Wednesday, 21 December 2011

e-Sword vs The Word

I have been using e-Sword for about six years now. I really like the program because it is free and quite powerful. I liked it so much I even made two modules for it. But a few days ago a mate of mine said if I liked e-Sword I should check out The Word because it was better. I was sceptical of his claim, but after playing with it for a few days, and even though it pains me to say it, I am now going to be using The Word and slowly removing e-Sword modules from my PC (to save some hard drive space).

Before I started to use The Word I said I would convert if it could do paragraphs (e-Sword displays each verse on its own line) and if it allows you to make notes on a range of verse (eg make an entry for Heb 1:1-4) and not just a note for each verse. For me these were the two main features lacking in e-Sword.

The Word can do both!

Their interfaces are quite similar but The Word allows you to group any book or resource (other than bibles) together. Meaning in one window you can have tabs for commentaries, notes, dictionaries, books next to each other; whereas e-Sword has a separate window for books, commentaries and dictionaries. You can build custom windows with a custom selection of items you want in the tabs for that window.

I still think moving windows around on the screen is easier with e-Sword and well as building your own custom layout. The Word allows you to customise save multiple layouts, but really I just need the one.

Not only does the Bible view allow you to turn on and off paragraphs (and section headers) you can also play with Strong's numbers display by reducing their screen space with a superscript S or you can have the actual Greek or Hebrew word in superscript over the English one.

Both have access to pretty much all the public domain commentaries and dictionaries, and maybe The Word has more. I found a J.C Ryle's commentaries on the Gospels module for The Word, which was something I was going to do for day.... There is even a module to convert public domain e-Sword modules to work in  The Word, which I haven't used, but sounds like a good idea in case I am missing anything from my current e-Sword library (I've never bought a module).

Custom Notes
In your notes you can link to other verses (you can in e-Sword as well) but in The Word you can also link to other books you have such as a word (Greek, English or Hebrew) in a dictionary, or another commentary entry. Bible references are also automatically linked as you type, which is quite handy. The tool bar in The Word is at the top of the screen and not at the top of you notes window, which took a little to get used to, but another thing that annoyed me in e-Sword was that your notes tool bar has too many options, taking up too much of the screen.

The Word seems to be more open source friendly and allows you to edit existing commentaries which is useful if there is a formatting error or a link doesn't work. This also means it is easier to create a module, and I think I may make some commentaries called Driscoll, Piper, MacArthur and Chandler and copy and past their sermon transcripts from their website into each of these.

I'm not un-installing e-Sword  as it has as Gospel harmonizer and a STEP reader that The Word doesn't seem to have. But if you are cheap (which I am) and don't want to pay for a good Bible software program, then you should really try The Word.


  1. Both are excellent Free products. God bless the people who created the software.

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