Terry W. Eddinger
Biblical Theology Bulletin: Journal of Bible and Culture, August 2012; vol. 42, 3: p.158.
The team at BibleWorks provided me with this software to assist me with a book that I was writing on translating Malachi from Hebrew to English. I wanted to look at the occurrences of Hebrew words within the book and develop specialized charts. The program provided all I needed and much more.
BibleWorks9 is the newest installment of the BibleWorks software series, which began in 1992. This version has all the components one would expect in a Bible search and reference program—Bible versions in many modern languages including many English versions, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin texts, various reference tools, windows for cross-referencing, specialized search capability, grammatical aids, and the ability to view several translations at once. It also can show textual parallels in the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha as well as in the works of Josephus and Philo. In addition to several Hebrew and Greek texts, other available texts include the Septuagint, Vulgate, Babylonian Talmud, the Mishnah, the Targums, Aramaic texts, and Old Syriac manuscripts. Since this is the program’s ninth version and since the program offers so much more than I have space to describe, I will limit most of this review to some of the program’s newest additions.
BibleWorks9 has some great additions that I think scholars, students, ministers, and laypersons will find very helpful. The BibleWorks team has added the Common English Bible to the program’s long list of English versions, and they have added numerous versions in other languages, including Polish, Swedish, Thai, and the Greek text of the Greek Orthodox Church. This version has additional aids, not included in version 8. These include Greek flash cards, The Moody Bible Atlas, the Center for New Testament Studies Critical Apparatus, and printable sentence diagrams of the Greek New Testament text. In addition to all of the free reference materials that come with the program, a user can purchase additional add-on modules, including Hebrew and Greek grammars, reference tools, theology works, and Dead Sea Scroll texts. One tool I found very useful was the linking of the Hebrew text to Waltke and O’Connor’s An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, a book I used extensively in my research. This is available for free in BibleWorks9.
A new feature I really liked is the photos of original ancient Greek texts (the BW Manuscript Project). Now, scholars and students can see original copies of seven ancient Greek texts, including Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, Baezae, Washingtonianus, Boernerianus, and GA1141. This is an ongoing project and owners of this program can get free updates.
With any computer program that contains so much information and offers a plethora of research features, the operation of it can be a daunting task. Fortunately, BibleWorks9 comes with hours of tutorial videos that are accessible according to topic. These are short instructional videos that show the user how to use the feature in which s/he is interested. I looked through several of them and found the videos extremely helpful and easy to follow. Also, the company offers on-line help.
This is only a brief overview of a very powerful and extensive program. BibleWorks9 is a complete package of Scripture versions, references materials, and tools for doing Bible study. Anyone from the layperson to the scholar will find the program very useful and convenient. I highly recommend anyone interested in a Bible research program to check out BibleWorks.
Terry Eddinger is Vice President for Academics and Benjamin Miller Professor of Old Testament at Carolina Graduate School of Divinity.