The Next STEP

A year or so ago, I blogged about the new online Scripture Tools for Every Person (STEP). Well, the good news is that STEP 2.0 has just been released, making it even more useful. The latest publicity blurb from Tyndale House says:

Bible software – Online and free

STEP (www.stepbible.org), an online resource making freely available serious Bible study software from the international team of researchers based at Tyndale House, Cambridge, has launched version 2.0. See the Brief feature listQuick tour and Sources.

“It is our vision to equip churches in every country with the tools to study the Bible in its original languages from the best that Cambridge and international scholars have to offer,” said Dr Peter Williams, Warden of Tyndale House. “While we’ve spent years pre-loading STEP with unique and cutting edge content, this re-launch is a significant stride toward making this accessible for all.”

Simon Sykes, Librarian and Chief Operations Officer, explains: “The church is well served by an array of free Bible study tools available online, and by paid proprietary software on the desktop. We looked at both those models and realised that Tyndale House was in a unique position to combine them – the latest in biblical scholarship; online and at no cost.”

What characterises STEP is its focus on the original languages, with tools specifically designed to allow those with no Hebrew and Greek to understand the original languages of the Bible. Readers can explore how any word in a passage has been translated everywhere else in the Bible. Additionally readers can access full dictionary entries and see how the original word was used within ancient sources. STEP gives an interlinear view allowing readers to see an array of Bible translations with equivalent words under each other.

STEP is for everyone interested in the Bible, from those just starting to read it to those who want to dig deeper. Typing a few letters into a single box enables readers to pick a language, a Bible translation, a passage, a subject, or a word. It will work out whether readers want to find all the passages where a word or subject occurs, or if they just want to read a passage.

Those working in parts of the world with less access to resources will find STEP particularly useful, with hundreds of Bibles in many languages. We are deeply grateful to our partners: to Crossway, who have made the ESV available, to Biblica, who have made the NIV and other translations available, and to CrossWire, who have invested years in making Bibles accessible and whose work we have been allowed to build on. STEP also has over forty language interfaces,  including Chinese, Russian, Spanish and Swahili.

If you study the Bible, teach the Bible or want to know more about the Bible then you really should bookmark and use STEP regularly. The only major problem I see with it is that a number of the major English translations are not available, though hopefully their publishers will soon be shamed into granting the STEP people the appropriate copyright. There are other tools out there that do similar things to STEP and which offer more complete solutions, but these all cost significant amounts of money.

Enough of the publicity – go and look at it, bookmark it and use it.

When I last mentioned STEP Simon Cozens also pointed me at this site which is of particular interest to software developers who are interested in working on Bible tools.

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