e-Sword Bible Study Software

UPDATE (November 14, 2011): e-Sword version 10 was officially released. Check out a description of the new features here.

e-Sworde-Sword is a free Bible study software program.  It is an exciting tool that I highly recommend to everyone.

e-Sword combines:

  • Multiple Bible translations for comparison
  • Commentaries
  • Dictionaries for studying words in their original languages
  • Graphics (maps, charts, and images)
  • Topic notes
  • Devotionals
  • Personal study notes feature with rich text editing
  • Powerful search capabilities
  • Prayer journal for managing prayer requests
  • Scripture memorization tool

One of the most intriguing features of e-Sword is its Scripture reference tool tips.  Hovering your mouse pointer over any Scripture reference in the commentary or dictionary panels, such as John 3:16, will pop up a tool tip that displays the Scripture (or passage) – all without having to click on anything or flip through a book.  What a time saver!  To be able to sift through a series of Scripture references without flipping through a number of books helps you to assimilate information more efficiently, which can be very important in our fast-paced world (“…making the most of your time, because the days are evil” Eph 5:16).  You can also click directly on any Scripture reference and immediately be taken to that passage in the Bible panel to see its context.  This is immensely valuable, because context is king when it comes to studying the Bible accurately.

Scripture Tool Tip
Scripture Tool Tip

Similarly, Strong’s definitions are displayed as tool tips.  In other words, you can hover your mouse pointer over any Strong’s reference number, and a tool tip will automatically appear that displays the word in the original Greek or Hebrew with a brief definition of the word.  Although these “floating” definitions are brief, they can shed additional light on the text you are studying.  As with Scripture reference tool tips (see above), you can click directly on any Strong’s reference number to pull up additional information in the dictionary panel of the e-Sword application.

There are scores of add-on modules available for e-Sword, from Bible translations to commentaries to dictionaries.  Most of these add-on modules are free, but some premium modules can only be unlocked for a fee (to the resource provider).  You can certainly have deeper, more productive Bible study with the free software and free add-on modules.  However, if you are so inclined, there are a few premium modules that are well worth the cost.  I’ve listed some of my favorite modules below (with links) and noted whether they are free or premium (including price).

UPDATE (January 2, 2011): With the release of e-Sword version 9.8.1, all modules that are hosted directly by e-Sword.net are now available through the new Module Downloader within the e-Sword program.  Direct links are no longer available for these particular modules.  Therefore, modules in the list below that do not have hyperlinks can be downloaded from within the e-Sword program (go to the Download menu and select a module category).

UPDATE (January 3, 2012): Here’s an easy way to install third-party modules that you download from the Internet.

Bibles

English Standard Version (ESV) Free
King James Version (KJV) with Strong’s & TVM Free Highly recommended
Lexham English Bible (LEB) Free More information here
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Study Set $20 Highly recommended; includes 4 study resources
NET Bible Free Premium version with over 60,000 notes available for $19.95
World English Bible (WEB) Free Free alternative to NASB

Commentaries

Believer’s Bible Commentary $19.99
The Bible Knowledge Commentary $34.99
David Guzik Commentary Free
Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament Free Highly recommended
The Treasury of David Free
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge Expanded Free Highly recommended
Vincent’s Word Studies Free Highly recommended

Dictionaries

The Complete Word Study Dictionary $40 Highly recommended
King James Concordance Free Useful for locating all occurrences of a word
Nave’s Topical Bible Free
Robinson’s Morphological Analysis Codes Free
Strong’s Bible Dictionary Free Included with e-Sword installation
Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary $14.99

There are a number of other features in e-Sword, such as special copy / paste options for Bible verses, printing options, verse lists, Scripture tool tip formatting for personal study notes, and more.  All these features for free make downloading e-Sword a no-brainer for anyone interested in going deeper into God’s Word.  e-Sword will help you have a more exciting and efficient Bible study experience.

e-Sword is only available for Windows operating systems.  If you are a Macintosh user, you should be able to run e-Sword in VMware, Parallels, or Bootcamp if you have one of these resources.

UPDATE (October 29, 2010): e-Sword can now be run on Mac an Linux, using CrossOver.

It is also worth noting that there is an online interactive version of e-Sword (also free) if you are unable to run the full program on your computer.  e-Sword Live has far fewer features than the desktop version, but it can still aid your Bible study efforts tremendously.  (There is also a Pocket e-Sword version for Microsoft Pocket PC platforms.)

e-Sword has a built-in help system, but you can also find helpful video tutorials on e-Sword’s website.  A number of videos have also been posted on YouTube, and there are e-Sword user communities online, such as http://e-sword-users.org http://www.BibleSupport.com.  If you have any unanswered questions about the software, feel free to post them here.  I will be glad to help you find the answers.

If you have time, read the history of e-Sword.  It is inspiring to see what can happen when your heart and your way are dedicated to the Lord.

Although the software is free, the time, effort, and resources required to develop, improve, and distribute the software are not free.  If you find e-Sword beneficial in helping you discover the truth of God’s Word, I encourage you to make a donation to e-Sword to support the ministry.  e-Sword is making an eternal investment in the lives of millions of people around the world.  (I should mention that I am not affiliated with e-Sword in any way.  My recommendations are freely given.)

Are you an e-Sword user?  What’s your favorite feature?  Share your insights, questions, and wishlists with us.

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6 Responses to “e-Sword Bible Study Software”

  1. Thank you for this post David. Let me suggest also another free Bible software that is much better than e-Sword and much more advanced and configurable, it’ called The Word and you can get it here ( http://www.theword.gr ).
    Having used e-Sword myself (and almost every single Bible software out there, free or not), i can tell you that The Word has more than double the functionallity of e-Sword and is much faster, configurable and advanced (and beautiful, it this is on your list:). Almost everyone i know of converts to The Word once he tries it out,
    HTH

  2. Hi, Dan! Thank you for mentioning The Word. I do have it on my list. :) I have it installed but have not used it much yet. I’ll be sure to review it in an upcoming post when I’ve had more experience with it. Thanks for your feedback!

  3. John 3:16 (My Paraphrase based on a study with KJV+TVM)
    For God so uncondionally loved (without regarding past present or future) the world, He uncondionally gave (without regarding past present or future) His only begotten Son, that whoever actively entrust oneself to His Son [conditional statement], will not bring upon himself everlasting destruction [punishment], but will have (factual reality occuring in actual designated time, depending on conditional statement) everlasting, perpetual life (for ever) [reward]

  4. Graeme Bywater February 9, 2012

    I want to install the latest version of this e-Sword.
    I’m doing Bible studies at my church of Victory Life Centre . com . au (put all the letters together and in lowercase)
    I’m studing the Old Testament.
    I have “The STRONGEST NIV EXHAUSTIVE CONCODANCE” dated 1999. I wish to combine the two of them please.
    Don’t for get the “i i “‘s in iinet.net.au

  5. Hi, Graeme! The latest version of e-Sword can be downloaded here:

    http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html

    I’m not aware of an NIV concordance module for e-Sword, but, if you already have one, you should be able to use it with the latest version of e-Sword.

    If you have modules that you’ve used with older versions of e-Sword (8 and earlier), you’ll need to convert them to the latest format. There are a couple of converters here and here. If you have copyrighted material, like NIV resources, that need to be converted, you will probably need to go back to the site that provided it to get an updated version.

    I hope that helps. Let me know if you have additional questions.

    –David

  6. I enjoyed your blog. Very well put together. You give a nice overview of the features available.
    There truly are so many capabilities with this latest release of Esword. You could expand your blog perhaps as much as 10 times in length and still not cover the full benefits to the bible student.

    One of the great features now available is the direct link to a user group website available right off the help menu. Clicking on the this user group option brings you into a support area where you can get answers to questions, post blogs, and download hundreds of user generated resources (both new and old).

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