Living in a New Millennium
Joseph R. Nally
Reformed Perspectives Magazine,
In today’s hi-tech world how do we study the Bible? This is an important question. After all, how we translate and interpret the text determines how we read and apply the text.
I enjoy sitting in my favorite chair and just reading the Bible. It is comforting and edifying. But, what about when I desire to get into the meat of the text – the buried riches and truths? I could bring out numerous Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Latin texts and study a particular passage? I could go to my personal library and draw upon 1000’s of hard volume texts. However, I must admit that I find this rather time consuming. Of course, there is another alternative. I simply go to my computer and open BibleWorks (BW). “BibleWorks 8 is the premier original languages Bible software program for Biblical exegesis and research. It comes with Greek, Hebrew, and Septuagint Bibles for your computer, as well as translations in English, German, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and more!” 1 BibleWorks helps me focus on the biblical text for serious study.
What is BibleWorks? ‘BibleWorks is a unique software package designed by experts to help one study Scripture more efficiently, both in one’s native tongue and in the original languages.’ 2 I first began using BW approximately 15 years ago. Later, while one of my Hebrew professors urged proficiency with BW in class, I found it did far more than what I ever dreamed when I became a Theological Editor for IIIM. In version 8, programmers have greatly increased the possibilities for searching and displaying the databases. One can search multiple versions at once and even choose how to display the results. Language studies are greatly simplified. “More than a mere Bible search engine, BibleWorks comes with a variety of Bible search tools, lexicons, dictionaries, and morphology analysis.” 3 The Getting Started Tutorial is unequalled by any other Bible Software program I have used. BW 8 can help anyone to learn, study, preach, and teach the Bible, no matter what their level of education!
BW is fast. In my position, I am asked numerous questions from individuals all over the world on a weekly basis. Time is critical. BW meets the task of being able to give accurate biblical responses in a time sensitive manner. It performs complex grammatical and syntactical searches with precision and ease. Moreover, I am astonished at the number of volumes one receives for the relatively small cost of this remarkable product. The BW tools are well thought out and helpful. There are new analysis tabs, phrase matching tools, and new formatting for text export. In addition, there are new Greek and Hebrew grammars (Wallace, Waltke & O'Connor, and Joüon & Muraoka) and Syntactic and Thematic Greek Transcription of the New Testament (besides the Leedy Greek NT sentence diagrams in version 7, the William MacDonald’s “Textual Transcriptions” has been added). It includes the Early Church Fathers and so much more. This is a valuable asset in ministry; a true investment for the Kingdom of God.
While one may click here to see the tremendous resources one receives in BibleWorks 8, the real question is what can BW do? I will give one brief example of how important the text is and how BibleWorks can aid one.
Let us say we were going to examine an interesting verse such as 2 Peter 2:1.
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. (NAS)
Since the Scripture directs our doctrine what does this verse mean? A general reading of this verse appears to say that the Lord bought false prophets and false teachers. If we left the text unexamined, we may be drawn to the conclusion – against other Scripture – that a person may lose their salvation. If factual, this interpretation would seemingly undercut the doctrine of Limited Atonement seen throughout the Bible. As I stated in the first paragraph, “how we translate and interpret the text determines how we read and apply the text.”
BibleWorks comes to the rescue. A quick word study of the term “bought” illuminates the meaning of this verse. For word studies, I enjoy using “BW Report Generator” feature. In one easy step, it supplies me with: (1) different versions of a particular verse, (2) a Morphological analysis of each version, (3) how many times each word is used in each version, (4) a Lexicon definition and usage of a term and depending how I set the parameters, so much more. As one may readily see this is a user-friendly interface:
1. to frequent the marketplace.I observe that the Greek term used for bought is “agorazo.” I note something else of particular interest – that the term by itself DOES NOT mean “redeem.” In addition, from the definition, I understand that the word “agorazo” means “to buy” in the ordinary and full sense of the English word “buy.” By examining, the other verses it is used in, I understand it means more than simply to pay a price towards something; it includes the idea of full ownership.
So, how do we apply this to 2 Peter 2:1? When I did my initial search in BW (a simple click on the term “bought”), it listed that the term “agorazo” is used 37 times in the Bible. One of the uses seems parallel to 2 Peter 2:1. In the Old Testament we read:
Deuteronomy 32:6 Do you thus repay the LORD, O foolish and unwise people? Is not He your Father who has bought you? He has made you and established you. (NAS)
Peter, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, alludes to Deuteronomy 32:6 when he says, “denying the Master who bought them.” However, note how He bought them – “He has made you and established you.” Therefore, with the clarifying nature of Deuteronomy 32:6, we understand that the phrase simply means bought in the sense of being “made and established” and not “redeemed” (compare, 2 Pet. 2:13 with Deut. 32:5 as well). This is further substantiated by the use of Lord (despotes in 2 Peter 2:1) meaning “absolute sovereign” – the NIV translates it as Sovereign Lord. In other words, the owner of each member of the human race. As Luke writes in Acts 4:24, “And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, "O Lord [despotes], it is You who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM” (NAS). Therefore, rather than challenging other Scriptures concerning redemption, 2 Peter 2:1 rather strengthens the idea of God’s total sovereignty – as mankind’s maker and creator (Rom. 9:20-23).
Wow, life changing word studies, multiple volumes, rapid access, ease of use, and dedicated customer support equal an unparalleled study resource for this century. If you are serious about Bible Study then you will naturally be serious about BibleWorks. It is rapidly becoming the quintessential for scholars, seminary professors, pastors, missionaries, and students who have original language exposure. If you are serious about exegesis and have been waiting to purchase the right program your wait is over. BibleWorks 8 is your answer!
Joseph R. Nally is Theological Editor of Third Millenium Ministries.
1. BibleWorks. Last Accessed 01/10/2009: http://www.bibleworks.com/.
2. BW Pamphlet, page 2.
3. BibleWorks. Last Accessed 01/10/2009: http://www.bibleworks.com/.
4. Joseph H. Thayer. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, “agorazo. “ Thayer’s stated much more, but I reduced the content for brevity.