For many years, the Accordance software was the gold standard for scholars and pastors working with the primary texts of biblical studies. Its main drawback was that it only worked on Macs, thus relegating the myriads of PC users to one or more of the inferior programs that were available for the Windows operating system. The release of BibleWorks 5 and 6 began to close the gap between Mac users and PC users. With the release of BibleWorks 7 and 8, however, the gap is gone, and a new standard was set for serious students of the scripture who use Bible software.
As in previous versions, BibleWorks8 has a wide range of valuable databases in its base package. Not only does it have the standard critical texts of the Old and New Testaments (Nestle-Aland 27th and Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, respectively), but it also has several other Greek editions of the NT (including Westcott-Hort and Tischendorff) and Rahlf’s text of the Septuagint. All of these versions are fully lemmatized and parsed. Nearly every English Bible version is included in the base package of BibleWorks8, as are Bible versions for more than 26 modern languages. Other important primary texts in the base package include the works of Josephus and Philo, the Aramaic Targums on the OT, the Peshitta, the Vulgate, and the Apostlic Fathers.
I recommend buying at least three of the add-on modules that are available: BDAG, HALOT, and the Qumran Sectarian manuscripts. BDAG and HALOT may be purchased separately for $150 and $159 respectively, or bundled for $212. One cannot underestimate the value of these two lexicons, nor the time that one will save in looking up individual words in the Greek NT and the Hebrew OT. The Qumran Sectarian manuscripts cost $80, and these also are a vital resource for biblical scholars.
I really like the three-column interface of BibleWorks8 (screenshot below):
The three columns are designed to be user-friendly to the researcher. When researching a particular topic, one usually moves from searching, to browsing, to analysis of particular words or phrases. The new interface is laid out in this order (search-browse-analysis) so that reading and analyzing search results is more intuitive. Of course, this latest version retains the powerful search capacities of previous versions, including a graphic interface for morphologically/syntactically complex searches. Here’s a screenshot of the graphical search engine set to look-up every instance of the Granville Sharp construction:
Some software programs require additional fees for adding on new Bible versions, but BibleWorks8 includes everything one needs in its base package for a mere $349. Even if one does not purchase the three add-ons (which I highly recommend), the base package has much to offer. The wide variety and quality of these resources make BibleWorks8 a great value.
The breadth and focus of its databases, the user interface, and the value of its base package make BibleWorks8 a must-have for serious students of scripture. Seminary and Bible College students, professors, and pastors would all benefit from this powerful tool.
[I understand that there is a new version of BibleWorks that has been released. I’ll post a review of it when/if I get it.]