Bible Software Review
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Pradis 6

Publisher: Zondervan
Version reviewed: 6.01.0017
Cost: $27 - $225
Reviewed: April 26, 2008
At A Glance (1-5)
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Pradis is the Bible Software package created by Christian publishing giant Zondervan. Zondervan feels very strongly that having it's own software package is a huge plus. In fact, a chart available on the Pradis website that compares itself with competing products lists a "Publisher Developed Software Engine" as an advantage that none of the other products have. However, there are many who would argue that this scenario is actually bad for Bible software. While most publishers will license versions of its books for multiple Bible software packages, Zondervan is often unwilling to do so, keepiing its best sellers to itself. Conversely, many publishers will not license their works to Zondervan, meaning Pradis is overstuffed with Zondervan-only titles. Finally, while numerous efforts to standardize on a specific electronic format for books so they can be used across multiple packages have failed, publisher-locked software makes this dream even harder to realize.


Pradis 6.0 is a huge improvement over version 5. The interface is useful, crisp, and up-to-date. The icons and options are logical and just what you need, but not overwhelming.

One of the nicest things about the Pradis interface is it's vertical mindset. Books open up in panes that align themselves vertically across your screen, not in square boxes as so many other packages do. It has been shown that people read better with narrow columns, rather than wide boxes. If you have a widescreen monitor, this makes for a very useful setup.

Pradis employs the concept of a Link Group. This is a group of books that will are link to one "driver" book. The driver book is usually a Bible, though it doesn't have to be. As you scroll through the driver book, the other books in the linked group will jump to their related entries automatically. Yet, if you scroll through a linked book that is NOT a driver, the other books stay put. This can be very nice. In most other packages reviewed, all the resources are linked to each other. So, if I scroll to a verse and my commentary follows suit, showing a related entry, if I continue to read further entries in my commentary my original Bible passage will move accordingly, even if I don't want it to. This doesn't happen with Pradis.

You can use the "Go To" text field on the toolbar to jump to a specific verse or entry in the currently selected book. There is also a Go To Verse button on the button bar which utilizes a dropdown method of selecting the desired book and reference.

Hovering and linking on linked resources behaves exactly as one would expect, so no big news here either way.

On the down side, even though I liked the vertical panes, I found it was not very clear which verse you were actually "on." It's hard to articulate in words, but even though I could scroll through the Bible passages and my linked resources would scroll through me, I still felt like I was using my print bible - I would have to manually persue down through the notes or the cross references to find the one related to the verse I was interested in. One of the big advantages of Bible software is the ability to pinpoint a verse and specific related entries in connected resources, but I never felt that way with Pradis. This problem becomes more prevalent when adding my own notes, as you'll see below.

Another missing feature from Pradis is a true cross referencing tool. To me this is becoming more and more invaluable for true Bible study. Sure, you have the NIV Cross References available to you, but that simply lists, for the verse you are viewing, other verses that are related. A true Cross Reference tool actually finds all the resources in your library that refer to the verse you are on, which is sort of the opposite. And yes, a number of the smaller packages do not have this tool either and I didn't take them to task. But I expect more from the "big guns."


Searching is implemented well. Not much flash, but gets the job done nicely.

Hitting the Search button brings up a simple window asking for the search string and the search range. The string can be a list of one or more words, or you can click on the Search Assistant button to open a advanced dialog box where you can specificy phrases, words, exclusions, and so on. Each field where you can enter a word has a small [Add Words] button, which gives you the opportunity to pull words from a dictionary list of English or Hebrew words to ensure correct spelling.

The search range field is very flexible as well. You can leave it blank to search the entire Bible, or you can search on predetermined sets, such as the New Testament, the Pentateuch, the Epistles, etc. Or you can combine your own set of predefined Bible books and save them for future use.

The search window also has an Advanced Tab (not to be confused with the advanced search options you get with the Search Assistant) that gives you some increased search functionality, like matching case, or searching in all your books.

Right-clicking on any word in any text gives you the option of doing a Quick Search or a regular Search. The Quick Search will simply do a search on the word with all the default options. The regular Search will bring up the Search window, as previously described, with the word in question pre-loaded in the search box.

Executing the search will show the results as a sidebar in the current Bible pane, very similar to a table of contents. Simply click on the passage in the result list and the Bible passage will jump to that verse. If you did a search on all books, each book will have its own result set to scroll through, which can be both a blessing and a curse.

There is also a confusing "Find" textbox on the toolbar, and it's functionality appears to overlap a Quick Search. It will jump to a particular location in the selected book. However, don't enter a verse in the Find box, it won't work. You have to use the Go To box on the toolbar for that. Yes it is a bit confusing.


The Pradis library is growing, but still contains the fewest library resources amongst the "big guns" in the Bible software arena. The Pradis website states over 110 resources titles are available, but I actually counted 156. Yes, 156 is greater than 110, but usually software packages like to tout every single library resource available, so I'm sure the website just hasn't caught up yet.

Since Zondervan is the sole publisher for the NIV, Pradis is very NIV-centric. There are a few other contemporary Bibles available for a reasonable price, such as the NASB for $10, a number of other translations are conspicuously absent, such as the ESV, HCSB, and the Message. Again, this is part of the problem with a publisher-created product. It is also frustrating to see Zondervan charge $7.99 for the KJV, which is in the public domain and is offered free of charge by every single other software package available. Shame on you, Zondervan.

One of the biggest reasons for owning Pradis 6.0 would be to get access to the electronic version of the NIV Application Commentary, one of the best lay-person commentaries on the market.

So in the end, Pradis gets a downtick for being a publisher-created software product that limits its resource potential, but gets an uptick for reasonably-priced resources, and of course, the only place to obtain the NIV Application Commentary.


For all the work that went into improving Pradis for version 6.0, one major feature that is still lagging is extending the product with your own works and resources.

You can create a note for a verse. However, these notes are stored *outside* the product. In other words, hitting the [Create Note] button will fire up Word with a pre-defined filename that obviously links the file to the verse. You enter your note in Word (which gives you some nice editing capabilities, of course), but when you are done the notes stay in external files. In other words, you cannot search on them, and you can not see your notes inside Pradis; there is simply an icon next to the verse in question showing that a note is available.

Remember when I said it was often hard to figure out just what verse you are on? This situation caused significant frustration when attempting to create a note. I successfully created a note for 1 John 1:9. I then clicked on 1 John 1:10 and created another note, but it was still linked to verse 9. I did it over and over with the same result. I finally had to enter 1 John 1:10 into the Go To box, which then jumped to verse 10, from where I could now enter notes.

There is no method that allows you to create your own modules inside Pradis.


Technical support is provided via phone and email. An email question to Zondervan was answered in a fairly prompt timeframe, less than two business days. The response was friendly, and he answered two out of my three questions. His attempted answer of my third question showed I didn't clearly articulate the interface nuance I was asking about.

Zondervan does not promote any forums or user groups that I could find, nor could I find any unofficial groups though I found an old Yahoo group for Pradis with only 9 members.


The Pradis engine is free, Zondervan makes its money from selling books, of course. The books are reasonably well-priced. Starter packages range from $50 to $350. But, if you mind your p's and q's you can knock a good chunk off that retail price by known when and where to buy. You may want to go to the
Pradis Store and try the following coupon codes to get an even better price, though they may be expired by the time you read this:

AVZCS8 - $25 off total order
30ZCSOFF - 30% off total order

Interestingly, I could find no reference of Pradis at the Family Christian online store, though competitors such as WordSearch and Logos are available for purchase. This is odd because Family Christian stores are Zondervan's retail outlet. It's a shame, as well, because Family Christian often offers coupons with significant savings if you sign up for their email newsletter. Their current online coupon was for 33% off any one product in the store. If you want to sign up anyway, go to the Famiy Christian Membership Registration site.

Overall, a nice entry into the software market. If you are a big NIV user, you will most likely be very satisfied with Pradis.

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