Free Tools For Serious Bible Study

I have a software recommendation for all Christian believers who take seriously the Apostle Paul’s admonition to ‘Study earnestly to present yourself approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.’ (2Ti 2:15) I imagine for most Berean types, their adventures in Cyberspace have probably already landed them on the piece of virtual real estate known as E-sword.net. For those who may not be in the know, I cannot recommend this website enough. It is an incredible resource for serious Christian study. E-Sword is a bible software program that is remarkably diverse. You can download a multitude of various components; everything from commentaries and devotions to bible translations and dictionaries. The best part of it all… it’s ABSOLUTELY FREE!!! Well, most of it is free. Some components will cost you a handful of change, but there are so many free resources available, you just won’t have time to enjoy it all anyway. The program was created by a gentleman named Rick Meyers. He has done a magnificent work in helping to further the kingdom of God. It is apparent his driving motivation is not monetary profit but spiritual profit for the Body of Christ.

Permit me to insert a discernment warning, however. Many resources are available for your study but perhaps not all of them are beneficial. Before downloading components from teachers you aren’t familiar with, do a Google search and investigate the orthodoxy of their teachings. Although I realize on the internet every single teacher and preacher of God’s word is labeled a heretic or an apostate by some, please make the effort to plow through the rhetoric to verify the reliability of your sources. Keep your discernment radar active at all times!

Now, the real reason I wrote this post is to lead you to some valuable add-ons to the E-Sword program. In addition to all the fantastic resources available on E-sword’s website I have stumbled across a true treasury of scriptural knowledge through a post on ReformationTheology.com. The article links to a download site stocked with several E-sword files filled with categorized scriptural references on a variety of biblical topics. I believe credit is due to Nathan Pitchford, a Reformation Theology contributor. Here’s the full list of available resources:

  • Categorized Scripture – Doctrines of Grace
  • Categorized Scripture – Knowing God
  • Categorized Scripture – Knowing Ourselves
  • Categorized Scripture -Trinity
  • Categorized Scripture – Dispensationalism
  • Catechisms and Confessions

You can download the files HERE. I simply moved the files directly inside my E-sword folder. It is located at C:\Program Files\e-Sword. Open up E-sword and click on the Topics tab. You can select the file you wish to open with the drop-down arrow box at the bottom of the Topics window.

The file that most excited me is the Catechisms and Confessions. This little gem contains the confessions of the early church such as the Apostles creed. But most noteworthy (and I believe most profitable) are the thorough and systematic catechisms forged from the fires of the Reformation. The Baptist Confession of Faith, The Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechism are included along with the Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dort – which were a primer on the Doctrines of Grace. Catechisms were used to unify the reformers by summarizing the central teachings of the bible. Many are in the format of questions and answers. These teachings were often used by parents to train up their children in the theology of the bible. They memorized the questions and answers along with the scripture references that supported them. Catechizing has fallen on hard times in the modern church. In fact, up until two years ago, I had never heard of a catechism! For shame! I am now determined to study through these great historical documents and commit to memory as much as my poor little brain will hold. And I plan on teaching my children from the Westminster Shorter Catechism in the near future.

If all that doesn’t whet your appetite for the things of God, I have yet another resource to recommend. My brother in the Lord over at Spice Mines of Kessel has become an avid reader of Charles Spurgeon as of late. E-sword has his book All of Grace featured as a download. I had read the book through E-sword’s reader a couple of years ago and I urged my friend to read it as soon as possible. Well, he did and loved it so much he decided to convert the book into PDF format for easier readability. He also labored to produce a table of contents and an index. This superior version can be downloaded HERE. If you haven’t read this book, you absolutely must. It is short and very easy to digest. Spurgeon, as with all his writings, has many memorable things to say about the doctrine of redemption. A big thank you goes out to my good friend for this fine work!

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12 thoughts on “Free Tools For Serious Bible Study

  1. Thanks for the plug! Hahaha.

    E-Sword is an amazing piece of software. It is installed (packed full of goodies) on my Windows PC. This brings me to a point. E-Sword only works on a Windows based PC. So, if any readers ot there are using a Mac or Linux, you may be interested in taking a look at this website:

    http://www.crosswire.org/sword/index.jsp

    There, you will find the free (and open source) Bible study tools for all operating systems. My recommendation is giving BibleDesktop a try.

    Mac users… Download MacSword. It takes advantage of the Mac-style interface.

    Thanks for this post! It will definitely be of great use to many people.

  2. I would also highly recommend Christianity.com’s new Bible Study Tools. The site is amazing. It lets you compare over 29 different versions of the Bible in a split screen panel, you can highlight verse, increase text sizes, take and save notes in the bottom margin, read devotionals from popular pastors and speakers, get access to many commentaries, lexicons, concordances, etc. AND it’s all FREE. check it out!

    http://bible.christianity.com

  3. The problem I have with Christianity.com is that you have to register with the website to be able to access all but three Bible translations or any, but a few, other resources. E-Sword and Crosswire.org do not require registration. Also, Christianity.com appears to be ad supported.

    Regardless, Christianity.com is another good place to study the Word electronically. That is, if you don’t mind the above drawbacks.

  4. Hey Brandon;

    E-sword is great. I would also recommend that you download Bible Explorer 4, which is also free. The neat thing about Bible Explorer, is that they offer a number of free downloads each month, and many others for pennies. I have a ton of good commentaries by Hodge, Sproul, and Haldane, and other books by James Boice, Mark Dever, Berkhof, and many others. They have a bunch of good bible versions, including the ESV for free! http://www.bible-explorer.com

    Brett

  5. e-Sword will run under WINE on a Linux box.
    e-Sword will run under CrossOver on a Mac box.

    “Ubuntu Christian Edition” includes an installation script for e-Sword. That installation file is available as a stand alone download, and should run on any Debian based Linux distribution.

    xan

    jonathon

  6. Hi. I’m Andrew and I put together the Catechisms and Confessions topic file that you mentioned. It took a lot of time so I am glad that you have found them helpful. I have started teaching my kids the shorter catechism and would like to encourage you in that goal as well that you mentioned in your post. I too discovered these documents recently and have found myself benefited by them. God bless.

  7. Greetings Andrew!
    Thank you so much for your hard work putting all these Catechisms together. It has been a tremendous blessing to me and my family.
    Let’s pray God uses your efforts to spark a resurgence among Christians today to commit themselves to learning the great doctrines of the bible.
    God Bless
    Brandon L.

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