodical resources that teach on these topics. Do a simple search on theological topics and it will bring up plenty to choose from. A word of caution, just be careful, and do so with an open Bible. Utilize your local library, college libraries, and even inter-library loan services to secure some of the newest and truest resources available today, at no cost. Also visit websites that have accumulated much of the same type of material you would pay outrageous textbook prices for to begin with:

Although I am not listing an exhaustive resource log here in this post the point is clear. Do not neglect the benefit of study with elder brethren who have long labored in the word and lived the Christian life, but do  not let the absence of such be a deterrent. Most importantly, remember that theology simply means the study (ology) of God (theos). So, go study God.

So before you go paying some well deserving establishment 40,000 smack-a-roos for a seminary degree, decide what your reason for going is. If it is just to be better equipped then consider your local church as seminary. After all, the point of the equipping is to serve your local brethren and prepare them to replicate the same. All in all, you can walk away from your own self-study with a systematic theology comparable to some of the best out there. But if all that knowledge serves no earthly good, you are not stewarding your money well.

Next, we’ll talk about theological books. One of my favorite subjects!

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This post is part of a series on higher Christian Education:

  1. I never knew being a disciple would cost so much money!
  2. How to have seminary theology without the expense.
  3. Free theological books to make your bookshelves look smart!
  4. Scholarly bible software for pauper prices