BibleWorks 10 Review
Randy A. Brown
Bible Buying Guide, Summer 2015.
URL: http://biblebuyingguide.com/bibleworks-10-review-part-1-features-search-window/ [Retrieved on 2015-09-09]
New Features and the Search Window
I’ve been a BibleWorks user for a while. It’s the app I use in all of my writing. All of the Scriptures printed in my books, my personal studies, my sermon prep, and my classroom prep were all taken from BibleWorks. It’s my go-to app for word studies, translation comparisons, and quick searches. You can imagine my excitement when I heard the news about BW10. I looked at BW9 primarily as a writer. My life has changed a lot since then. I’m looking at BW10 as a pastor.
Info about the review – I’m breaking this review up into three components. This post will look at some of the new features and the Search Window. The next will look at the Browse Window, and the last will look at the Analysis Window.
The first thing I noticed is BW10 starts up faster than BW9 did. It starts in a small window. I immediately went through the settings and now it opens in a full window at 200% zoom. This looks perfect in my 17” laptop.
The main layout is what I’m already used to but with a few new features. The most obvious is the new colors. There’s still three windows that can become four, but now some of the windows can be closed and components can be toggled on or off giving you a clean playing field to work with. BW looks better with every new edition and this is the best so far.
Here’s a list of what’s new
And lots more. There are also lots of updates to BW9 additions. You can see the complete list with details on their website, but I wanted to show that there’s enough new tools here to make it worth the upgrade.
The tools I see me using the most often are the Fuzzy Search, EPUB Reader, and the User Lexicon. The last two will let me build my own library and notes that I can use for sermons and teaching classes (which is what I do the most). These are things that I’ve done separately, but with BW10 I can integrate more of my library and notes.
There are three sections in the layout: Search Window, Browse Window, and Analysis Window. Each of the windows have features that can be toggled opened or closed, on or off. Let’s take a look at the window on the left – the Search Window.
The search window has some extremely powerful search features. It can be a touch confusing at first because you don’t search just by typing what you want. You type different things to get different kinds of results. Clicking on any verse in the Search Window opens that verse in the Browse Window.
For example, you can search for a word or multiple words by typing a . before the search. The search I did looks like this:
.ancient of days
The results are verses that have all three words in any order. One thing I find interesting is when you type each word it will tell you how many verses have that specific word. You can also use wildcards and several other search types. You can search for specific words in order, so if I wanted “Ancient of Days” I would type:
‘ancient of days
That’s basically an AND operator. If I wanted an OR I would type:
/ancient of days
Searching is easy to do but you have to learn the commands. It’s well worth it. There’s plenty of help in the built-in help file and the videos on YouTube. There are even workshops that give you hands-on training. There’s no shortage of training for BibleWorks.
There are tabs so you can have multiple searches that you can pick from. You can choose your search version (including Greek and Hebrew) and have a different version to display the results. You can also set search limits. You can find related words, verses, or phrases.
Graphical Search Engine
There’s a Graphical Search Engine where you can set up complex search structures with morphology using boxes for very complex searches. You can save the GSE searches and tweak them later if you want. The GSE takes some time to learn and set up but it can perform some amazing searches.
One of my favorite search features is called Fuzzy Search. This gives you results of similar words. For example if you search for prayer you also get pray, prayed, praying, prayer, prayers, etc. About a decade ago I used the Franklin Bookman as my primary search tool because it did this type of search (it performed a different level of search every time you hit the search button – up to 3 times).
I’ve wanted this feature in Bible software ever since. BW10 knocked it out of the park. This greatly expands the use of using software for searching. I don’t know how many times I’ve had trouble finding a verse because I searched for the wrong tense of the word. Now it doesn’t matter because fuzzy searches will find every tense and similar word.
Right click in the search window and select Fuzzy search option to turn it on. Once you turn it on, any searches you will use the fuzzy search feature. You can do Link based and Porter Stemming based fuzzy searches. Porter Stemming only does English versions.
There’s also a word list manager and a verse list manager where you can generate lists of words and verses and do searches and various work with the lists.
The copy features are also interesting. You can choose to copy the entire list, just what you’ve selected from the list, verses with or without text, etc. The copy function can also include a paste function if you want. It will paste into the clipboard, Word, or BW editor (into the current editor or it can create a new editor).
I use the search function a lot. For most of my searches I just use the . and type in the keywords that I want. I love that I can export the list into Word. This is a fine feature for sermon prep, class prep, and for personal study. You can close the search window if you want more room on screen for other windows.
Thoughts About The Search Window
BibleWorks10 has a lot of comprehensive search features. You can create specialized searches, save them for later, expand the search with fuzzy searches, create visual searches with links using the graphical search engine, and then copy and paste the results. You can search in any language, including Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, and of course any translation you have installed. BibleWorks10 takes high-powered searching even further making it an excellent tool for sermon prep, class prep, and students.
A look at the Browse Window
The Browse window has also gotten a few new features. Here’s a look at its basic functions, what’s new, and how I use it.
A lot of work can done in the browse window. You can view just a single version (called the search version) or you can see a single verse in parallel using as many translations as you want. My favorite feature is when you mouse over a word it gives you the definition from the original language. The definition is succinct. If you need more information the same definition appears in the Analysis Window but with a lot more detail. You can freeze it by holding the Shift key and moving your mouse over to the Analysis Window.
Multiple Version Mode
Another of my favorite features is Multiple Version Mode. This allows you to see any translation in parallel. The only thing is it will only show you one verse (unless one verse in one version corresponds to more than one verse in another. This is rare but it does happen). But, you can see it in as many translations as you want and you can still get the definitions and translation footnotes for each translation. The button quickly toggles between the two views.
Version, Book, Chapter, and Verse Selector
Navigation is done by drop-down lists. The verse selection window is easy to use. It seems faster than the previous edition. Selecting a book or chapter automatically selects verse 1. So if you choose verse 58 and then realize that you selected chapter 66 instead of 65, you can’t select chapter 65 and still be at verse 58. You’ll have to select the verse again. I do this occasionally and it’s a feature I would appreciate having. That feature could be there and I just don’t know about it. The navigation buttons can be toggled on or off. You don’t actually need it because you can navigate to any verse from the Command Line.
Searching from the Browse Window
You can do a quick search by double clicking on any word. This is great for searching for single words. This is handy because you don’t have to copy and paste into the command line and you don’t have to type anything. You can also search for phrases. For this you have to highlight the phrase, right click, and choose Search for Phrase. It’s not as easy but it still beats typing the phrase into the command line. It automatically performs an AND search with the words in exact order. Your search will appear in the command line.
It will also do fuzzy searches (I love fuzzy searching. I never thought I would type those words in the same phrase). Fuzzy searches bring in similar words. If you’re using multiple version mode, the command line automatically changes the search version to the version you clicked on. I’m really amazed at how fast the search works.
You can also select passages by their section headings. This is a drop-down box that appears above the book/chapter/verse chooser. When you select it the drop down box shows all of the section headings. The default headings are from the RSV.
You can choose a different outline by selecting the button to the right of the drop-down box. There are 14 outlines from different Bible translations including ESV, NIV, NLT, NET, and a few others. There are even a few in other languages. This is a good amount of outlines and they work well with any translation. I’d like to see NKJV added to this list since I use it often and it’s a popular translation.
One of my favorite features of BibleWorks is the manuscripts. You can read from 39 manuscripts, perform searches, get information about words, apply colors, etc., just like you can with any other version of the Bible. This is one of the features that sets BW apart from the others.
You can do anything with the text that you can do with any other version. It’s great having these manuscripts at your fingertips.
Morphology Color Tagging
This lets you see the forms of the words in a verse. You can quickly see the verbs and nouns. Some are built in but you can also create your own colors and form tags by adding a new entry, choosing the original language version, and defining the form and the color. You can get the form types from the morphology code helper in the search box by typing .*@ and viewing the results in the suggestion box.
From here you can choose form types and make selections until you have the forms you want. For example, I selected verb, subjunctive, imperfect, active, 1st person, singular. My morphology code then is: vsia1s. You can also see these in the morphology code window. You don’t have to be this detailed. You can use * in any portion of the form. This will include all forms after the *. So if you want all verb forms you can just type v*. One thing I like is that you can save these as new files and create new morphology coding and switch between them. You can also toggle the color off if you don’t need them. This way you don’t always have to see them.
Copy a Verse or Passage
You have control over how copy and paste works. When you highlight a word or phrase, right click and mouse over Copy Selected Text and you can choose where the phrase is pasted. You can also set defaults.
You can also choose how it looks when it’s pasted. You can set the formatting to show the book name, chapter number, verse number, version name, etc. and where it’s pasted whether it’s in the clip board or another document. If you’re creating your sermon in Word, you can have it to automatically paste into Word just by copying. The editor is a good choice if you want your notes to be kept within BibleWorks.
I use BibleWorks every time I paste Scripture into anything whether it’s sermons, books, articles, forums, social media, etc. Every Scripture you’ve seen me post anywhere came from BibleWorks (unless it’s from a translation not found in BW – this does happen on rare occasions), including Bible Buying Guide and my books on Amazon. I’ve even thought about posting a graphic that says: Powered by BibleWorks. Okay… I’m designing that now.
You can apply colors to the text, background, or both. I like this because I enjoy color-coding Biblical topics. You can also apply bold, italic, underline, and strikethrough to the fonts. You can also turn the colors off, save or delete your color files, and import or export your color files.
This is good for personal study, sermon prep, and class prep. You can even use it for active reading. For example, you can highlight connections between cause and effect, pro and con, the speaker and the subject, the noun and the verb, and more. It’s also a useful tool if you preach or teach from BibleWorks. You can highlight the text you want to emphasize or discuss.
Toggle Strong’s Numbers
This displays Strong’s numbers within the text in the Browse Window. The main reason to do this is so they’re included when you copy and paste the text. This can be very handy in classrooms and group studies. If you just want to see what the numbers are it’s easier to mouse over the word and get the Strong’s number from the popup or in the Analysis Window.
Thoughts About the Browse Window
This is just scratching the surface with a few of the things you can do with the Browse Window. I mostly use it to copy portions of the text, view multiple versions in parallel, and see the definitions from the original languages. I also search from the Browse Window when I come across a word or phrase that I want to search quickly. Double-click searching is awesome.
In the next part of this review we’ll look at the Analysis Window. As powerful as the Search Window and the Browse Window are, the Analysis Window is where the real work is done. The Analysis Window is where BibleWorks10 shines the brightest.
The Analysis Window
The window on the right side of the screen is the Analysis Window. It’s had a few upgrades and additions. Here’s a look at a few of the new features and some of my most-used and favorite features.
I like to use two Analysis Windows at the same time. This way I can see the manuscripts and analysis side by side. If I need more room I can close the Search Window or just resize everything until I have the column-size I want. Verses and epub have two instances, so you can have two verses or two epubs opened at the same time. Most tools follow only one of the two tabs. For example, analysis and notes are in one tab and manuscripts are in the other.
One thing I find interesting is you can have a browse tab opened in one Analysis Window with a different translation than your Browse Window, and have the analysis tab opened in the other Analysis Widow, and then you can mouse over both windows to see definitions in the analysis tab. Of course this works just as well with other resources from other tabs.
These are high-res images of the Leningradensis Codex (the manuscript behind the BHS and WTT Hebrew texts). Verses are indicated by markers.
If you place your mouse over those markers you’ll get a popup with the text in various manuscripts and translations.
You can zoom in to see the images as closely as you want. You can zoom up to 300%. You can also see it in a popup window.
This is one of my favorite additions. You can view any unlocked epub file in this window. This is especially helpful if you already have, or can convert, your library in the epub format. It’s easy enough to convert your own notes to epub, so you can integrate your notes, sermons, etc., into BibleWorks. You can have two instances of epub open at the same time. This is excellent for viewing your notes along with commentaries, dictionaries, sermons, or whatever you happen to have in epub format.
This is essentially a notebook where you can keep notes on any word in English versions, and in Greek and Hebrew versions that are morphologically tagged. Your notes will appear when you mouse over words in the Bible text. You can edit your notes easily.
Adding notes is easy. You just mouse over the word you want to add the note to and hold the shift key to freeze the word in the User Lexicon. Then place your cursor in the window and start typing. This is handy for personal study, teaching, preaching, and journaling.
They’ve added a tagged Byzantine text and expanded the Friberg Analytical Greek New Testament. It has a customizable interlinear display. As you mouse over the interlinear text, explanatory text appears instantly. Of course this only works with AGNT tagged texts, but it does have good interlinear information of phrases and references. It does include the previous tagged Greek New Testament and AGNT lexicon.
This shows you lemma usage statistics on Greek and Hebrew texts with morphologically tags. It quickly lets you see which forms of a lemma are used and where. You can select any form in the Analysis Window and it will perform a search for that form in the Search Window. This is an excellent way of seeing which verses use the word the same way.
One of my favorite features for regular everyday study is the cross reference tab. It pulls up cross references from many sources. You can choose to consolidate the sources or just choose a single source. It will show the most frequently cited and then less frequently cited references in order of frequency. This lets you do some interesting study. For example, you can use references from the Thompson Chain Reference while reading from the ESV. This is one of the easier tools to use and one of the best features for those that are not interested in the original manuscripts or languages.
You don’t even have to use an Analysis Window for this. You can open them in a new window and then use both Analysis Windows for something else. Actually, several of the tabs will do this.
The Editor is a rich text format word processing tool where you can create and save notes. You can load them up and switch between different files. You can hide the RTF buttons so you don’t have to see them all (I like to have everything on screen just in case). You can pretty much format your text any way you want. This is excellent for sermons, journaling, college papers, etc.
This is another tool that’s easy to use. If you can use a word processor you can use the Editor. I’m starting to use this for preaching. I like to write my notes in Word and then just have that on my screen as I preach or teach. Using BW instead of Word gives me fast access to searches, various translations, and definitions at the same time I’m using my sermon notes. I resize the windows and close any that I don’t want open.
This is an RTF editor but the notes are tied to verses and chapters. You can make notes on chapters, verses, or both. This is a great way to create your own comments just like you would in a wide margin Bible. One way I like to use this is creating my own chain references. You can create links and label them any way you want. You can add verses from a different translation than the one you’re browsing with. This is a great way to create your own study Bible or Bible studies. All you have to do is select the Notes tab and start typing. It’s saved for you automatically.
The Analysis Tab is my most used tab. It’s my favorite tool for Hebrew and Greek definitions. Just mouse over any word you want a definition for and hold down the shift key to freeze the window. I copy and paste these definitions in all of my Bible studies and writings.
This tab includes lexicons, grammars, and references for the word, verse, or passage in your Browse Window. You can see them specifically within their tabs or you can get a taste of what’s there in the summary tab. This just means that lexicons, grammars, and commentaries are at your fingertips already loaded up and ready to be used. You don’t even have to wait for it. I like this because you don’t have to search for information. You can select any one of them and get an instant popup with all of the detailed information.
My Thoughts and Experience with Using BibleWorks10
BibleWorks10 is fast. Everything I’ve done with it, whether it’s perform a search, analysis, view manuscripts, etc., it all happens instantly or within a second. I did a search for the word AND on my Windows 10 i7 laptop. It gave me 23,875 results in about a second.
I recently started using my laptop for preaching and teaching. I love holding a printed Bible for preaching, but they can only hold so much information. I like to set my Bible that I read from next to my laptop that contains my notes. This gives me easy access to either one.
Sometimes I will expound on a verse in a way that I didn’t intend to do ahead of time. I’ll notice that some of the people are not understanding the verse that I just read from the KJV. When that happens I can simply choose the verse in another translation and read it again. It’s fast and smooth. No one knew that I didn’t plan to do that ahead of time.
Another case would be in the classroom setting. If someone asked me what a word meant, I just hover the mouse over the word and I can see the full analysis of the word in its original language. If I’m using large screen I can even show them scans of the original manuscripts.
I’m a fan of BibleWorks10, but I’ve been a BibleWorks user for a while so I’m used to how it works. Overall, using BibleWorks10 will take some time to learn. It’s not as intuitive as other Bible software packages. That’s really my only complaint. It will take a lot of time and it’s easy to forget if you don’t use it for a while. Learning to use it is time well-spent as what you gain from BW10 outweighs any efforts you put into it. You can focus on God’s Word and have all the tools you need at your fingertips. It is an amazing tool and you get a lot with it. I especially like the tools for studying the original languages.
Pretty much any feature of BibleWorks10 can be changed, modified, toggled on or off, adjusted, moved, etc., so it’s easy to set up your screen with the features and layout that you want. There is plenty of help for learning to use it. I use the help file quite a bit. I also like to watch the videos on YouTube.
There are lots of excellent new features in BibleWorks10. The primary function of BibleWorks10 is analysis, and it does this very well. If you’re a student, teacher, preacher, or pastor, you will especially appreciate BibleWorks10. It does take some time to learn it, but there is help and it’s well worth the effort. I highly recommend BibleWorks10.
To buy, upgrade to, or expand BibleWorks10, visit the BibleWorks store.
BibleWorks provided this software free for review. I was not required to give a positive review- only an honest review. My opinions are my own.
Randy A. Brown is a member of the Oneness Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ in Sweetwater, Tennessee.