[Review] BibleWorks 10

We are embarrassed by a wealth of riches in this age in which we live. Books are not only available in print but in electronic form as well. We can build whole libraries of the best in Reformed and broader Christian theological literature in a compact digital form easily and quickly accessible at the fingertip. We can call up classics like John Calvin’s Institutes on our desktops, notebooks, tablets, and phones. But some of us want to move beyond the reading of the Scriptural text to analyze it. Enter the BibleWorks program.

BibleWorks is an exceptional software package that puts at your fingertips a plethora of biblical studies tools. Its capabilities far outstrip the abilities of the average pastor-theologian. That is, if you are like me, you will be constantly amazed at the new and varied tasks you can perform in your effort to come to a better understanding of Scripture. BibleWorks does not replace firsthand knowledge of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. But it makes analysis of and meditation on the Scriptures in the original languages much easier and therefore it will be much more likely that the busy pastor-theologian will retain his familiarity with the Hebrew and Greek he sweated over so much in seminary.

BibleWorks contains multiple original language texts, numerous modern language versions of the Bible, lexicons, grammars, high resolution photos of original OT and NT manuscripts, Hebrew and Greek review tools, satellite maps (Bible atlases), a word processing editor which allows seamless typing in English, Hebrew, and Greek. You will also find audio forms of the complete Greek NT and various English versions. In addition, included are the early church fathers, the Apocrypha, the Aramaic Targums, the Pseudepigrapha, and other reference works. Additional reference works are available for purchase.

Up till now I have given a sample list of the resources available. The breadth of tools is astounding. But the heart of BibleWorks is what it can do. You can do simple and complex searches of the resources. You can do instant analysis simply by pointing and clicking. You can search for various constructions in the original languages. You can diagram your Greek pericopes (who doesn’t remember enjoying diagramming your Greek sentences in seminary?!). While I am tempted to treat BibleWorks as itself infinite, since only God is infinite, I recognize that there really is an end to what this software package can do. I just don’t know where it is!

You may already have an earlier version of BibleWorks and are wondering whether obtaining the new edition would be worth the money. Just to whet your appetite, consider these additions to previous editions: (1) You can control the number of viewing panes open in the program and can select from a palette of different color schemes. (2) There is now greater compatibility with Mac. The installer for Mac comes with the program so there is no need for an additional purchase. (3) You can scale the size of your viewing panes. (4) The program now has morphology coloring for nearly instant form recognition. (5) You can now examine the whole of the Leningradensis Codex of the OT. (6) BibleWorks now contains an EPUB ebook reader and organizer. These and many more additions make this a useful resource for sermon and Sunday school lesson preparation, for article and book research, and for just good old Scripture meditation.

A program of this sophistication may frighten some of you. Fear not. The manual is available in electronic format and there are a whole host of training videos that will walk you through almost every conceivable function of the software. Of course there is also the ever ready support.

BibleWorks 10 is a powerful tool which will assist you in your study of God’s Word. Rather than surround yourself with a pile of original language texts, lexicons, and grammars, you can now have these same reference works at your fingertips with a much smaller footprint. This raises another point: BibleWorks 10 would make a wonderful resource for the missionary who is not able to transport his library half way around the world. Whether you serve at home or abroad BibleWorks 10 will be a toolbox you will turn to over and over again.

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3 years ago

I like the business model of Bibleworks. It is more along the lines of an “open source” community supporting user provided content. One could format their content into Bibleworks format and sell the modules or make them available for free. Logos, on the other hand, has a more proprietary model. You sell the rights to your content to them on a one time basis. Bibleworks is like the small reformed church; Logos is like the big mega-church that sells coffee in the lobby. The founder of Logos, Bob Pritchard, an ex-Microsoft guy, reflects that corporate attitude in a book he wrote a book titled, “Fire Someone Today.” Its a free country, and Logos has every right to be profit oriented, but as someone who has dealt with Bibleworks to help them develop their C++ product, I can testify that they are a small team who are engaged in a labor of love. I like to root for the underdog and I like the way Bibleworks does business and wish them all the success.



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