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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 honestly, I can't 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, Daniel 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 vocabulary, 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.
The folks over at BibleWorks were kind enough to provide me with a free upgrade to their latest version in exchange for a detailed 3-part review in both of my blogging venues (both here and at the Wheaton blog: www.wheatonblog.wordpress.com). Like any new program, it takes some time to learn how to use, but BibleWorks 9 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.