A while back, I began a review of BibleWorks 9, one of the premier Bible software packages available for PC’s. Today, I continue that review with a focus on searching in BibleWorks 9.
The search engine in BibleWorks 9 is powerful and fast. All of the texts (English, Greek, Hebrew, German) are searchable in BibleWorks 9. In the Greek and Hebrew texts, however, BW9 allows users not only to search for individual words but also morphologically complex constructions. So for example, let’s say I’m reading Romans 12:1 in BibleWorks and want to do a simple search of every use of the Greek word metamorpho? (“transform”). All I have to do is right click on the word and select “search on lemma” from the pop-up menu. Every use of that word in the Greek Old and New Testaments appear almost instantly. See below.
There are countless searches that are possible just by typing in the command line near the upper left hand of the BibleWorks window. The following command will give me every word that begins with dik: “.dik*”. Again, BibleWorks 9 performs the search almost instantaneously, and it gives every use of every word from the dik– word group in both the Old and New Testaments. Just below the verse list on the far left, it also tabulates the results: 1209 verses, 130 forms, 1342 hits, .19 seconds. Looking up the same information in a concordance would take hours. But with BibleWorks 9, it happens in a fraction of a second.
BibleWorks 9 also has a Graphical Search Engine (GSE) which allows the user to perform almost any search that comes to mind. It takes some time to learn how to work with the interface. I think it is somewhat complicated. But once you get it down, you’re good to go. I wrote a book in 2006 in which I studied every single use of the articular infinitive in the Greek New Testament. If I were to expand that study to include the Septuagint, I could use the GSE to find every use of the articular infinitive in the Greek Old and New Testaments. Here’s what the search query would look like in the GSE followed by the search results. BibleWorks 9 returns 2600 verses with 2998 hits in 4.61 seconds. That is just about as fast and powerful as it gets when it comes to morphologically complex searches.
If all of this looks confusing, don’t worry. There are video tutorials that come with the program that explain how to do searches. For instance, the video showing how to use the GSE is posted below. It’s not nearly as daunting as it initially appears.
I could multiply examples of how impressive this search engine is, but I think you get the point. This search engine is one of the features that makes BibleWorks 9 unique, and it is also one of the features that make it one of the best Bible software programs on the market.
Here is something that has puzzled me for a long time. The texts that the reformers used don’t seem to be available except for the Vulgate perhaps. But there were many other Latin Bibles at the time, and Calvin worked from his own Latin translation. The theologians of that day wrote their theology based on a Latin text with reference to the Greek and Hebrew. But most people who are interested in the theology of the reformers don’t actually look at the text that the reformers were using. Any thoughts?