Wednesday, May 03, 2006

BibleWorks 7 Review

[NOTE: this supplements my review over at Pyromaniacs.]

What resources do you get with BibleWorks 7 (BW7)? "Time would fail me to tell of" thirty-two English translations, plus versions in twenty-two other modern languages. Now, free tools such as the valuable E-Sword also have a lot of free versions. What they don't have is the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic resources built in to BW7. You get the BHS4 Hebrew OT, and Nestle-Aland27/UBS4 Greek NT, as well as Robinson-Pierpont Greek New Testament (Byzantine Textform 2005), Scrivener's, Stephanus', and other variations in both Testaments.

But wait -- there's a virtual-ton more. Suffice it to say here that I'm very enthused about this version, and heartily recommend it to any serious student, particularly to anyone who's a student of the original languages. It is an amazing resource, a treasure house.

List of ten goodies above and beyond what I discussed at Pyromaniacs:
  1. Be Eugene Peterson! You can make your own translation, and get it formatted and included into the BW7 database. (Okay, don't go off on me saying "Peterson" and "translation" in the same paragraph; you get my point.)
  2. Outlines! You can make your own Bible outlines, and have them display as you go through Bible books.
  3. Maps! They've got all sorts of cool maps, including satellite imagery.
  4. All sorts of potential add-ons! At the forum, you can find a list of user-created add-ons.
  5. Customizable all over the place! You can change a lot of how BW7 displays and works, to your own preferences.
  6. MS Word interface! You can insert Bible text into your Word document via a hot-key combination.
  7. Flash cards! You can make your own Hebrew/Greek/Aramaic flash card system. You can do it in terms of frequency, or in terms of the specific vocabulary of the book(s) you are studying.
  8. Cheaper upgrades! Pay full price for your first BW, and every upgrade after is significantly discounted.
  9. Nice guys! The programmers with BW are hardworking, very nice folks, totally easy to work with.
  10. Great instructional videos! Earlier versions had well-intentioned, informative, but kind of lame and long videos. This version has a ton of them, and they tend to be more bite-sized, specific, and very helpful.
Wish list. There are relatively minor changes I hope may be made in future editions.
  1. Updates. It is a really good feature that you can check online for updates -- and the programmers frequently update the program and data files to improve, catch bugs, correct typo's. But you must check manually. You click on Help, then Check for updates, and then you find out whether there are any. You check boxes, download, install. (Oddly, you have to approva that BW will shut down -- then you have to approve that it will shut down!) The program should check automatically and alert users to updates -- as, for instance, AvantBrowser and other software does.
  2. Non-intuitive searches. The methods of searching are, to me, not intuitive, not patterned (say) on standard web or window searches. For instance, if you want to search for all occurrences of the word word, you don't type in word. You have to type in period-word: .word. If you want to search for the phrase "word of God," you don't type "word of God," as in a standard web or Windows search; or check a box that says "All the words." You use an apostrophe, and type 'word of God. It goes on, gets even more Byzantine, for more complex searches. Now, it's all quite learnable, and they have very handy online reminders and context-sensitive help -- it just would soften the learning-curve if it were standardized -- or if it used a GUI box, as other programs do.
  3. The ASE. There is an Advanced Search Engine that I, so far, have been unable to learn. For years. Now, the brainiacs at the site (advanced users) use it, love it, probably think I'm a wimp for not "getting" it -- but I don't. I've tried, and I don't. It's GUI, but it is -- to me -- indecipherable. Hebrew was easier. I do think it could be done easier, using a GUI box with options to check. But I've raised this at the forum, and didn't elicit much sympathy among users. So perhaps you'll find it easy, too. (I would hasten to add that, though I can't/don't use this feature, I get immense profit from the program, and enthusiastically recommend it nonetheless.)
  4. Less wimpy taskbar/QuickStart icons. Need I say this is my most trivial "gripe"? The icon they use might be great full-size, but it looks like a bit of speckled tiling on the taskbar and especially Quick Launch. So I used an icon editor and made my own, just so it could be distinctive.
In closing: check out BW7. It's a terrific tool.


HeavyDluxe said...


Wasn't sure whether which blog was the best place to post questions. Just to be different, I'll post here.

Your review is very well timed for me... I just started looking at Logos and BW yesterday. Have you had any experience with Logos?

Seems like people have been in one camp or the other. Not a lot of head-to-head information/comparison out there. (I'll be honest, I haven't looked that hard yet!)


DJP said...

Hey HeavyD -- Good question. My impression is that you'd have to pay a lot more to get the equivalent in Logos. But don't take my word for it. There are at least two threads at the forum discussing this very thing:

Take a look, and let me know what you think. Hope that helps!

HeavyDluxe said...


Thanks so much for the post and the pointers. More thanks for the many thoughtful and interesting posts here and over on the 'gang-blog'.

Patrick said...

Great post Dan!

I've followed your posts on the pyro and now this blog. Do you work for BW? Your posts have all the right marketing buzz words ;)

On a more serious note. I saw your sig on the bibleworks forum and it says you're from Sacramento. Do you pastor a church in that area?

Thanks again for the review.

Screaming Pirate said...

Dan where were you a couple of weeks ago when I needed a review on interface design and features. You could have writen the first part of my project for Human Computer Interface( a suprizingly hard class)....Ha!...Oh well. And for an IT guy like you to say that a feature is hard then it must be, the advanced search sounds like a beast.

DJP said...

Hi, Patrick. No, I don't work for them; I just really do love this program. BW did provide this version for review, though I've purchased previous versions.

If you were to track my comments on the forum (-- which, why would you?!), you'd see I expressed a lot of criticism of BW6, I think to the annoyance of some of the smarter brainiacs there. My enthusiasm for BW7 is gen-u-wine. If I'd've hated it, I'd've said so.

I don't currently pastor, but do preach in Sacto whenever I can, and have done at my home church; you can listen to my sermons, if you like. (Select Daniel Phillips.)

Frank calls me a pseudo-Presbyterian, because I'm a baptist dispensationalist Presbyterian. (c:

DJP said...

Pirate -- I'm not really that bright, IT-wise. The brainiacs at the forum scoff at me and sniff at my grumblings about the interface. Young punk like you'd probably eat it like cereal.


Screaming Pirate said...

well mr. booyah, as soon as I get out of college and head for seminary this is going to be on my list of graduation presents. As far as IT superiority, well lets just say I am not at the top of my class. You could probly eat my lunch with all your real world experence... speaking of lunch "gen-u-wine" looks like cheap been drinking again? Oh and bad move giveing us your sermons. Now we will have an endless supply of matterial to make fun of you with.

degvge said...

Dan - I've been reading you over at TP for a while now.

I just wanted to post here to say thank-you for your conviction. I really thank Jesus for you and your gift of clear communication of Gospel truth.

Your love for Christ - and your bible-saturated world view - are a real encouragement to me. Thank you so much. God is using your writing ministry in ways you probably can't imagine.

Would you please pray for me that I can do more than just see the truth of Christ in Scripture - I want to really trust Him for everything in my life. Having gone through some fairly difficult and painful stages of repenting in the last year, I want to TRUST Him with all my heart. I don't just want to believe in the concept of Jesus and what He might mean to me personally; I want to see Him and feel Him in my life. I want to discard the tons of worldly wisdom that preserve that unbelief. Can you recommend any Scripture or resources that might help in this?

I know he won't let me be put to shame in this if I do - it's just that the transition is confusing!

Thanks again.

Grace and peace,


DJP said...

Oh and bad move giveing us your sermons. Now we will have an endless supply of matterial to make fun of you with.

Mm -- especially the one where I....

Well. Never mind.

DJP said...

n.e.w. -- thanks for the very kind encouragement, I appreciate it. Glad you're here.

Well, not sure if it's exactly what you're looking for, but I wrote something called
Encouragement for New Christians. It's here:

Look it over, tell me whether it's anything like what you're looking for.

Pradeep said...

Thanks for the review!

Could you also comment on the free software from, which shares much of the lower end resources?


DJP said...

Hi Pradeep.

I mentioned it in the review. I love E-Sword. I think it's really quite an amazing resource, particularly considering that it's free.

With it you can get a number of translations, including the KJV and the ESV, as well as more obscure versions, and certain Greek and Hebrew texts. You can also get Keil and Delitzsch, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Matthew Henry, John Gill, Barnes, Vincent, A. T. Robertson; the old Webster dictionary; various Bible dictionaries and maps. You can get devotionals such as Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, prayer listing guide -- and a whole lot more. I very enthusiastically recommend it.

Poer said...

very nice and i want have it,
how i cant get software for free?

DJP said...

Because the laborer deserves his wages (Luke 10:7). The folks who labored to make this excellent software have themselves and (usually if not always) families to support.