Journal of the Evangelical Homiletics Society
by Dr. Roy Ciampa
In a comment now found within the brochure for BibleWorks 7, I previously agreed with the product's claim to be the "Premier Biblical Exegesis Software Tool" and stated that in my opinion "there is no better software program available for the direct and independent study of the biblical texts themselves." This latest version has numerous improvements over the previous ones and my opinion regarding the status of this product still holds, although the competition is becoming much hotter.
Using BibleWorks basic word searches are as simple as left clicking or right clicking on a word on the screen. To see an instant list of every place where a word (or exact form of a word) appears in a given biblical text or translation one merely double-clicks on the word in its context. If one would like to see every place where any form of that word appears in the Bible one can simple right-click on the word and then choose "Search on Lemma." Simply by selecting a phrase on the screen with one's cursor and then right-clicking and choosing "Search for String" one will instantly see all the places in the Bible where that exact phrase appears. By using the Advanced Search Engine one may search for virtually any grammatical construction that can be imagined.
Simply by placing the cursor over a Hebrew or Greek word one sees a temporary popup window with the lexical form of the word, its parsing and English glosses (possible translations) for the word. That same information also appears in an auto-info window elsewhere on the screen along with the entry for the word in the lexicon of your choice. BibleWorks has simplified the use of Greek or Hebrew for those who have not studied those languages (or who have forgotten what they learned).
The latest version of BibleWorks comes with a new user interface which provides much greater flexibility in arranging the different windows of the program and the ability to keep different projects open at the same time. The editor has also been greatly improved through the addition of many new features, including full support for exporting Unicode texts and files that are fully compatible with Word and WordPad.
It also comes with more texts than ever including the 27th edition of Nestle-Aland. It also comes with Rahlfs' text of the Septuagint and the BHS Hebrew text. The works of Philo, Josephus, and the early Greek fathers are now included in both Greek and English translation.
One may browse through one's favorite Bible text or translation or see a series of texts and translations at the same time in the order of one's choosing (for example, the Hebrew Bible, followed by the Septuagint and then your favorite translations). Inserting a biblical text into a Word document is as easy as pressing control-shift-B and entering the reference for the desired text.
The program comes with all the most popular English Bible translations. It also comes with Bible translations in about 24 other languages. Included are three Hebrew lexicons and six Greek lexicons The very best Hebrew and Greek lexicons (HALOT and BDAG) are not included but may be purchased as separate modules. For a full list of the contents see the BibleWorks website:
BibleWorks has clear focus on the analysis of the biblical texts themselves and it is still my first recommendation for anyone interested in carrying out their own thorough but rapid lexical or grammatical searches/analyses of the biblical texts. This new version includes sentence diagrams (with some notes) for the Greek New Testament which will undoubtedly help folks work their way through texts that would otherwise be unfathomable. But besides its primary emphasis on language, Bibleworks also helps the exegete study culture, geography, etc. A feature I enjoy is a great set of satellite maps that makes it easy to find anyplace mentioned in the Bible and to zoom in especially in Israel (and more so in Jerusalem).
This software package has far too many features to be adequately described in a brief review. It comes with a 30-day return guarantee, but I cannot imagine anyone wanting to return it. It is one of the first programs I start up at the beginning of my workday and one of the last ones I shut down.
Dr. Roy Ciampa is
Director of the Th.M. program in Biblical Studies and Associate Professor of New Testament at