BibleWorks, version 9
Dr. Robert L. Plummer
Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 15/3 (Fall 2011), p. 94.
Every time BibleWorks comes out with a new version, I am amazed at their ability to maintain a simple, intuitive user-interface while adding seemingly endless additional excellent resources. The recently released version 9 of Bibleworks is no exception. I just demonstrated the program to my intermediate Greek class today. Below is a list of reasons that I think BibleWorks 9 is the best Bible software available:
- Intuitive interface. Don’t let anyone fool you. Every Bible software program (or website, for that matter) has a learning curve. It takes at least a brief investment of time to learn how to use a new program, app, or webpage. But, once one has made that initial investment of time, how easy is it to continue using the program and poking around to learn new stuff? BibleWorks receives an “A+” for ease in use. I find that there are usually four or five ways of accomplishing the same task in the program (drop down menus, button bars, context-sensitive right click options, etc.). So, if I have momentarily forgotten how to do some task, I can usually figure it out with little help.
- Speed. On the front row of my class today sat a student with a super-powerful laptop computer onto which was loaded a major Bible software program that is a competitor to BibleWorks. The student was almost drooling as he saw the speed of BibleWorks searches and the ease of moving among the interlinked resources—all on my ancient (three-year old) laptop. After class, the student told me that he plans to buy BibleWorks.
- Excellent, abundant, and free training videos. BibleWorks comes standard with clear, helpful, and logically organized help videos. Granted, BibleWorks did not pay big bucks for a radio announcer to record these, but no owners of BibleWorks can complain that they have not been given abundant, free, and well-designed training videos.
- The right resources, rightly linked. BibleWorks comes standard with virtually any major original language text (morphologically tagged) or resource you will need: NA27 Greek New Testament, Leningrad Hebrew Old Testament, Apostolic Fathers in Greek, Josephus in Greek, Philo in Greek, the Latin Vulgate, the entire Greek New Testament diagrammed, multiple Greek and Hebrew lexicons, etc. Of course, scholars will want to pay extra to get BDAG and HALOT, but those resources never come standard on any program.
- Ancient Manuscripts. One of the new features of BibleWorks 9 is the inclusion of transcriptions and complete image sets of seven significant Greek New Testament manuscripts (Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, Bezae, Washingtonianus, Boernerianus, and GA 1141). Like everything else in Bibleworks, this new feature is seamlessly integrated into the existing program. Without referring to any of the help features, I was able to show my class examples of textual variants on the powerpoint screen today.
It is difficult for me to think of enough superlatives to describe this excellent Bible software program. The only two drawbacks I can think of are: the program does not currently have a mobile device app, and if one runs it on an Apple computer, one must use the PC emulator function.
Robert L. Plummer is Associate Professor of New Testament Interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.