BibleWorks 10 - Deeper Program Use

The philosophy of BibleWorks creates essentially two tiers of texts in the program. The default arrangement of BibleWorks enables the user to easily read and study the Bible. Think of any text which has “verses,” so to speak; these texts are readily accessed through the normal program arrangement. This arrangement works for the biblical text, but also for the Apostolic Fathers, Philo, etc. There are a number of other texts contained within the program, however, which are accessed through a different interface. These texts are considered secondary and supplemental to these other texts. The program does not assume you will use these regularly but occasionally in your Bible study, thus they are tucked away in a different corner. They are found under the Resources file menu option.

Resources File menu option

Resources File menu option

When you click on this menu option, BibleWorks presents you with over 20 different categories of resources, ranging from language tools to theology to background. Many of these categories have numerous titles within them, some of them quite helpful. When activated, these resources open in a separate window which can be navigated independently of the main program interface. This is not the only place where these resources can live, though. These can be accessed also through the Resources tab of the Analysis Window. The different means of access for the end user pertains to the purpose. Opening one of these resources through the file menu option treats it as a stand-alone book. You can dive into the book wherever you would like. Opening one of these resources through the tab in the Analysis Window focuses on a particular location within the book. Because the main program interface is focused on reading texts with verses, when opened from the Resources tab these texts will open to the place where the particular verse which has focus in the Browse Window is discussed.

Resources Tab in Analysis Window

Resources Tab in Analysis Window

BibleWorks contains numerous, more technical tools to help the user study the Bible. These range from tools which duplicate regular functions accessed daily to those even the specialist would rarely access. Three are particularly useful for those who are going deeper in biblical studies: the Graphical Search Engine, the Word List Manager, and the Verse List Manager. 

The Graphical Search Engine both duplicates the search functionality of the command line and surpasses it, enabling much more complex searching within original language texts. As the name implied, the Graphical Search Engine allows the user to construct a search with a graphical interface. Most usually the user will search for particular words in a particular order in a particular text, perhaps with a special condition like grammatical agreement which is very common in original language searches, but this search engine can do so much more. Instead of searching for a single word, it can search for groups of words. For example, instead of searching for all the places where “son” is followed by “God,” it can search for all the places where words for family relationships are followed by words for deity by using the Louw and Nida semantic domains. It can search for lists of words created in other places in the program. So you could find the most common words in Paul and then find them wherever they occur in the Pastoral letters or other disputed books. The difficulty with the Graphical Search Engine is the even steeper learning curve than with the command line. The complexity it can accomplish makes learning it rather difficult. However, the help files on this material are quite good, and like anything time invested here will yield a good return.

Graphical Search Engine example

Graphical Search Engine example

One result of constantly working with words in the biblical text is the need to manage groups of words for one purpose or another, for example, rare but important words in Paul, Greek words which occur 50x or more in the NT, hapax legomena, etc. The Word List Manager in BibleWorks enables the user to easily manage lists of words and use them profitably in other places in the program. When Jeff Miller and I were working on *The New Reader’s Lexicon of the Greek New Testament*, the Word List tool made the task exceptionally easy. At the start of our work we created a list of all words which occur 49x or less in the NT; we each could then readily search for those words in the particular books on which we worked. Word Lists can be readily exported; you can even make a lexicon of a word list for study purposes.

Word List Manager

Word List Manager

Similar in function to the Word List Manager is the Verse List Manager. Not only do students of the Bible work with words, we also work with lists of verse references, for example, places where Paul mentions “works of the Law,” verses common to Matthew and Luke but not found in Mark, etc. The Verse List Manager enables the user to create and modify word lists for all kinds of purposes. A common use of a verse list would be references which correspond to a search, for example, all the verses in the NT which mention the name Abraham. The Verse List Manager can easily import the verses found in the most recent search. This list can then be exported as needed to a word document or saved for use somewhere else in the program.

Verse List Manager

Verse List Manager