I’m doing a short series on BibleWorks 8. Here’s part 1, part 2, and part 3.

As a quick wrap-up of my review of BW8, I’ll summarise the key strengths and needs for improvement. While the front-end isn’t much different, BW continues to improve its usability, especially with the additional tabs in the Analysis window. Another big help is the easier organisation of texts by language and using multiple columns so you can see them all at one time. The main textual upgrades include the Greek OTP, the Church Fathers, and (I think I failed to mention this before) English translations of the Targumim. In addition to new primary texts, BW8 has new resources, such as grammars (Wallace, Waltke-O’Connor, Joüon-Muraoka, and an Aramaic grammar) and links to a plethora of other resources through Ermie (External Resource Manager).

There’s always room from improvement as well. I’ll note first that I’ve found BW people
good people to work with.  I’ve sent in a few ideas and have always gotten personal replies.  I think they should explore solutions to the Word copy/paste issue. Also, I’m a big fan of semantic diagramming (see Duvall and Guthrie’s Biblical Greek Exegesis), since I was trained in Greek by Duvall.

My biggest plea is that they don’t go down the route of ‘help files’ for primary texts (i.e., the Church Fathers, etc.). (By help files I mean hyper-text files that are not integrated into the normal database structure as with bibles, Philo, etc.) By going this route they severely limit the search functionality that is the core of the software. It’s imperative to be able to use the boolean operators (and, or, etc.) and to be able to scroll through a list of references. For secondary material like reference works help files are great, and I think it’s actually better to not integrate them into the list of primary texts.

If you’ve got BW7, I’d say it is worth the money to upgrade. If you don’t have any Bible software, I can’t compare BW to Logos or Accordance, but it’s definitely a good value for money, so check it out.

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