I love books! If you know anything about me you know this to be true. The idea of libraries going completely digital is equal to the unpardonable sin in my mind because I can’t fathom studying the scriptures without a desk full of books. Although I have a deep affinity for physical books, there is a digital resource library gold mine. This resource is StepBible.com; a Bible software developed through Tyndale House. Dr. David Instone-Brewer has put together an amazing resource with many advantages.
First off, it is totally free! For a poor student, this is great! The program has a great deal of resources, commentaries, translations and texts. This is a huge benefit of a program that is comparable to a logos or accordance, but where logos can cost you thousands of dollars on resources, StepBible hands it over right in the public domain.
Second, it emphasizes the great importance of the original languages. In fact, most of the tools that are used to develop the unique functions of StepBible.com are built around the original languages. The program does not necessitate a knowledge of the biblical languages, but it certainly helps anyone seeking to deepen their understanding. With a program that is intrinsically oriented to the original languages, it begins your study off at the ground level. This basic principle of hermeneutics recognizes that you should never start at the commentary/exegetical level before diving into the original text language.
Third, not only does it start you off at the original languages, it builds additional information on the text. By just hovering your cursor over the text or a word, you are presented with a wealth of data: the semantic range of the word, the way it is parsed, how many times the word is used and so forth. What may have taken hours to find before is readily accessible with this program.
Fourth, the base is the biblical text, but they have indexed words based on their lexical morpheme. This means word searches are not based on the English word used or searching for the word in a particular verb form, but you can search its lexical form and you will find all of its occurrences in what ever range you have set.
The only downside to this program is it does not have the overwhelming amount of resources a program like Logos does. If you are looking for a deep exegetical or theological exposition of a passage, this may let you down. But for a resource that is not only free but so strongly linked to the original languages, it is hard to complain about the lack of commentaries. If that is your only concern, I would highly recommend starting with StepBible.com and then move to your closest theological library and get in contact with some physical books. I would highly recommend using this resource for any study or devotion you might be doing. You never know what you might unlock.
Recommended Resources are posts devoted to videos, blogs, articles, and sermons that have helped me think through some more difficult topics. This segment of the blog is to develop fodder for thoughtfulness in deeper content issues.