Sometimes I like to recommend various Bible study tools, and this is especially fun when the tools themselves are free and of good quality. Free software is often worth precisely the price you pay for it, but in the case of e-Sword, you will be pleasantly surprised. (Note: For other Bible study tools see my page Bible Study Tools, and the Participatory Study Series pamphlet Bible Study Tools.)
As might be expected, e-Sword does not come with a wide variety of current tools and Bible versions. Many of these require licenses from the copyright holders, and it simply would not be practical to provide them. Some licensed material is available for download with a key to be purchased from the publisher. On the other hand, some fairly current materials are available, such as the CEV and Good News Bible provided by the American Bible Society. There is a good selection of materials related to the KJV, and quite a number of notes from older authors (Wesley, Scofield, Matthew Henry’s commentary, and so forth).
In the area of Biblical Languages, the BDB definitions are available for the Hebrew scriptures, along with an unpointed Hebrew text. There are several older Greek texts available, including Westcott and Hort, the Majority Text, the Textus Receptus, and a few others. The Greek lexicons available are Strong’s and Thayer’s definitions. These do not constitute a very good set of tools for the serious student of the Bible in its original languages. It does provide an opportunity for reading and for some reference work. Again, this software and all of these modules are free, and in that context they are better than might be expected.
I find the screen busy and a bit hard to maintain, but the benefit to the arrangement is that it keeps the majority of your tools available at all times. I normally work with a smaller selection in my preferred Bible software (Logos Bible Software), and only open other references when I actually need them. It is possible to work the screen on e-Sword into a much better configuration; it’s probably just my personal quirks that make me feel uncomfortable with it.
Notes are easily available, and can be edited. Various reference works and Bibles are linked. Original language Bible texts are linked via the Strong’s numbers. I expect this system in a free piece of software, but I am not fond of the Strong’s numbers. If you are, this will be a feature.
Having now stated my complaints let me simply say that all other features of the software seem outstanding. The available resources are surprisingly diverse. They can be found easily on the e-Sword web site, and can be downloaded and installed using good, trouble free installation scripts. There are no lengthy files of instructions; the job is done for you.
I have also found the software stable. I am running it under Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home.