[The following is a rough English translation of the original article.]
More powerful, easier to use, fast; and that against the same price
Dr. A. H. Bogaards
Kerknuus.com, Spring 2009.
An Afrikaans saying goes: unknown, unloved. The reverse is also true in the case of BibleWorks: known, loved. The more you get acquainted with BibleWorks, the more you will fall in love with it.
I have the most important Bible software on my computer, but BibleWorks is my favorite and with version 8 this is even more the case.
It is impossible in a short article as this one to tell you everything. In a glimpse I want to show you some of the most important features and books of BibleWorks. If you want to know more, I refer you to the brochure on the homepage of BibleWorks.
More powerful, easier to use, fast
With their previous release the aim of the programmers of BibleWorks was: power, simplicity, speed.
If I have to compare BibleWorks 7 with version 8, I will say: More powerful, easier to use, fast.
More – and that against the same price
It is unbelievable: Although there is a mass of new functions and books, BibleWorks kept the price of the basic packet the same ($349). This says a lot about the attitude and convictions of the developers of BibleWorks.
The original texts
The basic packet of BibleWorks ($349) contains 35 original language texts and morphology databases.
This includes the BHS Hebrew Old Testament, the Nestle Aland (27th edition) and the UBS (4th edition) Greek New Testament and the Textus Receptus.
Furthermore, there are other important texts like the Septuagint (Rahlfs), the Syrian translation of the New Testament (Peshitta), the Old Syriac Sinaiticus manuscript, the Old Syriac Curetonian manuscript and the Aramaic paraphrase of the Old Testament (Targums), which enhance the importance of BibleWorks for the theologian.
All these texts are tagged. This means that when you point at a word in the Hebrew Old Testament text with your mouse, the complete morphology of the word will appear in a pop-up window on the screen and at the right side of the screen there is a window (the Analysis Window) which take you to the correct place in the Hebrew dictionary e.g. Brown-Driver-Briggs.
The basic packet includes the Greek dictionaries of Louw-Nida, Friberg, Thayer, Barclay-Newman and Liddell-Scott (abridged).
For the Hebrew and Aramaic there is the dictionaries of the Brown-Driver-Briggs dictionaries (full and abridged), the Theological Workbook of the Old Testament and Holladay’s A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon based on the work of Koehler and Baumgartner.
For most students and ministers these Hebrew and Greeks distionaries are already sufficient.
The following important books must be purchased separately as they are not included in the basic packet: the Greek dictionary by Bauer-Danker-Arndt-Gingrich ($150) and the standard Hebrew-Aramaic dictionary by Koehler-Baumgartner ($159). If you buy Bauer-Danker and Koehler-Baumgartner together, you get it at a special price ($212). Also include as optional module is Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the NT (Abridged) ($59) and the full Liddel and Scott ($135).
The basic packet contains the well-known works of Gesenius, the standard reference work on Hebrew grammar. And you do not have to page through the book. Hovering with your mouse pointer over Genesis 1:1, the Analysis Window immediately shows ten links to Genesis 1:1 in Gesenius.
New to the basic packet is Daniel B. Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament; Waltke and O'Connor’s Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax; and Joüon-Muraoka’s Grammar of Biblical Hebrew (2006 revised edition). In BibleWorks 7 the price of these books was in total $148. Now it is for free.
The following must be purchased as optional module: The Greek Grammar of Blass-Debrunner-Funk ($55).
A great variety of Bible translations
Now users can have more Bible translations (about 190 in nearly 40 languages)
BibleWorks includes all the important English translations such as the KJV, the NKJ, the ESV, the NLT, NASB and the NET Bible.
There are seven Dutch Bible translations: the Leidse Vertaling, the Lutherse Vertaling, the translation of the NBG, the Statenvertaling and the Willibrord Vertaling (1978 and 1995).
Of great importance for theologians and translators is Luther’s translation of the Bible (1545) in German.
Of great value for me is the Delitzsch Hebrew New Testament.
Good news for Afrikaans users of BibleWorks
Good news for Afrikaans users of BibleWorks is that the Afrikaans 1953 – translation and also the 1983 – translation is available in this version of BibleWorks.
The basic packet includes the works of Flavius Josephus and Philo. Also included are the following: International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Faussett Bible Dictionary, Synopsis of the Gospels, A.T. Roberton’s Word Pictures in the Greek NT, Metzger’s Bible Outline, Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Nave’s Topical Index, Bible Timelines, Matthew Henry’s Commentary.
New (free) to BibleWorks 8 is the Early Church Fathers by Schaff and the Babylonian Talmud and Mishnah translated by Rodkinson. Also new to Version 8 is the Dead Sea Scrolls English Translation Bundle: Biblical and Sectarian Texts ($30).
Many powerful and useful functions
The program has three windows: thee Search Window, the Browse Window and the Analysis Window.
The Browse Window displays the Bible text in various languages. The Search Window wil display the results of your search. The Analysis Window displays dictionaries, grammars and commentaries.
If you double-click on as word, say "law", in the Browse Window all places where "law" appears in Scripture will display almost immediately. To search for a phrase is just as easy and just as quick. Searches can also be performed by means of the Command Line or a more advanced serach engine (Graphical Search Engine).
If you hover the mouse over the Hebrew word "torah" (law) in Psalm 1:2, the analysis window provides you with a linguistic analysis and meaning of the word as per your preferred dictionary. Under the Analysis Window (Resources Tab) links to where the word appears in other dictionaries and grammars will also be displayed.
In the Analysis Window, apart from a few other functions, you will also find the Context Tab. This Tab shows you which words appear in the pericope, chapter and Bible book you are busy with, as well as their frequency. The word "law" for instance is used twice in Psalm 1 and 35 times in the book of Psalms. This may help you to recognize lines and themes in Bible books.
Bibleworks 8 has futher refined the KWIC-function (Key Word in Context) of version 7. In my opinion this is one of the most important and most valuable functions in BibleWorks. This function will help you to see in what context a word is used, thereby helping you to better understand the meaning of a word. You can for instance find out which words are used within 5 words (or however many you choose) of the word "(take) refuge" in the Psalms. Thus you will see that the word "in" often appears together with "(take) refuge". This leads to the discovery that the word "(take) refuge" is used only in connection with God – take refuge "in" God.
Bible translations and the original texts can be displayed next to each other, below each other and can be compared to each other. BibleWorks will show the differences between the translations by marking them.
The important work of E Tov and F Polak is also included in BibleWorks: The Hebrew and Greek texts of the Old Testament are compared to each other to show which words are used to translate the Hebrew words. This allows you to easily ascertain which Greeks words are used (nomos and logos once) to translate the Hebrew word Torah ("law").
I have to stop here. I have opened the the door to BibleWorks and its riches just a tiny fraction, but I trust that it will be sufficient to whet your appetite.
An excellent and easy to use Help
With the program is supplied a comprehensive and easy to use manual, telling you exactly how to use BibleWorks.
BibleWorks also has extensive context-sensitive help.
And that is not all. The program includes Study Guides and instructional videos telling you step by step how to master the program.
With such a Help there is almost no need to go on a course to master the program.
The basic packet of BibleWorks is comparatively more affordable as something similar in other programs of this sort.
It is true that Libronix contains many more commentaries than BibleWorks, but there is a good reason why BibleWorks does not go for it. In their manual BibleWorks says: "We have struggled as a company to decide how best to respond to the module-frenzy that seems to have possessed the Bible-software marketplace. BibleWorks has purposely tried to stay out of the fray because we do not think it is in the best interests of our users to encourage them to purchase a multitude of external modules. In the absence of real publishing standards we feel such purchases to be risky at best. We don't know of anyone who is planning on leaving a large electronic library to their children. And yet electronic book prices are typically equal to or higher than print prices. We urge caution to all of our users and recommend that most of their library funds be spent on traditional print books. We do however realize that there are some tools that exegetes use on a daily basis and which would therefore benefit from being available in electronic form. We will begin to provide our users with as many of these as possible over the next few months. We will try to do it in a way that maximizes value to our users and minimizes long-term risk. We do however encourage users to buy the print editions first."
It is also possible to create your own modules. There is a BLOG (http://bibleworks.oldinthenew.org/) where you can download modules created by users, free of charge. Available modules include, amongst others, Calvin’s commentaries and that of Keil and Delitzsch.
Dr. A. H. Bogaards is an author and pastor in the Reformed Church of South Africa.