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Software Review

By Tony W. Cartledge

Reviewed in Biblical Recorder, December 14, 2002, Vol. 168, No. 38. Biblical Recorder is North Carolina Baptists' news journal since 1833

Church groups in search of the perfect gift for a minister or other Bible study leader would do well to consider a quality Bible study software program.

... BibleWorks 5 ($299.95, is singly focused on providing maximum resources for the translation and study of the Bible with special attention to the original language texts.

The basic package includes no less than 90 Bible translations in 28 languages, including multiple translations in Spanish, French, German, Russian, even Indonesian! The ability to compare multiple translations from different linguistic families makes it a Bible translator's dream.

The 20 English translations include new translations like the English Standard Version, the British New International Version, and the Jewish Publication Society's Tanakh in addition to traditional standards and older translations such as the Geneva Bible of 1599 and the Douay-Rheims 1899 American edition.

Original language texts include the most recent critical editions in addition to historically significant editions of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint and the Greek New Testament. Fans of the King James Version who also read Greek will be pleased to see a modern version of the "Majority text" and two versions of the "Textus Receptus" favored by the KJV translators in addition to the critical editions preferred by most scholars.

Serious students willing to pay an additional unlock fee can supplement the basic lexical support with new and unabridged versions of the Koehler-Baumgartner Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (4th edition) and Bauer and Danker's A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (3rd edition).

The package itself is tightly integrated, loaded with features, and lightning fast. Users can choose between "beginner," "standard" and "power-user" platforms distinguished mainly by the increasing availability of shortcuts and search options. Instructional videos included with the package are helpful. With a few hours of practice (and maybe a cheat-sheet for the shortcut codes), most users will have little trouble ramping up from "beginner" to "power-user."

My favorite feature is an "instant lexicon" - as the cursor floats over words of the text in Hebrew, Greek or morphologically tagged English versions, the appropriate entry from the user's favorite lexicon pops immediately into a separate window, complete with a full parsing of the word.

... For one who is primarily interested in translation and a study of the original texts, BibleWorks 5 is the quickest, slickest program around....

Any of these programs - or a gift certificate enabling the recipient to choose for himself/herself - would be a welcome sight under the Christmas tree.

Tony W. Cartledge (Ph.D., Duke University) is editor of the Biblical Recorder. Tony has served as a pastor for several decades in Georgia and North Carolina.


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