BibleWorks 8 has arrived. This is the third version of BibleWorks that I have used and I must confess that I have been a fan from the first initial instal. Before I offer some detailed observations and explanations regarding why I strongly recommend that every pastor (and theologian/scholar) purchases a copy, let me just summarize my review for those who are interested in the basics. BibleWorks 8 is great for serious study of the Scriptures. Along with the Scriptures in the original languages, BibleWorks places a variety of lexicons, dictionaries, and other resources right at your finger tips, allowing your time to focus on the text! The software gives you the ability to dig deep and to move beyond the surface level in order to come to terms with arguments found in the original text. I appreciate the substance that BibleWorks provides because it enables detailed exegesis to take place quicker and easier than what would take much longer using actual books. Here’s a breakdown of the features, along with what I’ve found helpful with the software for my uses…
The installation is very quick since I was using the DVD install disk. I think it took me about 20 minutes to have it fully functioning. When I installed, I did a custom install because I simply did not need the Bible in all of the languages that BibleWorks offers, but I’m sure missionaries or people who can read a wide variety of languages might install all of them! I did, of course, install the Swahili, Latin, and Spanish versions since I might use them in the future.
Once I installed, I downloaded all of the latest updates to the various modules, etc.
One of the best features that BibleWorks offers is related to diagramming. Diagramming is an important step when doing critical exegesis of Scripture and is extremely helpful when trying to analyze the flow of the text or the author’s argument by way of giving you a visual diagram. This helps one understand how the verbs relate to nouns and how adjectives modify nouns, etc. It’s something every elementary student learns when studying English grammar and every seminarian is reacquainted with when taking first year Greek.
BibleWorks has a diagramming module that allows you to easily diagram a verse or passage of Scripture while also including a “how to” guide and some examples from Leedy. Diagramming can be a lot of work at first, but the process is well worth the investment of time and BibleWorks makes that process quite simple. Here’s an example of how Leedy diagrams John 3:16 (click image to enlarge):
Textual Analysis & Other Features
When I first started using BibleWorks, the most important tool that I used was the analysis window. As you mouse over words in the Browse Window, the Hebrew or Greek definitions appear, along with other lexical information, in the Analysis Window. Lexical questions related to the grammar are answered with a click of the mouse!
While knowledge of the original languages will certainly help users take advantage of all of the BibleWorks features, one does not need them in order to make use of this software. The analysis tools and other resources are helpful for anyone who desires to get into the text. Below I’ve included an image that gives you an idea of what happens when you are looking at a verse (Romans 5:1) and when you mouse over a word (click to enlarge):
As you’ll notice, the analysis information can help when you can’t remember the definition for a Greek word or simply want some quick information about the word. The only complaint I have about this resource is that the analysis window only displays the lexical information for select translations, not including the English Standard Version. Now that there have been several Greek / ESV Bible’s released, it would seem helpful to include this feature!
Another feature that has been helpful for me is the BibleWorks Map Module. From looking at detailed maps of ancient Palestine to tracing the missionary journeys of Paul, these maps are first rate. Below is an image of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee (click to enlarge):
There are a lot of other resources (instant access to the Westminster Confessional, for instance) that I have either just discovered or have read about but have yet to begin using. But one resource that is absolutely indispensable is the BibleWorks editor. Imagine not having to have a seperate Word document open and you’ve basically got yourself exactly what I’m talking about. Within the actual software is a text editor that allows for different fonts, bold, italics, and a host of other features. Plus, copying and pasting text into separate documents as well as within the BibleWorks editor is extremely easy.
When I opened up BibleWorks, I was pleased to find that it included the Apostolic Fathers (English & Greek!), the 1689 London Baptist Confession, the Heidelberg, Daniel B. Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Thayer’s Greek Lexicon (abridged and unabridged) and much more! The included resources are amazing. Visit the BibleWorks website for more information…
My Personal Use
There’s a lot to BibleWorks. In the future I plan on providing further details on some of the ways that I use it, but for now, allow me to give you a brief snapshot of my “sermon prep using BibleWorks” routine.
I generally do all of my studying on the “exegetical level” using BibleWorks because it is just so efficient using this software. I can quickly diagram sentences and do adequate word studies in order to have a better grasp of the text’s flow and main point(s).
As I’m doing my exegesis, my notes and references are copied and pasted or typed into the editor as I prepare my exegetical outline. What used to take many hours due to the process of searching through references and reading through various lexicons is easily cut in half using BibleWorks. It’s not even close.
As I stated previously, every pastor, scholar, theologian should own a copy of BibleWorks. It doesn’t have the library potential as Logos, but for pure exegesis, it’s the premier software to own. Purchase your copy or upgrade today!