It’s always a good idea to balance an equation. A disgruntled user in the BibleWorks forum posted an entry Why I won’t be upgrading to BibleWorks 8 (not for $100+ anyway). I’ve been using Bibleworks since version 4 and I upgraded to version 7 after beta testing the product. When I heard that BibleWorks 8 was coming out I had two reactions. 1) Yay, But I don’t have the money! and 2) is it worth it to me to upgrade? So I started to analyze it out.
The economy is in poor condition. Money is tight. BibleWorks is not cheap, even at the upgrade from 7 > 8 price of $149. Others may well be in the same boat I’m in and frankly some might be wondering if it’s going to be worth it to them to upgrade from 7 to 8. Let me explain why I think it’s still worth it. After each point I’ll place a value to me annotation. Please understand that this is in no way a real world valuation of the programmers time. Some of the items I’ll rank high would be ranked low by others. It is what it says, an approximation of value to me, a cheapskate.
- Perhaps it’s not a good reason but I have an upgrade mentality. It’s not a good reason to upgrade I’m certain but it is in the mix and I might as well put it out into the open right now.
Value to me: $0 (Hey I like to upgrade but I love freeware. Give me a break).
- Every upgrade has been worth it. I’ve been using BibleWorks since version 4 when I finally bit the bullet in what I thought was a vain hope that I could do exegesis better on a computer than on a yellow legal pad. Boy was it ever easier and may I say also that the quality of my studies immediately improved. I didn’t study less, I studied deeper. upgrades mean modules have been improved, updates have been made to all sort and manner of items. This may turn out to be hype with some operating systems (cough) but every upgrade from BibleWorks 4 to BibleWorks 7 has brought enough value in itself to justify the upgrade cost. Knowing (from a distance) the people at BibleWorks as I do, I am certain that BibleWorks 8 is worth the investment. Count me in.
Plus I value BibleWorks both as a program and as a company. I have thousands of annotations in the BibleWorks note editor. I want BibleWorks to be around for version 9 version 19 and beyond. It has been a valuable addition to my work pattern. I’ve worked with the programmers on a few occasions to isolate and fix bugs. In one recent email exchange I spoke with Michael Bushnell, not for the first time – he was approachable, intelligent and overflowing with integrity. In brief I have strong reasons to suspect that the men (and women?) behind BibleWorks are in fact walking with the Lord, and their attitudes bear that out. Galatians 6:10 “…while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
Value to me: $unimaginable.
- My work flow fits with BibleWorksI’ve discussed my work flow elsewhere. It involves first translating my text inside of BibleWorks (if it’s NT, my Hebrew isn’t up to par). BibleWorks 7 slightly modified my work flow with a new screen layout, but it was for the better, version 8 keeps that same basic layout.
Value to me: $hard to discern.
- In depth, instant analysis. http://bibleworks.com/images/new-analysistabs-context.jpg BibleWorks has taken existing functionality in v7 and expanded it even further. On the right hand side of the screen you can see new analysis tabs. Stats, words, context, cross references, word analysis and more are immediately visible for whatever word you click on/hover over. Being able to analyze the original language words in a flash vastly accelerates your learning. And let’s face it, pastors and scholars alike are in the word to learn and to teach what they learn. (And we better be in the word for personal application as well). BibleWorks has had some of the features there in the past but moving them to tabs is a boon to good and rapid study.
Value to me: $5
- Concentrated searching. It’s not a technical term, it’s my term for what BibleWorks 8 adds to the mix. Look at that same graphic. You’ll see check boxes on the left that help you to prune individual verses which are not relevant to your search results. Once that’s done you can analyze and search within those results. That’s power, and that is useful.
[i]Value to me: $25[/i]
- Phrase matching/related verses. Sometimes I’m searching for a passage and I want to know where the Bible uses similar phrases. Enter the phrase matching tool. Type in your verse, specify some parameters and click “search”. Now I know where similar phrases are found throughout the whole Bible. I haven’t tested it but I’d wager that like everything else in BibleWorks the phrase matching tool is extremely fast. The graphic on the website shows a search for 17 phrases taking 0.16 seconds. Yeah, it’s that fast. Speed aside, the similar phrase searching seems enormously valuable to me. A similar tool dubbed the related verses tool finds exactly what it says, verses that are linguistically related.
Value to me: $25
- Formatted text/verse exporting. Right now when I select and copy data from BibleWorks into my word processor it comes in as rich text (or when I use puretext) as raw text. BibleWorks has taken the effort to give me selectable copy patterns. It’s a small thing but useful, and I appreciate it. I’ve been able to do this for awhile in Libronix, but Bibleworks is always open so this will come in handy.
Value to me: $5
- Instant cross references. It’s a bit of a repeat from the tabs above, but every time you pass your mouse over a verse the CRW will instantly display all of the cross references.
“You can draw from the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, New Chain Reference Bible (Thompson, 1934), Nave’s, Torrey’s Topical Text Book, Stephan’s Biographical Bible (distinguishes Bible people with the same names), and cross-references from the ESV, NAS, and NIV/TNIV.”
—An Introduction to BibleWorks
That’s quite a collection of cross reference tools. There are already some existing tools in BW7 for this but moving it all to a specialized tab/window like this makes the information that much quicker to attain.
Value to me: $10
- Wallace, Waltke & O’Connor, and Joüon & Muraoka come free in BibleWorks 8. I can’t help but do a bit of comparison here even though I’m aware of all the arguments about differences between Libronix and BibleWorks books. I’m definitely interested in all of these, but haven’t bought them for various reasons. In terms of value for me it’s a toss up. The real value is apparently the price of the three books added up $148 already almost at the upgrade price for me. Still I’m going to opt more conservatively, I have other syntax’s and while these are inherently useful, if I really had wanted them – I would have already bought them. I still have to calculate their reasonable value to me, and I cannot do better than use the real cost.
Value to me: $148.
- William MacDonald’s “Textual Transcriptions”. Is an additional set of diagrams representing the flow of the text. These I’m going to lump together with the Early Church Fathers (already have it in Logos) as well as the Daily Light devotionals. While I may on occasion gain something from MacDonald’s transcriptions it will be rare. I haven’t tried the daily light devotionals, and there is some attraction to being able to read your devotionals in any language you want, but I’m pretty certain I won’t change my established devotional time with my Father for it.
Value to me: $0.
- ERMIE, weird name but it stands for: External Resources Manager. Think of bookmarks on steroids. Here’s the website description:
“Over time, you’ve probably collected a number of useful books, references, and documents in various formats (PDF, HTML, word processing formats, etc.). Add to that the myriad websites with all sorts of materials and courses you find useful in your studies. With ERMIE, you can collect and organize these local and online resources into an easy to browse catalog. ERMIE catalog files can be edited and shared with other users.”
—What’s new in BibleWorks
The screen shots (1) (2) look promising. Since I haven’t got my hand on it, I just don’t know if it’s a kludge. But there’s an added bonus for me here. Since I already have all of my Bible study notes in BibleWorks it seems rather natural for me to try to group all of my online Bible study links, PDF’s and even documents in a BibleWorks integrated tool.
Value for me: $50 (probably more, but I don’t know if it’s a kludge!)
- New translations: egad, there’s just too many to list here. There’s everything from Bibles in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, and Arabic (none of which I ever anticipate needing) not to mention English translations which BW somehow didn’t have. I’m not really interested in the TNIV or the NirV, though I’m sure they’ll be useful for comparative analysis on occasion. The plethora of extra versions is one area where BibleWorks downright astounds me. How they can cram all the translations they do into this thing and not raise the price this time around just flattens me. And even though I may not use a majority of these there have been instances where it proved useful to have versions which I don’t normally consult. All in all the huge weight of versions available helps to offset the few times I’ll use some of them.
Value to me $30.
- Responsive programmers: If ever there was a reason to question the responsiveness of the BibleWorks programmers, check out this reply to a forum request for spell checking in the editor.
“look for it in BW8 even though it won’t be in the formal advertising. If it’s not there we’ll get it in as soon as we can as a post release enhancement.”
—BW8 and Spell Checking – BibleWorks User Forums
How’s that for unbelievable? They’ve gone through months of βeta testing they’ve fine tuned the program and when someone asks for a feature like this they commit to putting it in the final product at or just after release. Now how cool is that?
Value to me: $20
- There’s always more to come.
“Much to our customers’ delight, we release a number of significant free additions to BibleWorks after the initial release”
Value to me total: $318 definitely enough to justify the $149 upgrade.
Take a look at I’m sure you’ll see it’s value.