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BibleWorks 9: A Review

Arthur J. Fox

Beethoven had his Ninth Symphony (known popularly as the Ode to Joy). Some consider it his finest work. BibleWorks has now given us its ninth edition, and it may be its finest work as well.

The famous work space that consists of three windows (Search, Browse and Analysis) has an optional fourth window that can be enabled to join them. Let's review these:

The Search Window

Experienced users know the Search Window can find thousands of verses containing a single word in record time (I found 12,382 instances of the word "in" at the speed of .63 seconds.) That search can be done using very specific combinations of words and phrases and various versions (over 200 translations in over 40 languages including the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek).

The Browse Window

This window lists the results of the search in any translation you want, or all that the program has installed. The verses can be listed one at a time or in context.

The Analysis Window—Editor

The program refers to this now as an editor window but it also does analysis. Here you can get full parsing ability on any word, grammatical analysis, commentary analysis, and cross references, and can create your own notes, or even create text for word processing. All you need to do is click a tab.

The Analysis Window—Version

This window has a full range of tab based information on the version you are mainly using. It can show the verse you are studying in context, and give manuscript morphological and text critical analysis, a list of cross references, and statistics on individual words.

As in the past there are modules that you can access, some free, such as Matthew Henry and basic grammars and lexicons; and some for extra money, such as several theological dictionaries and Greek and Hebrew lexicons, as well as the full text of Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics (the prices range from $20 to around $200).

The basic intention of the program's creators is, as the subtitle tells us, to provide "Software for Biblical Exegesis and Research." You do not have to be a Hebrew or Greek scholar, a pastor, or a theological professor or student to use this program. I have one member of the congregation that I serve who has Version 8 of this program, and it has enabled him to grow in his understanding of God's Word. It is, in my judgment, the standard-setting biblical research program on the market and I highly recommend it.

I have only one minor suggestion for the BibleWorks team. For Version 10 I would love to see the editor become a full-blown word processor so that I can prepare fully formatted Bible studies or articles for publication or even sermon notes without having to transfer my work to MS Word or Word Perfect. Apart from that, you could not do better than to invest the $359 needed to buy this version (which includes upgrades from Version 6 and earlier) or, the $199 to upgrade from Version 7 or the $159 to upgrade from Version 8.

Arthur J. Fox
Calvary Orthodox Presbyterian Church
Middletown, Pennsylvania

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