Saturday, January 23, 2010

Crosswire: MacSword and Xiphos

Crosswire has a number of free online Bible study packages available. Since I have a Mac, I first decided to look at MacSword. I was able to download it fine, but there were no bibles, commentaries, etc. installed; I had to do this manually and it was not very intuitive. After playing around with this unsuccessfully for several days I decided to go a different route. So, my initial review of the MacSword is they have work to do...

The second program I looked at was also a Crosswire product, called Xiphos. This is a Windows-based program which I downloaded using my Vmware product (Used to run Windows-based products on a Mac). After downloading, a window opened indicating that I needed to select the different modules. There were several modules, including Bibles, Commentaries, Languages, translations, and maps. If you allowed your cursor to hover over the item, there was a description of what it was, unfortunately, I have not found that this carries over into the program. Once all of the modules are loaded, the program runs relatively well. There are four different panels that you can customize. I have them set up into Bible, commentary, a bible dictionary, and a notes area. within the Bible area, you can look at parallel versions for easy comparison. The search capability is very good; you can define the boundaries (books, testaments, etc.) search by Bible or Commentary, search by multiple words, exact phrases, or expressions, you can also match the case and decide whether or not to use the bounds, no scope, or the bounds of the previous search.
You can insert your own bookmarks, create your personal area for notes, change the view, save a session to return later, and see daily devotions. This program will even read aloud in case you have a question as to how something should be pronounced.
For a free program I am impressed by the scope of what this offers. The two issues I need to work out are the Hebrew font, and remembering what each of the abbreviations stands for with the Bibles and Commentaries. I would recommend this program.


  1. Note that any Crosswire/Sword Project modules can be used. Also check the Xiphos Repository here:

  2. To install Bibles, dictionaries, etc. in MacSword:
    1. Launch MacSword.
    2. Click the MacSword menu and click Module Installer...
    3. In the new window, click Sync Install Sources.
    4. Browse the various repositories, selecting the modules you want to install.
    5. Click Process Tasks.

    Bible Desktop is another SWORD Project application that has native look & feel on Mac.

  3. In the sidebar module list, the right-click context menu provides an "About" link, to see explanatory detail on a module.

    Xiphos was actually a Linux program first. We brought it to the Windows world a year ago. Our next significant release will bring the Windows version up to feature parity with what is already possible under Linux.

    Karl Kleinpaste
    Xiphos project admin