Libronix vs BibleWorks 7


Andy asks:

This is a little off the subject.

How beneficial is it for you to have both the Libronix and BibleWorks (especially BW7)? I have always thought that Libronix can do whatever BW can. Is that true? Since you have both, how has BW help you? Would you even consider upgrading to BW8?

To answer your final question, yes. I will almost certainly upgrade to BW8 in a heartbeat. Mind you, I’ve not heard *any* rumors of it coming forth though. If anyone has any information I’d love to hear it!

My style of study hasn’t changed by large amounts since I first bought BibleWorks 4 when it was first released. I’ve faithfully upgraded to each new version as it came along and was fortunate enough to help beta test v7 and was quite familiar with it’s new style of working by the time it went gold.

Since my Hebrew is barely first year student level I do things a little differently in the OT but when doing NT studies I always start with Bibleworks to do my translation work.

There is some crossover in the two tools but their self determined focus defines their usefulness for me. BibleWorks is designed from the ground up for textual research. As a result it is fast, lithe, agile and any other word you can think of that means it does what it should do quickly. Libronix/Logos is first and foremost a library. It has a great Librarian and research assistant built in but it is a Library. What it is designed to do it also does well. But let’s face it – it’s still big and slow by comparison. Before you argue, I’ve heard all the arguments about comparing apples and oranges on the speed issue and I agree with them for the most part. But on a plain speed issue, BW wins.

Parsing & Textual Variance

The first thing I do after picking a passage (or preaching a verse by verse series as is my preference) is to open Bibleworks. I have a dual monitor system so BW is always on the right hand screen. Then just so it’s ready I open Libronix on my left hand screen. If I’ve got my verse in mind I run a passage guide and an exegetical report on the passage in question from within Libronix.
Then I begin working with the original language of the text. I parse the words and research any textual variances. BW’s text comparison tool is great for quick visual of same language differences (BW: Tools > Text Comparison Settings). By the same token the exegetical report in Libronix (Libronix:Tools > Bible Comparison > Compare Parallel Bible Versions.) Libronix also has the Apparatus’ (Apparati?) for the NA27 available through the SESB add in. I own the apparatus and can use it when needed. But usually a quick glance at the BW screen tells me if I should spend energy pursuing the variances to any depth.

Diagram

After I’ve parsed out the text I simultaneously work through Syntax and Diagramming but I have to list it in some order so here’s the diagramming…
Bible works has the entire New Testament diagrammed in a database prepared by Randy A. Leedy, (BW: Resources > New Testament Diagram Database…). It also has a diagramming tool so that I could build my own diagrams in BW but honestly since I had started using the Libronix diagram tool before it came out, I’m used to doing my diagrams in Libronix. BW offers dozens of specialized brackets but it’s a dizzying array for my purposes and I’m just more comfortable building diagrams in Libronix. Plus they automatically appear on my passage guide later when I need it.
In Bibleworks, there is an excellent “help” file on how to diagram and it’s worth the read, you can find it by loading the diagrams and hitting the “how to diagram” button. It’s worth your time if you have it. By the same token Lee Kantenwein’s excellent “Diagramatical Analysis” is available in Libronix format. If you diagram in Libronix you should own it, period.

Syntax and Exegesis

While I’m working on the diagramming and honestly while I’m parsing the text I’m making syntax notes which I gather almost exclusively from within Bibleworks and a custom syntax primer which I’ve made myself which does little more than remind me of all the options. (Ask me about my failing memory some other time…).
As I work through the Syntax, I am making multiple exegetical notes.
Then when I run an exegetical guide in Libronix I’m able to rapidly hit the main words and constructions which have concerned me the most during my initial translation. Usually by the time I’ve gotten this far, I’m aware of many of the major issues and even variant interpretations of a passage. A Passage guide enables me to pull up commentaries and journals for me to check my work in. From this point forward I’m less focused on BW and more focused on the thousands of resources in Libronix.

Translation

By the time I’ve parsed, syntactically analyzed and diagrammed the text I have a good idea what the translation should be. For years in my church I’ve made rough paraphrases and called it the TBPV (Tom Black Paraphrase version) and while I do write some of those out, my typical translation is a fair bit more wooden and literal with explanations in brackets.

Explanation

Following the format of the WBC I’ve taken to writing a summarized explanation of the passage after all of this work so that in later years I can scroll straight to this section in my notes and refresh my memory of my findings. But I can always scroll back up to check my work or make revisions as my skill and Biblical knowledge grows.
The Passage guide comes into play here again as I record relevant quotes and any other notations I think are worthwhile.

Application

Bible translation without application is more or less pointless. It is a living word and requires personal application. My textual research in BW is now final and as complete as it’s likely to get. So I turn here to prayer, personal experience and Libronix to round out application of the passage to the audience (as well as to myself!)

Introduction / Illustration

I have friends that write introductions first, I do them last. IMHO how can I write a meaningful introduction without knowing where the sermon is going? I often look through stories, commentaries, and Libronix in general to find illustrations. That and google news helps me pin down any illustrations I might need.

Summary

I have discovered without fail that if I load BW first and work through the text like this; I feel that I truly understand the text and the relevant issues raised by any commentaries. In fact I often comment on my commentaries where I disagree and why so that in later years the good research once done does not have to be redone.

On top of that since the notes function in Libronix is so woefully slow and painful to use I record ALL of my study notes in individual verse files in *.BWW format (which is nothing more than an RTF document with a few tweaks). today I have nearly 100 MB of BW notes covering large portions of the Bible. I suspect the same quantity of notes in Libronix would make it die a slow death on my relatively fast machine.

Bibleworks is, in my humble opinion worth every cent I’ve ever spent on the program and it’s upgrades.

I can say the same thing for Libronix as a library system. I have thousands of books and reference materials at my fingertips and I can search my entire library in mere minutes for an obscure reference or a poignant quote.

Since I already own both programs I quite simply can not see myself not using both on a daily basis.
Hope this helps.