Bible

8 Best Free and Open Source Linux Bible Software

Easter is the most important annual religious festival for Christians. It is the celebration of the resurrection of the central figure of Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth (Jesus Christ). It therefore seems an appropriate point in the year for us to turn our attention to open source Linux Bible software.

The Bible refers to one of two closely related religious texts central to Judaism and Christianity, the Hebrew or Christian sacred scriptures respectively.

Bible software helps to make religious studies more effective, more organised, and more rewarding. For example, this type of software makes it possible to navigate around the religious texts more quickly, to perform complex searches to find passages, to serve up daily devotionals (where insightful and revealing passages of the Bible and key Bible characters are presented to the user), and much more.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 8 high quality Linux Bible software. Hopefully, there will be something of interest for anyone who wants to learn more about God and his work.

Here’s our verdict captured in a legendary LinuxLinks-style ratings chart. Only free and open source software is eligible for inclusion here.

Ratings chart

Click the links in the table below to learn more about each tool.

Bible Software
The SWORD ProjectCrossWire Bible Society's free Bible software
Ezra Bible AppModern and user-friendly Bible software
BibleTimeQt based Bible study program
XiphosOffers a rich environment for reading, study, and research
Alkitab Bible StudyOffers rich and user friendly Bible study tools
Bible DesktopEasy to use study tool
Unbound BibleMultilingual Bible-reader software
BPBibleFlexible study tool

This article has been revamped in line with our recent announcement.

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19 Comments
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Matthew Eckelman
Matthew Eckelman
3 years ago

1. Download this KJV text: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/30/
2. Use VIM to search for your text.
3. The above KJV version text is indexed to make addressing verses easy. To get to John 3:16, search for this:
“43:003:016”. 43rd book:chapter 003:verse 016

Friar Tux
Friar Tux
3 years ago

Tried most of them. They are all overly complicated. I simply downloaded a copy of my favourite version in text format and use FocusWriter to access it. I also have some commentaries and dictionaries in text format that show up as tabs on the bottom of FocusWriter for quick access. And a tab for notes. Simple and efficient.

John Martin
John Martin
3 years ago
Reply to  Friar Tux

Friar Tux,
Thank you so much – I tried this and it is exactly what I needed. Simple and efficient as you said. Have a great and safe year.

Rob
Rob
2 years ago
Reply to  Friar Tux

Where did you find the ‘text’ format for your “favorite” version?

Umblin
Umblin
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob

In Xiphos, when you go to module manager, you can install an enormous range of Bible versions from many different languages (but I’m not sure about the Bibles which are copyright and must be paid for)
When you right click on a verse to Copy/Export, you can choose between verse, chapter or book – so you can download a whole book to clipboard with a click.
You could repeat that for each book of the Bible.

Umblin
Umblin
2 years ago

Xiphos is great. I’ve been using it for years.
I did have problems with the flatpack version, but the repo versions have worked great for me.
Great search facility.
Enormous range of foreign versions.
Tabs so you can have several tabs open at once (and be back there next time you open it up)
KJV so no need to use corrupted versions
TSK commentary is worth my weight in gold as a study resource (provides links to other verses)

I also use e-Sword via WINE. It has some advantages (eg easier to use commentaries) and some disadvantages. It runs on WINE but not flawlessly.

Missions Mike
Missions Mike
2 years ago
Reply to  Umblin

The big problem I have with Xiphos is that the personal commentary cannot be edited because the study pad is broken and has been broken for years — years.

It seems to me that Bible study should ‘require’ your doing the research and taking notes with references. It should be a high priority in the development. So it amazes me that this would go on so long. Last working version was 3.2.2 which was in Debian jessie.

It grieves me to no end . . .

Kevin RK Davis
Kevin RK Davis
2 years ago

The Berean Study BIble, reminiscent of the NIV84 for me, offers a variety of free files in various formats.

Using a eBook reader can be helpful here.

Charlie The Chaplain
Charlie The Chaplain
2 years ago

Nothing I have used on Linux compares to E-Sword, so I use Gnome Boxes and run windows 10 in it so I can access E-sword.

Nigel The Baritone
Nigel The Baritone
2 years ago

Did you try running it with Wine?

Raphael Awoseyin
Raphael Awoseyin
1 year ago

I use BibleTime. I tried Xiphos on my LinuxMint but I couldn’t get it to configure as it claims. I like to show parallel versions but it would only show them in tabs. Overall, I find BibleTime easier (though not trivial) to configure.

I have not found the NIV translation for any of the apps. (My favourite translation is NIV84.) I would appreciate if anyone knows of NIV text that works with BibleTime

As someone said, none of these compares with e-Sword on Windows.

Dan Beuscher
Dan Beuscher
1 year ago

I am Catholic and I also use BibleTime 3.0.3, but it too has its drawbacks. First and foremost is the lack of access to the Early Church Fathers.

Felich
Felich
1 year ago

theWord, like e-sword but better. Runs great in wine and thus far the best resource for bible study on Linux.

Eve
Eve
1 year ago
Reply to  Felich

1) This is a Linux site.
2) theWord doesn’t run natively under Linux
3) theWord isn’t even open source.

Hence your comment is irrelevant here.

Brian
Brian
6 months ago
Reply to  Eve

Eve, you might have missed that he runs it under Wine

gavtaz
gavtaz
9 months ago

I have downloaded an html version on the bible, then just put a link in your web browser to the index page. This works really well, it is quick and easy to use.

Nigel Bolton
Nigel Bolton
9 months ago
Reply to  gavtaz

That’s a web-based solution 😉