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BibleWorks 7
December 2006

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by Pastor Jim Moelk

I am not new to Bible software, but I am a newcomer (late comer?) to BibleWorks and so cannot compare version 7 with its younger siblings. But my first reaction after being introduced to the program was, "Where were you when I was in seminary?!" My secondary reaction has been, "I'm really glad you're here now - better late than never!" I have sampled, and in some cases used extensively, a number of other Bible programs on the market and have not been satisfied with any of them. For me they were either very easy to use but lacked substance, or had substance but were slow and cumbersome to use. And then along came BibleWorks 7, a program with an incredible amount of substance and surprisingly easy to use.

If you are looking for Bible software that will give you access to lots of commentaries, study guides, sermon illustrations and other such resources, then BibleWorks 7 is not the program for you. BibleWorks is designed for those who want to do serious study in God's word and discern for themselves what the Bible says and means before reading others' interpretations. It offers an amazing number of English and original language versions and resources, literally at the click of a button and in most cases, just that fast. I suppose that having eight or ten books open and spread across my desk makes it look like I am working hard, but having those same books open on my desktop makes the hard work a whole lot faster and easier. The more I use BibleWorks the more convinced I am that I will never tap into or use all that it makes available (like searching on Greek accents or Hebrew vowel points!) But it sure is fun when I discover that I can produce a certain list or access a certain resource or pursue a certain exegetical trail, and do so with speed and ease.

There are a few features that I have found particularly helpful. When working with the Greek or Hebrew, it can be very helpful at times to be able to do a word search based on either the morphological form of the word in the text or its lemma. To be able to roll the mouse over a Greek or Hebrew word and instantly see its morphology and other information, from the resources of my choosing, is a great help. And then from that data, one can roll over a Biblical reference and receive a pop up box with the verse in English, Greek and/or Hebrew. When working with the English, rolling over a verse or word instantly delivers any footnotes, cross references, etc. available from that particular version, including Strong's reference numbers. The almost innumerable display and report options available allow for a tremendous amount of flexibility and personalization, and the speed with which it is all produced is staggering (1.07 seconds to produce a list of all 55,728 occurrences in 23,203 verses of the word "the" in the NIV!)

As a pastor who has been out of seminary for 20+ years and who still believes in exegeting a text before preaching it, but whose knowledge of and conversance with Greek and Hebrew are not what t used to be (gross understatement!), I have found this program to be a Godsend, literally. For me, it's been like the difference between using a hand saw and a table saw - both tools will do the job, but one is much faster, more versatile and more reliable than the other. I admire those craftsmen who still use hand tools for everything, but I prefer to not cut any exegetical corners and still be home for dinner with my family

Jim Moelk is the pastor of Church of the Cross Presbyterian Church (USA) in Erie, PA.


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