CODEX: An Electronic Bible and Concordance for the eComStation Generation
From OS2eCS Organization
Codex is a Biblical concordance. Basically it is a fast search program to find words in the Bible. It was written by J. Brandon Barnes.
In the olden days, before computers, people who seriously studied the Bible would have a Concordance book nearby. In fact, many study Bibles today include a small concordance within the binding. Basically, a concordance was a book that contained most of the words in the Bible in alphabetical order. (Of course, simple words like, "the, and, or" would not be included in a concordance. You could look up a word and the concordance would list all the places that word was located in the Bible. Of course, concordances were translation specific. Some would even give a brief definition of the word and sometimes the Greek or Hebrew word. For more in-depth Greek and Hebrew definitions, Vine's Expository Dictionary is the book you want.
- The Program
Codex is a "full-featured Bible concordance". It is available from BMTMicro (see below). Codex is small and fast. After double clicking on the icon you get a window starting with, well the beginning, Genesis 1:1.
You can then scroll through the entire Bible or use the look up dialog. To get to a specific location in the Bible, you can pick the book, chapter, and verse you want to read.
Of course, as you would expect you can search the Bible for words or phrases. The dialog box even provides suggestions as you type in your word of choice. You can even limit your search to various groupings of the Bible such as, Old Testament, Historical books, Gospels and others. As expected, you can add operators to your search for full Boolean searches.
The search results in a new window opening. This window lists the verses that contain the word(s) that you initiated the search with.
A single click on a line in the Verse List window will take you to the verse you clicked on. The word(s) you looked up is even highlighted in magenta, while the rest of the text is black.
Of course the King James Translation comes standard with Codex. The author wanted to provide the New International Version (NIV) as well, but Zondervan, the owners of the copyright, wanted over US$10,000 up front and an additional amount for each copy sold. This was far too much for a shareware product, so no NIV translation.
Even though the NIV is the best selling translation, the situation is not so bad. The Lockman Foundation, which controls the New American Standard Bible (NASB) translation, was much more cooperative. For a small additional fee, (see below) a NASB translation is available for Codex. The NIV translates from the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts phrase by phrase. This lends to a text that flows and is quite easy to read. On the other hand, the NASB is translated word for word with a particular emphasis on verb tenses. This results in the NASB being closer to the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek in phrasing and word order. While the NASB does not read as smoothly as the NIV, the NASB can claim to be the most reliable English translation. Since a concordance would be more often used in an in-depth Bible study, wouldn't you want the most accurate translation available, even if it does not flow off the tongue as well as other translations?
The situation even gets better. If you remember reading an older edition of the NASB translation, you would come across the words Thou, Thee, and Thy in the language of prayer when addressing Deity. The NASB translation that comes with Codex is the 1995 edition which replaced Thou, Thee, and Thy with You and Your.
At the author's web site you can also download some other translations which include the Darby (1890), Webster, and Young's Literal (1898) translation. As you can see these translations are quite old and beyond copyright. But sometimes it is helpful to read more than one translation. Within the Codex window it is possible to have multiple translations open at the same time. They can even (on the preferences dialog) synchronize so that all translations open to show the same verse.
In addition to translations, Codex also comes with some additional references. Along with the program you get "Easton's Bible Dictionary" and "Hitchcock's Bible Names". While the interface of the references is not the best they are usable and helpful.
Other features available include the ability to bookmark different areas and name the bookmarks whatever you like for quick look up later.
- What I like
I have turned to Codex time and again when preparing Bible studies for small groups and for my own personal Bible study. The search is very helpful and I like reading the different translations side by side. Besides the functionality I mentioned above, I like the ability to copy a single verse or multiple verses to the clipboard to paste into something else. The NASB copyright allows a person to "reprint and/or quote the text of the [NASB] up to and inclusive of two hundred verses without express written permission...." The Foundation does request when text is used in not-for-sale media that the abbreviation NASB be used at the end of the quotation. Most of all Codex is fast and does not get in the way of my study.
- What I don't like
Of course no program is perfect for everyone. So here are my few gripes about Codex.
My first gripe concerns when you bring up the verse with the word you searched for. The verse is located at the top of the window. I so often find myself scrolling upwards to see the previous verse or verses. A major part of Bible study is context. And to gain the context the particular verse you are looking at requires the verse or verses that proceed it. When in Africa 99 % of the questions we received could be answered by reading the verse in question in context.
The references are a nice addition, but the interface seems a bit minimalist. It almost seems as if the references were a last minute add in.
Finally I don't like the way the multiple verse clipboard copy is implemented. First off, it is done via a dialog box instead of just highlighting verses and then copy. In addition, the copy contains the reference at the end of every verse. It would be nicer if the copy range would put the reverence at the end of all the verses copied instead of after every verse.
Just for this article the price of Codex has been reduced. For Codex and the King James translation the cost is US$15.00 available at BMT Micro. Codex alone. If you also want the NASB translation, you will pay an additional US$15.00, for a total of US$30.00 from BMT Micro. Codex with NASB translation. This is a great deal and better than what I paid for it some years ago.
In conclusion I must admit that Codex is one icon close to my desktop. I find it very useful. Yes an NIV would be nice but I do prefer the NASB for a more in-depth Bible study anyway. Along with a few other programs, I consider the money spent, well worth it (and that was before the new pricing).
Editor's Note: for more information on CODEX, you may visit the developers website: http://www.alaska.net/~saai/cs/creative.html
Mike Engle teaches biology at Mount Aloysius College in South Central Pennsylvania, USA. (A university for anyone outside of the US.) He has been using OS/2 since version 2.0. Before that he used CP/M. Any other operating system he finds too frustrating (causes him to swear too much).