Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.
CRANMER HOUSE UPDATE: Fall 2011.
You're in a hurry to prepare a sermon. You need to compare various translations and perhaps look at the Hebrew or Greek, though you don't read either one well. It would not hurt to see what some of the early fathers stated regarding your passage, like Augustine or Chrysostom or the Cappadocian fathers (comes free), as that would spice up your sermon or lesson. What about Calvin (free), Matthew Henry (free) or for a small price Hermann Bavinck or even a modern theologian like Wayne Grudem? For $20 more you can even have the ESV Study Bible with all its notes and pictures. If you need a quick introduction to a book of the Bible or some background information on a person, place, or object, a couple of clicks in a Bible dictionary, and you're there. Just highlight the text, copy, and paste into your word processor. For a few bucks more, you can purchase Dictionary of New Testament Background, which will give you tremendous insight into the background of most passages. Then for the English reader there are these free helps: Nave's Topical Bible, the Net Bible with all its translation and textual notes, Thompson New-Chain Reference Bible, and too many to mention.
There is virtually every English version known to man included free in the software which will automatically pull up when you type in a verse that are listed in the order you select, along with all the marginal notes of each version. With the new USE function, with any word in any version, just mouse over the word, and automatically, as fast as you can mouse over, there will be list of the verses where that word appears in the book of the Bible you're in―and the same is true of the Hebrew and Greek! Or, with one click, you can see every place that word occurs in the whole Bible! The USE function is now the fourth window of BibleWorks, and it is great!
These do not exhaust the lists for free and purchasable volumes; for the complete list see here.
For the scholar who wants to research the manuscripts, to do textual criticism, there are helps that one just can't get very well anywhere else or use with such ease, such as Tishendorf's Critical Apparatus, Metzger's Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Codex Alexandrinus in the original Uncial format, Sinaiticus the same, and the massive CNTTS, which is the Center for New Testament Textual Studies. There is also Comfort and Barrett's work on the papyri discovered over 100 years ago that has the papyri manuscripts of the New Testament, which are the earliest manuscripts we have. I dearly love these textual studies, seeing which manuscripts had what words, such as whether John 1:18 reads "only begotten Son" or "only begotten God." Chrysostom reads it "Son" but Basil as "God."
For the advanced scholar, one can do grammatical searches, such as looking at all the usages of the Granville-Sharp rule, or seeing how "faith of Christ" is used, whether it means "faith in Christ" or "faithfulness of Christ." (Greek fathers took it as the former.) There are even grammatical diagrams of every sentence in the Greek New Testament! Moreover, there are Hebrew and Greek grammars that come with it as well as those that may be purchased.
Then there are Bible dictionaries, maps, diagrams of Paul's journeys, and too much for me to describe. Moreover, all electronic books are indexed by verse so that when you study a verse, that section of the book can be accessed by a click, but also you can search the books separately. Cross references for every verse of the Bible are available with mouse over, and you can add your own if you need. Double click a cross reference, and it becomes a main reference.
I teach biblical languages and exegesis at Cranmer Theological House, Houston, TX, and I've done translation work from the Hebrew. A large part of my personal library is composed of language tools. I love doing exegesis, and I'm my happiest when alone in my study with language books—lexicons, grammars, exegetical helps, technical commentaries, concordances, Greek and Hebrew Bibles, and so on. I could retire if I sold all these works! I remember talking my wife into letting me purchase the Hatch and Redpath exhaustive concordance to the LXX in my seminary days, and it was very expensive in the early 1970s, costing over $200 by the dollar value of today. Now I can search the LXX in a second to find not only the basic vocabulary but also grammatical forms.
Some Other Uses of BW9:
Can't remember which English version has the words you're looking for? Just type in the words you can't find, use the "Cross Version Search Mode," and presto, you've found it! Build your own topical study of Proverbs, and then print out one or all of the subjects to take with you!
You just enter the verse or phrase you want to look up in the search window, and then you can peruse the results in the browse window. The browse window has a window above it that gives the subject that the Bible is talking about at the point you just searched so you'll have a good idea of the context. Then you can move themouse over a word in the browse window, and instantly (and I do mean instantly) the definition of that word appears in the third or analysis window. If you see a word in the browse window that you would like to search for, double click it, and all the versions pop up again! One click, and you can return where you were before so you don't lose your place. Moreover, you can have 12―count them―different studies at the same time!
With the previous release of this software, I had a wish list that has now mostly come true. I wanted Greek and Hebrew grammars, both modern and older, and they are all there. This indicates that the scholars at BibleWorks are keeping up with the times. I now wish that the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and the New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis were available. These are valuable tools, and with the superior programmers at BibleWorks, they would integrate these timeless works right into the search power of the program. It would also be great to have Old Testament and New Testament theologies and introductions, as these can be mined for exegetical, background, textual, and interpretive gems.
You can purchase BibleWorks 9 at Amazon or Christian Book Distributers, both online. By contract, everyone is required to sell at $359. Considering all the time this software saves you, it is well worth the price. I open it first thing each morning, and like my computer, it stays on all day.
Does not work on the Mac. [Ed. See http://www.bibleworks.com/content/sys-req.html]
Go to http://www.bibleworks.com/ and look around. There is a lot to see.
Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw is Dean at Cranmer Theological House.