Publisher: Bible Analyzer
Version reviewed: 3.5.2
Reviewed: December 11, 2008
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According to the website, Bible Analyzer (BA) is a “free, comprehensive Bible study and analysis application developed to aid
Believers in their study and defense of the Holy Bible.” It has several features (such as text comparison, proximity searches,
detailed statistics, etc.) usually not found in other free or commercial Bible software programs.”
Call me a skeptic, but the number of Bible software programs that I’ve reviewed and used now is around 20, and there are very
few, if any, that contain features not found anywhere else. But let’s see if I’m wrong.
Upon opening I am presented with a standard-fare Bible software interface – four square panes, clockwise left to right:
Bible, Dictionary, Commentary, S-Pad. Ok, so “S-Pad” is new to me, but the other panes are very standard for Bible software.
On the left is a tree list of all Bible books for quick navigation. Each pane is tabbed with the available books in that
Turns out that “S-Pad” refers to “Scripture” Pad, and is a basically a mini-word processor where you can do anything from
creating lessons and messages, to jotting down various things that pop into your head during your study. Documents created
with the S-Pad are not saved internally to BA, but as separate XML documents that can be manipulated outside of the product
if desired. When you save an S-Pad document, you are presented with a basic Windows file save dialog box. This means you can
change directories and save your file anywhere. This can be good for power users, but bad for novices, who could easily lose
track of where their documents are stored, especially since BA does not remember when you restart where you last saved your
documents. I think it would be better to save them in a specific folder inside the user’s My Documents structure, as this is
the direction most Bible software is heading for your own personal notes and such.
Even though S-Pad is part of a tabbed window, it can only hold one document at a time. One frustrating aspect of the S-Pad is
that a number of the core functions you need are not part of the toolbar on the menu, so they must be accessed via the ScipturePad
menu bar at the top of BA. Even then, many basic functions are missing, such as bulleted lists and the ability to change your
font size and color. The help calls ScripturePad an “integrated word processor.” I think “basic editor” would be a better term.
In addition, it does not recognize verses you type or attempt to link into your document, or allow you to link inside your document.
This makes for a neat little tool with limited usefulness. [Update 4/1/09 - It was brought to my attention by the author that the
S-Pad does indeed have most basic functions available directly on the toolbar. Not sure how I missed something so obvious, my
apologies. The editor is definitely more than just a "basic editor."]
The Bible pane shows the verses in one-verse-per-row format. There was no paragraph mode that I could find. Clicking on a verse
link will highlight commentaries in the Commentary pane with related entries. Clicking on a word in the verse text will launch a
pop-up window from Easton’s dictionary with an entry for the clicked word, if one exists. Thankfully, you can turn off this option,
which changes behavior to look up the word in the dictionary pane itself, a much better state of affairs in my opinion.
Right clicking on a word in a verse will give you a context menu with a number of useful functions relating to exporting text directly
to the S-Pad, searching, and printing, among others. Unfortunately, it was here that I found two bugs. First, if you select the
potentially-useful option to “Export selection to S-Pad” without something actually selected, you get a nice, fat, error with lots of
big, meaningless numbers. Second, choosing the “Dictionary Topics” flyout menu gives you a big blank space where something is
obviously supposed to be.
The dictionary and commentary panes work as expected. Nothing fancy, but nothing to get excited about. Commentaries with entries for
the selected verse are designated with a special icon on the tab itself so you know which books have related entries. And the dictionary
pane, in addition to automatically jumping to any word you click in the Bible or Commentary pane, has an easily-accessible list of
every word in the dictionary so you can quickly find the desired word. On a down note, if a dictionary has an internal cross-reference,
the program does not link it for you. For instance, the entry for “righteousness” in Easton’s Bible Dictionary says “See JUSTIFICATION.”
In most Bible programs, the word “justification” is linked so all you have to do is click on it to jump to that entry. Not in BA, you
must navigate to that entry manually. Again, just a small annoyance, but this is one of the reasons we use Bible software, right? So
we don’t have to do the manual look-ups and searches.
Another issue in the non-Bible panes is how BA handles multiple-verse references. Verses are linked, as expected, so if you click on a
verse referenced in your commentary text, the Bible pane jumps to that passage. The “tool tip” capability is also present, so that
hovering over a verse link will show the verse in a little pop-up window, allowing you to read the verse without losing your place in the
Bible text. So far, so good. But, when the verse link in question spans multiple verses, only the first verse is linked. So the little
pop-up will only show you the first verse, forcing you to click the link to read the entire passage in the Bible pane. This is the only
package I recall reviewing that had the tool-tip capability that could not handle more than one verse. This actually becomes even more
of a problem in the cross-reference search, as you will see below.
If I want to jump to a specific verse, there is a standard tree-list view of Bible books on the left. You open up a book, then click on
the desired chapter. What there is not, however, is the ability to type in and quickly jump to a desired verse. You don’t realize how
much you miss such a necessary feature until you have to keep scrolling and clicking, scrolling and clicking, in order to jump to various
Like most Bible software, BA allows access to general books that do not fall inside the “Bible/Commentary/Dictionary” paradigm. But unlike
most, you view these books through a separate, pop-up “Library” viewer. It has a list of books on the top left panel, a table of contents
anel on the bottom left, and the book content on the right. This is ok, I guess. But it causes problems when
trying to integrate those books into the program as a whole. For instance, if I click on a verse reference while in the Library Viewer,
the viewer actually moves to the background so you can see the selected verse in the Bible pane. The net effect is it appears the viewer
closed down unexpectedly.
There are two methods to compare Bible translations side-by-side, each of them a bit confusing. Below the tree list view are two
buttons, [Para] and [Dual]. Clicking the Para button shows you your Bible translations side-by-side in a maximized window pane. Turns
out it is another tab on the S-Pad pane. This parallel view is column-based, in other words, the verses are shown in a chart view
side-by-side, which is the easiest method to compare Bible versions. While you can click on words inside this pane in order to view them
in the default Bible dictionary, you cannot click the verse reference to see related commentary entries.
Hitting the Dual button brings up the Master Control Panel (more on that below) with two Bible trees for you to select two passages. The
help file claims this feature will create a left and right Bible pane corresponding to the passage you select from the Bible trees, and
hide most of the Bible Analyzer panes to make the text easier to read. But that didn’t happen for me. Selecting a passage from the left
tree changed the normal Bible pane to jump to that passage. Selecting a passage from the right tree added a tab to the bottom left pane
with that passage. So, I was looking at two passages; it just didn’t happen like the help said it would, which was confusing.
I also encountered what seemed like an annoying bug. If you had the “Para” button already enabled when you hit the “Dual” button, each
time you click on a passage on the left Bible tree in the Master Control Panel it would open another Para tab on the bottom left pane.
In my investigation of the Dual feature I quickly found myself with dozens of identical tabs open that each had to be closed individually.
BA contains an image viewer, which is not really integrated in the product itself, its just a tool to allow you to view images. It comes
with about seven sample images. I expected to find a directory location where I could add my own images. I did, but moving various graphic
images into that directory had no effect. A perusal of the help file informs me that adding images is not so simple. You must actually
create an image “module,” which is basically an archived zip file renamed with an “.img” extension, not only containing the images, but a
text file listing the title of each image on a separate line. This is needlessly complex.
BA has a nice “quick-n-dirty” simple search, using a text box at the very bottom left of the program. Simply type in a search word or
phrase and the program will return all the hits from the currently-selected Bible in the S-Pad panel. The results show a nice histogram of
the hits across all the Bible books, then lists each hit individually below that. However, if there are too many search results, the results
pane will break them into sections, allowing you to access each section via a dropdown component at the top of the results pane.
Complex searching is where BA really excels. Most of the search capabilities are accessed via the Master Control Panel (MCP). It is a
popup window with no less than six different search capabilities. The first two are fairly standard Bible
searches, and work very well – an Advanced search, and a Proximity search. One of the unique features here is the ability to search only
The next two tabs in the MCP are for searching your library, which only refers to Dictionaries and Commentaries, not regular books. The
Library search searches for a given word while the Reference search attempts to be a cross-reference tool for finding verse references
throughout your library. Unfortunately, both searches force you to search on either Dictionaries or Commentaries, but not both. So there is
no real global search.
The second issue is with the Reference search. It works very well for single-verse references, but if you attempt to search for a reference
that is actually in a range in the text, it will come up blank. For instance, in the People’s New Testament notes for Acts 26:4 there is a
reference to Deut 18:15-19. If I search for Deut 18:16 in the Reference search, this reference is not found. This is a major oversight,
something the other Bible software programs with cross-reference capabilities handle just fine.
The last two search types on the MCP are very intriguing. The first one is called “Bible Word Lists,” and allows you to see how many words
re in a verse, or a chart of how a word is found across all Bible books, and finally how many times various forms of a single word appears in
scripture. This last feature could be much more useful if it actually gave you the option of seeing the verses themselves after the search.
The second one is a Bible Statistics search, which gives you all sorts of statistical information concerning verses and references.
Finally, there is the book search, which encompasses the book library described in the Interface section. Basically this is just a small
search box in the Library viewer for searching the text of the current book. You cannot search more than one book at a time, nor can you
search for verse references; only words. After a search the chapter list panel switches to a results panel. It still shows chapter
headings, but only chapters that contain the search phrase. Luckily, the search phrase is highlighted in the text so you can scroll down to
find your hits. Though you don’t know how many hits there are as the result pane does not give you this information. Finally, I could never
get search results for any book that had only one chapter; when I searched, nothing happened.
The MCP also gives you the ability to compare Bible translations, giving you the option to find word differences in a verse, omitted
words, and verse length differences.
The searching capabilities are a mixed bag. On one hand, there are a ton of search options, and the searching is very fast. On the
other hand, the various search options are spread across numerous locations in the program, and there is no facility to search across
multiple book categories, or even your entire library. All the statistical-type searches are really cool, but would be even more useful
if contemporary Bible versions were available in BA.
BA’s resources are very minimal. The downloadable product contains only a minimal set of resources – two bibles, four dictionaries,
three commentaries, and a handful of small books. Ordering the CD-Rom gives you the full library of approximately 86 resources and
the entire contents of the PreservedWords.com web site. The resources are all very old and
ublic domain. There are no contemporary books, nor is there any capability to obtain them from elsewhere or import from other Bible
packages. And it doesn’t look like books are being added at a high clip either.
BA is somewhat extensible. There is no method to create your own modules. But, since the Library Viewer is basically a smart HTML
viewer, you can easily add your own HTML “books” to the library. The Help file explains the supported tags and various constructs
required of your html to make it work perfectly with the viewer. This is good, but since the Library viewer is rather disconnected
from the rest of the program anyway, the advantages are reduced.
There is a very limited User Notes capability. You can create our own commentary by adding notes related to a specific verse. However,
your commentary is not including in any of the search or cross reference capabilities. Not only that, there are no facility that I
could find, manual or automatic, that will link verses your reference in your text.
The products help file is decent and well-written. Online help includes a nice set of tutorials, as well as a forum (though it is new this month so it is sparsely populated so far).
The author responded to my bug technical question within just a few hours, which is exactly what I expected.
The Bible Analyzer and the few basic resources are free. There is a nominal fee of $18 for the CD-Rom, which includes all the
extra resource material that is not available for download.
To answer the question I posed in the Intro to my review – I stand corrected. There are a number of unique features, mostly
centered around various search types, that I have not found in other Bible software programs. But unfortunately, I still cannot
recommend Bible Analyzer. The interface is basic with many glitches, and is lacking expected features that make Bible
software work for you. In addition to the multiple bugs, the program crashed during my testing no less than four times. The
cool search features cannot overcome gaps in other areas of the product.
In addition, there are many free programs that provide all the resources that you must pay to obtain on the Bible Analyzer CD-Rom.
There is no compelling reason to pay for public domain content to be used in an inferior product. It is hard to say that, because
I am sure the author has worked very hard on this product. But I have to be graciously honest with my opinions as well.
As a side note, BA was written in a cross-platform computer language called Python. That might not mean anything to you, but the
upshot is that BA should be easily portable to other operating systems. And in fact, a Linux version
is available, while a Mac version was attempted but is currently suspended.