11 August 2011

Selecting Bible Study Software

Since I've been asked twice in the last week why I don't use Bible Study Program X, it seems appropriate to blog once more about selecting Biblical Software.

Criteria Set One:
  • Biblical Canon Supported;
  • Software license permits one to use it for what one intends to use the software for;
Criteria Set Two:
  • Data Portability;
  • Future Proofing;
  • Currently Available Resources;
  • User Created Resources;
  • Cross Platform Support;

Criteria Set Three: Bible Study Methods:
I'm aware of roughly 500 different ways to study the Bible. Most of them fall into one of the following six categories:
  • Book, chapter, verse orientated;
  • Chronologically orientated;
  • Creed/Catechism orientated;
  • Original Language orientated;
  • Topically orientated;
  • Who/where orientated;
How many of those points of departure are supported out of the box by the software?

Criteria Set Four: Accessibility:

What functionality is lost by removing:
  • The keyboard;
  • The mouse;
  • The monitor;
  • The monitor and the mouse;
  • The monitor and the keyboard;
  • The keyboard and the mouse;
  • The monitor, mouse, and keyboard;
Criteria Set Five: The 2009 SBL Bible Software Shootout:

These were the five challenges each presenter had to address:
1. Give the parsing of a word and its meaning from a standard source.
2. Show all the occurrences of a word in the NT and LXX and show the Hebrew word which corresponds with the Greek in the LXX (if there is a correspondence).
3. Find all the occurrences of oi de in Matthew’s gospel followed by a finite verb within the clause.
4. I want to study a part of speech, e. g., demonstrative pronouns or interjections. How do I get all of the lemmas for that part of speech, get all the occurrences of those lemmas, and the results organized in such a way that I could write an article/monograph on that part of speech from the data?
5. I want to study the inflections of the Hebrew middle weak verb, and I want to see what the range of possible variations is for each of the conjugations (perfect, imperative, etc.) person, number, gender, and stem. This means I need to find all the middle weak verbs, find all their occurrences, and organize them in such a way that the variation of their inflections are immediately apparent. The goal of the data organization would be to allow me to write an article about the variations of the Hebrew middle weak verb

In future posts, I'll expand upon each point in the first four sets of criteria.

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