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Thread: A note from Michael Bushell on the closure of BibleWorks

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    989

    Default A note from Michael Bushell on the closure of BibleWorks

    I am thankful and humbled by the outpouring of good-wishes, prayers and grief in countless e-mails that we have received today. It was quite unexpected. I keep saying the same things in e-mails to people so I wanted to share a few thoughts for forum folks on why this is happening and what happens next.

    There were many things that went into this decision. We are an aging company. I will turn 70 in July. The youngest employee is 49. I also received word a few months ago that the other lead programmer (we only have two) wants to leave and attend seminary, with a view to the Gospel ministry. He has been with me for more than 20 years so I cannot begrudge him that. I also learned that our main tech support guy wants to return to the pastorate. Coupled with these things is the fact that sales of BibleWorks have been declining for at least ten years. There are a multitude of reasons for this: increased completion, technology and platform changes that we deliberately chose not to follow, and the move to web-based services, to name only a few. But I believe the main reason is a decline in interest in programs that focus on original language study of the Bible. I recently saw an article that tracks the increase in MAR degrees against the decline in MDiv degrees. The number of people enrolling in MDiv programs has been steadily decreasing and the decline tracks almost exactly the decline in our sales numbers. People are opting for quicker programs that have either little or no language requirements. This is not a hopeful trend, but it is real. We are still viable financially but the future looked pretty bleak. Producing a complex program like BibleWorks requires a critical mass of new users to pay for development, technical support, promotional activities, and so on. It just isn’t there anymore. We don’t have the broader range of software versions and tools that other software companies have. We chose to “focus on the text”. That was a great strength but when fewer and fewer people really want to do that, it makes things difficult. This all seemed like a perfect storm. So I decided that it would be best to go out when we are at the top of our game, which I think we are.

    We are open to exploring ways to continue the BibleWorks legacy and we are exploring some of them. But our licensing model makes that difficult. We have deliberately tried to integrate tools rather than produce a flood of modules. We did that to keep costs low for us and for the user. And we have been very successful at that for 25 years. Open sourcing the program is really out of the question. It is too dependent on licensed material. I am reluctant to sell the company to another organization simply because I don’t see how our vision for how a Christian software company should be run can be transferred to organizations with a different philosophy. There is not room to expand on that here. Another consideration is that BibleWorks is not a company. It is a vision and the hard work of two dedicated programmers. BibleWorks really is just Michael Bushel and Michael Tan (plus a deciated support staff). It may sound arrogant, but it is difficult for me to see it continuing without one of them and neither wants to do the work without the other. And 70 years of age is a hard wall to hit. So here we are. Michael and I and all the support staff are thankful for many years of service in this part of God’s vineyard. And we are very thankful for so many enthusiastic and patient users scattered over 26 years of service and all over the world.

    Keep in mind how BibleWorks started. It started 30 years ago when I purchased a computer and started to write a Bible concordance program for my own use. At the time I was a physicist working for the Department of Defense. But I wanted something for my own use. It was always, rather selfishly, for me. The user interface is what it has been because that is what I was comfortable with. Eventually this led to BibleWorks, through a connection with a company called Hermeneutika. The point is that I still need BibleWorks myself and as long as, by God’s grace, I draw breath and have half a brain, it will be maintained and kept compatible with whatever nonsense Microsoft decides to throw at it. I will happily share any improvements or compatibility updates with anyone who has a valid BibleWorks 10 license. The only catch is that this means current users only and no technical support other then the forum and knowledge base. BibleWorks will no longer be sold. It will be an exclusive club. So if you are a BibleWorks 10 user, hang in there and keep cranking away at those Greek and Hebrew morphology databases. Let’s be thankful together for what God has enabled us to accomplish together over the last quarter century.

    May the Lord our God prosper the work of your hands, for His glory,
    Mike Bushell
    BisleWorks,LLC
    Last edited by MBushell; 06-01-2018 at 10:48 PM.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by MBushell View Post
    There were many things that went into this decision. We are an aging company. I will turn 70 in July. ... But I believe the main reason is a decline in interest in programs that focus on original language study of the Bible. ... We chose to “focus on the text”. That was a great strength but when fewer and fewer people really want to do that, it makes things difficult. This all seemed like a perfect storm. So I decided that it would be best to go out when we are at the top of our game, which I think we are. ... I don’t see how our vision for how a Christian software company should be run can be transferred to organizations with a different philosophy.
    BibleWorks is the greatest bible language tool this side of the Kingdom. I started using it with version 2, and bought all the upgrades through version 10. I still only use a subset of all of it's great features. A world post-BibleWorks is a diminished world. Thank you for the great work you did.

  3. #3

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    Dear Michael and BibleWorks Team,

    Thank you very much for your ministry.

    ~Andley.

  4. #4

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    Thank you Michael for your more detailed explanation.

    Reading your post reminded me one reason I purchased BibleWorks in the first place and kept upgrading with each release - your (and subsequently the company's) approach that BibleWorks is a Christian ministry focused on God's Word first of all. Thank you to you and your team for maintaining that faithfulness all these years. I respect and support your decision to not sell to anyone else. We've all seen too many Christian companies purchased by non-Christian companies or large "Christian" corporations that have a totally different view of, well, everything.

    I hope all the staff quickly find new employment and I'm impressed that the two are going/returning to the ministry. Be sure to thank all employees of BibleWorks for me.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Posts
    1

    Default Sorry to see this happen but grateful

    I started with Hermeneutica and then moved to Bibleworks many years ago. As another physicist (and also a pastor of a church) who writes computer software - in my case for children with special needs - I so identify with what you have been doing at BibleWorks. It is wonderful to see your commitment to the Lord first of all and I have been very grateful for the tool you have created. It is so much better than anything else out there in my observation.
    I share your concern with the decline in the study of Biblical Greek and Hebrew (especially the former). It seems to me to be part of a growing shallowness in western Christianity though of course such observations are very subjective, and the Lord is always able to turn his church around.
    May the Lord bless you all in the future

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    134

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    Mike, I have been "with" BibleWorks since I was 20 years old starting with version 3.5. I have used BibleWorks for half my years and all of my adult life. Your (plural) labor of love has been a kindness to me and my growth as a Christian. BibleWorks is like a good friend who never tires of assisting me in the study of God's word. BibleWorks never complains when I want to have 10 resources open at once on my desk or never rolls its eyes when I ask repeatedly, "What stem was that again?" And the tools you cobbled together always seem to anticipate the next question, "Is there anything unique about this verb in that stem?" and "Where else is this used?" and, "Hey, show me the LXX so we can run on over to the New Testament and BDAG to see how the Apostles understood this!"


    Your labor has provided a resource that nothing else I know can match or replace. I have 5 book shelves loaded floor to ceiling with books centered on Biblical studies. Yet in my library BibleWorks has been, by far, the most valuable tool for studying Scripture. There is no substitute for reading, knowing, and meditating on God's word but when I turn to carefully analyzing his word, especially in the original languages, there is nothing like BibleWorks.


    The closing of BibleWorks is a really sad day for me. You guys are my Bible study friends. We may never talk or speak but the fruit of your labor has blessed me 100 fold. And then some. There is some trepidation this news brings (was it really a wise investment in digital tools like BDAG/HALOT over paper copies? Should I be concerned one day BW won't authenticate when I install on a new machine?) but mostly I am both grateful and sad. Sad knowing you guys poured everything you had into BibleWorks and really stayed true to a path focused on the study of the word, especially in the original languages. Sad that I will never see BibleWorks "mobile" so I can have access to parts of this amazing tool on lunch or when away from home (which is often as I don't work full time in ministry). You all will be very missed.


    But as you transition I hope you are taking stock of how many people you blessed and assisted over the years. BibleWorks really did what it aimed to do: Get students digital access to God's word in the original languages and then provided a package of tools to best study. You kept the price down and focused on the essentials--very little bloat. While BW has never been "cheap" it has always been an AMAZING value. We will probably never meet in this lifetime but you have touched my life.


    I am very thankful for all you have done and labored to do to help people like me draw closer in heart and knowledge to King Yeshua (Jesus).
    Joshua



    Ps. Thanks for providing notice on upgrading to BW10 and at a great price to boot. I had not upgraded in a couple years as I have slowed down with my MS and expanding family and the world of computing has really changed especially for some of us who work non-ministry day jobs where not having mobile access is not inconsequential. I am grateful you guys and gals are giving us laggards a last chance.

  7. #7

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    Very thankful for your faithfulness to help so many "focus on the text." I wonder how many sermons/commentaries/lectures/scholarship have been influenced by Bibleworks and led to lives changed forever. I'm praying that the Lord opens a door for Bibleworks to continue somehow, perhaps by being supported by a like-minded company. I know that may not seem possible, but it's my prayer nonetheless.

    In the past, I've had issues activating Bibleworks via the internet where I had to call in and have you guys reset something to allow for activation. Will this be an issue moving forward with no tech support? Thank you again,

    Nathanael King

  8. #8

    Default Thanks Also!!!

    I was also very disheartened to see Bibleworks sales shutting down. I have used the program since version 5, sold it, and then returned back. I am currently on version 10.

    When will the new ISO file be available for downloading? Don't know if I should order the download version or the USB.

    Frank Jones, Pastor
    Faith Memorial Baptist Church, Richmond VA

  9. #9

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    Thank you, Michael Bushell, and thank you to everyone who has served faithfully at Bibleworks. I love BW10 just the way it is. I can see myself being happy with the current feature set until the end of my pastoral ministry, Lord willing, 20 years from now. I will continue to install and use BW10 for as long as I can keep it running on a computer. Therefore, I appreciate your willingness to do what you can to keep BW10 functional and installable for as long as the Lord gives you the ability to do so. I had always hoped that BW10 would transition to run on Linux like you were able to bring it to the MacOS because that is my preferred desktop system. BW10 alone has kept me on Windows on my main work computer because I value your work so much. Thank you for giving me a tool that I use every day as I serve the spiritual needs of the congregation that has called me as their pastor.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Posts
    2

    Default Thanks so much! / compatibility updates enough

    First, a heartfelt thanks so much to Michael and the team for your service over the years. May God bless each of your future endeavors.

    Quote Originally Posted by stevedaley View Post
    I love BW10 just the way it is. I can see myself being happy with the current feature set until the end of my pastoral ministry
    Agreed. While one might prefer an additional bell or whistle, BibleWorks is great AS IS.

    I'm probably not alone in saying I would be willing to pay for occassional future updates that address nothing more than compatibility.

    Dave

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