Linux Bible Research Software

What Bible applications do you use or have you tried for Linux?

I found Xiphos & BibleTime to be pretty well put together, but as of late BibleAnalyzer has been my go-to tool. (Thanks Tim Morton for writing this open-source software solution.)

Currently, I’ve been helping to beta test 5.4 and ran into some python-related issues. Runs great on the newest 20.04 distros sporting Python 3.7 - 3.8.

If you are finding the two repo defaults are coming up a little short, give BA a try.

Wishing I knew how to build it as a snap or a flatpack, but I don’t seem to quite sucessfully grasp the YAML workflow, and I haven’t figured out flatpacking yet. For now, you’ll just have to download it from the bibleanalyzer website.

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@jastombaugh thank you for letting me know about this software. I thought I knew all of the open-source Bible Software packages out there, but I didn’t know about this one. Unfortunately, they only have a deb, and I primarily run Fedora on my home machine, but I have an Ubuntu Mate machine kicking about as a spare at work, so I will give it a spin on there. One of the reasons I run Fedora at home is because it offers me the latest updates to Wine which has improved my experience in running Bibleworks on Linux. Because of the original language tools in Bibleworks, I don’t know if I could switch to something else, but I have Xiphos installed on all my Linux boxes for when I’m want to run something native on Linux, but BibleAnalyzer looks like one to try for those times I would run Xiphos.

What translations do you all use? I am most familiar with the NIV, ESV, or MSG, but it seems none of those are available freely through SWORD due to licensing issues.

@DannyBoy you have hit upon one of the issues that I have discovered with open-source software and Bible publishers. They seem to steer clear of creating files that are compatible for open-source software because they don’t see a way to make back the money they would invest in making the compatible files. Without a product that you sell and a company that you can communicate with publishers don’t see a way to mesh their business model with the open-source software packages. I think that those of us who love open-source software would be happy to pay for an electronic version of our favorite translations or Bible study tools, but publishers would have to market and sell those on their own sites. The way it works now with other makers of Bible study tools is that they either strike a deal with the publisher to give them a percentage of every copy of their software that they sell, or in the case of Logos I think they must give the publishers a portion of every e-copy they sell through their platform. The publishers don’t have to even create the files in those cases. Often the Bible Software companies will take the raw text files and create their own compatible files that will work with their software. The publishers don’t have to market or create a store to sell those e-copies because the Bible software companies do that already for them. That type of relationship between publishers and Bible Software companies is hard to reproduce in the open-source world.

Suggestions for translations to consider: If you are most familiar with NIV, ESV, and MSG, I would give the following a try, but none will be very close to the MSG.

  • The Lexham English Bible
  • GOD’S WORD to the Nations
  • Free version of New English Translation with limited notes (their translation notes are well done for the most part in the NET)

Because of what I mention above, I don’t believe I will be able to move to an open-source Bible Software program for all of my needs, because I don’t have access to the translations that are used by the people I work with, nor do I have access to all of the original language tools that are tied up with copy writes and publishers.

Which Bible Software have you been using? Xiphos?

Sorry its not in an RPM. Not sure if this would work, but you mentioned using WINE for other software. BA is cross-platform, so it might work to use the Windows version in WINE on Fedora. Haven’t tried this approach, as the v5.2 works great in Mint and the 5.4 beta works in the newer 20.04 releases.

I understand that Tim is still working on the RtL formatting for Hebrew manuscripts, but I tend to stick with index, dictionary, and grammar usage for my studies, and haven’t found myself needing to take much advantage of re-translating from Greek/Hebrew first hand.

@DannyBoy Re: What translations do you all use? - I haven’t had any issues with the Authorized Version. (In a way, it’s like the ‘Original’ open-source of all books for me. LOL) BA has modules available for purchase, and I loaded up on several of them, but honestly, just having the ability to search for terms, phrases, or pull up a definition or search for the hebrew or greek instances of a word has just been a blast for me.

BA has some interesting features I’ve not seen before, especially for an open-source app. Some of my favorite have been:
-Bible Tree - It lists all the places a word is found, but you can peruse the list based on ‘context’ by selecting the previous or next word in a phrase. Ever had that nagging memory that ‘I know it talks about this sort of thing, but I can’t remember where that verse was or how it goes?’ Bible Tree feature works great for quickly narrowing down a passage.

  • Word Cloud - It is simple to make a quick ‘WordCloud’ study of a chapter(s) or passages of Scripture. The more times a word is used, the larger the word appears in a word cloud. Doing this on Psalm 119 was a super fun experiment!
  • Modules - There are some great modules both for free and for sale. There is one for Places of the Bible that simply cross-links information and mentions of places in the Bible. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I find myself using this. The Exhaustive List of Bible People is another module I reference quite a bit. (When I say purchase, these things run typically from $3-$5ish.) Some of the works I’ve seen offered can be found on to read for free, but often, just having the module in my software library and having the ability to quickly search for terms is worth it to me.
  • Tim Morton - Probably my favorite feature of BA is being able to actually contact the program’s author. Tim’s graciously answered questions, concerns, and even a fair bit of troubleshooting. If you’ve ever had to contact commercial business for filing bugs or complaints, you’ll appreciate the simplicity of a forum comment or a quick email.

Cons - its a continued work in progress. The layout and workflow probably won’t be a biggie for anyone used to Bible Software over the years, but to a newbie, it can look cluttered and overwhelming… kinda Windows 3.1-era. But it grows on you quickly.

Pros - Open-source, powerful, native, and its been a blast to watch it mature as a commercial-grade product offered for free from a passionate and talented programmer. And… the majority of it is written in Python!

I have a good app on Android which basically allows a parallel reading of a very large number of translations; not sure if I can even think of a popular one it lacks. Unsure what some of the tools you’re discussing enable a student to do, but I might look some up. (Edited for spelling and grammar.)

Xiphos, yes, and And Bible on my Android phone. To be honest, though, I use a printed Bible more than either of those tools.

So it has a concordance? :upside_down_face: That actually sounds very cool, though.

You can test the web version of ‘Word Tree’ here. It’s pretty slick. A lot like a really ‘insightful’ interactive concordance. Super fun to play around with.

Here’s an example of its usage.

A Bible application is one of the first installs for any new device that comes into my hands. I have yet to find a favorite that runs natively on Linux. For many years I have been using BibleWorks. The company is no longer in existence which means that you will need to find an old version on ebay or on the resellers forum over at But for the record – version 7 runs perfectly on Linux/wine. I read Greek and Hebrew which means I need a sufficiently nerdy Bible app to scratch my itch. Bibleworks is powerful and allows me to dig into the text the way I want.

About 10 years ago I was granted an online license from the Society of Biblical Literature to construct an online monoglot Greek New Testament using their critical edition. I turned it into a parsed, fully searchable, free, online study tool that gets users from about 95+ different countries around the world.

For the past 6 years I have been working on what I call the “Hebrew Audio Text Map” which maps the audio from the oldest, complete recordings of the Hebrew Bible to the Masoretic text in a unicode font format. I’m only about 25% finished on the project – my day job and church planting gets demanding at times. Still the HATM gets users from about 75 countries.

I don’t recall ever looking at Bible Analyzer – I’ll have to check it out.

BTW, you can see my Greek and Hebrew work at


Wow! That’s a pretty in-depth and helpful website! Pretty neat that it is all done by hand as well.

I’m not familiar with BibleWorks. Seems like back in the Windows days, Parson’s software put out a Bible program. (Back in Windows 95/98 days) But I can’t recall what it was called. Before that, GodSpeed for DOS was what I used, and would use again in a heartbeat if I could figure out how to program it in Python. Linux has a very capable CLI Bible app called bible-kjv. It’s in almost every repository I’ve tried. It’s simple, fast, and quick for locating or referencing a passage.

Thanks for the posting and for all the hard work in building research tools like this.

The program from Parson’s Technology was QuickVerse. I think the program itself was coded by Craig Rairdin who went on to code some other Bible app for smartphones – PocketBible maybe.

In the DOS days there was a free program called the Online Bible (such a confusing name for today’s world) and had to be ordered through the mail. You could pay extra for the disks to cover the costs of the ministry. But they would gladly send the disks at zero money as well. That program is still available but would have to be run under wine as it’s now a windows only app that still has the clunky Foxpro or Visual Basic user interface. Back in the day, you could load a TSR and it would allow you to hot-key a scripture reference into WordPerfect documents.

You just need to enable the WineHQ Repo: Ubuntu and for good measure Fedora. They both release at the same time :slight_smile: What’s funny is that I switched from Fedora to Ubuntu because the WineHQ repo released faster than the Fedora repo and I wanted to get the absolute latest version as soon as possible.

Here’s a video on that kjv-cli app. It can apparently be used with other texts, or at least be patched to work with them.

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@RiderExMachina thanks for letting me know about WineHQ repo, I didn’t realize that I could get the latest wine version on Ubuntu so that my use for Bibleworks would be the same version on Fedora at home and my Ubuntu Mate rig at work.

Bibleworks is my preferred Bible software as well because of the Greek and Hebrew capabilities. I haven’t found anything open source that can offer the kind of tools that Bibleworks has because of copyrights of the dictionary, grammers, and other resources that Bibleworks puts at your finger tips. I’ve been able to run Bibleworks 10 on Fedora with the latest Wine. The things that don’t work

  • Hyper links to the Biblical text in a note file
  • Copy and paste works only if I copy things twice, then there is something to paste from the buffer
  • Some of the CHM resources or books don’t display if I’m remembering correctly
  • I have some issues with Greek and Hebrew Fonts too, which I might be able to fix by manually installing the right fonts into the Linux side of the system, I’m thinking instead of just in Wine.

Nice. Glad to see Greek and Hebrew readers on the forum. I think you highlighted the crux of the matter when you mentioned copyrighted material. That is THE major hurdle in making multilingual, resourceful, FOSS Bible software. While good and useful in their own right, I need more than TSK and Strong’s numbers.

All of the things that you mentioned as glitchy on BW10 seem to work well on my Ubuntu Studio 20.04/wine/BW7. I did have an issue once where I did something that broke a link in the CHM resources for the Hebrew paradigms which resulted in the index link not redirecting you to the targeted text. It wasn’t a pain and I lived with it for a long time. After I did a ‘nuke and pave’ for 20.04, it was working again.

I have zero font issues. In fact, the text on my monitor looks like it came off the page of a freshly printed Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and the Greek likewise is rendered beautifully.

But those glitches you have are nothing when weighed against the benefit of working with the text and resources so seamlessly. Good on you.