theWord Bible Software Review
Overview from Hamp's theWord Camp
the above video
This video is a basic introduction by Doug Hamp. He holds a tw Software Camp out in California each year. The video is 43 minutes long, so here are some highlights in it with minute markers.
Review of the Video
1. Personal message from Costas Stergiou the Software's programmer and owner at 10:07 minutes
2. Choosing a Bible translation. at 30:30 minutes.
3. Searching Bibles and Books. at 31:30 minutes
4. Overview of the Word. at 31:50 minutes.
5. Read a verse at 34:30 minutes.
6. Highlight a verse at 38:17 minutes.
7. Bookmark a verse at 38:30 minutes
Download Bible Modules
To start off, you need to download some Bibles to work with.
For downloading free Bibles: theword-modules.com
My Recommendation as a Pastor
As a missionary/pastor for 30 years, I highly endorse theWord software program. If anything, it overly powerful. The feature list and personal arrangement options are too long to list. You can do so much with this program that between one user's set up and another, they may even look like different programs. I work daily in this program and love every minute of it. I have used probably 15 different Bible programs and nothing comes close to it.
The community behind tw is very robost and produces many new modules every month. Visit http://www.twmodules.com/ to see some 1700 modules available for download.
Additionally, there is a tw tutorial website www.thewordtutorial.com which is arranged as classes with tips, and also many posts on special installations (like on a USB drive, or on a MAC system using a Windows emulator), as well as tips, and helps on how to create your own modules.
Second Video from Doug Hamp's tw Camp
A second session at Hamp's Camp...
1. Select Bible texts at 00 minutes.
2. Compare Bible Versions at 8:00 minutes
3. Doug highlights various icons and uses of the general interface.
4. Cross References at 9:15 minutes.
5. Commentary links at 9:36 minutes.
6. Automatic Dictionary Lookup function at 17:40 minutes
7. Morphology search in Hebrew at 30:15 minutes.
Also check out this site with more tw modules: www.module-repository.com
Module Layout Sets
Have you ever wanted to study a subject, so you know it is a doctrine, and you want to consult all your theology books? You put them all out on your desk and slowly go through them. In tw , you can make a module set, and basically, the only books you will see are those you choose. You can have as many Module layout sets as you want. You can put all of one persuasion into one (say Calvinism, or Brethren, or Baptist), and you can flip it off in another bookview window, or have two different sets of books in each. You can search on just those works in that module set.
Interaction with other programs
The program has a "watching clipboard" feature where you set it and then go to another program, pdf, doc, rtf, Internet explorer. When you see a list of verse references but no text, you can then select it, and copy it to the clipboard, and a popup with show up with those verses written out. Click Shift control V and the clipboard references are exchanged for their full written out form. In sermon preparation, you need only type the abbreviated reference, Gn 1.1-2 for example and control C then Shift Control V, and Control V and your verse is in your sermon notes. Once you do this a little while it becomes second nature. Extremely helpful in speeding up sermon writing.
You can install the program on USB drives, and even to other folders on your hard drive as a USB drive installation. These work as independent instances. So you can have multiple setups very easily, and no conflict between them. By the way, tw is backward compatible with many Windows operating system. I installed tw on an old 286 windows OS and it worked fine. I installed 500 MB of books with it! For those kinds of set ups, you don't want so many books in it at one time. To search across all of those books for a word took a while (COU was slow, and it was on a USB drive). But that is to be expected. But it worked fine!
Different Windows in the program
Although you can open different instances of tw (I do for the development of modules purposes), there is really no need to do so because it can be configured in different ways, and you can switch between those configurations with a click.
You can open multiple Bible windows, books windows, and search windows (Bible search, Book search). Within these book windows you can click to set different module layout setups. The Bible windows can also have commentaries opened with them, with the commentary notes as popups when you mouse over their name (only commentaries with notes on a particular verse will have their name after that verse), or you can split window the Bible and Commentary, and there are more set ups. You can also have multiple Bibles show in parallel.
Overview Screen Shot
Bible Dictionaries and Commentaries
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge Module
In the above image, you can see a Bible open with a commentary window to the side. The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge module is being used. This has some 5,000 study Bibles which have been condensed into this module. There are over 500,000 verse references in this module. Mouseover any reference to see a pop-up of the verse written out.
You also see some Bible dictionaries in the other mini-windows, and these can have graphics. The program is very robust, and the community has probably 2,000 free modules for download.
For free dictionary modules visit http://www.theword-dictionary-modules.com/
Setting Custom Bible Search Ranges
Comparison between theWord and e-Sword
Both programs are very similar. If you are using e-Sword right now, you can easily make the transition to theWord. The difference between the two is that using e-Sword is like using a bike with training wheels and using tw using a Harley-Davison motorcycle. They just don't compare well. tw is a powerful program, doing every e-Sword does, and much more. You can very easily write your own sermon notes in tw and make new modules within the program itself. e-Sword doesn't allow you to do that. You can rearrange the interface extremely with theWord, but e-Sword is more fixed and you either like it or lick it!
MySword is only for the Android, and it converts any unencrypted modules into its format. MySword is for a phone, so it is limited in what it can do, but basically, MySword is built on the back of theWord (and to a degree e-Sword). Excellent choice to use on your android device (tablets too) if you want something to use off of your laptop and desktop.
Logos is a robust program in itself, that I don't deny. But you pay a pretty penny for it. Logos is made for a pastor who has a large bankroll to buy his library with. theWord is more for people on a budget, or not wanting to waste a lot of money on books that they seldom use. Without a doubt, any Bible program out there has books that are not all that useful to certain people (depending on your orientation). But it stings when you spend big bucks to purchase something, and then don't like it.
tw has commercial works available also, like NKJV, NIV Bibles, NIC commentary series, and these are available at http://www.thewordbooks.com. These premium modules (you have to purchase them) are the way that commercial works are getting into this community. Don't forget to check them out. Constable's notes and IVP Commentary Series for example, as well as Eerdmans' Bible Dictionary, BDAG, TDNT, and TWOT are available through them. The theWord community is constantly adding new titles every month at a fervent pace.
I purchased Bibleworks some years back, and it is a very good program also. From the last time I went on youtube to view videos about how it works, I think they are trying to add new titles to their roundup. It is a good program, but the number of free titles available doesn't compare to what tw has now for download.
Great for Missionaries!
My Recommendation as a Missionary
I work in Mexico in Spanish. tw has a large number of languages that you can install a change of interface for them, and the entire program interface will be in that language. There is a path for new languages to be added easily.
I find that this program is extremely well written to use with nationals, especially those training for the ministry of the pastorate. You can work in Greek and Hebrew, yet using the program in a foreign language.
Additionally, because you can write your own modules very easily, you can produce your own Bible institute's own literature within tw, and your students can use it to further their education. If you translate works from English to some other language, this is a nice container program package that will tooltip the verses for whatever language you are using (automatically).
If you produce your own modules and would like to share them with the world, please write firstname.lastname@example.org for free hosting of those modules.
Expert Greek and Hebrew Study Tool
As in the image above, you can see that tw uses Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic lexicons without any problem. It also displays foreign language Bibles very well. There are English morphology codes (Robinsons) with which you can parse any word in the Bible. tw has many Greek New Testaments and Hebrew Old Testaments and even the Septuagint for your studies.