I’ve been been using BibleWorks for a couple weeks now. I’ll admit, there is a bit of a learning curve. The screen is divided into 2-4 columns (default: 3) with many tabs in the right “analysis” tab. Add a whole row of custom icons across the top and you’ve got a pretty intimidating UI. Here why I don’t mind:
- There are hundreds of tutorial videos. They’re well categorized and demonstrate precisely how to use the features. I watch one or two every time I open the program to get my bearings.
- Once you start working with the program you see the benefit of the complicated screen. After learning a few short-cut keys and key concepts, it quickly becomes intuitive.
- It’s fast. Lightning fast. The complicated screen belies a sleek engine.
The first thing you need to do with a Bible program is … well … search the Bible. Searching in BW9 starts simple but gets as complex as you need. Hit “escape” and you’re immediately in the command line. Then you can do things like this:
- joh 3 16 (Look up John 3:16)
- .love (search for the word “love”)
- .love world (search for verses that include both “love” and “world”)
- /love world (search for verses with either “love” or “world”)
- ‘loved the world (search for the exact phrase, “loved the world”)
From there it only gets more interesting. Check out this:
- .faith* (search for every word that begins with “faith” such as “faithful”, “faithfulness”, “faithfully”)
- .faith !Jesus (search for verses that include “faith” but not “Jesus”)
- .faith works;4 (search for every place “faith” and “works” occur within four verses of each other)
This would be a good time to mentions that you can change search versions simply by entering their code in the command line:
- ESV (switches search version to ESV)
- BGM (switches to Bible works LXX + NA27 with morphological tags)
- M-01A (switches to the Sinaiticus manuscript)
If you select a Hebrew or Greek version, the command line automatically switches fonts to the respective language. If you select a morphologically tagged version, you can have this sort of fun:
- .pistis@ng* (search for every occurrence of pistis as a genitive noun (sorry about the English transliteration. In the program, Greek characters would be displayed))
And, just to show you how complex your searching can become, here’s a crazy example straight from their help file:
- ;o *@n* *3 !o *@a* =gcn (search for any articular noun followed within 1 to 4 words by an anarthrous adjective agreeing in gender, case and number)
Another great feature of the BW9 command line is the ability to set limits to your search. For example, if you were studying apocalyptic literature, and wanted to search for “beast” or “beasts” only in Daniel and Revelation, all you would have to do is:
- l dan; rev
There’s scads of preset limits available to use also. You can easily choose to only search within Paul’s corpus, or the Aramaic sections of the Old Testament.
Searching goes beyond the command line—it’s integrated into the whole site. As you hover your mouse over the words of a verse, the “use” tab in the analysis column immediately shows every verse that includes that word within that book (or the whole translation if you want).
If you want to search for a different word in the verse you’ve looked up, just double click it. All these commands feel very intuitive. The BW9 team has thought of everything I could want and more.
That’s it for now. I’ve got some more learning to do!
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