westonwilliams.com, July 23, 2009.
As an avid Logos Bible Software user I was skeptical about BibleWorks. It seemed to have less resources and I doubted it’s ability to streamline the actual study process. After a few days, I was pleasantly surprised. Let me say a word to preachers and teachers here. Do you remember studying the Bible? Back in seminary? Remember the historical-critical method of exegeting a text? The hours of study required of you to adequately prepare a good exegetical sermon have been greatly condensed with BibleWorks. Perhaps you’ve given up on exegetical sermons in favor of topical summaries, or perhaps you’ve given up on study because you didn’t have the time. I’m convinced that too many preachers give up on their own study and grab a shortcut in a commentary or worse downloading a sermon from the internet! These shortcuts forgo good word studies and historical research that truly blesses a sermon. The result of these shortcuts are lighter sermons that lack the weight of truth which comes from the weight of good study.
BibleWorks helps you to reclaim study by forcing your own research and simplifying it. With BibleWorks you can read the Greek definition of a word in several dictionaries by clicking your mouse once. You can search everywhere in the Bible a word in its original language occurs and even search phrases. You can analyze how different translations treat a passage and see any translation notes in a hyper text window. Bibleworks program is fast and lighter on its feet than Logos, but learning the commands takes time. The system is simple to use, but requires a bit of training. Thankfully BibleWorks includes training videos that get you off to a running start.
The install of BibleWorks was easy, one DVD, a series of standard setup windows and I was done. It’s a heavy program with lots of data so the load was lengthy but it was easy. I initially skipped the tutorial to explore. The speed of having multiple versions, languages, dictionaries and other exegetical tools blew me away. This is much faster than Logos’ Bible study components. Later when I sat down and watched the standard tutorials that come with BibleWorks 8 I realized I missed alot of features. These tutorial videos were extremely helpful; being somewhat computer literate I found these reviews helpful, simple but not simplistic. They were short but very thorough in providing a good working introduction to the software.
I forced myself to use BibleWorks in my study and for a few weeks. At first I had some frustration, being unfamiliar with this program. As I became more familiar my study became faster and I came to love this program, particularly the tabbed command line (search box). During this experiment I saw my study deepen but my prep time shorten. BibleWorks forced me to do my own study with the original language and it made the process quick. After completing my exegetical work, I opened Libronix for some commentaries and other materials. But, only after I had my own understanding of the text. This step might be superfluous with additional plugins and books added to BibleWorks. My review copy was the straight BibleWorks 8, but even with these additional steps my study was expedited and deeper than previously.
For those who study the Bible in original languages, or who want to – I recommend BibleWorks. You’ll find BibleWorks an invaluable tool. You might supplement it with your library and commentaries (or a set like Logos), but for true in-depth Bible study BibleWorks can’t be beat.
Weston Williams is Senior Minister at Bowling Green Christian Church, Bowling Green, Kentucky.