I was recently informed about the existence of a new freely downloadable Bible study program, called Bible Explorer. I’ve seen many of them, and some are rather amateurish, but this one is of professional quality. It reminds me of the old WordSearch software that I used to use a long time ago, except for the most annoying thing that made me stop using that software. Indeed, the same people wrote this program as wrote that program. (I stopped using WordSearch because it kept accusing me of being a thief and stopped working whenever I upgraded my computer, reformatted, changed hard drives, or any number of other normal things people do. I just deleted it and bought copies of the same Bibles for another program instead of tolerating the repeated phone call activation process.)
I found the user interface to be intuitive, and easy to use, except for the confusing Internet connection setup options. There is actually no setting that really fits my situation as a nomadic missionary. I periodically use wireless Internet hotspots, sometimes use dial-up, sometimes use wired Ethernet, and often operate totally off line. It turns out that if you configure for an always-on connection, then pull the connection at the wrong time, you can get a long series of divide-by-zero errors and crash the program. You pretty much need an Internet connection for a while to get it set up. As near as I can tell, you can’t pre-download the extra books and such from the web site, but you have to do it from the program after it is installed. You are encouraged to register online, and rewarded with a copy of God’s Word translation of the Holy Bible and 14 other books if you do. All of those have to be downloaded (unless you have a CD, which I didn’t).
I didn’t test the purchase and download of for-pay books (since I already own an electronic library of Bibles in another format, and the cost is too high for this missionary to pay just to play), but the free books seem to use the same process, except for asking for payment.
- Free for the downloading and registration, including the God’s Word translation. (Thanks go to both the software developers and translators for this one.)
- Easy, intuitive user interface.
- Preserves poetry and prose formatting.
- Multiple windows scroll together or separately, depending on which you prefer.
- Lots of Bibles and other books are available.
- Devoid of software activation and DRM restrictions, at least for the program and free books.
- Proprietary source code and format for books.
- Missing an import mechanism for minority-language Bibles.
- Requires Microsoft Windows (but runs OK on my MacBook running Parallels and Microsoft Windows XP).
Recommendation: if you are running Microsoft Windows on your computer, and you have a reasonable Internet connection, by all means download it. Try it. You might love it.