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.
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:
- Some sort of daily reading tool that would link you to the passages to be read that day.
- Clean URLs (or at least cleaner than they are now). That would make it easier to hack the URL to drop in specific verses without having to re-search.
- Maybe some way to show what is getting the most searches (a zeigeist if you will).
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.
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