Lightning Study Bible by HeavenWord Inc.

Last Page Update: Jan 2006
: HeavenWord, Inc.
Title: Lightning Study Bible
Version/Date: V2.5 March 2004 (latest as of Jan 2006)
Contact: Web Site:
Description: Lightning Study Bible is a 32bit platform for Bible study. According to the website, the core of the Lightning Study Bible is not seen on the surface. Over four years has been spent providing internal document subsystems that allow a high degree of integration between modules. New content can be added that links to older content just as easily. The design of LSB is intended to provide high quality cross-referencing that is not available in many other programs.

For example, a topic such as the Lord's Supper will also find links to Supper, Lord's, Communion, and Eucharist, without the user needing to know these are all related. The Greek root system is based on GRAMCORD Institute's root system, which covers over 17,000 roots compared to the less than 6,000 roots covered by Strong's. 


Click here to view a sample screen: LSB thumnail

Notes on the GRAMCORD website state that GRAMCORD is considering switching to the Lightning engine rather than the BCS engine they use now.

You can download the main engine and some modules for no cost to try it out. There is also a PDA Bible Reader based on Olive Tree Bible Software's BibleReader program that allows you to synchronize verse notes between HeavenWord Lightning Study Bible and PDA Biblereader.

User Interface:

The overall look of Lightning Bible Study (LSB) is clean and uncluttered. The default layout of LSB displays three windows:

The left window provides tabs for five functions: Book Selector; Book Contents Browser; Bookmark List; Syncs List (Cross-References); and MyStudy

The right window displays the currently open book. This window can display multiple sub-windows so that several books can be opened at once.

The bottom window runs across the entire screen and displays active notes and links (in two tabs).

Opening Books, Appearance, and Navigation

LSB begins with the default Bible open. Other books can be easily opened by using the Book Browser tab in the Content Tree window. LSB has the ability to tile windows, but does not have any "smart windowing" found in some other programs. For example, if two windows are opened and tiled and a new book is opened, the new book simply opens in a new window that covers the tiled windows. You can move windows manually or click the tile window to refine your window arrangement.

Although the default screen provides three main windows, the Content Tree and Notes & Links Bar can both be toggled off so you can maximize the book display.

Within a book, the Content Tree window provides a Chapter and Verse listing (as appropriate) so you can quickly go to a particular section of the open book. The Content Tree window can also be set "floating" rather than anchored so you can move it aside if needed. The Bible window also has a Goto Verse tool available, or you can use keyboard commands for faster access to a specific verse.

The Bible Text window has a wide variety of features that can be configured. Toggles include: Display Bible Headings, Lemmas, Legacy Root Numbers, Center Interlinear Components, Specify Interlinear Order, Separate Verses (no paragraphs), Superscript Verses References, Abbreviate Concordance Book Names, Lock "hot verse" when scrolling and more.

Font settings can be set for English, Greek, Hebrew, Transliteration, Headings, and Colors.

Help: The help file includes a general overview of the program and provides a good description of how to use the program including lots of graphics.

2. Module Linking and management

The primary tool for "linking" is the "Syncs Tab" in the left window. This window displays for any given topic, lexical root or verse, all related content available in LBS. It automatically follows the currently open book content. For example, if you open Genesis 35:1, the Syncs Tab will display all related materials for Genesis 35, including Bibles and Commentaries that include this verse, and topics that are covered in this verse (in this case, topics such as Altar, Communion, Priest, and so forth), and also Root entries in the various lexicons.

Also, each Bible, Reference, or Atlas book can be toggled to Request Synchronization or Respond to Synchronizing. If "Request" is selected, then as you scroll through the book, all other books that have been sent to "Respond" will synchronize. That is, as you scroll the KJV Bible to Genesis 3:6, the Darby Bible will also scroll to Genesis 3:6. You can toggle both the Request and Respond functions in each book.

In addition, "mouse-overs" provide information on specific words in the status bar. When the mouse is placed over a word, information about that word appears in the status bar. The options allow you to toggle the types of information that appear in the status bar.

Lightning Bible Study also provides a Zoom Window that provides more detailed information than found in the status bar. The Zoom Window is opened, and as you "mouse-over" words in a text module, the Zoom Window will display information about that word in an easier to read format than the Status Bar.

You can double click on a word, and the definition will pop-up in Strong's dictionary. For some reason, this didn't work in the AV Bible, but seemed to work in all other modules that I tried. To utilize other dictionaries, you will have to look manually, or if the topic exists in the Syncs tab you can access it from there.

3. Modules: What's available and compatibility

Lightning Study Bible has a large amount of content available, including Bibles such as the NIV, NLT, NASB, NKJV and others, UBS 4th Edition with GRAMCORD Assistant, Berry's Greek NT Interlinear, Commentaries including JFB, Keil & Deilitzch, and Matthew Henry, and more.

HeavenWord developed a unique Bible Atlas Subsystem unique to this program that provides over 1,100 ancient and modern sites. The tool is searchable, and maps can be printed or copied to other applications. Maps can also be customized.

4. Search:

The Search tool seems to work in only a single book (the currently opened book). It provides a place to enter the word or words to be searched. You can then specify and AND search rather than the default OR logic. If you select and AND search, you can further specify to find only verses with the words in this order, disregard the order, perform an exact phrase search, or find the word or words within a specified number of words. This latter tool is good in case the words are not within a single verse.

There is also a Roots/Lemmas search tool that works similarly to the text search tool.

Another tool available is the Topic & Root Browser. This lets you enter an English Topic or a Greek/Hebrew Root and see relations between English words and the Greek or Hebrew roots.

Search Results:

Results are displayed in the Content Tree with the books listed and the number of verses listed in parenthesis. The right Bible display window will display all of the individual verses found.

To save the list, you can save it to the clipboard and copy it into a text processor or to the notes section of LSB. Sadly, this has to be done one verse at a time, as there do not seem to be any features to allow saving of the entire list.

Lightning Bible Study passed the "eat" AND "meat" search test as explained in the Software Evaluation page, finding 33 references containing both the word "eat" and "meat". While I first thought this was a failure since the standard is 35, I then realized I was using Webster's KJV, not the AV.

LSB does NOT provide the following search tools:

There are not any word lists provided to help you identify obscure words.
The search results cannot be searched again. That is, searching first on "Jesus", and then refining those results with a further search.
There is no "NOT" operator to specify words to exclude from the search. 

Although LSB does not provide a specific Verse Reference search, such as finding all references to John 1:1, the Syncs tool essentially performs the same function. Simply go to John 1:1, look in the Syncs window, and you can see all the cross references available. The Syncs window also provides listings of related topics.

5. Editing Features:

Bookmarks: The LSB bookmark tool seems to allow an unlimited number of bookmarks to be set. Right clicking on a verse allows that verse to be set or unset as a bookmark. The bookmarks appear in the Bookmarks tab in the Contents Tree window.

There are no capabilities to highlight Bible text, such as with different colors for emphasis during Bible studies.

The words of Jesus are shown in red for those modules that support this.

When text is copied from a Bible version, the verse reference is copied as well, and a copyright statement is also included if required by the publisher or if a large amount of text is copied. I did not find any tools for specifying verse reference options, such as modifying how the verse numbering is presented. A Copy Range of Verses tool is available that allows you to specify muliple verses to copy. The format is that the Book is listed and each individual verse is numbered and the copyright statement appears only at the end.

LSB includes a Verse Notes window for taking notes during a study. While not full-featured, you can specify fonts, bold, italic, and underline features. One strange thing is that you cannot enter a carriage return! The notes are automatically saved, and will appear in any Bible version that is opened. You can also take notes on section of other reference documents.

LSB includes a My Study tab in the Contents window. This tab is similar to the Syncs tabe, in that it displays collection of cross-references that apply to your study. The man difference is that you first enter a passage verse range, and the window will collect all the cross-references concerning that range. The collection can be customized by deleting cross-references that you don't want, and you can save the studies for loading at later time.

There did not seem to be a function for general Bible study notes. For this, you need to use a text or word processor such as the Windows notepad. You can use the various copy and paste functions to transfer content as needed.

 6. Greek and Hebrew Tools:

LSB utilizes GRAMCORD Institute's numbering system and can also show Strong's numbering if needed. Automatic Transliteration is provided, which is a fairly unique feature.

7. Graphics and Audio:

LSB includes an Atlas that provides graphics and tools for measuring distance between sites, changing colors and so forth. Images are also viewable as found in other modules such as ISBE and Smith's Bible Dictionary.

8. Availability:

Currently two versions of the program are available:

Full Version $179.97 Discounted
Includes 9 Bibles including NIV, NASB, KJV; USB and Textus Receptus Greek NT texts; Berry's Greek NT Interlinear, Biblia Hebraica Lenningradensia; 8 commentaries, 5 Dictionary/Topicals; 9 Theology/Bible History books; and more.

Starter Edition $14.97
Includes 5 Bibles including NASB and KJV, Textus Receptus with TVM, Berry's Greek NT Interlinear, 4 Commentaries,  4 Dictionary/Topicals, Strong's Theology, and more

You can also download the LSB engine and several of the Bible modules so you can try out the software first.

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