Review of BibleWorks 9 for Mac Part 2: Guest Post by Dieudonne Tamfu

Searching on Bibleworks 9 for Mac

BW9 offers several options to search the Bible and other texts (e.g. Apostolic Fathers, Josephus, Philo etc.). The most common and easiest search options to access are the right-click search option and the command window. When one right-clicks on a word or a selected phrase, BW9 offers different options for searching.

Form Search: This searches for the inflected form of the word selected.

Lemma Search: This searches for the dictionary form of the word. This search does not give homonyms; it is limited to the form of the word in question that has the same meaning. Using the lemma search, one can do an exhaustive study of the word as it appears in the lexicon, Greek or Hebrew texts. For example, when I searched “θέλημα”, the “search for inflected form” option listed 13 occurrences whereas the lemma search offered 62 occurrences of the same word. 

Homonym Search: This search is only available when searching a Hebrew text. Homonyms are tagged by letters: Homonym 1=a, 2=b etc. From the Browse Window, right-click the word and choose “search for Homonym” or enter the search in the Command line. In the Command line the search for II_בראlooks like: . ברא@v*+Ha*|   

Phrase Search (Greek/Hebrew): This search retrieves a string of words instead of a single word; it hunts for two or more words as an exact phrase (the same inflection of words) or the same phrase with varying inflections of the words. If one is searching for a phrase with the same words and inflection, simply select the phrase, right-click on it, and choose “search for phrase” in the menu.

For a lemma based phrase search one must select the text version that is morphologically tagged. Type the version abbreviation (eg. BGM, BNM) into the “Command line” and hit enter. Insert the control character of a single quote make (‘) for a phrase search, then enter the lexical form of the each word in place of the inflected form, accents are not necessary. If you wish to search on a phrase in a verse in the verses your studying, enter the phrase as displayed in morphology version in the Browse Window.

The manuscripts in BW9 are transcribed and fully searchable as well. The manuscripts are tagged with verse references and scroll with the verses as you change them.

BW9 comes with close to six hours of “How to Videos” well organized to ease new users learning process.  These videos are extremely helpful for new users. One of the challenges for buying a Bible software like this is the difficulty of learning how to use it. However, the developers have made it easy by providing these videos. There is no excuse to not know and make proper use of this software. There are also contextual helps: place your mouse on a window or button and press the F1 key for contextual help.

It is very difficult to use the lemma search option to look up a phrase, meaning that it cannot search several lemmas from a direct highlight and search. The lack of this feature can make research time-consuming. To lemma search a Greek or Hebrew phrase, you have to type out the phrase or clause in the command window in Greek or Hebrew, along with some additional symbols. This means that you must know how to use the Greek and Hebrew Keyboards to do phrase/clause searches.

On the PC version, the keystrokes, Control+Shift+B on a word processor opens the “Popup Verse Copy Window,” a very handy feature for fast copying of verses from any version or versions of your choice into your word document. This feature, however, does not work on the Mac version.

Despite a few improvements that would make this software even user-friendlier on the Mac, it is a great resource for those who desire to study the Bible, especially in the original languages. This may not occur every time, but in my case, since I installed Bibleworks, Hebrew font has been working perfectly in Microsoft Word office for Mac. This may be an additional benefit, and I cannot explain how excited I am about this. I am still exploring the software, but I’d highly recommend it. The price for all that comes with it is unbeatable. Buy, study, and grow in love for God and his church.

Dieudonne Tamfu
PhD Candidate, SBTS

6 Responses to Review of BibleWorks 9 for Mac Part 2: Guest Post by Dieudonne Tamfu

  1. Don Cobb June 3, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    Nice review. Just a couple details: actually the two things you say can’t be done on BW9 can be done quite easily.

    You wrote: “It is very difficult to use the lemma search option to look up a phrase, meaning that it cannot search several lemmas from a direct highlight and search. The lack of this feature can make research time-consuming. To lemma search a Greek or Hebrew phrase, you have to type out the phrase or clause in the command window in Greek or Hebrew, along with some additional symbols. This means that you must know how to use the Greek and Hebrew Keyboards to do phrase/clause searches.”

    You can 1) highlight the word(s) in the morphology version (WTM) and right-click on “append to command line” and do the search from there or 2) highlight several words in sequence and right-click to “search for phrase.”

    You also wrote: “On the PC version, the keystrokes, Control+Shift+B on a word processor opens the “Popup Verse Copy Window,” a very handy feature for fast copying of verses from any version or versions of your choice into your word document. This feature, however, does not work on the Mac version.”

    Because BW9 is first for PCs, the alt/ctrl keys don’t always act as they should on Mac. But, if you do “ctrl+shift+b”, it works like a charm!

    You are right to underscore the fact that, dollar for dollar, BW9 can’t be beat! The folks there have a selfless attitude of doing business, which is for the good of Christ’s Church, and that is a refreshing change!

    • Dieudonne June 3, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

      Don, thanks for your feedback. On the first point, what I mean is that one cannot do clause or phrase search directly from the Greek or Hebrew text without all the morphological symbols. It is time consuming, in my judgment, having to switch from say WTT to WTM (morphologically tagged text) before performing a search. Other Bible software programs have it setup such that one can do a lemma phrase or clause search directly from whatever text you are reading without switching to a different text. Moreover, all the morphological symbols in BW9 can be distracting.

      On your second point, the keystrokes you provided is the same combination I mentioned in the review. This option does not work on the mac platform.

      • Don Cobb June 3, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

        Agreed on the first point. My correction was more to say that one need not resort to typing the words in manually. That would certainly be a pain. It does, you are right, require that you change from WTT to WTM (which you can do by double clicking on the WTM abbreviation, or–what I usually do–typing WTM in the command line). I appreciate the specifics of being able to search on either lemmas or on specific forms, so that’s never bothered me (but I work more with the New Testament than with the Old).

        I am a bit mystified about your second point, though, as I use BW9 almost exclusively on Mac and have never had any difficulty using the popup verse copy window. I’m on OS 10.6.8. Might it be that there’s an incompatibility with more recent OS’s (say Maverick)? It might be worth checking directly with BW on that, because it should work just as in the PC version.

        Blessings

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