5 Best Free and Open-Source Bible Study Programs for Linux and Windows

While there are many commercial Bible study programs available, there are also several very excellent free and open-source Bible study applications. They have many of the same features as their proprietary counterparts, yet they are available for free thanks to the many great open-source programmers. Below are 5 of the best open-source Bible study applications available.

Click on each one for more info, screenshots, and installation instructions for Windows and Linux (Ubuntu and openSUSE).

Bible Desktop - Open Source and Free Java Bible Study Program

Bible Desktop is an excellent cross-platform open-source Bible study application. Bible Desktop is a Java application, so it will run on nearly any operating system, including Windows, Linux and Mac. Bible Desktop uses the JSword project to read modules in Sword format so there is a huge range of Bibles, Commentaries, Dictionaries, Daily Devotionals and some General Books available for download. It is currently at version 1.6. Some of Bible Desktop's most notable features are:

BPBible - Easy to Use Open-Source Bible Study Software - How to Install on Linux and Windows

BPBible is an excellent open-source Bible study application. It can import over 200 Bible's, commentaries, maps, and more from the SWORD Project. Some of it's main features include:

  • Proximity Based Search
  • Flexible Layout
  • Topic Management
  • Scripture Tooltips

To install in Windows, simply go here and download the latest installer (currently .5.1.1).

Since version .5, BPBible hasn't natively worked in Linux. You can find a youtube video here that shows how to run BPBible .4.7 natively on Ubuntu 10.10, however, it won't work for recent versions of the application. Here is an explanation as to why .5 won't work. You must run the Windows version with WINE on Linux. To install WINE, run the following command:

Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install wine

openSUSE: sudo zypper install wine

Diatheke - A Command Line Bible Reader - Front-End to the SWORD Project

Diatheke is a command line application that lets you search and view data from the SWORD Project Library. This includes over 200 texts in over 50 languages, such as Bible texts, Commentaries, Dictionaries, and more. To the average user, Diatheke isn't that useful, as there are other graphical applications that more efficiently utilize the SWORD Project, such as Xiphos and BibleTime. Diatheke may be useful if you are a programmer or if you are scripting.

To install Diatheke and the King James Version of the Bible, run the following commands (unzip is not required to run Diatheke, it is used to unzip the Bible text, and it is likely already installed on your system. If you already have texts from the SWORD Project, you can skip that part):

Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install diatheke unzip

openSUSE: sudo zypper install sword unzip


cd /usr/share/sword/

sudo unzip ~/

BibleTime - Cross Platform Open Source Bible Study Application

BibleTime is an open source cross-platform Bible study application. BibleTime is currently at version 2.9.1 and you can find it in the repositories for most Linux distributions, including  Ubuntu and openSUSE. If you are looking for the most current packages available for your OS (including Windows), check here. Since it is based off the SWORD Project, BibleTime has access to the hundreds of Bibles, commentaries, maps, and more. You can freely download anything in their collection and index it for fast searching. Some of the more notable features of BibleTime are:

  • Personal Notes
  • Side-by-Side Version Comparisons
  • Fast Indexed Search
  • Access to SWORD Project Library

To install BibleTime in Linux, run the following command:

Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install bibletime

openSUSE: sudo zypper install bibletime

Windows: Download Here



Xiphos - Bible Study Application Based on the Open Source SWORD Project for Linux and Windows

When it comes to open source Bible study software, Xiphos is one of the most useful and well known programs out there. Xiphos is cross-platform and based on the open source SWORD Project. Formerly known as GnomeSword, Xiphos changed it's name to avoid confusion with Windows users who were not familiar with GNOME. Xiphos is currently at version 3.1.5. A slightly older version is in the repositories for most Linux distributions, including Ubuntu and openSUSE. Current binaries are available here for Fedora, Ubuntu, SuSE, FreeBSD, and Windows. Some of the things you can do with Xiphos are:

  • View your favorite scripture verse
  • Make sermon or personal notes on selected passages
  • Automatically follow Bible footnotes and cross-references
  • Compare translations in parallel
  • Work in original language study using the available Hebrew and Greek translations

Here are some of the features of Xiphos:

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