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BibleWorks 9

Abram Kielsmeier-Jones

Words on the Word, August 2012 through September 2012.

BibleWorks in the pew?
(Not quite, but the next best thing)

[GEEK ALERT] In an effort to integrate my learning of Biblical languages with church attendance and participation, I can be spotted at my church carrying this and this around. If I had an extra hand, I’d bring this, too. At first I feared it would look pretentious–it still may–but my motives are just to use my Greek and Hebrew in the context of corporate worship, while Scripture is being read aloud (in English, in my church’s case). So I follow along the Scripture readings, as best I can, in the original languages.

To take it a step further, some time ago on the BibleWorks forums there was a user-initiated discussion about whether it is appropriate to have a laptop with BibleWorks open in the middle of a church service.

While I personally find the idea of a pew-sitter with a laptop tacky, I do understand the sentiment behind wanting to look at the Bible in the original languages while it’s being read and exposited in church. Hence my solution of having a print Bible with me. That’s not quite as out of place as a laptop would be.

So having my Greek and Hebrew Bibles with me is the next best thing to having BibleWorks open during church. However, there are two other next best things that do involve BibleWorks. First, there is a free user-created module that has the Revised Common Lectionary, linked to texts in BibleWorks. I rarely have time to use it on Sunday morning as we rush out the door, but I have at times been able to look ahead to the texts we’d be reading in church that week and use BibleWorks to work my way through them. The RCL module is really nifty. More about it here.

Today I found myself with the unexpected blessing of some time to play around with BibleWorks a bit. (I just received BibleWorks 9 in exchange for an unbiased review, which I will be offering in parts in coming weeks. Consider this a prologue of sorts.) Using the Report Generator, I was able to create a “Reader’s” version of Jeremiah 23:1-6, the Old Testament reading in church from the RCL this morning. Here’s the screen shot of how to get there, which also shows how I have my BibleWorks set up for Septuagint study. (Click on image for larger, or open it in a new tab.)

Once there, I set the Report Generator in the following way:

Then I clicked on “Build Report” and got a report with the text of Jeremiah 23:1-6 in Greek, followed by the listing of all words used in that passage, with frequency counts, followed by lexicon entries. After some manual organizing, I ended up with the below. Resources like this exist for the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament (what I take to church with me), but there is not as of yet a “Reader’s” Septuagint.

Fellow language-lovers… what do you think? And do you take your languages with you to church? If so, how?

Jeremiah 23:1-6 (Rahlfs Septuagint)

–with footnoted vocabulary (glosses) for words that appear less than 200 times in entire Greek Bible (LXX+NT together). Glosses from here: print / BibleWorks module.

1 Ὦ[1] οἱ ποιμένες[2] οἱ διασκορπίζοντες[3] καὶ ἀπολλύοντες τὰ πρόβατα τῆς νομῆς[4] μου.
2 διὰ τοῦτο τάδε λέγει κύριος ἐπὶ τοὺς ποιμαίνοντας[5] τὸν λαόν μου Ὑμεῖς διεσκορπίσατε[6] τὰ πρόβατά μου καὶ ἐξώσατε[7] αὐτὰ καὶ οὐκ ἐπεσκέψασθε[8] αὐτά, ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἐκδικῶ[9] ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς κατὰ τὰ πονηρὰ ἐπιτηδεύματα[10] ὑμῶν·
3 καὶ ἐγὼ εἰσδέξομαι[11] τοὺς καταλοίπους[12] τοῦ λαοῦ μου ἀπὸ πάσης τῆς γῆς, οὗ ἐξῶσα[13] αὐτοὺς ἐκεῖ, καὶ καταστήσω αὐτοὺς εἰς τὴν νομὴν[14] αὐτῶν, καὶ αὐξηθήσονται[15] καὶ πληθυνθήσονται·
4 καὶ ἀναστήσω αὐτοῖς ποιμένας[16], οἳ ποιμανοῦσιν[17] αὐτούς, καὶ οὐ φοβηθήσονται ἔτι οὐδὲ πτοηθήσονται[18], λέγει κύριος.
5 Ἰδοὺ ἡμέραι ἔρχονται, λέγει κύριος, καὶ ἀναστήσω τῷ Δαυιδ ἀνατολὴν δικαίαν, καὶ βασιλεύσει βασιλεὺς καὶ συνήσει[19] καὶ ποιήσει κρίμα καὶ δικαιοσύνην ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.
6 ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτοῦ σωθήσεται Ιουδας, καὶ Ισραηλ κατασκηνώσει[20] πεποιθώς, καὶ τοῦτο τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ, ὃ καλέσει αὐτὸν κύριος Ιωσεδεκ[21].


[1] ὦ (109) woe (to)
[2] ποιμήν (99) shepherd
[3] διασκορπίζω (64) scatter
[4] νομή (39) pasture
[5] ποιμαίνω (65) shepherd
[6] διασκορπίζω (64) scatter
[7] ἐξωθέω (31)  force out
[8] ἐπισκέπτομαι (181) visit
[9] ἐκδικέω (97) exact vengeance
[10] ἐπιτήδευμα (58) practice, way of living
[11] εἰσδέχομαι (20) gather
[12] κατάλοιπος (98) remnant
[13] ἐξωθέω (31)  force out
[14] νομή (39) pasture
[15] αὐξάνω (63) grow
[16] ποιμήν (99) shepherd
[17] ποιμαίνω (65) shepherd
[18] πτοέω (39) tremble
[19] συνίημι (144) have understanding
[20] κατασκηνόω (70) dwell, settle
[21] Ιωσεδεκ (18) proper noun (name)

BibleWorks out of the box
(setup and layout)

The perennial question: Should I upgrade my BibleWorks program? I was perfectly happy with BibleWorks 7 until I upgraded to 8. (Then I was really happy with 8.) I thought 8 was such a vast improvement that when 9 came out, I saw no need… at least until I got to know version 9 a little better. Versions 7 or 8 are certainly still powerful in their own right, but my upgrade to 9 has been a great experience so far. In this and future posts, I’ll highlight why. Today: BibleWorks 9, out of the box.

The installation is easy and quick. I consider myself somewhat proficient when it comes to computer know-how, but certainly don’t have programming expertise. No matter. BibleWorks is easy to install and keep updated. And the BibleWorks staff is constant in making updates available if and as they find bugs in the program. Better than any other computer software I’ve used, in this sense.

BibleWorks 9 comes with a “Quick-Start Guide,” which has the Installation Instructions (they are mercifully short–three pages and easy to follow) and a 12-page Orientation to BibleWorks guide. The guide focuses on the Search Window, the Browse Window, and the Analysis Window, and gives instructions and specific examples as to how to best utilize each in studying the Biblical text. My only quibble with the helpful guide is that the images contained therein seem to be from BibleWorks 8, not 9. But that doesn’t really keep it from doing what it needs to, namely, quickly and effectively orienting the new or only somewhat experienced user to using the program well. (The instructions do detail the contents of the new tabs in version 9.)

BibleWorks 9 adds a delicious fourth column (essentially, a second analysis window). It looks like this (click on the png below for a larger view, if you wish):

Already this opens more options. There are also more available tabs in the Analysis Window. For example, the new “Use” tab, in my third column above, instantaneously shows you all the uses of a word with how many occurrences it has in that book and version (here, the WTT=Hebrew Bible). You had to search on a word in previous versions to do this (using the first column above). I find this particularly useful for vocabulary acquisition. As I come across a word I don’t know in the text, I can easily see–does this occur 121 times and I should know it? Or is it just in the text two or three times, so I was okay in not knowing right away what it means?

The “Verse” tab and the “Mss” tabs are new, too–those are worthy of their own post. (Anyone familiar with BibleWorks, whether they have 9 or not, may already know that this new version allows you to look at and work with images of original manuscripts.)

And, what I find best of all, you can drag and drop the tabs between the third and fourth columns so that you can customize your setup. I had already figured out a setup so that I had my own equivalent of a “fourth column” in BibleWorks 8. Now I can do even more! Check this out (from a previous post):

It’s a thing of beauty.

BibleWorks has unbeatable customer service. The user forums are active and always helpful. (Good things to know when you’re considering getting set up with them.) And they’ve provided quite a few videos to show users their way around the program. If you don’t want to wait for the rest of my review, you can see all that’s new in BibleWorks 9 here. You can order the full program here or upgrade here. It’s even on Amazon!

The Verse Tab

I continue to be impressed with BibleWorks 9. The new Use Tab is likely my favorite new feature (I posted about it in part 1 of my review). The Verse Tab is another new feature. Here’s how the BibleWorks site describes it:

The Verse Tab tracks with any Bible version. For the current verse under the mouse, it displays the relevant sections in resources such as the CNTTS apparatus, the NET Bible textual notes, the Tischendorf apparatus, Metzger’s Textual Commentary (requires unlock), and the ESV Study Bible (requires unlock).

I will devote a future post to the CNTTS apparatus. Today I want to comment on and review the Verse Tab and its usefulness. Just so you can have a visual of what I’m working with, here’s a layout I’m currently using to look at the Hebrew of Malachi. (Click on the image below for larger.)

(Editorial note. File this under: can you believe that’s in the Bible? I had somehow never noticed this verse until the other day… thou shalt not trifle with the Lord, especially if you’re a priest or pastor. Take obedience to God seriously.)

Here’s the great thing about the Verse Tab. In previous versions of BibleWorks, the NET Bible study notes were only available via the Analysis Window. But this meant that if the Analysis Window were open to an NET study note, you couldn’t also at the same time easily see morphological analysis and lexical data–it was one or the other in that window. Now, however, as you can see above, you can easily access both study notes and a separate analysis window for individual word analysis. I find this new feature an immense help.

The NET study notes are fantastic. (It’s worth reading more about that translation and its notes here.) Honestly, a verse like the one I’ve chosen to highlight above might be a bit jarring to some–although in context it makes perfect sense. Yahweh was dealing with a corrupt and complacent priesthood. They were not making sacrifices in the way he had commanded (and they knew it, too). So his response in context really ought not to be a surprise. The NET note (see superscript number 4 and “tn” in the image above) clarifies that Yahweh is speaking of the entrails of to-be-sacrificed animals. The priests were supposed to dispose of these away from the sacrificial altar, but apparently were not in Malachi’s time. Bad idea. Clicking on Lev. 4:11 in the BibleWorks Search column (far left column) immediately takes me to the verse that explains this requirement.

One other neat thing about the Verse Tab: if you click on the “Expand” button, you can get a free-floating window that shows you all the NET notes for the whole Bible. This is easy to navigate through, as you can imagine:

I welcome the Verse Tab as an addition to the BibleWorks program. I’ve already made heavy use of it and will continue to in the future. For a mere $20 you can buy a module that gives you the notes and maps from the ESV Study Bible in that same tab. The program comes with the NET Bible notes already loaded.

Would Mark’s Jesus have us handle snakes and drink poison?

Many believe that Mark’s Gospel ends rather abruptly at 16:8 (“for they were afraid”), but others have found it difficult to think of a Gospel ending with Jesus’ followers’ being afraid to say anything to anyone about the resurrection.

So there is the so-called shorter (add-on) ending of Mark, which adds to the above, “…the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation” (RSV). This has 10 words that otherwise appear nowhere else in the book.  In my view the vocabulary and style of the shorter ending do not seem to fit well with the rest of the Gospel, and have the feel of an effort to give the book closure well after the fact of the writing.

Then there is the so-called longer ending of Mark, which is also not satisfied in ending with his followers’ fear. This records Jesus’ appearance to some of his followers, as well as the commissioning of his disciples, including the hard-to-understand reference to picking up snakes and drinking poison.

Mark could well have ended with “For they were afraid”–Mark is not unknown for being abrupt—nor would he have a problem upbraiding (or reporting Jesus’ upbraiding) people for their lack of faith or for their fear.  But would someone who started so positively with a proclamation of Jesus as “Son of God” in 1:1 have truly ended on such a dour note?  One possibility is that Mark’s original ending was lost.  R.T. France says, “It is one thing to emphasise and exploit paradoxical elements within the story of Jesus’ ministry and passion, as we have seen Mark doing again and again, but quite another to conclude his gospel with a note which appears to undermine not only his own message but also the received tradition of the church within which he was writing” (683).

Of course, lacking evidence of such a “lost” ending means that to postulate one is speculative, and it is perhaps a wiser hermeneutic to accept the text as we have it to be the intended one.

Can BibleWorks help here? One of the major new features in BibleWorks 9 is the BibleWorks Manuscript Project. From the BibleWorks site:

This massive project has been years in the making. BibleWorks 9 includes the first installment of this ongoing work. The BibleWorks Manuscript Project’s initial release covers the following:

  • Sinaiticus
  • Vaticanus
  • Alexandrinus
  • Bezae
  • Washingtonianus
  • Boernerianus
  • GA1141

For these manuscripts, the BibleWorks Manuscript Project includes the following:

  • New full NT transcriptions
  • Complete NT digital image sets (over 7.5 GB!!)
  • Verse location tagging in images
  • Extensive transcription notes
  • MSS comparison tool
  • Morphological tagging (not complete for all manuscripts but updates will be provided free of charge to BibleWorks 9 users as they become available)

Manuscripts are fully searchable and integrated with the full array of BibleWorks analysis tools. As you change verses in BibleWorks, the MS image display tracks with the current verse. Compare, inspect, and analyze the text and images of key original manuscripts. Tweak and enhance the manuscript images using the sophisticated image processing panel now included in BibleWorks.

Before I could even get into the manuscripts, there were two ways BibleWorks immediately helped me to explore this issue. First, with my NET Bible notes open in the Verse Tab (which I review here), I see a nice, lengthy note that explains the options–with manuscript evidence–for Mark’s possible ending. (You can see the NET note itself by clicking on footnote 9 here.) That much I’ve come to expect from BibleWorks.

What pleasantly caught me by surprise was that the NET note mentions a section in Wallace’s Greek Grammar that discusses the grammar of the contested snake-handling verses. I quickly and easily navigated over to the “Resources” tab in my analysis window and looked it up (click for larger image, or open in a new tab):

Wallace’s grammar is free with BibleWorks, a nice bonus. And it’s set up so that as you’re working your way through a text, Wallace tracks with you, so you can easily look up what he has to say about a given verse or grammatical topic.

Already some great help from BibleWorks in exploring a difficult textual issue. In my next post, I’ll use BibleWorks to get into the Mark manuscripts themselves, exploring the possible endings of the Gospel of Mark.

These 4 Perks are Divine in BibleWorks 9

Okay–not divine per se, but pretty indispensable for Bible study. Here are four perks in BibleWorks 9 that, the more I use the program, the more I appreciate.

1. Archer and Chirichigno’s Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament

Sure, this is perhaps an obscure thing to highlight. But it’s a major perk in my book! Archer and Chirichigno’s resource is already an invaluable one, particularly for studying the NT use of the OT. But the way it’s laid out in BibleWorks opens up possibilities unavailable to the owner of just the print version.

Because the focus is on OT Quotations, everything is listed in Old Testament canonical order. So if you’re wondering where Exodus 20 (the 10 Commandments) shows up in the New Testament, you can skip ahead to that section and find (click for larger):

Everything in Archer and Chirichigno’s book is there–their commentary at the bottom, their comparison of MT/LXX/NT. You can hide or display the English in BibleWorks (I have it shown above). Also, when you mouse over a blue hyperlinked verse, as I’ve done in the image above, you see a popup with that verse in three different versions. This seems to be an underrated part of BibleWorks, but if you’re serious about LXX or OT/NT study, having this is a great help.

2. Lots of how-to videos

Some six hours worth, according to the BibleWorks site. The videos I’ve watched have been clear, simple, and substantive.

3. Intermediate Hebrew and Greek grammars included

BibleWorks 9 comes with these three classics included:

They’re keyed to individual verses so that the appropriate information from each of these grammars will automatically show in the “Resources” window at any given verse. Using even Amazon prices, just these three grammars cost more than $150 in print. And having them lined up with the OT and NT texts as I use them in BibleWorks saves me time from flipping through indices and physical pages. (See this portion of my BibleWorks review to see Wallace in action.)

4. The Use Tab

In an earlier part of my review I wrote:

[T]he new “Use” tab … instantaneously shows you all the uses of a word with how many occurrences it has in that book and version…. You had to search on a word in previous versions to do this…. I find this particularly useful for vocabulary acquisition. As I come across a word I don’t know in the text, I can easily see–does this occur 121 times and I should know it? Or is it just in the text two or three times, so I was okay in not knowing right away what it means?

This feature was reason enough for me to pursue an upgrade from version 8 to version 9. (!) With the new fourth column (which I mention at more length at the same link above), the Use tab can be open together with an additional analysis window.

Although I still regularly use print copies of the Bible (Greek, Hebrew, and English), BibleWorks has been a useful companion in my personal Bible study and devotions for the last couple years. Especially when I want to do word studies or delve into the grammar of the text or compare multiple translations, BibleWorks has been a great program to use.

Would Mark’s Jesus have us handle snakes and drink poison?
(part 2)

The Gospel of Mark has a couple of possible (disputed) endings. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the options for how to understand Mark’s closing chapter.

It is the so-called longer ending of Mark that has Jesus appearing to some of his followers and talking about their picking up snakes and drinking poison.

Of course, even if the longer ending is authentic and original to Mark, there is still the matter of interpretation. As a way to complete my review of BibleWorks 9, I set out to use BibleWorks to try to examine some of the manuscript evidence. A BibleWorks module of Daniel Wallace’s Greek grammar (included in BW9) offered some insight into interpretation, which you can read briefly here (screenshot).

BibleWorks 9 features the BibleWorks Manuscript Project, where you can “compare and analyze original manuscript text and images.” As a part of the Analysis Window, the manuscripts are integrated with the Browse Window, so that as you move around in the latter, the former tracks with you. The perfect complement to the Manuscripts Project is the Center for New Testament Textual Studies’ (CNTTS) NT Critical Apparatus. BibleWorks describes it:

For the first time, the New Testament Critical Apparatus from the Center for New Testament Textual Studies is available for PCs. This exhaustive apparatus covers the entire New Testament. The BibleWorks version has been enhanced to show a matrix of Aland categories and time period for the mss for each reading. Users will especially appreciate having the apparatus track and update as the mouse moves over the text in the BibleWorks main window. In addition, the start of each verse entry summarizes the significant, insignificant, and singular variants. When examining a variant, the text of the verse is shown with the variant text highlighted. No unlock required!

You can’t get NA27 and its textual apparatus in BibleWorks but with what CNTTS offers (it’s thorough), it doesn’t matter! Greek textual critics benefit immensely from the additions in BibleWorks from version 8 to 9.

BibleWorks has some great mini-training videos. Here they explain the CNTTS Apparatus. And here they discuss the Manuscripts Tab. If you’re serious about either (a) considering purchasing BibleWorks 9 or (b) have it and want to figure out how to use those two features, those two videos will get you there.

Now, on to the manuscript evidence regarding Mark’s ending in BibleWorks 9. This gives an idea of what the program can do in an applied Bible study.

If I’m wondering what Codex Vaticanus (“B”) has in Mark 16:9, I can simply select that Codex in the drop-down menu in the Mss Tab. (BibleWorks refers to it as m-3, too.) The screenshot below (click for larger) shows that there’s no image for Vaticanus at 16:9. This is because Vaticanus ends Mark at 16:8.

Note, too, something I find exceedingly helpful in the bottom right of the shot above–a key to not only BibleWorks’ manuscript numbering system but to abbreviations for manuscripts, their dates, and their contents. This is the stuff budding text critics always have to look up, flipping from page to page and resource to resource. (Or just using that little insert in the NA27. But this is easier!)

In fact, by right-clicking when you do see an image (e.g., Vaticanus at Mark 16:8), you can “load image in viewer” to pull it out and look at it more closely. There you can zoom and drag your way through the various parts of the text. It looks like this:

The top right section of the Mss Tab (in the full screenshot image above) lines up the various readings available in the manuscripts that BibleWorks contains. I can quickly see that “A” (Alexandrinus) and “W” (Washingtonianus) do have text for a longer ending of mark. Pulling up the image for Alexandrinus, I see this for Mark 16:9 ff.:

Hovering over the verse references (superimposed over the manuscript) brings up the pop-up window that you see there, where I can compare the given manuscript, the English, and the BGT Greek text in BibleWorks. (!!) This is all pretty amazing.

The Mss Tab is easy to figure out. Using the CNNTS Apparatus was less than intuitive for me. But this BibleWorks video explained it quite well. I’ve had to work at it to figure out how to best use it, but having done that, it’s a great apparatus. Especially helpful is its classification of variation types (significant, insignificant, lacunae, etc.). The Apparatus is chock full of abbreviations to learn, but what critical apparatus isn’t? And this one hyperlinks the abbreviations to what they stand for, so it’s not too bad.

For the Greek manuscripts that include some parts of the Septuagint (Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus), I would love to be able to see both testaments in future BibleWorks editions. That was a loss for me, especially given my appreciation of the Septuagint. So be aware that even though BibleWorks has images of manuscripts that contain parts of the LXX, it’s just the New Testament that appears in BibleWorks.

But the images are already some 8 GB, and this is a work in progress (with future updates promised), so the lack of the LXX/Old Greek is understandable. Viewing Hebrew manuscripts in the future would also be awesome! Until then, what BibleWorks includes and gives the user access to (as part of the purchase price) is pretty remarkable.

BibleWorks won’t actually answer the question I posed in the title of this post: Would Mark’s Jesus have us handle snakes and drink poison? Exegetes will always have to interpret and answer questions like this. (This one’s a bit of a softball, admittedly.) BibleWorks also can’t determine with certainty what the actual ending of Mark is.

But it can sure show you a lot of evidence, and give you just about everything you need to try to have an informed opinion on the matter. Being able to look at images of actual manuscripts still boggles my mind. And it’s not only being able to view those manuscripts (much of which you could do online anyway)–it’s the fact that they’re tied to BibleWorks’ analysis tools that’s truly astounding to me. BibleWorks has enhanced my Bible study immensely.

BibleWorks 9 is easily a five-star program in my book. I’ve enjoyed being able to review it.

Abram Kielsmeier-Jones is a seminarian, director of worship at a Christian undergraduate school, husband and father, and follower of Jesus.

 

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