Bible Software: A Comparison, Part 2

Smartphone features

Both Logos and Accordance provide a free iPhone application that connects to your software package. Again, Accordance has the superior interface, making it easy to download translations, commentaries, and other resources to your phone. Greek word studies are easy on your phone.

Logos is also quite good, but like the PC software, suffers from trying to do too much. I often find myself lost and unable to return to my text.

Accordance is programmed with a remarkable intuition regarding what I’m likely to need at a given place in the software. It’s simpler, but powerful and better. Moreover, you can download some rudimentary resources for free even if you don’t own the PC software. And you should.

BibleWorks has no iPhone app.

e-Sword has a $1.99 application that is very similar to the free PC software — with both its strengths and limitations. It’s a good deal if you don’t have Accordance or Logos.

Speed comparison

Let’s talk speed. My computer is a Dell running an i7-3770S quadcore chip at 3.70 GHz with 8 GB of RAM running Windows 8.1. Graphics are provided by an NVidia GForce GT 640 M card. Not the fastest computer on the market, but not bad. It’s surely good enough to run a Bible software package.

e-Sword required 18 seconds to open.

Searching for “Spirit” throughout the entire ESV translation was essentially instantaneous.

Opening a commentary is also essentially instantaneous.

BibleWorks opens in about 5 seconds.

Searching for “Spirit” throughout the entire ESV translations was essentially instantaneous.

Opening a commentary was also instantaneous.

Accordance for Windows opens in about 3 seconds.

Searching for “Spirit” throughout the entire ESV translations was essentially instantaneous.

Opening a commentary took less than a second.

Logos takes about 25 seconds to open.

Searching for “Spirit” throughout the entire ESV translations took about 4 seconds.

Opening a commentary took about 1 second.

The Logos scores are greatly improved over my previous experiments, in part because I now have a faster computer, but also because they seem to have been working on their speed issues.

Multiple devices

Each program has the rare and generous feature of being downloadable to multiple devices at no cost. If you normally work on your home PC, you can download additional copies onto your laptop for travel or for the pulpit at no additional charge.


BibleWorks is my go-to program for English translations and original language studies
— Greek and Hebrew dictionaries and grammars. And the other programs would make me pay extra for the Apostolic and Ante-Nicene Fathers, which are part of the standard BibleWorks package. So are the cross-references, which I use all the time.

However, when I need a commentary, I go first to Accordance. BibleWorks has nearly none (also true of e-Sword except for out-of-copyright texts). And it’s a better interface and faster — and I have a much better collection of commentaries in Accordance.

But some of my favorite commentaries are only available in Logos, such as Tom Wright’s The New Testament for Everyone. In fact, Logos has the largest store of books and resources. And so I keep Logos open because I find myself going there constantly. (And I’ve found the people at Logos extremely helpful and kind. I really like working with them.)

On the other hand, the Logos interface is so complex that users often have to attend Camp Logos to understand how to make the best use of the software. And I strongly believe that the goal of good software is make these things easy, even obvious.

By that standard, Accordance and BibleWorks are well ahead of Logos, even though Logos does some things that neither of them do. For example, Logos compares translation texts word for word in a way that makes it easy to see the differences. If you want to write a review of a new translation, Logos would be the best tool.

Logos has a strong emphasis on sermon preparation, linking Bible texts to sermon notes, illustration books, and such. I never use this feature, but I’m sure it’s invaluable to many preachers.

Logos also works hard to provide an alternative to Kindle for Christian books. Through its sister company Vyrso, it provides a wide variety of Christian e-books, often at excellent prices (even for free). And the reader, while not quite as good as Kindle, is good — and runs on the Kindle Fire (but not the Paperwhite line of Kindles).


So if I had to pick just one, it would be either Accordance or BibleWorks. But I’m not a preacher. I can easily imagine a preacher preferring Logos.

Accordance does nearly everything BibleWorks does, but does some things better and some things worse. BibleWorks is just better for Greek and Hebrew word studies — faster, simpler, more intuitive. But Accordance has a vastly larger store of resources and vastly superior commentaries. And it’s commentary and translation interface is well nigh perfect — especially if you have a large enough monitor to use the parallel displays to their fullest extent.

Commentaries aren’t cheap — but they do go on sale now and again. And I find myself preferring to buy through Accordance rather than Logos when I can — because of the better Accordance interface.

Obviously, for many, e-Sword does all that is needed — and for free. It’s not nearly enough for me. Try it, and if it’s enough, don’t waste your money on the pay programs.

And so, an early Merry Christmas! And the best part of this is that you can buy them all for Internet download — avoiding any hint of Christmas crowds. You don’t even have to worry with signing for a UPS package.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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6 Responses to Bible Software: A Comparison, Part 2

  1. Alan says:

    On Android, there are several options based on The Sword Project. I use AndBible. The availability of Sword Project modules is limited to public domain unless you get really ‘geeky’. The YouVersion Bible app gives free access to a lot of the more modern resources. If you want more, you can try Laridian or Olive Tree, both of which have a good selection of modules for sale. I still prefer AndBible for the integration between commentaries and Bible texts and for the intuitive interface. Maybe that’s because it’s what I’m used to.

  2. Alan says:

    One more plug for e-Sword: It’s a great platform to introduce to your church. Everyone who has a computer can participate. We’ve even held e-Sword classes at our church to teach people how to install it, how to get a collection of modules, and how to use it to deepen their Bible study.

    I agree with Jay that the commercial products provide a lot more for those prepared to pay the price.

  3. Jay Guin says:


    Thanks for the note. I’ve been looking at the Logos upgrade and trying to decide whether to spring for it.

  4. Dru says:

    Thanks for this helpful two-part series. As a Bible teacher/pastor in Southeast Asia, I use Bible software every day, but can’t yet afford Logos or Accordance, etc. I’m so thankful for the free programs and resources that, though not as nice or up-to-date as the expensive programs, are also effective for many needs.

    I’m a bit surprised you didn’t note TheWord. I used to really love e-Sword, but when I found TheWord, I switched over. There are many reasons I prefer it, including resources, UI flexibility, and underlying philosophy of its creator. But just one – the resources available – clinches it for me: TheWord has ESV and HCSB available for free, as well as four translations of the Thai Bible, the language I teach in (well, that and English, of course). Not even Logos has that available. Mr. Costas, the creator of this program, has a heart for this as ministry, and the work to obtain permission to use the HCSB and the Thai versions – FOR FREE – indicates that. It’s not nearly as nice looking as Logos, and not as many resources or tools, but it’s amazing for those of us on a shoestring missionary budget.

  5. Jay Guin says:


    This is the first I’ve heard of TheWord.

    I’ve downloaded TheWord and have been playing with it. Everything you say is true. I’m no expert, but I bet this is quite a lot superior to eSword in terms of interface and features.

    It has an incredible choice for Bibles in foreign languages, esp. really obscure languages. This is obviously a mission-minded program. Really a remarkable collection of Bibles — better than even the paid programs.

    I downloaded a Trojan virus when I tried to upgrade with some additional free software. My anti-virus program caught it and blocked it, but it’s obviously ESSENTIAL that users have current, state-of-the-art antivirus programs. You should run an antivirus program on your computer just in case. Trojan.gen.SMH in restart.exe.

    Textus receptus as default Greek text? Really?

    Loads of public-domain materials.

    Excellent user interface, instructions. Most similar to Accordance. However, unlike eSword, there’s no iOS or other mobile version. Of course, that’s moot on a Surface Pro tablet.

    Not sure when, but I’ll post a review at some point.

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