by Sherif Gendy
I have been using BibleWorks (BW) since it is 5th edition. Ever since, I have been upgrading and using its new additions of resources and functions. As a PhD student in biblical studies, I rely on BW for my research and use it regularly for my work on biblical languages, morphology, sentence flow, and discourse analysis.
In this blog series, I share my experience of using BW, with special attention to BW10, to show how your reading of God’s Word will be immensely enhanced as you avail oneself of BW10. This first post introduces BW as a whole and highlights some tools that I find useful in studying the Scriptures. The next three posts will explain some of the main functions of the three core Windows in BW: Search Window, Browse Window, and Analysis Window. The final post will highlight the new resources in BW10.
As the most comprehensive Bible software program I have ever used, BW offers numerous tools needed for close exegesis of the original text of the Bible. It has 200+ Bible translations in 40 languages, 50+ original language texts and morphology databases, dozens of lexical-grammatical references, plus several integrated analysis tools.
When you focus on a biblical passage, whether for an academic research, sermon preparation, or simple daily reading, you would definitely need some tools and resources to help you better grasp the text’s meaning. BW achieves two goals in a simple, straightforward way: it saves your time looking for information in books, and it points you to the text without simply making a hermeneutical decision for you. Thus, your exegesis, based on biblical languages, is accomplished efficiently and accurately as you use BW’s tools, which will enrich your study of the biblical text. Through BW, you interact with the text firsthand.
BW is inevitable if you are looking into doing a linguistic and intertextual analysis. Finding echoes, allusions, or direct quotations across the Testaments is made easy with the use of BW’s several search options and cross references. With a simple search, you can see how a certain word is used across the Testaments, in the LXX, Targum, or Pseudepigrapha. Text-linguistic analysis is effortlessly achievable through the aid of BW and its lexical and syntactic resources.
The tools for analyzing the text (e.g., related verses, phrase matching) and viewing the text (e.g., parallel versions, synopsis window, text comparison), are particularly helpful for nonacademic Bible students and readers. Whereas, the more academic resources that I find very helpful are the lexical-grammatical references for Hebrew (e.g., Joüon-Muraoka, Waltke & O’Connor), Aramaic (e.g., Reymond), and Greek (e.g., Danker, Wallace), text criticism resources (e.g., NT critical apparatus), and reference works (e.g., Bible dictionaries, confessions of faith, detailed satellite and elevation maps, and commentaries). These tools and resources are fully integrated and tagged with the text.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of resources found in BW10. For a complete list of resources, see the full contents of BW10 here.
The Search Window
In the last post, I introduced BibleWorks (BW) as a whole and how it can enhance your study of theScripture. In this post, we look at the Search Window (SW), which is the first of three main windows in BW and located on the left. The SW provides a user interface that is used for performing searches on the various Bible versions in BW.
The SW is composed of two main parts. The first part is the Command Line, which is a text input box located at the top. It is where one enters words, phrases, morphology searches, or verses to look up. The number of different search options varies from a simple search for a word or phrase to searches that are more complex. For example, you can do a linear phrase search, specify verse context limits, or specify word context limits for lexical phrase searches. There is much more you can do in the Command Line.
The second part of the SW is the Results Verse List Box. It is a list box under the Command Line that displays the text of the verses resulting from the search. The verse list contains check boxes for each verse reference that enable further processing on selected verse results. For example, you can repeat last copy command, copy selected results list verse, or invert verse list.
What is unique about the SW is that biblical scholars can perform complex lexical and morphological searches that otherwise would take hours, if not days, to do them manually. Accuracy in results and speed in search performance are two key components that set BW apart as a Bible software program. Let us look at an example of complex search in Hebrew and Greek.
Hebrew: To search for any piel OR hithpael form of the stem כפר AND any form of the stem עון OR חטא you simply type (/כפר@vp* כפר@vt*).(/עון חטא) in the Command Line with the WTM (Westminster Hebrew OT Morphology) selected as the search version.
Greek: To search for the word καλoς followed by a form of the word εργον within five words, with the two words agreeing in gender, case, and number all you have to do is to type ‘καλoς =gcn *5 εργον in the Command Line with the BNM (NA28 BibleWorks Greek NT Morphology) selected as the search version.
These are just examples of a lot more complex searches one can perform in the SW of BW. One can search the entire Bible or limit the search to an arbitrary collection of passages or books. Once searching is done, BW gives detailed statistics with options to transfer texts, verses, parallel passages from different versions, entire Bibles, and lexicon entries to one’s favorite word processor.
In sum, the SW is a key part of BW that opens many doors to close analysis of the text for further exegesis and intertextual studies. The SW is where you start your journey of understanding the biblical text through BW.
The Browse Window
This is the third post on my four-post review of BibleWorks. The first post was a general introduction of the program with some notable features highlighted. In the second post,I talked about the first of the three main windows in BibleWorks, the Search Window (SW). In this post, we look at the Browse Window (BW), which is located in the center of BibleWorks.
The BW is where the text of verses resulting from searches in the SW is displayed. The BW is composed of two main parts. The first part is the Header, which is the upper portion of the BW. Fully customizable, the Header can display a dropdown outline of the Bible or a series of navigation list boxes, allowing one to select the Bible version, book, chapter, and verse. One of the interesting options in the Header is a dropdown list on the left side that allows one to choose from various Bible outlines and set outline options. These outlines were produced by the editors of different Bible translations. Another important dropdown list in the Header is the Browse Window Options. This is where different toggle options are available. One toggle that I find helpful is the Toggle Difference Highlighting. When selected, this toggle shows the word use differences in all the Bible versions by having them marked with color highlighting in the Test Area.
The second part of the BW is the Text Area, which displays the text of verses. Text can be displayed in two modes, Single Version Browse Mode (where a verse is displayed in its larger biblical context in a running, continuous text) or Multiple Version Mode (where a verse is displayed in many different Bible versions). One can easily toggle between the browse mode and the multiple version mode. The Text Area is closely linked with the SW. A double click on a word runs a search for it in SW. A double click on a version label will make that version the default search version. There is a number of menu searching options through a right click on a word in the Text Area. For example, one can search on lemma for a Hebrew or Greek word to find any instance of that word no matter what form it takes in the text. Through a right click in the Text Area one can lookup text in the default Bible dictionary, lookup a place name in the BibleWorks maps, and other options for looking up a word in a lexicon. For New Testament Greek text, one can also right click on a word and choose to open a New Testament diagram at that word or listen to the text read in Greek.
In short, the BW is the primary means to read and view the biblical text. It is as if your physical Bible is open right before your eyes with many fast ways and easy options to flip its pages and navigate its content.
The Analysis Window
This is the fourth post in my five-post review of BibleWorks (BW). In the first post, we looked at BWas a whole and how it can be used to enhance our reading of the Scriptures and aid our exegetical studies. We looked in the second post at the Search Window, which is the first of three main windows in BW, where searches are performed on the various Bible versions. In the third post, was discussed the second window, the Browse Window, where the text of verses resulting from searches in the Search Window is displayed.
Today, we look at the third and last main window in BW—the Analysis Window (AW). The AW displays an analysis of the biblical text in the Browse Window through various functions that are accessed by a set of 18 tabs across the top of the window. Each tab represents a separate tool to analyze the text.
The AW can be split into two columns with each column having a portion of the total tabs available. This split allows one to use two tools at once and have them both visible. Through the Analysis Tab Options one can chose which tabs appear in each column with preferred orders.
All the tabs are extremely helpful but three of them are worthy of note. The Word Analysis Tab displays lexical and other verse-specific information automatically as one moves the mouse cursor over text in the Browse Window. The Resource Summary Tab displays a comprehensive index to information related to the current word or verse in the Browse Window. It includes a list of abbreviated lexicon entries, grammatical resources, as well as the places in various recourses where this verse is cited. New addition to BW10, the AW Leningrad Codex Tab displays high-resolution tagged images of the Leningrad Codex for the Old Testament in Hebrew.
In short, if you have an exegetical question or textlinguistic inquiry, you will most likely find the answers in the AW.
BibleWorks10: New Features
This is the last post of my five-post review of BibleWorks (BW). In the first four posts, we looked at BW as a whole, the Search Window, the Browse Window, and the Analysis Window. This post will focus on some key new databases and features in BW10 that enrich our study of the Scriptures.
BW10 starts upfaster than BW9 did. The first, most notable feature in BW10 is the new screen layout and colors that allow one to define his own color schemes for the windows. A comprehensive list of new features and databases is available. Here is just some of the key ones.
1) Samaritan Pentateuch by August Freiherrn von Gall: OT students now can compare between the Masoretic, Septuagint, and Samaritan texts.
2) High-resolution tagged images of the Leningrad Codex: the verse locations in the manuscript are tagged so one can easily locate and display any verse.
3) Nestle-Aland GNT 28th edition
4) New English Translation of the Septuagint (2007)
5) Danker’s Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the NT (2009)
6) Instant lemma form usage info for Greek and Hebrew: the new Forms tab in the Analysis Window gathers together usage statistics for morphologically tagged Greek and Hebrew texts.
7) EPUB reader & library manager: the new EPUB tab in the Analysis Window allows one to read EPUB files and manage libraries of EPUB files.
8) Complete audio Greek NT: sound files for NA27 Greek NT & Robinson-Pierpont Greek NT.
If you are using an old version of BW, I strongly recommend upgrading to BW10; it is worth the $189. If you never used BW, I encourage you to purchase it for your own study and ministry. BW also offers extra modules for reasonable prices. Among many helpful modules BW offers are Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (BDAG) by Bauer, Danker, Arndt, and Gingrich; Reformed Dogmatics (4 volumes) (BAVI) by Herman Bavinck; Stuttgart Original Languages Module (Old and New Testament texts with the NA28 & BHS critical apparatuses and morphologies) (SOLM); Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (HALOT) by Kohler, Baumgartner, and Stamm; and Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Abridged) (TDNT) by Kittel, Friedrich, and Bromiley.
BW also has group discounts and, for unlikely situations, BW has a 30-day warranty and return policy where you can return it for any reason within 30 days. The intent of this warranty is to give the users sufficient time to decide whether BW fulfills their Bible research and study needs.
Sherif Gendy is a Ph.D. student at Westminster Theological Seminary.