MacSword 1.2: A Solid Free Bible Program Made Even Better
Back in Classic Mac days, I used to use a little freeware Biblesoftware application called Bible Browser. It didn't have a lot ofbells and whistles, but it was fast and had a decent search engine- and it was free.
MacSword is a free, open source application facilitatingresearch and study of the Holy Scriptures as well as resource,commentary, lexicon, devotional, and book materials, developedspecifically for Macs running Mac OS X. It is essentially aMac front end to the cross-platform open source Sword Project.
MacSword allows you to read and browse many different Biblestranslations in different languages from Hebrew to Albanian. Aswell as reading devotionals, commentaries, dictionaries, andlexicons, it also supports searching and advanced features such asServices so that you can access the Bible in any Services-savvyprogram.
As noted, MacSword uses modules from the Sword project. This isan open source project whose purpose is to "to create an everexpanding software package for research and study of God and HisWord". This provides the backend functionality to handle the Bibletexts and provide features such as searching.
The open source model is the basis of development, maximizingthe rapid growth and features of this project by leveraging thecontributions of many developers. Components of the project includeall types of Biblical texts and helps, a portable,platform-agnostic engine to access them, and a variety of frontends to bring this to as many users as possible. The Sword Projectis licensed under the GNU General Public License, an open sourcelicense approved by the Open Source Initiative.
Sword module Add-ins allow you to expand the functionality andyour library of resources for your Sword-based software, includingsome two dozen different English language Bible or New Testamenttranslations, which is one of the big advantages of MacSword. Theprogram downloads with a King James Version module. One caveat isthat most of the recent translations are not in the public domain,so while the modules exist, they are not available for publicdownload.
Modules I usein my copy of MacSword are the King James Version (1611), AmericanStandard Version (1901), Revised Standard Version (1952 edition - Idetest the politically corrected '90s NRSV), World English Bible(1997), and the International Standard Version.
A very cool new feature in MacSword version 1.2 is that you cannow display two or more version texts side-by-side in parallelcolumns, which makes comparing translation nuances very easy andconvenient.
To display another translation (or commentary) in parallel, justclick the + icon beside the popup menu displaying the currentlyactive module. Another module popup menu will appear, allowing youselect whatever module you want to display. To remove a module,click "Remove" from the menu containing that module's name.
A floater window allows you to select among modules stored inthe program's Modules folder.
The program includes the ability to display Bible textcontiguously with inline verse references or with each versedisplayed individually.
You can also display Scripture with footnotes interpolated, andthere is also an option to highlight the words of Jesus in red.
A Cocoa drawer,toggled from the toolbar, is user-customizable.
The "Find" function, which had been a weak point in earlyversions of MacSword - being relatively slow and without anyconfiguration options (i.e.: limiting searches to just one book ortestament) - has been much improved in recent releases withsearches refinable using several pulldown menus containing searchparameter selections.
Version 1.2adds indexed searching, which improves search speed even more.Searches are now satisfyingly quick, even on my old 700 MHz iBook.
One deficiency I found is that while search results are drag& droppable, they don't copy to the Clipboard for pasting. Abit strange.
Boolean operators are supported, as are standard wildcardsymbols, such as the asterisk (*) for multiple characters and thequestion mark (?) for single characters.
MacSword Rules for Search Requests
- Default: All single words are searched for, jesus weptfinds verses containing both words.
- Phrases: Phrases are used to search for an exact phrase, thisis useful for phrases like "kingdom of god".
- OR: The OR operator links two terms and finds a verse witheither of the terms. For example jesus OR god will findverses with either "jesus" or "god" in them.
- Fuzzy: Fuzzy searches using '~' at the end of a term, searchfor similar words. For example hezikia~ will find"Hezekiah", useful for those impossible to spell Biblicalnames.
- Single wildcard: To perform a single character wildcard searchuse the "?" symbol.
- Multiple wildcard: To perform a multiple character wildcardsearch use the "*" symbol. king* will find kingdom andkings.
- Proximity: Proximity searches find words that are a within aspecific distance away. "jesus love"~4 finds verses where"jesus" and "love" are within 4 words of each other.
- NOT: The NOT operator excludes documents that contain the termafter NOT. For example cain NOT abel
- Grouping: You can also group terms with brackets. Such as(jesus OR god) AND love.
- Strong's: Strong's numbers can also be searchedin Bibles that contain them. To search for a particular numberprefix the number with a strong tag, for examplestrong:G1234. Strong's numbers are also prefixed by a G orH, for Greek or Hebrew. This can be combined with normalterms.
MacSword now also allows you to create your own commentary/usernotes modules. Select New Module from the File menu and save a newcommentary file to a location on your computer's hard drive,preferably the Modules folder in the MacSword folder.
- MacSword should run on any computer with Mac OS X v10.2 withSafari 1.0 and later or with Mac OS X v10.2.7 and later
- You must also have some text modules installed before it'll doanything.
There are over 200 modules in 50 languages that are allavailable from the Crosswire Bible Society. Including Bibles,commentaries, lexicons, dictionaries, and devotionals.
MacSword is an excellent and versatile little Bible softwareprogram, and if you don't need the advanced features of anapplication like Oaktree Software's Accordance, it should do thejob nicely for you.
MacSword is freeware.
Bible text modules that are available for download include:
- The Apostles' Bible
- A Conservative Version
- American King James Version
- Analytical-Literal Translation
- American Standard Version (1901)
- Bible in Basic English (1949/1964)
- Bible in Worldwide English
- The Common Edition: New Testament
- Douay-Rheims American Edition (1899)
- Douay-Rheims Bible, Challoner Revision
- Darby Bible (1889)
- English Majority Text Version
- God's Word Translation
- Hebrew Names Version of the World English Bible
- International Standard Version
- Jewish Publication Society Old Testament
- Green's Literal Translation
- The Living Oracles NT
- Green's Modern King James Version
- Montgomery New Testament
- James Murdock's Translation of the Syriac Peshitta
- Revised King James New Testament
- Restored Name King James Version
- Revised Standard Version
- Revised Webster Version (1833)
- Twentieth Century New Testament
- William Tyndale Bible (1525/1530)
- World English Bible
- Webster Bible
- Weymouth NT (1912)
- Young's Literal Translation (1898)
- Abbott Illustrated New Testament
Downloadable Bible Commentaries include:
- Barnes' New Testament Notes
- Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
- Darby Translation Notes
- Family Bible Notes
- Geneva Bible Translation Notes
- Jamieson Fausset Brown Bible Commentary
- John Lightfoot Commentary
- Luther's Commentary on Galatians
- Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible
- Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
- The People's New Testament
- Personal Commentary
- Robertson's Word Pictures
- Scofield Reference Notes, 1917 Edition
- Tischendorf's Spurious Passages of the GNT
- C. H. Spurgeon's Treasury of David
- The Fourfold Gospel and Commentary on Acts of Apostles
- Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
- John Wesley's Notes on the Bible
- Sermons on Gospel Themes by Charles G. Finney (1792-1875)
- Heretics by Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936)
- Calvin's Institutes
- Josephus: The Complete Works
- The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee (1903-1972)
- Orthodoxy by Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936)
- The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (1628-1688)
- The Practice of the Presence of God: The Best Rule of Holy Lifeby Brother Lawrence (Nicholas Herman, 1605-1691)
SWORD Module Add-ins also include:
- Lexicons / Dictionaries
- Daily Devotionals
- General Books
- Cult / Unorthodox / Questionable
Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.
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