At Gordon-Conwell, my professors recommended that I purchase Bibleworks software to help me study the Bible in Hebrew and Greek. I’ve been using Bibleworks now since 2007, and I honestly cannot imagine trying to study the Bible without it. I’ve used versions 7, 8, and now 9, and it just keeps getting better. I was glad to discover that my doctoral supervisor, Dr. Block, uses it as well for his own research. Here are the principal ways I use it:
- I have Bibleworks open on my laptop in all of my Bible classes. In a matter of seconds I can look up any passage the professor mentions and see it for myself in dozens of translations. I can do a quick search to find related passages and know that I’m looking at every passage that matches my search criteria.
- I have not opened the NIV Exhaustive Concordance in the past 5 years. It’s much faster to check Bibleworks. I can search in English, Greek, Hebrew, or any of the major modern languages such as Spanish, French, or German (not Tagalog, unfortunately). I can search by exact word or phrase in any language, or by root word in Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic.
- I rarely use a Hebrew or Greek lexicon (is it ok to admit that?), unless I’m performing an exhaustive word study for which I need to consult both Bible Dictionaries and Lexicons. Just by rolling my mouse over any word in the Bible, I have immediate access to lexical entries from Holladay (for Hebrew) or Gingrich (for Greek). Bibleworks speeds my translation process without using an English translation as a crutch. I can work directly from Hebrew to see the definitions of any word I don’t already know. If I come across a strange grammatical construction, I can instantly compare all my favorite translations to see how they handle the passage.
- I have used Bibleworks to learn both Hebrew and Greek vocabularly, and I plan to use it for Aramaic. The Bibleworks flashcards are the best I’ve seen anywhere. I can sort words alphabetically or by occurrence, work on words that occur in a particular passage, time myself, hear them pronounced, and print review lists to have in front of me in class. Best of all, Bibleworks keeps track of the words I know and don’t know, so that my review time focuses only on the words I have yet to learn.
Bibleworks was kind enough to provide me with a free upgrade to their latest version in exchange for a detailed review in both of my blogging venues (both here and my personal blog: www.seminarymom.blogspot.com). You can expect to hear from me again soon as I highlight what’s new in Bibleworks 9 and how I’m using it in my own studies. Like any new program, it takes some time to learn how to use, but Bibleworks provides plenty of training videos and helpful instructions, as well as occasional seminars on site at schools around the country. I do not consider myself technologically gifted (blogging is about as savvy as I get), yet I couldn’t get along without Bibleworks.
BARGAIN ALERT: If you’re attending ETS or SBL this week in San Francisco, you can buy a copy at 10% off! I’ve never seen a discount like this offered before, so now is your chance to take the plunge. You won’t regret it.