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Thread: Do we really need another version of BW?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014

    Default Do we really need another version of BW?

    I had posted this under What would you like to see in Bibleworks 11?, but then someone suggested that this should probably have its own thread. So, here it is again under its own thread:

    Hi everybody,

    I have a controversial question, but nevertheless a very honest one. And I hope somebody might be able to give me a good answer. I have been a faithful user since BW7.0. Presently I own BW10. However, I also use Logos a lot, which has come a long way since its early years. I have now arrived at a point where I truly ask myself, why would I want to keep upgrading BW? I recently upgraded to BW10 but now I wonder, why on earth did I do that? I could kick myself for wasting the money because I really just upgraded out of habit. But I am completely unable to defend that decision if someone were to ask me what BW gives me in addition to Logos.

    So here is the question I have for the forum: Is there anything that can be done in BW with Greek and Hebrew texts, that can not be done equally well or even better in Logos? ... Please don't misunderstand, this is not to dis BW in any way, but when I look at the extremely powerful Visual filters and in-depth word analysis tools of Logos, which also happen to be graphically very pleasing, then I truly ask myself, what does BW still have to offer besides perhaps some interactive photographs from original manuscripts? Perhaps I don't know BW well enough to appreciate having it alongside Logos, but then the marketing people at BW are not doing a good job convincing people like me.

    So, I'd really like to hear from those of you who also own and work with Logos 7?
    Last edited by Martin K; 04-01-2017 at 12:48 PM.

  2. #2


    (I posted in the other thread, but it's better to post it here)
    Michael has already identified some key points, but let me add/reiterate... I also have both BW10 and Logos7 Gold. I use both regularly.
    Also note that I am approaching this as a sem prof who is trying to find what works best for my students.

    1. Value: BW is $389 and $295 with the group purchase. Logos' Biblical Languages Package is $475 at the institution rate and requires the institution to put up all the money in advance.
    2. Approach: BW focuses on the biblical text and works outward to related resources; Logos focuses on a library and drills down into the texts and connects them
      • This is a pro/con either way depending on what you want to do

    3. Included resources: BibleWorks has so many texts included in their standard package that would cost so much extra in Logos whether you buy separately or upgrade your library.
      • The wide variety of English and Greek versions
      • The huge number of non-English language versions
      • Inclusion of Greek/English of Philo, pseudepigraphical, apocryphal, Jewish...
      • The large number of free databases and add-on modules

    4. Other Resources: There are a few resources that are unique to BW that I use regularly
      • NETS = New English Translation of the Septuagint - This is the latest scholarly standard. Logos does not offer it but has their own Lexham translation instead (but the English is fully tagged w/ interlinear)
      • Danker Concise Greek-English Lexicon and Friberg Analytical Lexicon - If you can't afford BDAG or the EDNT, these two lexicons are the best available for students (in addition to Louw-Nida which both BW and Logos include). In Logos, they basically have the UBS Concise which is just a gloss, though you can buy Friberg for $16 more. Danker is not available.
      • ESV Concise Bible Atlas

    5. Tasks: Once you are familiar with BW, it is usually much faster to conduct many tasks. Michael noted that Logos is slow, but I no longer have speed complaints on my computers that are 3 and years old. By tasks, let's say I want to find all the εν τῳ INFINITIVE constructions in the LXX and NT and allow for a δε to appear between the εν and τω.
      • In BW: ESC ESC to clear command line; BGM to get to morph text; 'εν *1 o@dd?s *@vn*
      • In Logos: (to search both NT and LXX, you will need to have previously created a collection w/ these 2 books): search > morph; choose text, passages, collection; type in (and choose from dropdowns) lemma:ἐν BEFORE 2 WORDS @DDS BEFORE 2 WORDS @V??N
      • In some ways, Logos is more logical, but it takes longer. Now what to do with the results?
        • Here Logos is very nice because you can lay out Greek and English alongside each other and scan results much more quickly with search results highlighted in both Greek and English
        • BUT, to export results in a quick way to paste into a paper...
          • In BW, I can use the checkboxes to keep what results I want, use Checkbox Options to clean up the list, right click and choose Copy Verse List (No Text) and I get a fully condensed list to paste
          • In Logos: Save as Passage List; right click and delete one at a time; Print/Export; choose Print as minimized list; copy to clipboard > but then I need to edit it because it includes a header and footer
          • Let's say I didn't want 10 results in the list. In BW, 14 clicks total. In Logos, 26 clicks total.
          • I know that may not sound like much, but it is just lot easier and faster in BW

    6. Company: BW is a group of committed persons who really want to make Bible software accessible while maintaining a business. Logos feels more like a business wanting to make Bible software available. Pro/cons to both...

    So why do I use Logos?

    • I have purchased resources that I use all the time in Logos that simply aren't part of the BW vision. Anchor Bible Dictionary, Hermeneia Commentaries, UBS Translator Handbooks...
    • The sympathetic highlighting (hovering over a word in Greek highlights word in English translation) is a great feature
    • There are some excellent word study and grammatical features, especially when tracing down a word's translation
    • Logos' desire to preserve the book view is better for a resource like BDAG.
    • Logos does implement the Tov Hebrew/Greek better
    • The reverse interlinear approach is nice for quick work since some of the English versions are fully tagged with the underlying Greek/Hebrew
    • I can do Greek root (not just lemma) searches

    That's just a start. Again, both have pro/con, and I use them both depending on what I want to do.
    Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman
    Glatfelter Professor of Biblical Studies
    United Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg & Philadelphia -
    Biblical Studies and Technological Tools

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004


    First, let me begin with the end. Ultimately, this comes down to a personal preference issue. I can't argue for what is best for you, but I can tell you what is best for me.

    1) I've been a Bible software user since 2000, buying both BibleWorks and Logos that year. My experience with both programs has taught me that the two companies might do the similar kind of things, but are not the same philosophy. Logos is at its heart an electronic library program (and the company itself has branched into being a larger media company). BibleWorks is a tool for engaging the text of the Bible itself in modern and original languages. So although they both have some of the same materials, the way you use them, the way the program is built around them is fundamentally different.

    Once you understand point 1, the question is, "do I want a library, a Bible tool, or both?" In other words, for many people, your question is not an either/or, but a both/and.

    2) One reason why I like BW is because it is fairly limited in scope. They give me the Bible and tools for engaging the Bible. With Logos, all I get are bombardments of sales, upgrades and more products. Because the two programs are so different, their business models are too. I like BW because it isn't trying to do everything and asking for my money to do it. It knows its purpose and it keeps to it.

    3) This is closely related to point 2, but from stewardship standpoint, BW represents a dramatic cost-savings to me. You can’t buy from Logos exactly what BibleWorks contains, but if you could, you’d find that BibleWorks prices are very low. They’re not trying to get maximum profit in order to grow into a huge company. They’re instead maximizing the amount of resources they can provide for the smallest price. I choose to reward that business model with my money as opposed to the other. So while I continue to upgrade BibleWorks, I’m not sure that I’ve added to my Logos library in 2 or 3 years.

    4) Under the “it just works” logic. I use both pieces of software on church provided computers. These computers are not cutting edge, by any means. BibleWorks runs smoothly and I have no problems. Logos runs slower than molasses and when it updates, it drives every other process on my computer to a halt. To some who have the latest and greatest, Logos probably runs wonderfully, but for those of us who aren’t working under those circumstances, Logos is very often unusable.

    There are more reasons I could list, but those are some of the ones that immediately jump into my mind. BibleWorks will never have as many resources as Logos, but BibleWorks has most of the key resources I wanted and is constantly pursuing other options that completely change the game (for instance, the BibleWorks manuscript project) in the Bible software game and yet remains true to its original scope and purpose.
    Michael Hanel
    PhD candidate Classics Univ. of Cincinnati
    MDiv Concordia Seminary
    MA Classics Washington University
    Unofficial BibleWorks Blog

  4. #4


    I've used both since... pre-2000.

    I treat Logos like my research library and BW is for all my text work. Never bought a package in Logos, just the free engine and books, mostly reference works, commentaries, journals, etc. I think BW's focus makes it much easier to use for text work (note I said easier, not "simple.")

    Moreover, BW has a much better import tool for texts. Combined with the power-user "hit esc, type in codes, hit enter," I find it just so much better for text work. Faster, more efficient, etc.

    Bibleworks has bang-for-the-buck.

    That said, I use it on a Mac, and while I'm extremely grateful for that utility, sometimes the UI seems quite outdated. But that's a minor quibble about appearance, not functionality.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2004


    I have used BW since 3.5 and Logos since 2.0. I started out with Windows versions of both and now use both on a Mac. What a blessing both these programs and the companies behind them have been.

    Even though both products have continued to advance, I still see them as complementary rather than redundant. BW is update every 2 or 3 years, and the updates have currently been focused on MSS and textual criticism. When I need to analyze the text the following tool in BW are invaluable:
    KWIC, related verse tool and phrase matching tool. I use the CNTTS with the the MSS for complete analysis of textual differences. I also use the Context tab when starting a book or pericope study. BW does this work really well.

    Where BW falls short is the way resources are are displayed using a very old, dated and difficult to read MS file system. I have tried to use the church fathers, Talmud etc., but it is simply not a very pleasant experience. So while BW offers value, other than the lexicons, which are useful in the BW format, i have to discount the value of the other resources due to lack of readability and functionality.

    Logos does a library really well. In addition, the program makes it easier to read in English and get to the underlying original language, especially for those like myself that are not professors, scholars or full-time seminary students.

    That said, I would not want to give up my BW because when I need it, it just works.

  6. #6


    I used Logos when it first came out years ago, version 1.0. When I first purchased it they promised that you would only have to buy "books" the software would remain free. Although that is kind of true, I was disappointed in the fact that recently as they have added functionality, it's not just "books" that you have to buy to get all of the latest advantages, but there are "functions" or "tools" that you have to pay extra for too. I've been disappointed as the earliest of adopters how expensive it is to have the newest "features". When I crunched the numbers to get just the original language functions added to my old Scholars Edition of Logos, it was more than two copies of Bibleworks. Since I still had issues with Logos notes crashing my computer (an issue I have seen in their software from the beginning), I decided to give Bibleworks a try with version 9.

    Is Bibleworks perfect? No, but I'm so happy with this product that I have upgraded to version 10, and I will probably happily update to version 11 too. For me, the notes function in Bibleworks 9 and 10 is its biggest selling point. I've never had Bibleworks 9 or 10 notes crash my computer, in fact, the whole program has rarely crashed, but it has never brought down Windows, where old versions of Logos had done that regularly to me. I only wish that the spell checker worked, which I know is less of a Bibleworks issue and more an issue of a third party developer. Often when doing a spell check it finds an incorrectly spelled word, but places the highlight in the wrong place, so that when I do a replacement, it overwrites the correction in the wrong place creating a new editing problem. I love going to a verse and having all of my personal notes that might be 8 pages long pop up immediately.

    Also, I was taking a Seminary Exegetical class last year, and the professor used Logos as did all of the students in the class except for me. He showed the class how to do a complicated search which helped to understand the Greek vocable in its present context. I didn't at first know how to do something similar in Bibleworks, but when I figured it out, my search in Bibleworks turned out to be easier to execute with fewer clicks and search parameters and also ran instantaneously compared to the few seconds it took for the Logos search to run.

    I'm glad that both companies are in the market, but honestly, I would truly miss Bibleworks more at this point in my ministry. I open Bibleworks everyday, but Logos gets opened on my computer perhaps once a month. So I will upgrade so I can continue to see great things come from Bibleworks, and I hope that they continue to offer their upgrades at the reasonable prices that they have been so I can continue to give them my support.

  7. #7

    Default BibleWorks is without peer

    Great answers, and I'm glad Steve finally highlighted one of my greatest loves of BW: the notes function. My list is more "Why still BW," though new versions are also always cool, and I'm always there:

    1. The value. BW gives a truckload of resources for a very reasonable price. With Logos (which I also love and use, and in which I'm heavily inve$ted) you have to get a lot of bloat to get what you want, and it's very expensive.
    2. Speed.
    3. Simplicity of display.
    4. The personnel. When there are problems, the BW folks are all over it, giving quick and personal response as needed. By contrast, a few updates ago Logos' word-selection feature changed for the worst. I notified them, got a low-level tech's admission of inability to fix. Asked him to escalate. Nothing. I've since written the bug people twice, and don't even have a personal response.
    5. User Lexicon. I've only just come to realize what a goldmine this is. It's a way of having a lightning-fast reference library at hand. Do word searches, highlight, bring in lexicons (including resources from Logos commentaries and reference works), and it's all there instantly on the Hebrew or Greek words. Or do the same with the English words, and build a dictionary/reference resource. It's amazing.
    6. Above all, the notes. I really don't think even BW users fully appreciate what a treasure chest this is. You can have personal notes, URLs, pictures, graphs, linked Logos references, to an unlimited size and instantaneously available the nanosecond the verse displays. No more, "Dang, I know there was an article/post/sermon on, what was it...?" It's there, immediately, forever. See further here:

    I love BibleWorks. It's the best. Nothing even comes close, to my mind.

  8. #8

    Default BibleWorks is without peer



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2014

    Default Thanks

    Well guys, I think I got some really good answers and it seems like I was not using BW to its full potential. I appreciate all the feedback. Thanks

    However, there is one thing I would like to say in defense of Logos being "pricey". The base engine of Logos could always be had for free, which is not true for BW. So in theory, you could get a very low-cost Logos version by downloading the free base engine and then just buying the individual resources that you like. ... and if you are a student or faculty member, they give you substantial discounts on those too.
    Last edited by Martin K; 04-05-2017 at 10:36 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009


    This is a very interesting topic, especially in light of the internal debate I had with myself when BW10 had an upgrade special the other week.

    Should I, or shouldn't I - that was the question.

    I decided in the end that I wouldn't.

    Not because I do not value BW, (I use it constantly for sermon preparation, Bible studies, personal study, research). I don't think that I could have completed my PhD without it. Along with Microsoft Word, BW9 is constantly open.

    In the end I didn't upgrade simply because I feel that I don't need the additional features BW10 has over BW9. The additional features are interesting, and I am sure that for some they are helpful - just not for me.

    However, when BW11 comes out, I will have a good, long look at how it compares with BW9 - and, who knows, I might upgrade then.

    But only if I feel that it would be beneficial to me.

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