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BibleWorks Hermeneutika

This page includes Press Reviews of: BibleWorks Hermeneutika

Take IT to the limit - BIBLEWORKS 5, "Evangelicals Now" (Sept 02 issue, page 22)

by Dr. John Benton, managing editor

I saw an article recently about the way computer technology is helping missionaries involved in Bible translation projects. Instead of vast numbers of books, which are heavy and cost a lot to transport to the field, they can now carry a theological and linguistic library in a laptop.

The BibleWorks software basically gives the buyer a vast electronic concordance which opens up an astonishing array of possibilities for personal biblical research. BibleWorks has been around for about ten years and BibleWorks 5 is the latest update of this tried and tested resource which has some very important new features, especially for those at the forefront of Bible translation. However, basically the software is for anyone from pastors, preachers, theologians through to missionaries. You can perform word searches of various degrees of complexity on many types of biblical text. This could be looking for a single word but it may be looking for the repetitions of a phrase or sentence, and the searches can be context sensitive too.

Reference works

Most well-known English translations from The King James Version to the NIV are included, and the recently-published English Standard Version makes its debut on this latest update. But, of course, the Hebrew Old Testament, the Greek Septuagint, different texts of the Greek New Testament and the Latin Vulgate are there too. I was astonished to find how many national language Bibles are available in this package. The Swedish and Danish Bibles are there, not to mention the Bulgarian and Romanian translations. Alongside these Bible versions there are many Lexicons and Dictionaries incorporated into this excellent resource. Altogether you get access to over 90 different Bible translations in 28 languages, nine original language texts, five Greek Lexicons, three Hebrew Lexicons and eight practical reference works. The reference works include Bible timelines and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms.

Three levels

The software can be accessed to carry out searches at a number of different levels. The Beginner Mode simply deals in terms of searching and looking up texts in a number of different Bible versions. The Standard Mode gets more complicated and alongside the words found in the search provides such things as immediate grammatical notes (verb tense, etc.), on any word in the display on which you place the cursor. There is a third, and more powerful level of researching, which can be more customised to your own requirements.

There are plenty of possibilities for making your own notes and editing text into your notes. You can even create your own Bible version and have it fully integrated with the BibleWorks analysis and search tools, so that missionary translators can use the software for analysis and refining of their work. There is also online help. There are such a lot of possibilities with this software that a short review like this cannot do justice to the kinds of possibilities it makes available.

Video training

Not only does it have the standard 'Users Manual' it also comes with a separate CD which holds four hours of training videos which take you through almost every aspect of the programme's abilities.

What is required of your computer to handle this software? The system requirements (according to the blurb) are: Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP, a CD drive, a minimum 32 MB RAM, a minimum of 200 MB to a maximum of 1.4 GB hard drive space, and sound card for video demos. Internet connection and Internet Explorer 3.0+ is needed for the free internet updates. I am not a great computer man, and I am not even sure what some of those requirements mean. But I popped the disk into my home Gateway computer and it all worked fine!

The tools of the biblical master-craftsman are within reach. The words ascribed to John Robinson, pastor to the Mayflower pilgrims, spring to mind: 'The Lord hath more truth yet to break forth out of his holy word.' Who knows what priceless gems of truth the age of Bible software might still uncover?

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Dr. John Benton is managing editor of Evangelicals Now.

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