Preface: in keeping with (what I think are) the distinctions between this blog and mine, I'll do a relatively brief review of this product here, supplemented with some more details over at my Biblical Christianity blog. If you want more details, nuts and bolts, go there.
Summary: with this version, BibleWorks really comes into its own. BibleWorks 7 (BW7) really is an astonishing product and an astonishing value. Preachers, scholars, students: save up the pennies, unsubscribe to Christianity Today, sell your old Watchman Nee collection, wash Dad's car and mow the lawn -- get BW7.
Bundled with the program, you get thirty-two English versions, plus various forms of the Hebrew and Greek texts. You can easily display in one version, or verse by verse in as many versions as you like. Point your mouse at a Hebrew or Greek term, and a parsing and simple definition pops up right in your display window. At the same time, whatever lexicon you've chosen instantly displays the full entry on that word in the right pane. There is another tab in that pane, which displays all the resources you have installed, whether on that word (in the lexica), or on the syntax or even textual condition of that verse (in the grammars and Metzger).
When you buy the basic package, you get an astonishing array of original-language resources. For the Greek NT, you get Thayer, Gingrich's Shorter Lexicon, and others; for the Hebrew, there's good ol' Brown-Driver-Briggs, but there's also Holladay's lexicon and the TWOT. Then, for a reasonable additional price, you can add the latest editions of BAGD and HALOT, as I did. (I figure that if you don't know the acronyms, you don't care; if I'm wrong, ask.)
But wait, there's more! You get the whole Greek NT diagramed; Conybeare's grammar of Septuagint Greek; MacDonald's Greek Enchiridion, the Archer/Chirichigno work laying out and discussing all the NT quotations of the OT, and the Septuagint lexicon by Lust (long "u"), and Metzger's textual commentary on the Greek NT, Burton's Moods and Tenses, Davis' grammar -- and a whole lot more.
Did I say "more"? Like the old ISBE, Robertson's Word Pictures, the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, satellite Bible maps, Bible outlines... okay, I'll stop. But those and more are all part of the package.
There are many additional resources you can get for an extra price. In addition to HALOT and BAGD, I have four additional modules. One is Waltke and O'Connor's Hebrew grammar, which is a massive and useful advanced work; remember, it's keyed in with the whole text of BW7. So if Waltke-O'Connor has a discussion of the syntax of the verse I'm reading or studying, it pops up instantly in the right pane. Also, I have Daniel Wallace's Greek Grammar beyond the Basics, another terrific reference work, full of useful studies and all keyed in to the text; Futato's Basic Hebrew for Bible Study, and N. Clayton Croy's Primer of Biblical Greek. Croy is a recent work, new to me. He focuses on being brief and to the point, uses examples from the Septuagint as well as made-up sentences to be sure the student doesn't just apply his memorized English version to his exercises. (But he's very proud of his inclusive language. Ugh.) Futato has good pedagogical focus, and works to get the reader actually into the Old Testament.
What really excites me about BW7. I've used BW for years. I thought BW6 was a pretty-good tool. BW7 is simply stellar.
- Tabs! Used to be that, if you had a study going, and a Bible-reading plan, you'd have to create two setups, and open BW twice. Now there are a dozen tabs, and you can have that many separate readings going at the same time, saved every time you close and re-open BW7. You can keep track of your daily reading on Tab 1, then have your sermon text study on Tab 2, your Bible study on Tab 3, your research paper outline on Tab 4.... Then, mid-stream, you can step aside from any of them to do searches or other bypaths on Tab 5. Tight, convenient, cool.
- Editors! This, in my mind, may be the single coolest thing about this upgrade. BW6 had a text editor, but it was very buggy, limited, unreliable. No longer. BW7 has two editors: one you can keep linked either to verses or chapters, and one that is whatever you want it to be. So, for instance, say you're reading Proverbs. I prefer my User Notes keyed to verses. So on that screen, I could be making notes on each verse that strikes me. The editor automatically saves and reloads as I move from verse to verse. But meanwhile on the Editor tab, I could be building a study on the different words for "fool" in Proverbs, not tied to any particular verse.
- Resources! It is amazing how the BW geniuses have integrated the wide array of resources provided. Let me try to illustrate briefly. Say I'm on Genesis 4:24. Instantly the resource tab displays lexicon articles on the Hebrew words in that verse, plus the notes in Futato, Waltke, Gesenius etc. on the general grammar (noun, conjunctions, noun patters) -- plus specific notes on this verse in Gesenius (6 of them) and Waltke (2). Or similarly, on Ephesians 5:18, it immediately displays notes in Wallace and MacDonald on Imperative, Present, Passive -- plus eighteen citations of this verse in Wallace! This is truly a goldmine.
Plus, the new editors are very stable. I don't believe the editor has crashed once since I installed BW7 on March 2 of this year -- and believe me, that's a big improvement.
Beyond that, the new, completely-rewritten Editor is a fully-featured word processor, so that it has keyboard shortcuts and a full array of editing features, all completely integrated into the program. The last edition's editor was a good idea, but a bit of a nightmare in practice. This one is a dream.
And it's instantaneous. That is, as I mouse-over verses, my comments instantly display in the user notes. Plus, when I make a note and move on to the next verse, my note is instantly saved without further interaction.
BibleWorks 7, in my opinion, is a true investment in one's ministry.