BibleWorks 8

I am not as grateful as I should be for the folks at BibleWorks, and I am not as excited as I should be about the release of BibleWorks8. But I am grateful, and I am excited. I won’t bother you with the details, which are better described at the BibleWorks site, especially in the series of posts “Things to Love in BibleWorks 8.” What I will do is give a personal testimony:

I have been using BibleWorks constantly since 2003. If my computer is on, BibleWorks is open. This tool has been invaluable for work done on the books and articles I have either written or am writing, for research done in preparation to teach class, for personal Bible Study, and for sermon preparation. I’ll give one example of a way it recently served me effectively.

As I was working on an article seeking to demonstrate that later biblical authors were influenced by earlier biblical authors (in this instance, that whoever wrote about David in Samuel described him in terms borrowed from the Joseph narrative in Genesis), I was looking for the use and reuse of unique phrases. Key to my argument was the ability to show that certain combinations of Hebrew terms only occurred in a few places. If a later biblical author picks up a unique phrase, chances are that in reusing that phrase he is consciously pointing his readers back to the earlier passage. Often these unique phrases consist of very common words.

So, for instance, if someone writing in English uses the phrase “To be, or not to be, that is the question,” most people are going to know that’s a famous phrase. Many will know it’s Shakespeare, and quite a few will know it’s from Hamlet. But each and every word in that phrase is very, very common in the English language.

In order to know when a recognizable phrase made up of common Hebrew words is being employed, you can either be a fluent speaker of biblical Hebrew, you can memorize the whole Hebrew Bible, or you can spend countless hours with your concordance searching every one of those common words looking for combinations that are rare. Or, much easier, unspeakably easier, amazingly easier, you can highlight the phrase in BibleWorks, right click, and select “search for phrase.” Almost as quickly as you’ve done this, you have a list of verses in which the phrase occurs.

This is just one of the countless ways that BibleWorks has made it possible to scour the biblical text. There is no substitute, of course, for a careful reading of the text ourselves. And, BibleWorks will be most useful to those who do just that. How else will you know what phrases might be significant? We must be stewing on the words and phrases of the stories, songs, and instructions in the Bible.

If you are a student or pastor and you don’t already have BibleWorks, I cannot recommend it highly enough. BibleWorks 8 is out, and you’ll notice a new link to the BibleWorks site on the right side of this site.

Praise God for his word! And praise God for BibleWorks.

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  1. Amen to that Dr. Hamilton! I use BW on a daily basis and it saves me countless hours in my studies. The product is second to none, but the reason I think I like BW so much is because the staff. Not only do they have excellent customer service, but somehow (and I have no idea how), they have managed to pack thousands of dollars into their program at a measly price of $349!! Their business model is inspiring, and they are truly helping the kingdom by their service. Not only are the search features extremely good, but the material that comes in the base package is excellent.

    Our macintosh friends can’t say that about their product. I was noticing just the other day that Accordance charges $70 for the dad gum ESV study Bible! Are you serious?!?! $70 when you can get it in hard copy for around $35 or so? You’ll also pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars for certain versions (LXX, pseudipigrapha, church fathers, etc) that come standard in BW. It’s a good possibility that my next computer could possibly be macintosh, but bet your bottom dollar that I will get VMware Fusion so I can run BW instead of paying thousands of dollars for a new product that is in my opinion inferior. The only place they have BW beat is that their map module is better (though you have to pay for it, of course), you can get the textual apparati (if you pay for them, of course), and they have a few better add-on modules that BW doesn’t have (e.g. NIDOTTE, COS, Anchor-Yale Bible dict., etc). As far as bang for your buck goes, BW simply leaves all their competition (Logos, Accordance, etc) in the dust. Every new version they come out with is extremely improved. We’re not talking like they make you pay $150 to upgrade to a version with 1 or 2 new features…they revamp the whole thing! They listen to their customers, understand that most people in the ministry don’t have much money, include nearly every english version imaginable, and even include several foreign versions for missionaries! All that from a very small company with not many employees…simply amazing. The new features are amazing in BW8, the searching in BW is extremely advanced, and having BDAG and HALOT tagged to the text (which saves me hours) is awesome! Suffice it to say, why anybody would even dream of getting different Bible software is beyond me. BW is the best in terms of price, resources, quality, and customer service. They are allowing students and teachers to advance biblical/theological studies to a degree that those who have gone before us never dreamed. The product is good enough, but if they were to somehow get the NA27 and BHS apparati, offer one or two good word study dictionaries (e.g. NIDOTTE), and offer one really good Bible dictionary set (particularly the New Interpreter’s Bible dictionary, or even the ABD or the IVP sets), their product would be even better (though it’s already the best). Everybody should buy and use Bibleworks. Concordances are out of date and your Bible study level will triple (it’s tough not to use it for parsing and diagramming in my homework though!!).

  2. Jim,
    Pray tell why no one has gotten you to switch to the Logos Bible Software?
    Hope all is well up in the frozen Louisville, KY area. Go Wildcats!

    I have 3 Sundays at Grace Bible Church on my Resume now.
    For Him,

  3. Great to hear from you! Thanks for staying in touch. Say hello to West for me. We miss the sunny winter, but the snow and ice (for all the trouble they caused) were indeed beautiful.

    I’ve simply never owned Logos. . . and I prefer real books. Their specialty is a digital library. . .



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