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The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread For Word Studies

Texas Baptist Leadership Magazine (Baptist General Convention)
October 2000

By Pastor David Montoya

When I am asked, "What computer software is the most helpful to you in ministry?" without a bit of hesitation I answer, "BibleWorks for Windows 4.0."

Bibleworks is a program I use almost daily, both for my private studies and for my sermon preparation. It has saved me hours of going through different language tools and it is extremely compatible with other programs I use. Surprisingly, for such a complicated software program, BibleWorks is very user-friendly.

...This software program has been around for quite awhile. I have been using it for the last eight years. I have seen it develop from a program mainly for individuals with a strong working knowledge of the biblical languages to one which can be used by anyone.

Version 4.0 is so user-friendly and interlinked with tools such as the Friberg Morphology, Robertson's Work Pictures, and the Westminster Theological Morphology (just to mention a few) that even a beginning student of the biblical languages can do exegetical work. For those of us who studied the biblical languages the old-fashioned way, we can only wish we had had BibleWorks while we were learning Greek and Hebrew. Oh how I wish this program had been available when I was taking second-year Greek.

I can just imagine a beginning Greek or Hebrew student using this instrument to check their work (or doing their work for them) as the do the required parsing for the prospective classes. With this program all one needs to do is to place the cursor over the desire word and the program parses the word, give a concise definition of the word and how it is used. In fact, the only thing the program does not do yet, is give the actual grammatical definition of different tenses or usages (but give these folks time and I feel sure you will see this feature added as well).

To give an example of how I use the program, let's suppose I am going to preach on John 3:16. I would open BibleWorks and then type in John 3:16 in the dialog box. BibleWorks give all the books of the Bible a three-letter/number designation. In the display box, all the versions I was to see are displayed; NIV, NRSV, Analytical Greek New Testament and a Spanish version (I have just moved to the Rio Grande Valley).

You have the option of changing search and display version to meet your specific needs. Once the verse is displayed, I can view it in the context of the passage where it is found, or I can view it individually. Then comes the work I really enjoy. With the text displayed I can look for any significant work usages. I can move the cursor over the Greek words (or Hebrew if in the Old Testament) and an automatic window will display a lexicon analysis of the word.

If I want to see where else a Greek word from the passage is found, all I need to do is double-click the word and a listing pops up for my perusal. This program is the greatest thing since sliced bread for word studies. You have the potential to do detailed language work in a fraction of the time it takes to dig out the old dusty volumes and go page by page.

Also, at any time during this process, I can also transfer the material I found from the BibleWorks program to my word processor, which makes it great for creating lessons or transferring the information into the text of a sermon I am working on.

I could go on and on about how I have used this software, but in reality, an article like this cannot even begin to touch on all the ways this program can help a student of the Scripture.

BibleWorks is not cheap but you would pay ten times that amount if you bought separately all of the resources which are included in BibleWorks. If I had only one software program to use in my sermon preparation and study, BibleWorks would be the one, hands down.

Pastor David Montoya serves at First Baptist Church, Donna, Texas

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