SwordSearcher by Brandon Stags

Last Page Update: Jan 2006
Manufacturer:
Akamai Software (Principle programmer: Brandon Stags)
Title: SwordSearcher
Version/Date: V4.7 (Current January 2006)
Contact: Web Page: www.swordsearcher.com

Other Related Web Pages:

http://www.studylamp.com Parent Company main page; home of SwordSearcher, Daily  Bible & Prayer, Folder Jockey; and a couple freeware programs.
http://forums.swordsearcher.com Swordsearcher Forum: have a question, comment about SwordSearcher? Go here. Frequented often by Brandon Stags, the author.
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/SwordSearcher_help/ Yahoo User's Group for SwordSearcher (need to join)
http://www.swordsearchermodules.net Foster Enterprises. Jerry's repository for all sorts of 3rd party modules for SwordSearcher. Too many to list. See also Jerry's personal page at http://www.fostertribe.org for a quick review of many Bible Software packages.
http://jesus-is-saviour.org Michael Jone's Fundamental Baptist home page has a SwordSearcher Module section (currently featuring Carroll's Trail of Blood).
http://www.spiritandtruth.org Bible Study Courses & Resources Site; Find SwordSearcher (and e-Sword) modules under Study Offline / Download Section. Includes A Testimony of Jesus Christ;  Crosslinks Topical Index; One Year Bible; Christian Internet Website Directory
http://www.earnestlycontending.com People's Baptist Church; an Independent Fundamental KJB Only Baptist Website. Features SwordSearcher modules in Downloads section. Includes: The Psalms of David / In Metre; The Holy War; Refuge In the Storms of Life; The Seasons of Your Pigramage; etc.
http://www.bright.net/~bkrajcik Bob Krajcik's Bible Study Letters (Sovereign Grace Baptist). Modules include Folger's Baptist Church Service course; Confessions; Cole's Definitions of Doctrine
http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/wol-encyc-ssearcher.html Way of Life Encyclopedia and Things Hard to be Understood by David Cloud. Commercial modules for SwordSearcher ($30). Also available at: http://books.faithmusicmissions.com

Description: The SwordSearcher program has been around for a long time, with its roots in the DOS days, and each year it keeps getting better. It is a stable performer, and offers a well done platform for the KJV Bible student. Some useful features of Swordsearcher include the ability to export Verse List references only, the ability to view the Bible in an easy to read, paragraph format, and good copy and paste functions (single verse, selected text, multiple verses, and so forth). The Bible and Verse List views also allow footnotes, commentary links, and book reference links to be shown next to the approprate verses. This lets you quickly see if a commentary or other help is available for the given verse. SwordSearcher allows you to create both Verse and Topical notes, with search capabilities and hyperlinking. There is a well done Topic Guide that lets you search all modules for topics or verse references. Spurgeon's Morning and Evening daily devotional readings are available as an entry under the Devotional menu heading. Webster's 1828 English Dictionary was recently added and is a great tool for homeschoolers! I highly recommend SwordSearcher and use it as my primary Bible study tool.

Comments: SwordSearcher uses a fixed window view, but the windows are fully resizable and this method provides the advantage that open windows cannot end up getting lost behind others. The number of available library books is limited, although the available resources make up a good set, especially in the latest version. The Words of Christ are not displayed in red. The search tool does not include a proxmity capability. There are no functions for highlighting text in the Bible view (analagous to using a highlight marker in a paper Bible). The commentary editor supports verse links and includes a "Send Link to Editor" to to help automate the process. HTML codes can also be used in the editor, but the code tags need to be entered manually.


Screen Capture (click to view): SwordSeacher

1. User Interface

Desktop

SwordSearcher uses the fixed-window approach to the user display. This provides the user a familiar interface each time the program is started, and avoids the problem of hidden, multiplying, or lost windows. Four views are provided: Verse List, Bible translations, Commentaries, and Books (such as dictionaries). The position of each view is fixed, but each window can be toggled on or off and resized, allowing you to configure your screen for the way you work best. Each window also features a maximize button, to quickly view that window in full screen. For example, you might have only the Bible view on and maximized to the full screen if you just want to do some Bible reading.

When a particular view is toggled off, the other windows automatically resize to take full advantage of the screen. There is also a "View All" button to quickly bring all four windows back to view.

Within each view, tabs are provided for the various versions or modules available in the that category. That is, the Bible view window will have tabs for each translation of the Bible available for viewing. If you have some modules loaded that you don't use often, you can use the TABS menu to select only those tabs you want to visibly display.

The last position of the windows will be saved when you exit, or you can disable this feature if you always want the default view to open.

Opening Books, Appearance, and Navigation

SwordSearcher operates only from the hard drive. Thus, you need to load all modules you will use from the CD-ROM, but the CD-ROM is not needed for daily use. If you later find you need a module you had not saved to the hard drive, the install utility makes loading a single module easy.

Each window (Bible, Books, and Commentary) has tabs to allow you to view the other modules in that category. For example, if you have Easton's Dictionary and Torrey's Topical Textbook, each will have a tab available at the top of the Books view so you can see that book. The new Tabs menu allows you to select Tabs that should be visible. This helps you reduce screen clutter if there are resources you don't often use (they are always still available for use).

The Preferences tool allows you to set the font and color for each window view. You can even set the colors for the different link types. This allows you to, for example, set a larger font for the Bible view and a smaller font for commentary. In addition, the view menu allows you to increase and decrease font sizes for all windows at once.

Words of Christ do not appear in red. However, as determining specifically those words that belong to Christ and those that don't is somewhat subjective, this feature may be better left out anyway.

SwordSearcher provides the ability to view the Bible text in either the default verse by verse view (each verse on one line), or in paragraph view. The paragraph view is good for reading the Bible text.

One of the advanced features of SwordSearcher is the ability to view Commentary and Book Reference links alongside the Bible text. This lets you see in an instant which of your loaded library books have direct references to the current verse. The Preferences tool allows you to specify those books that are included in the Show Links option. Bible verses will only show links to those books that are checked in the Preferences tool. These links can be toggled on or off.

SwordSearcher also supports the viewing of Footnotes in the Bible view, and this can be toggled on or off.

To support Strong's Numbers, SwordSearcher provides a separate KJV Bible module called the KJV with Strong's Links (KJVSL). This module displays the English text followed by the actual Hebrew or Greek word using Hebrew and Greek fonts. SwordSearcher also supports a popup tooltip window that instantly displays more information about hyperlinks. In the KJVSL, just place the cursor over the Hebrew or Greek word, and the lexicon definition with Strong's number will pop up in a tooltip window.

The program provides a nice two translation compare tool. Using the menu or the right click menu, you can select which translation you want to compare with the currently viewed translation. Both versions will then be displayed side by side, with each verse in parallel. The display can be scrolled as desired. You cannot directly compare more than two translations at once.

SwordSearcher displays Bible text a chapter at a time. A scroll bar can be used to traverse the current chapter. The PageUp and PageDown and Up/Down cursor keys also work for navigation. To go to the next/previous Chapter or Book, you can use the right click menu, or a combination of the Ctrl key and appropriate PageUp/PageDown/End/Home keys. The bottom of each Chapter also includes a hyperlink to go to the next chapter.

The main toolbar provides a Goto Verse window where you can type a verse reference to go to. The reference abbreviation does not have to be entered exactly. For example, 1 Jo 1:1 and 1 John 1:1 will both find the proper verse. In addition, the toolbar in the Bible view includes a pull down Book/Chapter tool that allows you to quickly navigate to a particular Book and Chapter.

Verse Commentaries don't synchronize with the Bible text as you scroll through it, but the text can display hyperlinks for those commentaries that have entries for each verse. For example, when you reach Ecclestiastes 1:1, you will see a hyperlink for MHCC. If you click this link, The Matthew Henry commentary will open with the commentary on that verse.

Each Commentary is also indexed with a pull down menu. You can then click on the desired verse to view the commentary on that verse. Even your own verse notes are indexed as they are built.

The Topical Books (Dictionaries, Topical Guides, Personal topic notes) also provide hyperlinks to the Bible Text. If turned on, links to applicable books will display next to the Bible verse. For example, Ecclesiastes 2:14 will display a link for "Torrey". When you place the cursor over the Torrey link, a popup tooltip will display "Torrey's Topical Textbook references this verse in: Fools". If you click the link, Torrey's will open to this reference.

Each topical book is indexed with a pull down menu. You can then select the desired article you wish to read.

Help: The help function in SwordSearcher is well written. It is provided in somewhat of a tutorial fashion, and provides a good explanation of each available function along with graphical shots of the screens.

2. Module Linking and management:

All modules are available upon loading the software. If you have many modules, you will also have many tabs available in each of the windows.

Module linking was touched on a bit already. Commentaries and other books do not automatically scroll with the Bible view. Instead, hyperlinks are provided in the margin for all available commentary and book references. In addition, popup tooltips are available to provide instant information on that link before you click it. These are especially helpful in the Books references, as you can preview the topic that references the current verse. For example, if you place the cursor over the Easton hyperlink for John 1:3, you will see "Easton's Bible Dictionary references this verse in: Creation, Sabbath". Since this verse has two references, when clicked on an additonal window will open asking you to select either Creation or Sabbath to view in Easton's Dictionary.

To view another commentary or book on the same verse, you need to go back to the Bible view and select the appropriate link for that book. If a book does not have a reference to the current verse, then no link will be available.

As mentioned earlier, you can configure the books that you want to be linked to in the Bible View, and you can toggle the Commentary and Book links off if you don't wish to view them for a particular study.

You can also use the right click menu to access Commentaries and Books that reference the current verse. The menu will show the available books, and you can select the one you wish to view.

Most Commentary and Book modules also provide hyperlinks to referenced verses so they can be clicked and quickly viewed in the Bible view. Tooltips also operate here, and you can view the verse in the KJV simply by placing your cursor over the verse reference hyperlink.

SwordSearcher also includes on the menu a selection for a morning and evening devotion from Spurgeon's Morning & Evening Devotions, and a daily Proverb link that brings up a verse from Proverbs in the Bible view window.

3. Modules: The modules used in SwordSearcher are in a format unique to SwordSearcher, thus modules from other companies cannot be used. SwordSearcher concentrates on the KJV of the Bible, and provides other public domain texts for comparison. For those desiring the NKJV, NIV, NASB, and similar translations, SwordSearcher does not currently support these, though many of these modern translations are not very good, anyway. For a complete listing of modules available, please see the SwordSearcher website.

A sampling of modules included are:

Bibles: KJV w/Strong's; KJV 2000; ASV 1901; Darby's; Tyndale; Word English Bible; Wycliffe's; Young's; Dutch, French, German, Spanish versions; Stephens Textus Receptus; Westcott & Hort Critical Text
Commentaries: Barnes' NT Notes; Burkitt's NT Expository Notes; Family Bible Notes; Geneva Bible Footnotes; Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary; Matthew Henry's Commentary; People's New Testament Commentary; Spurgeon's Morning and Evening; Scofield Reference Bible Notes; McGarvey/Pendleton Fourfold Gospel; Spurgeon's Treasury of David; The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Dictionaries: American Tract Society Dictionary; Easton's Bible Dictionary; Hitchcock's Bible Names; International Standard Bible Encyclopedia; King James Bible Companion; Smith's Bible Dictionary; Strong's Greek and Hebrew Lexicons; Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language
Topical Bible Guides: Johnson's Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia; Thompson Chain Topics; Nave's Topical Bible; Torrey's Topical Textbook
Books: Holland's Crowned With Glory; Osborn's Biblical History; Larkin's Rightly Dividing the Word; Fox's Book of Martyrs
Images: See below 

4. Search:

The search tool allows you to enter multiple words. You can choose words from a wordlist, which is especially helpful for the KJV as many words are obscure. You then select which Bible version to search. You can find verses with All the words (AND), Any of the Words (OR), Only one of the Words (one and only one word), or the Exact Phrase. You can select to exclude footnotes from being searched, and to perform a case sensitive search if desired. You can select a range from OT, NT, All, Book, or custom. Wildcard searching is supported as well, by placing a "*" before and/or after the partial word to be searched. You can also search on Strong's numbers.

SwordSearcher does not provide a proximity search to find words that may appear outside of a single verse.

You can also search Strong's numbers in the KJV with Strong's Numbers text.

SwordSearcher passed the eat AND meat test (see Evaluation Criteria page), although it did find 37 verses rather than 35. The reason is that the footnotes were also searched, even though I selected the "exclude footnotes" option in the search tool.

The search results are placed into the Verse List window, which displays the reference and full verse found. Clicking any reference will open that verse in the current Bible view.Verse lists can be printed or exported, but there does not seem to be an ability to edit the list before doing so. Also, the verse lists are saved as text or HTML files, and there is no feature for loading saved verse files. You can also export just the verse references, without the text.

If you perform a large search, such as on the word lord, the results list will display 100 results at one time, with a hyperlink to view the next or previous 100 results.

The search tool for Books and Commentaries provides a simple Find Text dialog, with an option for a case sensitive search. When the text is found, the appropriate book or commentary jumps to that reference. You can then select "find next" to go to the next found selection, if desired.

As of v4.3, SwordSearcher provides a Full Reference Search tool. You can search across all references, just Bibles, just books, just commentaries, or books and commentaries. You can also define your own specific subsets to be searched, which is great if you have a favorite set of resources you like to use most of the time. It also helps to reduce the number of resources searched as a search over all resources can take several minutes.

A search for "propitiation" found 221 entries in the modules I had loaded from the CD-ROM. Each module is listed in the upper window, such as KJV Bible, American Tract Society Dictionary, and so forth. As you select a module, the lower window displays each found entry containing the word "propitiation". This makes browsing found entries quite easy. Clicking on the highlighted word in the results list will open the appropriate module to that entry, so you can view the entire context.

SwordSearcher also provides a nice Topic Guide search tool that operates on multiple books. All of the SwordSearcher books are apparently indexed by both verse reference and topic. The Topic Guide allows you to search all books for Verse References and Topics. A topic or verse reference is entered, such as "angels", or "John 3:16", and a list of found references in Bibles, Books, and Commentaries is provided in a tree format. Clicking on any of the books brings up that reference. The Topic Guide tool does not have to be closed to access the desired window, although it does stay on top of the other windows (and can be moved to the side, if desired). If the search window is closed and reopened, it saves the last search performed.

5. Editing Features:

Ten bookmarks are available, and they can be set in any of the Modules (not just the Bible view). Thus, you can have a bookmark in the KJV, Matthew Henry's commentary, and in Easton's Dictionary, if desired.

Bookmarks can be set from the Bookmark menu, or by using the right mouse menu. The Bookmark menu allows you to go to a bookmark and displays the verse reference that will be gone to, and also allows you to set or clear the 10 bookmarks. Bookmarks can be given titles to make them more meaningful.

SwordSearcher does not provide any mechanism for highlighting or marking text. This feature, found in some programs, is similar to the ability to highlight verses in a paper Bible to mark significant passages.

The Copy and Paste functions are extensive. You can copy selected text, the current verse, a range of verses, or the entire chapter from the right mouse menu. The formatting for copy/print/export functions can be defined. You can specify one of six formatting styles (defines where Bible references are located in the text) and whether or not to include version tags, footnotes, or brackets for italic words. You can also print a range of commentaries or book entries to the Windows clipboard for use in other programs or in your own notes.

The printing tools available in SwordSearcher allow you to print verse ranges, verse lists, or ranges from commentaries or books.

SwordSearcher allows you to create your own Commentary or Book module. You select the tool from the User menu, and enter a title and abbreviation for your new book. You must then quit and restart SwordSearcher to edit or view the new book. The Commentary module is like Verse Notes, while the Book Module provides topical notes ability. The editor provided to create your own modules is basic. Although the modules can contain hyperlinks and most HTML coding, there are no tools in the editor to make this easy for the user. Verse links, however, can be automatically added by going to the appropriate verse, and using the right mouse menu to send the selected verse automatically to the open editor.

As you create Topical Book notes, each new topic can be accessed through a pull down menu. In addition, you can use the Topic Guide to find enties in both topic and verse notes. When possible, you should be sure to try and match topic titles used in other resources, because a search on the topic angel is different than a search on angels.

You can create multiple topical or verse notes, and each will appear as a tab in the appropriate window view. After creating a new title, you have to quit and restart the program to activate the notes for editing.

6. Greek and Hebrew Tools:

SwordSearcher supports Strong's Numbers, and currently includes two Greek New Testaments. At this time, no Hebrew Old Testaments are available. You can perform side by side comparisons of Greek and other versions for an Interlinear type view.

Strong's Greek and Hebrew dictionaries are available, and you can search on Strong's numbers.

7. Graphics and Audio: SwordSearcher includes an image viewer and includes Maps, illustrations from Easton's dictionary, and illustrations from Rightly Dividing the Word. Audio, such as listening to Bible narration, is not currently supported.

8. Cost and support:

SwordSearcher 4.7 CD-ROM: $49.95 with 30 day Money-back guarantee

SwordSearcher comes with a good help system, and has a dedicated Internet Forum (see links at top of page).

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