Bible Study Software - Gramcord

JFantin at JFantin at
Wed Mar 13 05:45:43 EST 2002

Please forgive me if this has been covered already, I receive the digest and 
thus any post since the last digest I have not received.

> Michelle Vetter stated:
>Any comments on GRAMCORD?  Bible Companion 
> has a $50 off special this month on their ultimate bundle, 
> with 2 extra add-ons free...

As has been mentioned before, the choice of bible study software is somewhat 
personal and thus its choice should be made on the basis of need. Therefore, 
I am uncomfortable of claims that one bible study package is the best. People 
have different needs. Some packages may appeal more to some while other 
packages will appeal to others.

There is much I could write but I will restrict my comments to those below.

I have used Gramcord since the days of DOS and continue using the windows 
version (I used the DOS version again two days ago for a feature on 
occurrences per 1000 words). I have used on occasion BibleWorks 4 and Logos 
but really have not learned them. But for me what these packages offer do not 
entice me away from GC.

I suspect the Bible Companion Series format on which GC is presently run is 
not as feature packed (and thus as useful for some people's needs) as other 
packages. However, it certainly is sufficient for my needs. I believe 
Gramcord is working on their own format (Lightening-info was given out at 
SBL) which will probably make it more attractive to those who like all the 
features of the other programs. 

For me the main feature by far that I want from a package is the ability to 
create complex and accurate searches in the biblical languages using the most 
accurate databases available. I believe that GC is first in this area. They 
are the ones updating the text. In fact, Dr Wheeler (on this list) is 
responsible for the present Hebrew database. I will stand corrected if 
someone can tell me otherwise. I am not sure how quickly or when 
corrections/changes get into BW, Logos, etc. But I am more comfortable 
knowing biblical scholars are behind the text I am using. They are able to 
make educated decisions about the database. 

Though I am not concerned about having 100s of translations to choose from. I 
do like to have a few of the most important. GC does provide these. Some 
packages have 100s of texts that I will never use. I do not mind that these 
are there but I do not think they are a selling point. I am waiting for a 
Klingon translation to be added to the huge list offered by some.  

One further point (well points) I want to make which really is not related to 
usability. GC was created for scholars and is a nonprofit organization. In 
the times I have needed help they are always there. On two occasions because 
of problems that could not be solved through e-mail they have not hesitated 
to send me free of charge the latest database CDs which considering my 
Internet hook up in the UK, saves me a lot of time and hassle. Also, their 
pricing is very reasonable. At SBL they even offer more types of discounts 
(correct me if I am wrong but I recall they offered free packages to teachers 
when a certain number of students purchased the package at a very low price 
last SBL). Students can get discounts when the college has a (reasonably 
priced) site license and when they order in groups. When I upgraded from DOS 
to windows, the cost was minimal ($25 if I recall correctly). I was shocked 
that BibleWorks upgrade 5 cost $150 from version 4. Though some were pleased 
with the added databases, only one or two looked helpful to me and these was 
definitely not worth the cost (in my opinion).

For me concentrating on research (and in the future seminary teaching) it is 
important that the people working on the most important biblical study tool I 
use really understand the complexities of the languages. I want to feel 
confident that if I address an issue, I will get an informed response.

Finally, as a personal preference, I am glad that GC is a nonprofit 
organization. This frees them up from needing to appeal to the masses. I have 
nothing against the masses owning bible software; however, I have different 
needs than the average person. GC does operate as a nonprofit organization 
and the way they deal with people reflects this.

Just by two cents
Joe Fantin
Sheffield and Dallas

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