This will be the first of a 4 part review and look at the recently released BibleWorks9. The other three parts will come over time. I have been blessed to have reviewed both BibleWorks7 and BibleWorks8 in the past. I have grown to love using BibleWorks for sermon preparation, Bible study, and seminary class work. My thoughts will be in blue following each section.
This first part of the review will look at what is new in BibleWorks9.
Add another column to your workspace
You’ll immediately notice the addition of another column to the main window. With two columns devoted to Analysis content you can customize it to view your favorite two resources simultaneously.
There were many times that I wanted to have this fourth column opened in BW8. This is already proving to be a huge bonus for study. The one problem I have found, however, with the four columns is that I need a larger screen! Really, though, there are some minor difficulties getting adjusted to the additional column. Depending on what you are using will depend on the column sizes and widths.
Get instant Study Bible & critical apparatus information
We’ve added a major new feature to the main window. The Verse Tab tracks with any Bible version. For the current verse under the mouse, it displays the relevant sections in resources such as the CNTTS apparatus, the NET Bible textual notes, the Tischendorf apparatus, Metzger’s Textual Commentary (requires unlock), and the ESV Study Bible (requires unlock).
This is a nice feature to have at the ready. Oftentimes, as you are preparing your sermon, you will come across a verse that is translated completely different from one translation to the next (you should use multiple translations when studying). This feature offers a quick look at what is going on. To have this sitting next to the resources and grammars, etc. tab makes your study go so much faster.
BibleWorks Manuscript Project
Compare and analyze original manuscript text and images
This massive project has been years in the making. BibleWorks 9 includes the first installment of this ongoing work. The BibleWorks Manuscript Project’s initial release covers the following:
For these manuscripts, the BibleWorks Manuscript Project includes the following:
- New full transcriptions
- Complete digital image sets (over 7.5 GB!!)
- Verse location tagging in images
- Extensive transcription notes
- MSS comparison tool
- Morphological tagging (not complete for all manuscripts but updates will be provided free of charge to BibleWorks 9 users as they become available)
Manuscripts are fully searchable and integrated with the full array of BibleWorks analysis tools. As you change verses in BibleWorks, the MS image display tracks with the current verse. Compare, inspect, and analyze the text and images of key original manuscripts. Tweak and enhance the manuscript images using the sophisticated image processing panel now included in BibleWorks.
I am not a Greek or Hebrew scholar, but I can see the advantage to having this available as a bonus. Too be honest, though, I do not see most pastors making much use of this feature. Seminary students and scholars, on the other hand, will find much use from this feature.
The Moody Atlas of the Bible (Barry J. Beitzel)
Extensive high-resolution Bible maps
BibleWorks comes with the full Moody Atlas. Its 118 masterful maps in high-resolution and dozens of photos can be easily inspected and copied to your presentations. No unlock required!
This is an excellent resource…especially for those who make regular use of Power Point. The atlas is more than just pictures, however. You will find detailed descriptions of the features and their importance to the Bible lands and the people who lived there along with links to the passages of Scripture that are pertinent to that feature.
CNTTS NT Critical Apparatus
Quickly compare variant readings
For the first time, the New Testament Critical Apparatus from the Center for New Testament Textual Studies is available for PCs. This exhaustive apparatus covers the entire New Testament. The BibleWorks version has been enhanced to show a matrix of Aland categories and time period for the mss for each reading. Users will especially appreciate having the apparatus track and update as the mouse moves over the text in the BibleWorks main window. In addition, the start of each verse entry summarizes the significant, insignificant, and singular variants. When examining a variant, the text of the verse is shown with the variant text highlighted. No unlock required!
Massively beneficial! To be able to see readily the variants highlighted offers much insight into where one can and should be dogmatic about particular renderings of a passage. For example, you do not want to preach dogmatically from the end of Mark 16 and the CNTTS NT Critical Apparatus will show you why. It does take some getting used to. In other words, unless you are already familiar with this resource, you will need to learn how to use it correctly in order to use it properly and efficiently.
Instant difference highlighting
Quickly see translation differences
If you like to consult multiple Bible translations as you study the text, this new feature automatically highlights the differences between all Bible versions in the main window. A simple keypress toggles it on and off.
Again, this is a huge help. This is quite honestly the first step toward using the apparatuses mentioned above.
New Greek NT Texts
New proofings, updates, and morphologies
BibleWorks 9 ships with new Greek texts and revisions: the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine text with Robinson 2010 morphology; Westcott-Hort (new proofing) with diacritics, variant readings, and morphology from 2010 Robinson; Scriveners (new proofing) with diacritics, variant readings, and morphology from 2010 Robinson; Trinitarian Bible Society Greek NT (new proofing) with Robinson 2010 morphology; Robinson-Pierpont Text with Friberg morphology; Tregelles Greek NT, corrected and uncorrected. Differences between Greek versions can be instantly highlighted in the main window!
More instant information for your studies
Capitalizing on BibleWorks’ lightning speed, the new Use Tab takes the word under your mouse cursor and instantly shows all occurrences of the word in either the current book or entire version, all without clicking. You can even synchronize the Stats tab to show occurrence graphs as you move the mouse!
I honestly find this feature to be a bit annoying. It has its benefits – especially if you are wanting to do a word study. I, personally, do not do very many word studies and therefore find this feature to be more annoying than helpful. If, however, you like to do word studies, you will certainly want to use this feature on a regular basis.