Last Page Update: Jan 2006
Manufacturer: Timnathserah Inc. (primary author: Larry Pierce)
Title: The Online Bible (OLB, was also available for a time as "The Word" on CD-ROM)
Version/Date: 2.00.02 Jan 2006
Contact: Web Pages: (see Christian Links page for more OLB links, such as tutorials, discussion boards, and more)
http://www.onlinebible.net Official North American Web Site. Download OLB and modules (most up-to-date)
http://www.onlinebible.org. Official European Web Site. Download OLB and modules
Description: The Online Bible offers powerful features and well over 200 modules. The engine and most of the modules can be obtained from the Internet for free, or CD-ROM packages can be purchased that include unlockable modules such as the NIV and NASB bibles. The work that has gone into OLB modules has been leveraged by many other programs through the years. I have purchased several CDs through the years...
OLB has been around for many years and has a lot of power that is not apparanet at first glance. The menu selections appear sparse, but a lot of functionality is provided in the right-click menu, through mouse-overs, and through module linking.I find that OLB takes a little more getting used to than some other programs, but is very powerful once you have the experience.
OLB offers mouse-over windows. When the cursor is held over a reference, Strong's number, or book/note link, it is looked up and displayed in the window. If the cursor is over a word, that word is looked up in the default dictionary.
Screen Capture: (click icon to enlarge)
The OLB does not limit the number of windows that can be opened at once. This means you can have multiple Bible versions, commentaries, dictionaries, and so forth open at the same time and tiled as you see fit. It also means your screen can get quite cluttered if you are not careful! OLB offers an "Open New Window" toggle in the Window Menu that allows you to limit open windows to only 4. I find this mode the best for general, uncluttered Bible study.
The OLB interface is very powerful, makes extensive use of the right mouse button, and provides keyboard alternatives for many of the commands. All of this power can make OLB a little longer to get used to, but once you do, you will appreciate the many capabilities.
Once you have a specific arrangement set up, you can save the desktop. You can have many desktop arrangements saved, and select what you need for different uses. Bookmarks are saved with a particular desktop.
Perference settings are available to customize your desktop. For example, you can define how verse references will appear in Verse Windows, set tool bar icon size, set printer settings, change screen fonts and colors, and set editor defaults.
OLB now features pop-up tooltip windows, or mouse-overs. When the cursor is placed over a verse reference, that verse will appear in a pop-up window. When placed over a Strong's number, the Greek/Hebrew word will be displayed. When placed over a word, the default dictionary will be used to display the definition for that word. The cursor will change to a hand icon when the cursor is over a word that will activate a tooltip. Tooltips can be turned off in the View menu.
The OLB has a long history, and was started back in 1987. In the early 90's, the SeedMaster program was developed as an alternate interface to OLB and was able to support OLB modules up to OLB Version 6. Since that time, SeedMaster was sold to Bible Companion, and the OLB module format has changed. Other programs have used OLB modules as the source for their programs. The Sword Project, for example, provides an OLB conversion program for developers. The Workman's Study Bible (shareware) is able to read all OLB module formats.
Currently, OLB provides several tools so that users can create and convert their own library modules for the program. Module creation uses an XML type syntax.
So what does this mean for you? There are hundreds of modules available for OLB, and more are being developed and converted every month by interested users. Note that while most of these modules are in the public domain, several modern Bible versions can be purchased by paying an additional license fee. For example, the NKJV, NIV, NAS , NLT, and NRSV licensed versions are available.
4. Module Linking:
The Library Selection Preferences Tool allows you to manage the modules you want to use for your session. Here, you can define your default modules in each category (such as Bible Version, Dictionary, Commentary), and select which other resources you would like available using the "rotate carousel" key. The rotate carousel key allows you to rotate through the loaded modules in a particular category. If you are viewing the KJV Bible, for example, you can press the R key and rotate to the NKJV, Young's Literal Translation, and so forth depending on the Bible versions loaded.
OLB also now features tabs at the top of each window view. To select a Bible version to view, simply click the appropriate tab at the top of the Bible View window. Tabs are also provided for notes (commentaries), and dictionaries.
Parallel Bible studies can be performed with OLB comparing two or three Bible versions. Within one window, an alternate Bible version can be displayed in a verse by verse format. That is, Verse 1 of KJV followed by Verse 2 of NKJV, then Verse 2 of KJV and so on. Alternately, up to three Bible version windows can be opened and placed side by side on the screen. Sync Scrolling can be turned on, and when one window is scrolled, the other two versions will scroll as well, aligning the current verse.
OLB does not have a parallel Gospels tool built-in, but The Fourfold Gospel by J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton is available as a separate module.
OLB makes extensive use of the right mouse button, hyperlinks, and keyboard keys. A double click on a word in a Bible view brings up the word in the preselected dictionary. The dictionary can be rotated to view others, or the appropriate tab can be selected. A double click on a verse reference in a Bible View brings up the preselected commentary or note for that verse. Within notes, verse numbers are generally hyperlinks allowing you to quickly view the context of a verse reference. The right mouse button allows you to open any note set that you have activated.
As mentioned, pop-up tooltips can also be activated that bring up a floating window with Strong's number definitions, Bible Reference, or dictionary lookups of words.
Commentaries can also be synchronized with the Bible view, so that as you scroll through the Bible, the appropriate commentary is instantly available.
The search window allows you to enter a word or words to search for. You can specify a Word or Phrase Search. If performing a search of a single module, you can elect to open a new window or have a new window open with the found references. You can also specify the range to search, with Entire Bible, OT, NT, or specific Book/Chapter/Verse ranges selectable. You are also able to search in non-Bible modules as well by selecting the module or modules to search from the list of available references.
OLB supports a wide range of operators such as AND, OR, AND NOT, Verse Proximity, Wildcards, and even partial phrases. The downside is the operators are not provided on the screen. You have to access the Help button to find out what operators are available.
OLB provides a Word Wheel tool in the search tool. If you type a word that does not exist in the OLB library, a window appears with possible other words that can be searched. You can simply select one of these words or cancel the window and try again. This can be helpful, for example, when searching Bible versions that may use obscure words.
You can search more than one module. If multiple modules are to be searched, you must specify which modules to search. The search results for each module will appear in separate windows. If you have Tile Classic turned on, then only the last book searched will show, but you can view the previous searches by selecting the Window History List in the right-click menu.
In a search results window, you can double click a verse entry, and that verse will appear in a Bible view in a new window. Each time you click an entry, a new window opens up. Again, this can result in many open windows if you don't close the ones you don't need. If you use the classic tile view, this window clutter will be avoided.
Strong's numbers can be searched.
OLB does not provide a specific Topical or Reference search tool, although topics and references can be entered in the standard search engine. This is a bit limiting for reference searches, as a particular commentary may show a reference as "1 John 1:1", while another may have "1 Jo 1:1", for example. In addition, OLB supports a topics module that supports the addition of topics of any choice, and this can also be searched.
OLB passed the Eat & Meat Search Test (see Evaluation Criterea Page). OLB found 35 verses containing both the words "eat" and "meat".
6. Search Results:
Search results are displayed in a new window, with results from each module in its own separate window. A selection in the results list for a Bible search can be double clicked to open that verse in the Bible View window. Similarly, a selection in another module search results list will open that topic in the appropriate module. Each time you doulbe click a selection, however, a new window opens rather than simply updating the main window, which means that windows can multiply rapidly. This does not occur in the classic tiling view, however.
Search results cannot be saved as is, but they can be be printed, copied to the clipboard, or the results can be saved to a Verse List (see below).
When redoing a search, the pulldown menu shows words that were previously searched.
You cannot perform a search on the search results, but you can search a user verse listing.
7. Editing Features:
OLB supports unlimited bookmarks, and bookmarks can be set in any module (not just Bible versions). Bookmark sets are associated with a particular desktop layout, so if you change desktops, your bookmarks will change. Bookmarks are listed in the order they are added, and there are not any tools in the bookmark manager for editing the titles or moving the positions of bookmarks. Advanced users could edit the desktop *.usr file to change the order of the bookmarks, but this is not recommended for the novice!
OLB supports annotating text with highlighting, colors, underlining, etc.
The copy and paste features allow you to copy or append to the Windows clipboard in several ways. You can copy or append the current verse (at the top of the window) in either a text or formatted RTF format (RTF maintains fonts, underlines, etc.). This copied text includes the Book, Chapter, and Verse numbers before the copied verse. Alternately, you can highlight desired multiple verses and copy multiple verses as displayed on the screen. In this case, only the verse numbers will be copied. You can also copy the entire window to the clipboard. Again, only the verse numbers are copied and you will have to enter the Book and Chapter information manually. Note that if you copy in RTF format, you can only paste in applications that can accept RTF formatted files (like Microsoft Word or Wordpad). When copying, each line is copied in a single line format.
There is also a Send Verses to Clipboard function available that allows you to enter a Verse Range, select a Bible version, include Strong's Numbers, footnotes, variant readings, select paragraph or verse format, or include verse numbers in text. This tool can also be used to copy the User Verse List to the clipboard.
OLB provides several printing capabilities, although there is no print preview. The print tool provides several tabs for you to specify what to print. Printing is done in RTF, and can be sent to the printer, to a file, or to the clipboard.
OLB supports Verse Lists. Verse lists can be saved to a file (only the verse references are saved, but when opened, the full verses are displayed). In the Verse list tool, a verse reference can be selected and the verse text is shown. If desired, the surrounding verses can also be viewed to show context. Verse references can be sorted, moved, added, and deleted using the Verse list tool.
OLB provides the ability to create verse by verse notes, or to create any "topical" module you desire. The Notes editor provides many features and its own toolbar, but some of the features appear a bit intimidating to the new user. For basic verse notes, however, all you have to do is type the note, then select Save. The Bible version will highlight verse numbers that have associated verse notes.
In all my use of OLB, I have not yet explored the User Module tools. OLB lets you develop your own modules of any type, and the advanced user's manual provides the details of formatting, control characters, and so forth. This capability has contributed to the wide array of modules available for OLB.
8. Greek and Hebrew Tools:
OLB provides Greek and Hebrew modules with font and Strong's number support. You can search on Strong's numbers, and obtain parsing information by clicking on Strong's numbers in parenthesis. You can compare Greek and English versions side by side for a sort of Interlinear view. Several Greek and Hebrew modules are available. OLB does not provide advanced language tools such as morphology.
9. Graphics and Audio:
OLB provides a graphics viewer. Graphics are displayed in a separate viewer window, and not inline with the text. For example, when viewing a McGuffey Reader, the text is shown in one frame, and if you click the graphic hyperlink, the picture appears in another window. Several map and atlas modules are available as well.
OLB also supports an audio Bible CD available for purchase. You can have the program read a selected verse, or read continuously starting from the current verse.
10. Cost and support:
The official ordering source in North America for OLB is: http://www.crosscountrysoftware.com, although OLB can be obtained from other sources as well (see Christian Links).
Prices do not include shipping (additional $5). See the website for a complete list of included modules.
Online Bible with royalty versions locked 39.95
Online Bible with unlock codes for NIV, NAS, NRSV and NLT included - $69.95
Alexander Scourby naration CD Add On $49.95
If you have previously purchased a CD-ROM of the Online Bible, you may purchase a brand new CD for $20-25
Also see the website for details on OLB for Macintosh pricing.
OLB is continually updated, with new versions released every few months or so. While this can be frustrating for those who always want the latest version, it also shows the dedication Larry Pierce has put into this program. Also, if your current version isn't giving you any troubles, there is no need to update simply because a new release has been made. Finally, the engine is usually a small update (about a Megabyte or so), so purchasing a CD-ROM lets you have all the modules easiliy available and stored, and you can have the latest updates with a relatively small download.