Which Way Should I Turn? A Comparative Analysis of The Thompson Bible Study Library and Bible Explorer -- By: Keith Griffin
FM 17:1 (Fall 1999) p. 31
Which Way Should I Turn?
A Comparative Analysis of
The Thompson Bible Study Library and Bible Explorer
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587
As the church and her ministers enter the dawn of the twenty-first century, the computer has become an indispensable tool for the modern servant of God. For some, this change is a welcome part of their daily ministry—an enjoyable hobby that they dive into with enthusiasm. They have quickly joined the ranks of the “techno-geeks” who love to explore the latest software offerings from the local computer store. Every day they spend hours working to develop their keen computer prowess. They speak the computer language fluently and marvel that anyone could function without being “in sync” with the latest developments.
On the other hand, however, there are many Christian ministers and laypeople who are not gifted with such knowledge of computer wizardry. We struggle just to learn the basics of starting our computers and getting into our word processing programs. Our idea of computer daring is figuring out how to put shortcut icons onto our video screen! The main criterion for us in choosing a Bible software package is that it be understandable and easy for novices to operate. Yet we do desire to have a tool on our computer that can allow us to tap into the tremendous benefits the computer offers to the minister today. It is from this point of view that I examined two Bible software programs currently on the market. They are the Thompson Bible Study Library, which is produced by Kirkbride Bible and Technology and Bible Explorer, offered by Epiphany Software. In this comparative analysis, we shall try to determine which program offers the more powerful resource without leaving the “techno-illiterate” lost in cyberspace.
The makers of the Thompson Bible Study Library describe it as “the easiest way to study the Bible or research classic Christian reference works.” It is marketed with their STEP (Standard Template for Electronic Publishing) technology. Each of the five STEP levels, which range in retail price from $39.95 for STEP 1 to $249.95 for STEP 5, can be upgraded by unlocking those particular
FM 17:1 (Fall 1999) p. 32
resources the purchaser prefers. This allows a person to develop the program according to their changing abilities or needs without making their previous purchase obsolete. While buying the software already packaged in the STEP system is cheaper, the option of purchasing separate resources and unlocking them can be comforting to those not prepared to purchase the entire library at one time. The STEP format is also integra...
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