Vim & diatheke

I’m sure the subset of pastors who use the Vim editor for sermon and lesson preparation is probably miniscule. If you are one of them I have found an excellent tool for inserting biblical references into your document. The open source Sword project has command line bible tool called diatheke. (I think it is installed automatically with their other Bible software projects; at least I think my Bible Time installation included it.)

You can quickly insert scripture into a document you’re editing in Vim with the :read! command. For example:

:read! diatheke -b ESV -k 1 Peter 3:21

This is much quicker for me than using mouse selection and moving between programs.

4 thoughts on “Vim & diatheke

  1. I’m one of the 0.0001% pastors that use Vim when write my sermons and some years ago I’ve made a simple plugin for Vim that let you use diatheke in a more simple way. You can find it here

    Install the plugin in your vim’s plugin directory an then, in your text, simply select visually the verse you like (Example: 1 John 5:13), then hit ‘B’ (for Bible, of course =)) and follow the menu.

    I hope this help you.

    And please forgive my poor english, is not my native language.


  2. Hi. I also use vim as my editor. I am a pastor from Brazil and I totally agree that much less than 0.0001% pastors use Vim in the World. I think that most of them have never heard about this powerful tool! Thanks a lot for the hints and God bless your ministry there.

    Here are some more commands I have tried:

    Vim + Diatheke verse(s) insertion


    :read! diatheke -b Portuguese -k Jo 3:16
    :read! diatheke -b TR -k Jo 3:16
    :read! diatheke -b system -k modulelist

    Use the below commands prefixed by ‘ :read! ‘ – without quotes

    diatheke -b system -k modulelist
    diatheke -b HebModern -k gen 1:1
    diatheke -b 2TGreek -k jn 1
    diatheke -b system -k modulelist
    diatheke -b system -k modulelist|grep TR
    diatheke -b TR -k jn 1
    diatheke -b TR -o n -k Jo 3:16 – with strong’s numbers
    diatheke -b StrongsGreek -k 3056
    diatheke -b Tisch -k jn 1
    diatheke -b Tisch -o a -k jn 1
    diatheke -b Tisch -o a -k jn 1 > /tmp/John1_greek
    vim /tmp/John1_greek

  3. I too am one of those geeky bible study leader, who loves to work on Vim. btw, Vim is one of the most beautiful creation of man.

    Thank you. I will try diatheke.

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