Over the last several decades Bible software has become increasingly sophisticated, so much so that it has become virtually a necessity for the student, teacher, and preacher of the Scriptures. My original choice for Bible software was BibleWorks (BW), and I have kept up with this daily companion of mine through the latest versions as soon as they became available. Any version of BW from version 7 to the current version 10, when used properly, would be a significant aid for anyone who works with the original languages of the Bible. And for seminary students in particular, it can be a means of helping them keep up on Greek and Hebrew after leaving school. As before, the program is lightning fast.
A complete list of new features in version 10 may be found on the BW website (www.bibleworks.com/content/new.html). Some new databases will be especially helpful for students and scholars. The Nestle-Aland 28th edition is included as the most up-to-date edition of the Greek New Testament. For the Old Testament, the new English translation of the Septuagint in the NETS database is an important tool. It translates the Göttingen Septuagint based on critical editions that are superior to the Rahlfs edition, providing the student with improved readings and more comprehensive documentation of textual variants. NETS is already available online, but it is convenient to have it in BW10 where it can be compared directly with Rahlfs.
An exciting new feature for more advanced study in the Hebrew Bible is the color facsimile of the Leningrad Codex. It opens to precisely the verse under study, uses markers to identify where the verses begin on that page in the manuscript, and may be zoomed up to 300% size for closer inspection. Another new feature is a User Lexicon tab that enables one to record notes about individual words in any English version or morphologically tagged Greek or Hebrew database.
For textual study in the Greek New Testament, BW10 now includes a critical apparatus from the Center for New Testament Textual Studies (CNTTS). This apparatus makes it possible to track variants in different manuscripts, even to the point of viewing photographs of some of the manuscripts themselves. The online help videos on “Comparing Versions and Manuscripts” amount to a basic course in New Testament textual criticism.
A few items are no longer included in version 10, most notably the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Barry Beitzel’s Moody Bible Atlas has been replaced by the ESV Concise Bible Atlas edited by David Barrett and John Currid (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010). If upgrading from BW9, activation codes are provided to make these and a few other excluded works available. On the other hand, additional modules in BW10 are available for an extra cost. Notably, the Stuttgart Original Languages [SOL] Module (Old Testament) promises the Biblia Hebraica Quinta at no additional cost to the current price of the module ($149.00). It is unclear whether that means each fascicle will be made available as it appears (several have already appeared, e.g., Proverbs) or only when the entire Hebrew Bible is completed. Either way, the price is a bargain. The SOL module for the New Testament includes the apparatus for the Nestle-Aland 28th edition, and the SOL module for the Old Testament has an apparatus for the current Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia.
I have been running a scaled-down version of BW10 on an ASUS tablet with Windows 8.1, which I then upgraded to Windows 10. BW10 still works well and looks great on Windows 10. For Mac users, three options are listed on the website for running BW9 or BW10. One of these options, the “native” mode which does not involve using a Windows virtual machine, involves the tradeoff of no additional cost but slightly limited functionality. When I surveyed my students with Mac computers, one replied that his experience of BW9 is “satisfactory” but does have some issues. BW10 should be an improvement for how it works on a Mac. Limitations are indicated on the website, and BW10 comes with a “30-day money back guarantee.”
The user interface has always seemed reasonably intuitive to me. BW10 has an expanded interface with some icons that are new, but simply moving the mouse pointer over an icon brings up a description of what clicking on it does. A welcome new feature is the ability to select different colors for highlighted text in the “Browse Window” or for search results. More importantly, it is now possible to color-code hits by morphology. For example, every verb that shows up in the results of any search can be assigned its own color, making it stand out clearly.
BW10 offers a relatively inexpensive way to make full use of English, Greek, and Hebrew Bibles, along with a plethora of Bibles in other languages. In my experience, the customer service is outstanding and it is easy to get help. In addition to useful help files within the program itself, a whole library of easy-to-follow online help videos (on YouTube) illustrate virtually all aspects of how to use BW10. If even more assistance is needed, email requests are normally answered within a day or two. I highly recommend BW10 as the premier Bible software program for computers running Windows.