Getting Plugged Into The Bible

godvertiser —  2010/04/21 — 4 Comments

Whenever I am doing exegetical work on Scripture passages, it becomes painfully aware how short my bookshelves are in length.  It makes you want to go to one of those massive theological book sales and buy out the whole place – especially when books are only $5/all you can fit into a box.  But I wouldn’t even have a place for all those books to live in my home library.

The other alternative is to repeat the back and forth and back and forth to the library where they house complete collections of commentary series, Bible encyclopedias and dictionaries.   But sometimes you find yourself playing hide and seek when you find that the one volume you need is missing from the shelf – either being used by someone, or waiting in a lonely corner of the library, waiting to be picked up and re-shelved.

digital-bible-resourcesI recently decided to take the Google-generation approach to initial research and have tried out the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary on CD-ROM (yes people, software is still published on CD-ROMs in some parts of this world).

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. . .You get all the text across all 6 volumes of hard-copy bound books in the Dictionary series at your fingertips.  Of course, the advantage of electronic resources is that so much of the cross-references are magically hyper-linked.  One click and you’ve jumped to the other book or Bible on the exact page you wanted.

Yes, yes, much of this type of content is available in Bible study software packages like Logos, Bibleworks and Accordance.  It’s just that I find most people still are not in the habit of thinking digital when it comes to reference collections, myself included.

I not only have immediate 24/7 access to the reference content I need, I don’t have to make another trip to the stacks or photocopies.

Here’s a short video that gives you a glimpse of how a 6-volume reference book translates 7,200 pages into the digital environment:

Added bonus I just found using the Anchor Yale Dictionary: When you copy/paste into your own document (Word, Powerpoint, etc) it automatically inserts a properly formatted bibliographic footnotes! Just that alone might have made it worth the time to test out the CD-ROM.

QUESTION: What is the ONE Bible reference resource you use most often (online or offline)? Please share your answer in the comment section of the blog.

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4 responses to Getting Plugged Into The Bible

  1. SwordSearcher:http://www.swordsearcher.com — I'm a bit biased since I designed it. 🙂

    • Thanks Brandon for letting me know about your software for BibleStudy. What prompted you to create it (what gap does it fill that Accordance, BiblesWorks, etc doesn't address? Or is it mostly about afforable options since those all cost HUNDREDS of dollars? Or is it for a different user audience?)?

  2. I enjoy the Logos system, the fact that I can add books to it makes it a great system. It is a bit pricey though, and I will be most excited when the mac version finished.

  3. Rick Bennett 2010/08/10 at 5:38 PM

    Accordance also has the ability to export bibliographic citations (currently in the two most widely used formats for biblical studies: Turabian and SBL).

    Resources like AYBD are so much more versatile in electronic form. Personally, I will never again buy a reference work in print form.

    One of the things we do to increase the research-grade quality of a reference work (like a dictionary or commentary) is to index the tool by fields. Sometimes this is only a few, but in other cases it is a lot more. This gives the user the ability to distinguish say hits for 'Daniel' when they occur in a title/entry field, or when Daniel is mentioned in the body of the article, or when it is a scripture reference to Daniel. You can also combine these fields together for some powerful searches.

    For an extreme example of multi-field searching that enables some pretty sophisticated research, see the article I wrote on the NTTTC, by Philip Comfort here: http://bit.ly/cj3yZE.

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