E-Sword is a free, downloadable Bible software program that I have used for many years and absolutely LOVE! It does everything I need it to do. It is easy to use. It is expandable with many free add-on resources plus additional reference books that you can purchase for a very reasonable cost. I do my Bible research with e-Sword and would like to introduce you to this amazing tool. It has been downloaded 25 million times across 230 nations, making it the world's most popular Bible study software. It is even available for iPad. A special thanks to Rick Meyers for providing this gift to the Body of Christ.
Download e-Sword Free (Although a thank-you donation would be nice!)
You download e-Sword directly from their homepage by clicking here. (Although it’s free, they do ask for a donation so they can continue expanding their work and it would be honoring to provide such, as a workman is worthy of his hire. This also gives them the capacity to distribute it freely in developing nations.)
You learn how to use the software by watching Rick’s short instructional videos, which are available here. Take the time to view them. They will teach you how to use the software to your greatest advantage. As you are watching the training videos, you can click on the “pause” button at the bottom of each video, so you can take the time to digest what you are seeing. I suggest that once you have watched a training video you go to your own downloaded version of e-Sword and try out the various activities you have just seen performed. This will ensure you understand and can apply what you have learned.
Rick’s First Five Training Videos – Short and very helpful!
Go through them in order. They will teach you the basics. Note: there is no audio on these training videos. Instead, he uses written instruction on the screen to describe what you are seeing.
- The basics for getting started with e-Sword (This is a MUST! View a couple of times.)
- Downloading additional resources for e-Sword and from here (Where you can give him a thank you donation.)
- Rearranging the views on the e-Sword workspace (Skip this, as Rick’s “standard view” is great.)
- Using e-Sword to search the Bible for a specific phrase (I use this all the time!)
- Search for all occurrences of a specific Greek or Hebrew word (I use this all the time, too!)
After you have used e-Sword for a week or two, you probably will want to go back and watch the above training videos again, as you will “see” things you did not see the first time. I have reviewed them probably 10 times over the years, and reviewed them once again, just now. I learn something new every time, including just moments ago.
A complete 200+ page “Users Guide” is available. You simply click on the “Help” tab, and then on “Contents.”
Now Let’s Do a Fun Bible Meditation Using e-Sword (i.e. Exploring a Word)
We will go to lesson one in our book Through the Bible (note that you can download the first 27 pages of this book free). On page 27 of "Through The Bible" we have this question:
Record from Genesis chapter one the things God “created” versus the things He “made” or let the earth bring forth. To “create” means to bring something into being. To “make” means to formulate from that which already exists. Record your conclusions or observations.
So we go to e-Sword and click on the tab on the top labeled “Bible” and then click on “Search.” In the search box that appears, I type in the word “create.” When I hit the “enter” key on my keyboard, six verses show up (in the KJV) and NONE of them are in Genesis.
Hmmm. OK, so I begin the search again. However this time I change the tab which says “search for the exact phrase.” I click on the down arrow to the right of that tab, and the dropdown menu offers me the option of searching for “regular expressions,” so I select that option and hit enter. (This means it will now search for any word which has “create” within it.) This new search for the word “create” shows that “created” shows up 3 times in Genesis chapter 1 (plus a total of 44 verses in the Bible have some form of the word “create” in them).
Well, that is interesting. I thought God created on six days. How come the Bible says He only created on three days? So now I pray and ponder and ask, “God, what happened on those three days that was so special that it called for a creative miracle, and on the other three days, you were able to ‘make’ things from what you had already created?” I will journal out the answer the Lord gives me and submit it to my spiritual advisors for confirmation.
Let’s Try Another Question from Page 27 of Through the Bible (i.e. Exploring a Phrase)
Trace the “Tree of Life” through Scripture, discussing your observations and conclusions.
Again we click on “Bible” and then “Search.” In the search box that appears we type in the phrase “Tree of Life” and hit enter. When searching for “tree of life” you do not need to put the phrase in quotation marks. If, before you begin your search, you select the tab which says “all of the words” then any time those three words show up in a verse, in any order, the verse will be listed. If instead you click on the tab that says “regular expression,” then only verses with the exact phrase “tree of life” will be listed.
The following list appears when searching the New American Standard Bible (I went ahead and purchased the NASB add-on resource, as it is my favorite version of the Bible).
Gen_2:9 Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Gen_3:22 Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"
Gen_3:24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
Pro_3:18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who hold her fast.
Pro_11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls.
Pro_13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Pro_15:4 A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit.
Rev_2:7 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.'
Rev_22:2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Rev_22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.
Rev_22:19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
11 verses found, 11 matches
3 verses found
4 verses found
4 verses found
So now, we can prayerfully reflect (meditate) on the above verses and ask God, “What (or Who) is the tree of life?” and journal out what we receive back. It is so much fun. Revelation pours into our hearts as we do this. It is so interesting that the “tree of life” shows up in these three locations in the Bible: Genesis, Proverbs and Revelation. We then bounce our journaling off a couple of our spiritual advisors, or share it with our classmates if we are taking this course together as online students with CLU or our School of the Spirit.
When I want to copy one of these verses into an article I am writing, the easiest approach is to click on the verse (from the search window list above), which makes the verse instantly appear in the “Bible” screen (i.e. the upper left box). Then I go to the top row of tabs and click on the tab “Bible” and then “copy verses” and then “format 7” (which is my favorite format), and then click on “copy.” The verse displays as below (other formats are available). Yes, you’re right. Lots of steps, but nice end product!
Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen 2:9 NASB)
Searching Out ALL Uses of a Specific Greek or Hebrew Word (i.e. Exploring a Topic)
To add dictionaries and commentaries click on the “Download” tab at the top of the screen and choose the appropriate selection. Click on the resources you want to download and then go back to the top of that screen and click “Download” again, then “Start”. Once they’ve been downloaded, restart e-Sword to see your new additions. I’ve mentioned several of my favorite resources below.
Before you can do the exercise below, which uses the “King James Concordance,” you will need to download the “King James Concordance” using the steps above. Specifically:
- Click on the “Download” tab.
- And then the “Dictionaries” tab.
- And then on “King James Concordance”.
- Then “Download” tab.
- Then “Start.” It will now download to your computer.
- Click on Install.
- Restart e-Sword.
I also love seeing a list of all verses with a specific Greek or Hebrew word in them, so I can see how the word was translated throughout the Bible. For example, let’s look at the word “power” in the verse below using the “KJV+ tab”:
Mat 6:13 'And do not leadG1533 us into temptationG3986, but R1deliverG4506 us from N1 R2evilG4190. N2[For YoursG4771 is the kingdomG932 and the powerG1411 and the gloryG1391 foreverG165. AmenG281.]'
- If I hover my curser on G1411, the word which is translated “power,” I am able to see a precise Greek definition for that word.
- If I right click on G1411, I can do a “quick search” and get a list of all the verses in the New Testament with that Greek word in it (i.e. the Greek word is dunamis).
- If, instead of right clicking on G1411, I just click on G1411, then I can drop down to the “Dictionary” window in the lower left corner of my screen, and click on the tab labeled “KJC” (King James Concordance), and instantly see a list of all occurrences of dunamis and they are broken into sub-groups showing specifically how dunamis was translated, along with every scriptural reference. E-Sword lets you hover over any of these hyperlinked references, and the entire verse pops into view. It is all so easy to use, and so informative. For example, we find dunamis was translated as follows: power, 71 times (all 71 references are listed), mighty, 14 times (all 14 references are listed), miracles, 8, Act_2:22, Act_8:13, Act_19:11, 1Co_12:10, 1Co_12:28-29 (2), Gal_3:5, Heb_2:4 strength, 7, 1Co_15:56, 2Co_12:8-9 (2), Heb_11:11, Rev_1:16, Rev_3:8, Rev_12:10 Etc.…
- If I click on the word power: To research “power” more deeply, you can then see if any of the Dictionaries have topical summaries of the word “power” listed in them. Since you are clicking on the word “power” rather than “G1411” which is Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance number for a specific word translated power, you are now going to find highlighted all the e-Sword resources which are not connected to the Strong’s number, but which deal with the word “power.” When we say a Resource is highlighted, that means the tab for that resource has a little “I” that lights up in the tab, letting you know that that resource has information in it relevant to your search, and if you click on the tab, you are taken to the exact spot in the resource where the pertinent information is found. What a time saver!
So one resource which lights up in this current search (if you’ve purchased the download) is “Vine’s New Testament,” where you discover excellent topical summaries of the various Greek words for power. Wow! Now I discover that there is more than one Greek word translated power. If fact, there are three key Greek words translated power that I chose to research, and I went ahead and blogged an introduction of what I found about these three words. The blog is titled, I Release Divine Energy – Energeo.
- Since I am very interested in receiving a deeper revelation of this healing power of God which can be released out through my life, I decided to use the 7 Step Biblical Meditation Process to explore each of these three Greek words more thoroughly.
- Using the tools from e-Sword, I came up with the following blog, which explores in depth one of the Greek words for power: All Uses of Energeo (and Its Various Forms).
- Next I will use the 7 Step Biblical Meditation Process to explore in depth the other two main Greek words for power, as well as the Three New Testament Words for Healing, with a passionate goal being, “Lord, teach me how to move in the healing power of Your Holy Spirit.” As I meditate through this topical study, I will be posting blogs on the additional revelations I receive!
The Bible Dictionaries I Have Downloaded and Enjoy
- New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance (I use this a lot.)
- Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries (I use this a lot.)
- King James Concordance (I use this a lot.)
- Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions (I use this a lot.)
- Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Love Vine’s!)
- Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words (Love Vine’s!)
- Easton’s Bible Dictionary
- Fausset’s Bible Dictionary
- Hitchcock’s Bible Names
- International Stand Bible Encyclopedia
- Nave’s Topical Bible
- Poor Man’s Concordance
- Thayer’s Greek Definitions
I wish e-Sword had “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament” by Kittle as a resource, but they don’t and since I like Kittle, I have accessed the one volume version of it through other means.
One more question from our Through the Bible book (i.e. Exploring a Theme)
“Trace the Messianic prophecies through the Bible.”
Wow, so let’s explore how we could answer the above question using the e-Sword resources. Basically we are answering the question, “How do I do a topical study using e-Sword?”
For starters, you can simply skip using e-Sword and as you prayerfully meditate through the Scriptures, ask the Lord to bring to your attention verses which are prophecies concerning Christ. However, if you would like some help from e-Sword, then here is a way to get it.
If I type “messianic prophecies” into any of the search boxes, I get nothing. So let’s go to the root word. The root word to the above question/topic would be “prophecy.” So if I go to the “Bible” tab and then “search” and I type in “prophecy” it gives me a list of verses with prophecy in them. Now I can click on the word prophecy and note which of the Bible Dictionaries in the bottom window light up with the “I” next to them, which means that particular Dictionary has information in it containing prophecy.
Now I can click on any Dictionaries with the “I” highlighted and see if it might have information on messianic prophecies. If not, I can go back to the above verse and instead of clicking on the word “prophecy,” I can click on the Hebrew or Greek Strong’s number next to the word “prophecy.”
For example, 2 Chron. 15:8 has the word “prophecy” in it, and the Hebrew number next to the word prophecy is “H5016.” So if I click on “H5016” that will cause other dictionaries in the lower box to light up with an “I” next to them, so now I can click on those dictionaries to see if any of them have a section on messianic prophecies. What I am going to discover is that by scrolling down through Nave’s Topical Bible, I will find the following wonderful answer to the question, which contains many references I can look up and prayerfully ponder, and see what God might want to speak to me.
Concerning the Messiah, and the fulfillment: (from Nave's Topical Bible)
- Gen. 12:3, “And I will bless them that bless thee...”
Gen_12:3; Gen_18:18; Gen_22:18; Act_3:25; Gal_3:8
- Gen. 17:7, “And I will establish my covenant...”
Gen_17:7; Gen_17:19; Gen_22:16-17; Luk_1:55; Luk_1:72-74
- Deut. 18:18, “I will raise them up a Prophet...”
Deu_18:15; Deu_18:18; Act_3:22-23
Another approach I could have used would be to simply click on Nave’s Topical Bible, and then in the search bar below and to the right, type in “prophecy” (i.e. where the word "predestinate" is typed in, in the graphic above), I will be taken automatically to the topic of prophecy, which is the exact same place I was taken to when I clicked on the Hebrew number for prophecy, which as we mentioned above is H5016. So we have two ways to get to the same information.
Commentaries and Bible Handbooks
There are many to choose from, and most of them will provide you the following information for each book of the Bible: a book overview (i.e. Genesis, Exodus, etc.) when you click on the tab “B”; a chapter overview when you click on the tab “C”; and a verse overview when you click on the tab “V.” Some of the handbooks are 1-2 volumes and some are 20 - 30 volumes, so you can explore any book, chapter or verse of the Bible in any depth you desire.
I would stay tuned to flow, and skim read, letting the Holy Spirit tell you when to slow down and do deeper meditation. You may want to download several commentary resources, so you can compare them and select the ones which best fit your taste and style of research. They can be downloaded from e-Sword’s “download” tab, then click on “commentaries.” Additional resources can be downloaded free from this companion website.
Here are several shorter commentaries/Bible handbooks which you may want to download and check out:
- A Popular Commentary on the New Testament
- Expositor’s Bible Commentary
- Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary
- John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible
- Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament
- Poor Man’s Commentary
- Summarized Bible
- The Biblical Illustrator
- Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
- Chuck Smith (Download from here – He is somewhat Charismatic)
- Treasury of Spiritual Knowledge
- Believers’ Bible Commentary
- E.W. Bullinger’s Companion Bible Notes (Download from here)
Caution: I personally hardly ever use a commentary as their comments can consume my time and displace the opportunity for God to comment directly to my heart about the passages I am reading. I prefer to prayerfully meditate on all Scriptures on a topic and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to me which I capture through two way journaling, and I then submit to my three spiritual advisors. This way I experience fresh revelation. I believe God desires to grant us all fresh revelation which we have confirmed by our spiritual counselors.
- Click here for a blog which discusses two awesome free Bible atlas websites.
- E-Sword has several Bible atlases which you can download from their two websites. In addition you can access an amazing set of free Bible maps online here. Free online Bible land photos are available here.
An Entire Reference Library Literally at Your Fingertips
I love the fact that all resources are electronically linked. When I type in a verse or a word, every resource that has information on that verse or word is instantly highlighted so I know I can go to it, and when I click on its tab, I am at the exact location I need to be! So no turning pages, no searching through books, to see if a topic is covered. That is all a thing of the past. Now I can move seamlessly from one reference book to another, exploring the verse or topic or word as it shows up in a host of resources. And when I discover great things and great lists of verses, I can simply copy them into the document I am preparing.
What a wonderful timesaver, and since e-Sword is on both my iPad and my laptop, I always have these 50+ volumes with me to do research whenever the desire or need hits. Try it, you will like it!
Check out our training module "The Art of Bible Meditation".
Thank you, Rick Meyers, for your indescribable gift to the Body of Christ!
Check out Through the Bible which takes you from Genesis to Revelation, charting each book to show the law of relationship and the law of proportion so you can easily see what God feels are important themes in each of the 66 books of the Bible. Fun and easy for an individual or a group to work through. The focus is on "hearing God through the Word" so expect revelation knowledge as you put in chapter titles and explore answers to the questions asked.
A Handbook of Answers is available if you want to compare your answers to the answers we found as we worked through these questions ourselves.
"This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success." (Josh. 1:8 NASB)
Dr. Mark Virkler Explains the Unique Features of - “Through The Bible"
Learn How to Do Two-way Journaling - “4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice”