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[The following is a rough English translation of the original article, found here.]


An excellent program for the theologian

Dr. A. H. Bogaards

Waarheid en Dwaling
Issue 11, February 2005, pages 7-8.

Today there are especially two Bible programs which are used by theologians: BibleWorks and Libronix.

In this article I wish to introduce you to the one that I regard as the more excellent of the two: BibleWorks.

It is impossible in a short article as this one to tell you every thing. In a glimpse I want to show you the most important features of BibleWorks. If you want to know more, I refer you to the brochure on the homepage of BibleWorks at

I also want to give a short comparison of BibleWorks with Libronix.

Known, loved

An Afrikaans saying goes: unknown, unloved. The reverse is also true in the case of BibleWorks: known, loved. The more you get acquainted with BibleWorks, the more you will fall in love with it.

The original texts

The basic packet of BibleWorks ($299) contains all the most important original texts of the Bible: the BHS Hebrew Old Testament, the Nestle Aland (27th edition) and the UBS (4th edition) Greek New Testament and the Textus Receptus, etc.

Furthermore, there are other important texts like the Septuagint (Rahlfs), the Syrian translation of the New Testament (Peshitta) and the Aramaic paraphrase of the Old Testament (Targums), which enhance the importance of BibleWorks for the theologian.

All these texts are tagged. This means that when you point at a word in the Hebrew Old Testament text with your mouse, the complete morphology of the word will appear in the window on the screen and at the bottom of the screen is a window that will take you to the correct place in the Hebrew dictionary e.g. Brown-Driver-Briggs.


The basic packet includes the Greek dictionaries of Louw-Nida, Friberg, Thayer, Barclay-Newman and Liddell-Scott (abridged).

For the Hebrew and Aramaic BibleWorks has made use of the Brown-Driver-Briggs dictionaries (full and abridged) and Theological Workbook of the Old Testament.

The following important books must be purchased separately as they are not included in the basic packet: the Greek dictionary by Bauer-Danker ($125) and the standard Hebrew-Aramaic dictionary by Koehler-Baumgartner ($159). If you buy Bauer-Danker and Koehler-Baumgartner together, you get it at a special price ($197).


The basic packet contains the well-known works of Gesenius, the standard reference work on Hebrew grammar.

Then there is also Futato's Hebrew grammar for beginners. A famous rabbi once said: "Reading the Bible in a translation is like kissing your bride through the veil." Futato's grammar empowers you to lift the veil and study the Old Testament in the original Hebrew.

The following important books must be purchased separately as they are not included in the basic packet: the modern standard Hebrew syntax by Waltke and O'Conner ($43), the more advanced Hebrew grammar by Futato ($25) and the Greek grammar by D.B. Wallace ($25).

A great variety of Bible translations

BibleWorks contains all the important English translations (such as the KJV, the English Standard Version and the NASB).

There are four Dutch Bible translations: the Leidse Vertaling, the Lutherse Vertaling, the translation of the NBG and the Statenvertaling.

Of great importance for theologians and translators is Luther's translation of the Bible (1545) in German.

Of great value for me is the Salkinson-Ginsburg Hebrew New Testament.

Good news for Afrikaans users of BibleWorks

Good news for Afrikaans users of BibleWorks is that the Afrikaans 1953 - translation will be available in the next version of BibleWorks.

Reference works

BibleWorks contains the works of the Apostolic Fathers and Flavius Josephus.

Also included are the following: International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Faussett Bible Dictionary, Synopsis of the Gospels, A.T. Roberton's Word Pictures in the Greek NT, Metzger's Bible Outline, Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, Easton's Bible Dictionary, Nave's Topical Index, Bible Timelines, Matthew Henry's Commentary.

The texts of Qumran are also available at $80. This, however, does not include the Bible scrolls of Qumran.

Many powerful and useful functions

BibleWorks if far more powerful compared to free of charge Bible programs like e-Sword, Theophilos and Online Bible.

It is amazing what this program offers:

· Words and phrases as well as combinations of words can be searched.

· To compare, Bible translations and the original texts can be placed side by side or underneath each other. BibleWorks display the differences between translations in colours of your choice

· Standing on a Greek or Hebrew word with your mouse pointer and with just two clicks you are in the lexical/grammatical helps window, which gives you all the lexical and grammatical information for that word. The contents of the help window automatically change as you move the mouse to the next word in the tagged Hebrew or Greek text.

It is impossible to go in on every function of the program in one article, but the power and the speed of this program is, in one word, impressive.

A excellent and easy to use Help

With the program is supplied a comprehensive and easy to use 422 page hard copy manual, telling you exactly how to use BibleWorks.

And that is not all. The program includes a Video CD, telling you step by step how to master the program.

With such a Help there is almost no need to go on a course to master the program.

Compared to Libronix

The basic packet of BibleWorks is comparatively more affordable as something similar in Libronix. Presently, Libronix also does not contain the Targum. When this will be available, you will have to buy it at extra costs.

The "Help" provided by BibleWorks is more adequate. Libronix does not give a hard copy manual and its Video CD highlights only a few facets of the program. A more comprehensive Video CD for Libronix has to be purchased with the Libronix at extra costs.

Furthermore, Libronix is exceptionally slow. One example: To look up the Hebrew Name Jahwe in Libronix takes approximately 20 seconds on my computer, showing only the first 100 of the 5031 results. To look up the next 100 takes just as long. BibleWorks on the other hand takes only 1,19 seconds to show all 5031 results which and it can be reviewed with great ease and speed.

The support of Libronix is inferior to that of BibleWorks.

It is true that Libronix contains many more commentaries than BibleWorks, but there is a good reason why BibleWorks does not go for it. In their manual BibleWorks says: "We have struggled as a company to decide how best to respond to the module-frenzy that seems to have possessed the Bible-software marketplace. BibleWorks has purposely tried to stay out of the fray because we do not think it is in the best interests of our users to encourage them to purchase a multitude of external modules. In the absence of real publishing standards we feel such purchases to be risky at best. We don't know of anyone who is planning on leaving a large electronic library to their children. And yet electronic book prices are typically equal to or higher than print prices. We urge caution to all of our users and recommend that most of their library funds be spent on traditional print books. We do however realize that there are some tools that exegetes use on a daily basis and which would therefore benefit from being available in electronic form. We will begin to provide our users with as many of these as possible over the next few months. We will try to do it in a way that maximizes value to our users and minimizes long-term risk. We do however encourage users to buy the print editions first."

Dr. A. H. Bogaards is an author and pastor in the Reformed Church of South Africa.


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