eBible Beta Review

18 comments | Posted: 11 May 06 in General, by Jeremy Flint

I was sent an invite to the eBible beta a few days ago. There are other Bible sites out there, the most popular probably being BibleGateway.com. eBible looks to break the mold of web-based Bible tools with a simple, slick interface and some great features.
The main screen is much like Google, with a simple search form that you can use to either search for a specific scripture verse or a keyword. You can also do an Answers search or a Product search.

Verse and Keyword
When you do a search for a verse of scripture, you are presented with that verse, highlighted, and in the context of the passage it is part of. While it defaults to the King James Version of the Bible, you can set your preferences to default to one of 5 translations (no NIV?). You can also bring up multiple translations in parallel, so that you can compare the verse. There is also commentary available. It is shown in a collapsable sidebar on the left, as well as in popups within the actual text.

When you search for a keyword, you are presented with a Google-esque results page. Along the top, books and other products that match the keyword. Just below that, a link to the Answers page for the term. Listed on the page are the references to the term in scripture. I am not sure how they are ranked or what the criteria is that determines where it shows up. For instance, searching for Heaven returns Genesis 1:1 as the first result, Genesis 2:4, then Matthew 5:3.

Seemingly inspired by Answers.com, this search does just that. It gives answers to the term you search for, referencing specific verses and passages in the Bible and providing links to related scripture. It starts with a “What Is It?” section, pulling references from Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary. The “What else?” secion pulls from an additional source, and follows up with the passages in the bible where the term occurs.

Doing a product search on a keyword will return a list of books and other material related to your search term.

Final Thoughts
All-in-all, this is a great tool so far. I have been testing it on a MacBookPro using Camino and have had no problems with it. The ability to compare translations in parallel is a great tool. I would like to see more translations added (and I am sure they will eventually). I usually use NIV, and it is a pretty popular translation, so it would be nice to at least have it added.
Some other features I could see being of value:

As I said before, this is a great beta product. I am sure the feature set will continue to grow as they continue to develop it. Since they are still in the Beta phase, access is by invite only, and each user only has 1 invite. I am not giving mine away just yet. However, if you want a chance at an invite and the chance to help out a great cause, they are auctioning off an invite on eBay with all of the proceeds going towards purchasing stoves for families in Nepal. Learn more at the eBible Blog.

Discuss This Topic

  1. 1 ketsugi

    NIV’s got some nasty copyright/licensing issues, if I recall correctly. TNIV is free, but I haven’t been hearing too many good things about the changes that were made in the translation.

    What are the other 4 translations available? Is ESV among them? I’m still waiting for an invite to come my way…

  2. 2 Jeremy Flint

    The 5 tranlastions available are

    * King James
    * New King James
    * New Century Version
    * New American Standard Bible
    * The Message

  3. 3 Brandon

    I would love to get an invite to this! It looks cool.

  4. 4 Yorkali Walters

    Hi Jeremy,
    This looks awesome! Finally someone did this, I am really excited. Is there any chance you could send me an invite…please.


  5. 5 Chris Harrison

    I’ve been very impressed with it so far as well. I got an invite two days ago and played around with it for a while.

    I hope they are able to add the ESV translation… that’s the one I prefer :)


  6. 6 Mark

    Thanks for doing a review Jeremy. We love GODBIT. I just upped your invites to 5 so feel free to hand them out to your readers as you wish.

    p.s. ESV is on the way and we are working on many other Bibles and other reference titles. This is fun stuff.

    p.s.s. shameless plug The eBay auction also includes the first ever eBible.com T-shirt (choose from “Jesus loves Web 2.0” and another more plain eBible.com T)


  7. 7 Nathan Smith

    Mark: Oh man, that T-Shirt is priceless. You should put “The second coming, of the web.” Actually, I’m not sure if that’d be too sacreligious or not.

  8. 8 Chris Harrison

    Awesome news, Mark. I’m psyched to hear eBible will be supporting the ESV soon. I look forward to continued use of the application, and I look forward to its future development!

  9. 9 BC

    This Looks like a fantastic tool… I would love an invite to this beta if anyone would be kind enough… bc@beardingchristian.com

  10. 10 Makki

    Yes this is yet another great tool for searching the Bible. I would like to get a invite if possible please.

  11. 11 Kris Carter

    I love BibleGateway.com and use it daily as I work, for quick keyword and passage lookups. I think Id be a great Beta User so PLEASE send me an invite! Great review of what looks to be an awesome resource for Christians everywhere!


  12. 12 turntojesus

    Will it take too long before they make it public. I would love to get an invite. Is it possible?.

  13. 13 James Mitchell

    Good review. I have been testing this for the last few weeks as well. I am impressed and it when the work out a few of the tiny beta-ish kinks I’ll be using it as my primary online bible.

  14. 14 Kaala Souza

    Love an invite if still available! Read about it on techcrunch and your blog. I’m a pastor in Hawaii and am excited about the 2.0 stuff :)


  15. 15 Randy Willis

    Thanks for the info/review!

    I entered my email address at ebible.com and I’m “in line.” I look forward to using it!

  16. 16 Eric Lake

    I would love to get an invite to ebible as well. I have signed up to be in line as well.

  17. 17 Batsirai

    I would love to get an invite to ebible as well. I have signed up to be in line as well.

  18. 18 Chris

    I just got in to ebible and am pretty impressed. I will be doing a review of it also at my blog (Thinking Christian) after tomorrow when they say they will do a major update. I think ebible will go far.


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