It was my pleasure to give a brief overview of BibleBento.com on the 40th anniversary of the ETCBC. I would like to share a little bit more here, including progress of the development since the presentation.
I am a full-time church minister. I like collecting Bible resources and softwares for Bible study. In the past, I tried most popular bible softwares available in the market, but none could satisfy my needs. I want to stick with a single Bible software, which integrates the best resources as many as possible. Some softwares are very good to deliver various kinds of resources, but they lack solid and high-quality data on the Hebrew Bible. Though some software companies sell very good modules on Hebrew data, their softwares are not open for integration with other biblical resources and their interfaces are not very friendly for use, especially on mobile platforms. I had been frustrated with switching back-and-fore between Bible softwares or data until a friend of mine drew my attention to the ETCBC website a few years ago.
Through the website, I found that the ETCBC promotes open science and research, which is very inspiring. I am also very grateful to ETCBC for their generosity to share their best available Hebrew Bible data for free. I started by downloading the data and made some modules to fit in the softwares I was using. Later, I joined the ETCBC “Slack” community, where many good people help me to understand more on using the ETCBC data. As I use more ETCBC data, I cannot live without it in my Bible study. However, I had not yet found a software integrating ETCBC data with other kinds of biblical resources in a good way. Neither can I easily fit the unique set of linguistic data of BHSA into the softwares I used. That’s why I started a small project BibleBento.com. My goals were simple and they are still the same now. First, integrating ETCBC’s BHSA data with wider biblical resources. Second, to provide the public free access to such a wonderful resource with friendly and accessible interface.
At BibleBento.com, I started by formatting BHSA’s data on morphology and linguistic analysis. Not only presenting the Hebrew Bible data, I also mapped the data with other resources, like Greek Bibles, modern translations, Hebrew lexicons, commentaries and resources on biblical backgrounds, etc. Praise the Lord that many send me good feedback about the website. I am happy with the site, except that I cannot use it in London Underground, where internet signals are very poor. In addition, it lacks some of the features that I want. As many users already got used to the BibleBento.com interface, rather than changing it, I started some things other than BibleBento.com. I am not a IT-trained person, but with God’s grace, I tried many different things. Below is a few examples:
- iOS-only offline BibleBento apps – This is my first attempt to write mobile apps to integrate BHSA data with wider biblical resources. Two were written, one is still available HERE, but they are meant to be replaced by newer apps, “UniqueBible.app“, which I will give a brief description below.
- Open Hebrew Bible Github Project – I tried to integrate BHSA data with resources based on WLC data, like Unabridged BDB Hebrew-English lexicons, Berean interlinear translations, etc.
- https://Marvel.Bible – It is meant to be an alternative to BibleBento.com. It significantly improves what I haven’t done on BibleBento.com, e.g. adding search capabilities, integrating the fruits of Open Hebrew Bible Github Project, etc.
- Desktop version of UniqueBible.app – This is my offline cross-platform desktop solution to deliver materials, originally formatted for https://Marvel.Bible. This also allows users to import resources from other popular bible softwares, so as to bring all resources on a single platform. This app runs offline in Windows / macOS and Linux.
- Android / Chrome OS & iPhone / iPad version of UniqueBible.app – This is my cross-platform mobile solutions to deliver the developed materials so far. It is meant to be the successor of iOS-only offline BibleBento apps mentioned above. Same as BibleBento apps, ETCBC’s BHSA data are fully accessible in the free version. Not only it is equipped with some new developed features described at https://www.uniquebible.app/mobile, there is a dedicated button for users to gain instant access of relevant resources hosted at: https://Marvel.Bible, so that they can enjoy features of both apps. Above is a screenshot of this mobile app.
Now I really enjoy to study ETCBC’s BHSA data on every platform, whether desktop or mobile. I think the public is really blessed by the good work pioneered in ETCBC. Without the core data, shared by ETCBC, none of the above work is possible.