In 2009, I wrote a review of BibleWorks 8, a software program released in 2008. The newest version, BibleWorks 10, has recently been released, so it seems like a good time to update my review.
BibleWorks (BW) is a software tool designed specifically to assist pastors, professors, and students in their exegesis of the original languages of Scripture. My advice? If you are a pastor, a professor, or a college or seminary student who is regularly studying and working with the original languages, you cannot afford not to own BW. If your time is valuable, it will pay for itself within a few weeks.
For years, BW was available for PCs only. When I switched to a Mac, I had to use separate software (in my case Parallels Desktop) that enabled me to run BW on my Mac. It wasn't ideal, and one of complaints in the earlier review was that BW was not available for Mac users. Thankfully, the software designers heard the complaints, and beginning with BW9, the software could be run directly on a Mac without the separate software.
In the past, BW was installed from several CD-ROM discs or a single DVD-ROM. It is now shipped on a USB flash drive, making installation a breeze.
The features remain the most helpful aspect of BW, and there are too many to cover in detail in this review. I will mention only a few. The rest may be found on the BW website here.
- Instant Deep Information – In other words, simply move the cursor over a word, and a wealth of information is instantly available in the analysis screen. For example, if you place the cursor over any Greek word in the NT text, you will immediately see the root form and the full parsing. It will also take you directly to the entry for that word in all of your lexicons. There is far more instantly accessible information available through this one simple act of moving the cursor than I can fit in one review.
- Extensive Text Search Tools – The search capabilities of BW have always been incredible. Everything from the most basic and simple to the most unimaginably complex searches are possible with the various tools. As far as I can tell, I have still only scratched the surface of the possibilities in the 13 years I have used the software.
- A Highly-Configurable User Interface – Although the default interface setting is very intuitive, even for an old guy like me who can remember life before personal computers, it is also easily configured to whatever format the user desires.
- Tutorial Videos – Whether you are new to BW or a long-time user, the numerous tutorial videos are a wealth of helpful information. Every time I watch one, I discover something else I can do with BW.
- The F1 Key – There are a lot of tabs and tools on the main screen of BW. Sometimes it is easy to forget what a particular button does. If this happens, there is a simple solution. Place the cursor over the mystery button and press the F1 button (If you have a Mac, press fn + F1). This will cause the relevant section of the BW Help feature to open in a separate small window, telling you exactly what that button does.
- Dozens of original language texts and resources.
- Dozens of Bible translations in over forty languages.
BibleWorks 10 contains several new features. Among the most important are the high-resolution images of the Leningrad Codex. This allows BW users to look at the manuscript behind the Biblia Hebraica Stuggartensia. The text is tagged, so when you move the cursor over your text, the corresponding section of the manuscript is automatically displayed.
BibleWorks 10 costs $389 unless one is upgrading from version 9 (in which case it costs $189) or version 8 ($229). An upgrade from version 7 or older is the full price. Those who are considering an upgrade already know that it is worth every penny. For those considering BibleWorks for the first time, whether you should purchase it or not really depends on what you are looking for in your Bible Study software. If you are looking for tools that will help with the study of the text in the original languages, BW is hands down the best option.
If you are a pastor or a student of the original languages of Scripture, you need BibleWorks. If you know a pastor or a student of the original languages, you need to let them know about BibleWorks.