Bible Software Review
  Home Family Movies Links Downloads Bible Software Review
BibleSpeak 4.0

Publisher: Q-Software
Version reviewed: 4.0
Cost: $30
Reviewed: November 24, 2008
At A Glance (1-5)
Click to Enlarge


BibleSpeak’s claim to fame is the ability to “speak” verses. Q-Software has been providing Bible software since the days of DOS, though I had not heard about them until someone pointed them out to me after my initial set of reviews were published.

The author contacted me and gave me this background on BibleSpeak: "Q-Software has been producing and selling Bible software since the early 1990’s, even before Windows was popular or existed. Earlier products were Q-Verses and Q-Search. An early version of BibleSpeak was named Q-WordSpeak."

There is a startup screen while evaluating the product. I'm assuming that the buttons at the bottom gave you the option of purchasing, evaluating, or cancelling the startup. But as you can see from the screenshot I couldn't tell for sure. Maybe it was saying "Abort, Retry, Ignore?" :)


When BibleSpeak first started, a slightly female robot voice asked me to “Please select a Bible to use for daily scriptures.” I selected the King James Version, as any good fundamentalist would. I expected to hear more right away, but that comes later.

There are a number of window panes open on the main desktop – a home window, word study, parallel bibles, commentary, dictionary, and a web browser – yet it doesn’t feel cramped. Perhaps that is because I have a 22” monitor, but even when I shortened the width of the window to simulate a 17” monitor, it still looked good. The authors have done a good job of balancing form and function, providing a clean-looking display with just the right buttons in the right place (at least most of the time).

Speaking of the Bible pane, I was very surprised to see all my favorite translations – the ESV, NASB, NIV, and NET, already present. Then I realized that not only does BibleSpeak supports e-Sword modules, but it apparently picked them up automatically when it was installed. Very nice.

Most packages allow you to bring up one translation and then have a separate function or window to view a parallel Bible. BibleSpeak assumes you want to view multiple translations at a time, and utilizes a parallel format for its main Bible pane. The parallel view looks similar to e-Swords, with a huge advantage being no limit to the number of Bibles you can have open. There is an option to view the Bibles in paragraph or single-verse mode. The former is easier to read, but the latter is easier to do translation comparisons.

The Word Study pane is nicely done, giving you all the information for a Strong’s number, and various English words used for translation. There is a [Display Verses] button that will give you a complete overview of that word’s usage throughout the entire Bible. The results are nicely rendered , but unfortunately appear in separate window instead of another pane. This interferes with my ability to actually work with the results as I continue my Bible study. Not only that, it takes forever. I figured out this is because it actually parses the scripture for ALL the Strong’s and English words! This makes the resulting window very easy to use and very fast, with a wealth of information right at your fingertips, provided you can bear the long initial load. I found out this is a one-time load per version. Each time you select a different version you have to wait. I was very impressed with the ability to select an English word, see how many times it is used in the entire Bible and each book, along with a summary of the verses containing the word.

The commentary pane is standard, but very functional. One neat feature is that it shows a summary of the current verse at the top of the commentary pane. While this might seem redundant if you are viewing your bibles in single verse mode, it is surprisingly useful when you are viewing your Bibles in paragraph mode. Verse references in the text of the commentary are linked. You will not see a tooltip with the verse when you hover over the verse link, but clicking on the verse will actually display it in a pop-up window, instead of jumping to the verse in the Bible panes. I can see how this would be useful at times so you don’t lose your place in your Bible reading. Unfortunately, you can only view one commentary at a time.

The dictionary pane is similarly well done. It is divided into two parts, the top portion lists all of the words in the dictionary, and the bottom portion lists the text. You can type in a word as well. But I was disappointed in the disconnected nature of the dictionary. There is no method that I could find that would automatically link the dictionary to a word I wanted more information on in another pane. For instance, most Bible packages will jump to the related dictionary entry when you double-click on a word in the Bible text. Others will provide the feature as a context menu option. No such feature is available.

There is a web browser present in BibleSpeak. It is an embedded Internet Explorer window pane. The weird thing was, there was no place to enter a web address. I had to use the search button (which brought up Microsoft’s Live search) or the home button (which I had set outside of BibleSpeak to be in order to find pages. I thought that was sort of odd. On the other hand, there is a special Display Verses button that will find all verse references on the page and open a window with the verse text. If you highlight a verse reference in the web page first, the Display Verses button, it will show only that verse. You can choose to see these verses in one or more versions. This was something I had not seen anywhere else, and I thought it was rather cool.

The Task pane on the upper left of the product turned out to be more useful than I thought originally. It is a place where you set options, launch books and features, and get help. Initially I thought that perhaps these items should be left in the more traditional menu area. For instance, I was nonplussed at not being able to find any actual help under the Help menu. Turns out it is in the Task pane. So there is unnecessary confusion caused at first, I found that in practice the Task pane was actually quite useful.

But, apart from all that, what does BibleSpeak’s “speaking” do for your Bible study? For me, not much. In regular usage there are basically two areas where the “text to speech” technology built into the product manifests itself.

First, almost all pop-up windows generated by the program that have information or ask you a question, utilize the speaking capabilities. Whatever you see in the window is spoken. Thankfully, it is easy to turn this off.

Second, you can choose to have your Bible scripture read to you. This is accomplished in the Bible pane via either the Speak button, or by right-clicking and selecting the Speak option. It will automatically speak the text you have highlighted, or if no text is highlighted, it will ask you for permission to speak the entire chapter. And you better be sure, because there is no stop button! Actually, you can stop it by selecting the Speak option again and then just canceling out. But, this doesn’t work on dialog boxes, where the entire text is read to you, even after you have closed the window.

The speaking option initally appeared only to be available in the Bible pane. This is because only the Bible pane has the Speak icon directly on its window toolbar. It turns out you can have the text in any window spoken by using the "Speak" option on the Speak menu. But in the end, it feels to me like the whole speaking thing is more of a gimmick. Some of the postulated uses, such as creating your own audio Bible (you can “speak to a file” in any number of audio formats), or reading back cited verses so you can be sure your typing is accurate, may be useful to some. But it didn’t do anything for me. Though I must admit I got a kick out of experimenting with the various voices. It reminded me of my old Commodore 64, one of the first home computers that actually showed the power of text-to-speech technology. (For 7th grade boys, that basically meant the juvenile glee of listening to a computer say naughty words. Yes, I am ashamed to admit I participated in such deviant behavior.) You can also purchase new voices at

After using the product for a while, some of the interface nuances became apparent. For instance, you cannot close any of the panes you don’t use in order to get more space, even though there is an “x” in the top right side of each one. Even the View menu has toggle checkmarks to turn each pane on or off, but they have no effect. Odd.

Another irritating little feature is the pop-up windows that show progress on various tasks. These windows are set to “stay on top” no matter what the application. In other words, if I switch to another Windows application to do some work while BibleSpeak is hard at work, BibleSpeak’s task bar overlays whatever app I switch to, effectively disallowing me from doing other work while I wait.

At one time I got into a weird situation. I had attempted to move around my dictionary and commentary panes when I was first starting to use BibleSpeak. After a while I moved on to other tasks. I became frustrated that I was unable to see new panes and features that I had selected from the menu bar, such as the Gospel parallels, or my notes. Turns out, in an attempt to make my commentary pane stretch as wide as it could, I had left a very, very, tiny horizontal position open for the new panes I was selecting. They were so small I was unable to see them. This led to about 30 minutes of frustration before I figured out what had happened. A little more work on the window movement and docking capabilities to help prevent this would be nice.


The search function is actually the same functionally as used for the Display Verses feature described above in the Interface section. So, you have to deal with the very long wait the first time you want to search in a different version. Once that version has been parsed, the irritating wait time will no longer occur. What this does, however, is provide you with a list of every single word used in the selected version. So, you can either type in a word, or just scroll down the word list until you find it. It also allows BibleSpeak to search "as you type," and do so very quickly.

The Search functionality is basically contained inside one big window. After your word is entered or selected, you determine whether you want to find any of the words, all of the words, or the phrase, and which version you want to search. The results are instantly displayed. You can view the results by verse or all the results in a book. You are also shown the total word count for the chosen version, as well as a count in each Bible book. This setup is actually works very well for basic searches. But it does not handle mixed Boolean searches, such as "jesus AND (mary OR martha)."

HERE for a snapshot of the search dialog box.

The results are shown immediately, and are rendered in a nice chart form. You can even show multiple Bible versions in the result list at once. Though the search is only executed against one of them, you can easily see how other versions translate the word.

As is my gripe with other functional windows, the search window covers your working area and will not allow you to use the rest of the Bible program until you close it. This is a major impediment to working with your search results. There is an option to insert your verses into an editor window, which then appears on your working desktop. This does help, but only provides you with a static result set. If you have more searching to do, you have to bring up the search window again.

I found no method to search other books or topics.


The list of available resources is small, akin to many of the other small Bible packages. Nearly everything available is in the public domain. You won’t find any contemporary translations or versions here, other than what you can provide from e-Sword, if you own that package. So on one hand, you have at least as many resources as e-Sword does. That is a plus in BibleSpeak’s favor. And as mentioned, it is nice that BibleSpeak picks it up automatically. But, you do have to actually use two Bible software packages to make this work, which is sort of cumbersome. If you are fairly computer literate, you do have the option of manually copying the e-Sword modules into the BibleSpeak directory, thereby eliminating the need for e-Sword.


BibleSpeak has the ability to keep your own notes. But getting there is a bit elaborate. There is a “My Bible Notes” option on the Bible menu. However, it does not bring up a notes window or an editor. Instead, it displays a message in a pop-up window asking you to select the “My Bible Notes” option from the following list of books and topics. In this regard it is similar to e-Sword, where your notes are simply a separate topic file. In fact, the books listed in the “Book and Topic” list again appeared to be all my e-Sword topic files. This is fine; still, I can’t see a reason why I must jump through three unnecessary mouse clicks to get to the thing the program already knows I want to get to.

I continued to be frustrated as I pursued my goal of entering a short note for a particular passage. The editor appeared but not synched to the passage I was currently looking at in the Bible pane. Not only that, it already had entries from two other commentaries in it. I had no idea what I was supposed to do with this new window.

In my attempt to delete the two entries, I guess I deleted the book. Even though I was given a warning, I accidentally continued. Seriously, I meant to cancel, but I hit Ok. My notes book was deleted. Unfortunately, BibleSpeak cannot properly deal with this turn of events. The “My Bible Notes” no longer appeared in my book entry, and BibleSpeak started crashing constantly when working with the Book and Topic list from that point forward.

Even when I selected the “New Book or Topic View” option, I was still presented with a list of existing books and topics, from which I was forced to select one. This made no sense to me, as I was trying to create a new book.

In spite of valiant attempts on my part, I was never able to successfully create my own notes. Even though it was a stupid user mistake, the program should not let the user do such a drastic option without any easy method to recreate your person Bible notes file.

BibleSpeak allows you to create your own html documents that can be embedded inside the program itself. These documents are authored via the “Bible Smart” word processor, which is basically a solid HTML-based word editor. You can create very complex documents, much more so than, say, WORDsearch, which also provides HTML-based documents as the basis for its extensibility.

These documents, though viewable directly inside BibleSpeak, aren’t really connected. But that is because the product itself has no search or cross-reference capabilities outside of the basic Bible search. This diminishes the usefulness of the documents themselves.


Support for BibleSpeak is minimal. The help file in the product is sufficient, though hard to get to and difficult to use because you cannot try the items in the help without first closing the help window. That means you either need to print it out, copy and paste to an outside editor, or continually open and close the help file as you walk through the steps listed.

Web-based support is negligible. There are only three questions in the “Questions” web page, and there is no user forum. An email request was answered in just over a day, so response is good.


BibleSpeak costs $29.95, or $39.95 to get everything on a CD-Rom. You are allowed a 45-day full trial to determine if the software is right for you.

I don’t see much compelling value for this product, especially for the $30 price tag. The fact that it supports all e-Sword modules, while not providing any modules unavailable in e-Sword itself suggests you are better off going with the free e-Sword in the first place.

However, if the ability to speak your scripture is important to you for whatever reason, then BibleSpeak is a decent product that will get the job done. But if you don’t need the speech, then there are much more compelling options available for the price, or even for free.

Copyright, 2002, 2008
Foster Enterprises
Email me at: Jerry [ at ] Fostertribe [ dot ] org