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What is BibleWorks?

Kevin Weaver

CrossWorld newsletter, Spring 2009.

At a training session on the new version of BibleWorks software, IT Manager, Kevin Weaver, got excited about what that software can do for Bible study and lesson preparation. This is a valuable Bible tool, not just for high tech enthusiasts but for average Bible students.

What is BibleWorks?

The most important thing we need to do is to be sure of what the Bible is saying. The best way to do that is to spend many hours each week studying it, and that includes studying in Greek and Hebrew. Over one’s lifetime, a person will learn how the different words and phrases of the Bible relate to each other and inform each other, which is so critical to really know what the Biblical authors meant. With the use of BibleWorks, one can accelerate that process. BibleWorks speeds up the process of gathering information for word studies and analyzing parallel phrases and passages significantly.

I first purchased BibleWorks when I was a cash-strapped seminary student. It was because BibleWorks has real value. First, I saved hundreds of dollars by not having to buy a number of hard-copy reference books that are really required to do serious Bible study. Second, I was able to take along electronic equivalents of them with me on my laptop, rather than being forced to spend many hours in the seminary library.

That was back in BibleWorks 3. Now, in BibleWorks 8, the included reference works have been significantly expanded. Most of them are now linked to the Biblical text that they refer to. For example, if you look up a verb in a particular verse of the Old Testament, it tells you the tense, mood and several other grammatical items related to that verb in that context. Fine – several other software programs do that, too. However, what if you don’t fully remember the significance of that tense? Will you just wing it when you give your lesson, or will you check out your Hebrew grammar to review all that tense implies? With BibleWorks, the relevant sections of numerous well-respected Greek & Hebrew grammars are linked to the verb in the verse you are studying. You don’t have to drag out your copy of Waltke & O’Connor – the information is already there at your fingertips. BibleWorks also has a wealth of lexicons for the original languages, too.

BibleWorks also allows one to have many different searches and contexts open simultaneously. It has always allowed the user to save searches and comparisons for later review, but now, one can follow that new idea that just popped up, and then jump right back to the original train of thought. For example, I just recently was working through Acts chapter 9 for Sunday school. I wanted to see whether Luke’s “immediately” in verse twenty should be taken with the same weight as the English word implies. I was able within minutes to confirm that in every other case, Luke used the word in ways that implied immediacy. This is in contrast to Mark, who uses the Greek word in more than one way. I was able to jump between several searches based on the Greek word and on the English equivalents, and therefore I could tell my class with confidence that Paul really did start preaching publically in Damascus right away after meeting with the brethren in that city. With BibleWorks, the effort was slight and my time was negligible. I was able to reserve my real time and effort to decide what significance I think we should draw from what Paul did.

Another example of BibleWorks 8 is its collection of reference material about the early church. The complete Apostolic Fathers and early Church Fathers references are included. These are high-quality versions of reference works that are invaluable for understanding the actions and thought of the church during its first half-century. If we want to be sure we understand how the church developed its doctrines about such things as the Trinity, we need to be sure we really have an accurate account of the words of its early pastors and theologians.

Finally, BibleWorks is fairly easy to use. My wife, who has no background with computers or the Biblical languages, uses it for her own Bible study. She uses it to find passages and verses and to copy those to Word documents for review. It takes a bit of time to learn to use all of the tools in the program, but the built-in help includes overview videos and how-to guides to get one over the initial hurdle.

Kevin Weaver is the IT maanger for CrossWorld.


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