by Jessica Harvey
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Every once in a while you find a product that makes you stand there with your mouth hanging open, unable to articulate any thing but "Wow!" The moment BibleWorks 6 arrived was one of those moments. As soon as you open the box and begin to flip through the more than 400-page instruction manual, you realize this is not your ordinary software. BibleWorks 6 places an entire bible reference library at your fingertips at a fraction of the cost of a traditional home library.
BibleWorks 6 contains over 93 Bible translations in 29 languages. In addition to rarer translations, such as 1899 American Edition and the New Jerusalem Bible, BibleWorks also includes the more popular NIV, ESV, NASB, NRSV, NLT, NET, KJV, NKJ versions. Also included are two original language texts with 7 morphology databases, 6 Greek lexicons and dictionaries, 4 Hebrew lexicons and dictionaries, plus 18 reference works. Wow! Imagine the shelf space needed to house all that, not to mention the cost or the time and energy necessary to meander through them.
In case you're feeling a little overwhelmed, which is understandable with a resource of this magnitude, the creators of BibleWorks have provided over four hours of tutorial videos on the included companion CD. These videos will give you the hands on tools to learn how to take advantage of all this program has to offer. In addition to the videos BibleWorks also includes a behemoth 400-page user manual to assist you on your journey. Just in case that isn't enough, online support can be found through email for registered BibleWorks users along with a user forum on their website, www.BibleWorks.com.
For the new user, BibleWorks can seem a bit intimidating, however, once you get the hang of it you appreciate the ease of having a plethora of information to search with both speed and ease. How many times have you started out searching for the answer to a question within the Bible or trying to find just the right information, only to give up or to settle simply because time and life just didn't suffer you to dig and dig? Not to mention the inability for many of us to have a concise and devoted seminary library in our living rooms. With BibleWorks, everything is right there on your computer, eagerly waiting to search for you. In seconds more information then you can imagine is right there at your fingertips.
The program has been set up with three different user interfaces for the beginning user all the way up to the "power user". Thus allowing you to gradually add on as you become more confident with the program. The beauty of these three modes is that it allows individuals within the same household or organization to be able to access and adapt the program according to their individual needs.
At it's basic, BibleWorks is an incredible tool for searching and comparing Bible passages and translation. Simply by typing in a few choice words BibleWorks brings qualifying scriptures up and with another click allows users to view over 93 translations comparatively. By allowing your cursor to linger over a chosen word enables the lexical form of the word to pop-up providing you with a clearer meaning of the original text. BibleWorks 6 includes a text coloring feature, basically a highlighter system allowing you to mark any text with various colors or formatting options (bold, strike-through, italic, and underline.) To allow user customization, BibleWorks makes it possible for users to save their highlighted passages or share them with other BibleWorks users.
In addition to its bible searching options, BibleWorks also offers 18 reference works, including The Works of Flavius Josephus and Matthew Henry's Commentary. For those unfamiliar with Josephus, he was a Jewish historian who lived shortly after the time of Christ. His writings offer incredible glimpses into history at the time of the birth of the Church. Another favorite feature, especially for homeschooling families, is the world timeline. This is an excellent visual to enable users to be able to see where and how bible history fits in among other world events.
BibleWorks also offers a number of resources for the Greek or Hebrew scholar including Greek/Hebrew fonts and search options, the Tischendorf Greek New Testament with complete apparatus, Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar, Moods and Tenses of NT Greek by Ernest Dewitt Burton, and Basic Hebrew for Bible Study by Mark Futato. BibleWorks has also included a flash card program to allow students and teachers to create flashcards from their personal lists or standard lists included with the program. The program also allows for words to be filtered by frequency or verse range. This addition to BibleWorks 6 is sure to assist Greek and Hebrew students of all learning levels.
In February of 2002, The Old Schoolhouse had the privilege of reviewing BibleWorks 5. The Suarez's were left with the same stunned conclusion that I am. The amazing thing is that as relevant and incredible as the program was in 2002, BibleWorks added over twenty additional features and resources to it's package, not to mention updating and streamlining it's design. Updates to BibleWorks 6 include a diagramming tool, Greek/ Hebrew paradigms, Flash cards, auto-complete morphologies, editable outlines (edit and create your own Bible outlines that appear over the Bible text), and text comparison tool. Also added are WTM Groves-Wheeler Westminster Hebrew OT Morphology database v.4, The Aramaic New Testament (Peshitta), Bishops' Bible (1595), Tyndale New Testament (1534), The NET Bible with full notes and maps, plus much more.
BibleWorks may seem like a costly investment. However when you consider the comparative price of purchasing all of the resources included, the space required to house written copies, and the ease of use, the cost is easily justified. I am reminded of a certain credit card company's slogan, "BibleWorks 6, $299, being able to find the answers to life's most important questions, priceless."
This software will provide a majority of the population with everything they could ever need relating to bible hermeneutics and exegesis. It is impossible to list everything this program has to offer in this review. Even if I could it still would not give you a true sense of all this program can do. I would encourage you to view BibleWorks website for a detailed breakdown of the software, complete with excellent screen shots to give you a look into this remarkable program.
BibleWorks offers an incredible 90-day money-back guaranty so that you can take the program for an in depth "test drive". Undoubtedly you will find that this software will more than meet your expectations. The search and analysis capabilities and vast collection of versions and databases in BibleWorks are unmatched in content and cost.
BibleWorks has established itself time and time again as being the leader in bible exegesis and research. Consider your purchasing criteria, what do you base your purchases on? Is it value? An unrelenting attention to quality? Individual adaptability? Something that will feed your spirit, and bring you closer to understanding our Lord and Savior? Whatever your criteria, I urge you to prayerfully consider all that BibleWorks 6 has to offer and the incomparable addition that it will be to your family's library.
Jessica Harvey is a Publisher's Assistant for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.