In 1996, I was introduced to Bibleworks. At the time, I had been using Libronix, a precursor to Logos Bible software. Bibleworks completely changed the way I studied the Bible. For the first time using Bibleworks, I was able to create powerful Bible search queries in English, Greek, and Hebrew.
In 2005, I switched to Mac. I could not use Bibleworks anymore, so I started using Logos and Accordance.
In 2016, learning that Bibleworks runs on Mac OS, I decided to install Bibleworks 10 on my Mac and newly built Windows PC. Let me summarize my user experience and give 7 reasons why Bibleworks 10 is the best Bible study software package under $400.
1. Bibleworks’ Unique Mission
Unlike many companies, Bibleworks has a unique mission statement.
We exist to serve the church, not to make a profit, and all of our business decisions are made with that in mind. Our goal is to provide a complete package containing the tools most essential for the task of interpreting the Scriptures in the original Greek and Hebrew, and to do it at a price that poor pastors and students can afford.
I support this mission wholeheartedly. At its price point, Bibleworks 10 provides the best software package available for students serious about studying the Bible in the original languages. The programmers understand what tools are necessary to study Scripture in its original languages.
2. Bibleworks’ Outstanding Digital Content
Bibleworks’s original language content and resources, at its price range, is second to none. The lexicons, dictionaries, grammars, sentence diagrams, and morphological databases should satisfy the most ambitious Bible student.
Let me review the content included in a base package of Bibleworks. You can review the full list of Bibleworks 10 content on their website. I’m just going to summarize the highlights.
Hebrew Bibles in Bibleworks
- Leningrad Codex Hebrew Bible, with full accenting & full vowel pointing
- Groves-Wheeler Westminster Hebrew Old Testament Morphology database, version 4.16
- Leningradensis Codex high-resolution images with verse markers
- Hebrew Accent Extensions to Groves-Wheeler Westminster Hebrew Old Testament Morphology database
Greek New Testament in Bibleworks
- Nestle-Aland 28th Edition Greek New Testament with morphology
- Stephanus Greek New Testament (Textus Receptus), with morphological analysis
- Tischendorf Greek New Testament, with Critical Apparatus
- Westcott-Hort Greek New Testament (new proofing) with diacritics, variant readings, and 2010 Robinson morphology
- BibleWorks Manuscript Project: transcriptions, notes, and complete NT digital image sets (7.5 GB) of Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, Bezae, Washingtonianus, Boernerianus, GA1141, Ephraemi Rescriptus (M-04) (transcription only), and Claromontanus (M-06) (transcription only). Images are tagged with verse locations. Morphological tagging is ongoing (Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, and Sinaiticus are now complete), and updates are provided free of charge as they become available.
- Center for New Testament Textual Studies (CNTTS) NT Critical Apparatus
- Friberg’s Morphologically Analyzed Greek New Testament (updated)
Greek Septuagint in Bibleworks
- Rahlfs’ Septuagint, with Apocrypha & variants
Other Greek Writings in Bibleworks
- Apostolic Fathers (Greek with Morphological tags by Gieniusz/Bushell, Latin, and English translation)
- Complete Works of Flavius Josephus, parsed and lemmatized, with the 1828 Whiston English translation and Latin sections, and Loeb Classical Edition versification
- OT Pseudepigrapha in Greek, morphologically tagged, with English translation
- Works of Philo (Greek Text & Morphology with English translation)
English Translations in Bibleworks
- Tagged with Strong’s Numbers: KJV, NASB, NKJV
- 43 other translations including ASV, ESV, HCSB, NET, NIV, NLT, and NRSV
Other Bible Translations in Bibleworks
- Latin Vulgate
- 3 Chinese translations (Chinese Union Bible, Chinese New Version, Contemporary Chinese Version)
- 11 Spanish translations
- Bible translations in 34 other languages
Hebrew Lexical and Grammatical References in Bibleworks
- Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Concise HALOT)
- Brown-Driver-Briggs-Genesius Hebrew English Lexicon (BDB)
- Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar
- A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew, Revised (Joüon-Muraoka)
- An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Waltke & O’Connor)
Greek Lexical and Grammatical References in Bibleworks
- Concise Greek-English Lexicon to the New Testament (Danker, 2009)
- A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, 3rd edition (Robertson)
- Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Wallace)
- Greek New Testament Diagrams (Leedy), complete
- Liddell-Scott Greek Lexicon, abridged
- Louw-Nida Greek New Testament Lexicon based on Semantic Domains, Second Edition
- The Shorter Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, Revised Edition (Gingrich/Danker)
- Thayer Greek Lexicon, unabridged
- The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament Module (J.H. Moulton and G. Milligan)
Other Reference Works in Bibleworks
- BibleViews Holy Land Picture Database
- ESV Concise Bible Atlas, Barrett & Currid (2012)
- Easton's Bible Dictionary
- Fausset Bible Dictionary
- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
- Matthew Henry's Commentary
- Nave's Topical Index
- New Chain Reference Bible (1934) topics (Thompson)
- Satellite and elevation maps (no Internet connection needed) with 1300+ sites. Can be customized with time periods, sites and notations. Dozens of pre-made maps included.
- Timelines: Biblical, Church, and Secular History, editable
- Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge
Content Comparison: Bibleworks 10 vs Accordance 12
The retail price for Bibleworks 10 is $399. Accordance 12 has a Greek and Hebrew Discoverer Package at $399.
Bibleworks 10 Advantages:
- Many more Bible translations: Accordance has several key English translations missing, and Accordance does not support many languages including Chinese.
- Bibleworks Manuscript Project: Unique undertaking to provide high quality images of the most important manuscripts for textual criticism. There are no manuscript images included with Accordance’s package.
- Grammars and Lexicons: Bibleworks includes Wallace’s Greek grammar, two outstanding Hebrew grammars by Genesius and Joüon-Muraoka. Danker’s Concise Greek Lexicon is perfect for most individuals who do not own BDAG.
- Ancient Writings: Bibleworks includes four essential Greek extra biblical writings: Apostolic fathers, Josephus, Philo, and the Pseudepigrapha. These texts include morphological tagging.
- CNTTS Greek NT Apparatus: The most comprehensive Greek New Testament Apparatus is included with Bibleworks.
Accordance 12 Advantage:
- English Tools: Accordance 12 includes the Eerdmans Bible Dictionary and New Bible Commentary. These volumes are very helpful for any starter library.
- Lexical Tools: Accordance 12 includes Little Kittel, LEH LLX Lexicon (3rd edition), Theological Lexicon of OT (Jenni-Westermann), and the Complete Word Study Dictionaries for OT and NT.
Overall, the Accordance 12 Greek and Hebrews Discoverer package is sufficient for most pastors. But the Bibleworks 10 collection is superior for pastors doing detailed exegesis in the Greek and Hebrew.
Comparing Bibleworks 10 Content to Logos 7
No comparison is necessary. You cannot get anything comparable for original languages Bible study with Logos under $750. Even if you spent twice the money, you cannot get a Logos package comparable to Bibleworks 10.
There is no Bible software package under $400 that can compete with the content included in Bibleworks 10.
3. Bibleworks’ Blazing Bible Search Speed
One of the most important functions of Bible software is efficient and effective searching. Let’s take a closer look at the Bible search functionality in Bibleworks.
Command Line Searching in Bibleworks
To do a simple word search in Bibleworks, simply type a word precede by a period. You would type “.love” to search all occurrences of love. A dropdown menu allows you to limit the search range to a particular book or combination of books. You can also create a custom search range like “Isaiah 1-39.”
Bibleworks lets you choose a search version, and it lets you choose a different display version. So I can search for all occurrences of “logos” in the NA28 Greek NT and display the verses in ESV. All verses that match your search criteria appear in the Search window.
Bibleworks provides two types of “Fuzzy” searches for English word searching: Porter stemming and link stemming.
The command line search is extremely powerful once you know the command line commands. The five most basic search types include:
- AND: “.word1 word2”
- OR: “/word1 word2”
- PHRASE: “‘word1 word2”
- COMPOUND: (.word1 word2)/(.word3 word4)
- LINEAR PHRASE: “;word1 word2”
Bibleworks Search Scope Customization
Unlike Accordance, you cannot customize the scope of your search to the level of (1) sentence, (2) paragraph, or (3) chapter. Your only scope available is at a verse level.
But you can designate a certain number of verses that can come between two word. For example, to search for all occurrences of “faith” and “works” that appear within three verses, you would type “.faith works;3”
Bibleworks Browse Window
When you select a verse reference listed on your search window, the entire verse will display on your browse window. You can designate what Bible translations to display on the browse window. I usually set up about 6 English translations, the Hebrew Old Testament, and Greek New Testament. I can quickly compare the differences in the various English translations, and I can read the verse in its original language in my favorite eclectic text.
Key Word Tagging for Three English Translations
In Bibleworks, only three English translations are available with keyword tagging (Strong’s numbering): King James Version (KJV), New King James Version (NKJV), and New American Standard Version (NAS). If you use the English Standard Version (ESV) or New International Version, you will not have keyword tagging in these translations. Since the ESV is my daily English Bible, I really miss not having key word tagging for the ESV.
Bibleworks Search Speed Comparison
The search results for most simple Bible searches are instantaneous. Using my laptop and desktop computer, I experience zero delay when I commence a search. The speed and performance is very similar to Accordance. Logos’ basic Bible search, in comparison, is extremely slow. Some simple searches can take 5-15 seconds.
Bibleworks Analysis Tab for Instant Details
When I hover over an English word with keyword tagging, it will give instant details in the Analysis Tab. Hovering over a word in the Hebrew OT or Greek NT triggers instant display of entries in your favorite Greek and Hebrew lexicons.
Biblework’s ability to display instant details when hovering over a Hebrew or Greek word can replicate the functionality of Logos’ Exegetical Guide. Unfortunately, Logos’ Exegetical Guide is much more sluggish.
Thoughts on Bibleworks Bible Search
Bibleworks Bible search is fast, and it is easy to use once you learn how to use it. The search interface, however, is not intuitive. I definitely needed to read the help files to understand how to use the full functionality of command line searching. But once I did, Bibleworks’ Bible search became very easy to use.
4. Bibleworks Powerful Complex Search Functionality
For more complex searches, Bibleworks 10 has a graphical query interface that lets users construct complex search queries. Bibleworks outputs your search query to a formatted list, and it displays some statistical analysis.
Although creating complex search queries is more intuitive in Accordance 12, nesting a search query within another search query using Accordance is cumbersome. With Bibleworks 10, nesting searches is much easier.
For example, looking for all occurrences where the Granville Sharp Rule can be applied requires building search queries nested within other search queries. I was able to replicate this complex search in Bibleworks 10, but it was nearly impossible to perform this search in Accordance.
Saving Complex Search Queries
You can easily save your complex search queries in Bibleworks 10. To do this in Accordance, you need to save a workspace that contains your search query, but this method is a “clunky” workaround to saving complex queries. Most users don’t need to save complex search queries, but if you are doing academic research, saving complex search queries is a great feature.
Bibleworks’ Morphological Databases
If your search queries require looking at morphology tagging, your searches are only as good as the morphological databases. The morphological tagging of the Greek and Hebrew texts are slightly different in Bibleworks, Accordance, and Logos.
I feel the morphological tagging of Bibleworks, Accordance, and Logos is comparable. Bibleworks does not have any syntactical tagging. Accordance and Logos have at least one syntactical database for the Hebrew OT and Greek NT. Logos even has other custom datasets that have been created in–house.
5. Bibleworks’ Unparalleled Textual Criticism Features
In general, I’ll review the USB5 and NA28 apparatus and review Metzger’s textual commentary notes when I do my routine Greek exegesis. For users who want to do more in–depth textual criticism, this is possible with Bibleworks 10.
You have the complete CNTTS NT critical apparatus which usually costs $75-100 extra for Logos and Accordance. This is the most complete, definitive apparatus for the Greek New Testament. You have access to high resolution images for the most important Greek manuscripts: Sinaticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, Bezae, Washingtonianus, etc. This dataset of images requires gigabytes of storage, but they are all included in your USB key when you purchase Bibleworks 10.
The entire image set of the Leningrad Codex is also included.
Morphological tagging is an ongoing Bibleworks project for these manuscripts. Getting a subset of the same content in Accordance or Logos will cost at least $1000 dollars.
6. Bibleworks’ Original Language Library Add-Ons
Unlike Accordance, Logos, and Olive Tree, Bibleworks does not aim to be the best Ebook library manager. In fact, Bibleworks recommends users to continue purchasing paper copies of their most important references including commentaries.
That being said, Bibleworks does offer several add-on modules. The most popular add-on module for serious students is the Stuttgart Original Language Add-On packages for the Old and New Testament.
Bibleworks Add-On Modules
- Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (Balz & Schneider)
- Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Blass, Debrunner & Funk)
- A Greek-English Lexicon, 9th Revised Edition (Liddell, Scott, Jones & McKenzie)
- Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition (Bauer, Danker, Arndt & Gingrich)
- A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint, Volumes 1 & 2 (Lust, Eynikel, Hauspie, Chamberlain) (free unlock available for BW7 upgraders)
- The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Koehler, Baumgartner & Stamm)
- The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts (Comfort & Barrett)
- Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition (Metzger)
- Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged (Kittel, Friedrich & Bromiley)
Stuttgart Original Languages Add-On Package – New Testament Edition.
- Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament 28th Edition including apparatus and morphology.
- Newman, Jr., Barclay M. A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament
- Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament
- Biblia Sacra Iuxta Vulgatam Versionem (Latin Vulgate 2013) with apparatus
- Kassühlke Greek-German Dictionary
- Gospel of Thomas
- United Bible Societies Greek New Testament (5th edition) with apparatus and morphology.
Stuttgart Original Languages Add-On Package – Old Testament Edition.
- Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (4th edition)
- Biblia Hebraica Quinta: Deuteronomy, Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, & Lamentations. Judges, Proverbs, and the Twelve Minor Prophets to be released via internet update at no additional cost. (Future BHQ fascicles, as released, will be made available in separate BibleWorks add-on modules at additional cost.)
- Biblia Sacra Iuxta Vulgatam Versionem (Latin Vulgate 2013) with apparatus
- Rahlfs-Hanhart Septuagint including morphology
- A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint, Volumes 1 & 2 (Lust, Eynikel, Hauspie, Chamberlain)
The most important original language reference works are available in Bibleworks either in the basic package or as an optional add–on module. However, Bibleworks has the fewest options for library expansion. Look to Logos or Olive Tree if you are looking to create an electronic library of other pastoral resources including theological writings and Bible commentaries.
7. Bibleworks’ Excellent Technical Support
The Bibleworks website and forums contain a plethora of tutorial and help files. I found their video tutorials and training files useful. Bibleworks’ interface contains numerous tabs and buttons. The design is aimed for speed and function, but for me, the learning curve was steep.
The support staff at Bibleworks was very helpful. My submitted questions were all answered within 1 business day, which is terrific for a smaller company.
Final Thoughts on Bibleworks 10 Bible Software
If you want the best exegetical Bible software available at under $400, look no further. Bibleworks 10 is your best option.
I recommend Bibleworks 10 without any reservation, especially if you are a Windows PC user. If you are a Mac user, and you want to use your resources on your iPhone and iPad, Accordance 12 is an alternative. No Logos Bible software package is available at the same price point. The closest option is Logos 7 Biblical Languages, priced at $750. I cannot recommend that package when you can choose Bibleworks 10.
Even if you have invested thousands of dollars in content in Logos, you will still find Bibleworks 10 to be an excellent supplemental program for serious textual criticism and Bible exegesis.