This article will show how to use many of the BibleWorks tools for study using only English Bible versions. Some of this information also applies to studying the Bible in translations other than English.
Searching from the Browse Window
Searches from the Browse Window are very easy. Double-click on the word you wish to search for in a verse where the word appears. Click here for a video.
You can also search for phrases by highlighting the phrase and placing your mouse cursor over the highlighted words, then click your right mouse button and select Search for Phrase on the context menu. Click here for a video.
Searching from the Search Window
The Search Window provides more powerful ways to search the English Bible. To search for one or more words in a verse, begin by typing a period on the Command Line, and then the word or words you wish to search. The period tells BibleWorks that you are doing an 'AND' search. The words do not have to appear in any particular order, but they all must appear in the verse.
For example, to search for every verse that has both the words 'faith' and 'works' in the KJV, first set your search version to NAS. Then on the Command Line type: .faith hope love and hit Enter on your keyboard. This search finds every place where the two words appear, regardless of the order in which they appear.
You can find all verses where the word 'faith' or 'works' appear in the NAS. Since you want to find verses that contain either word, you will enter a forward slash on the Command Line, followed by the words 'faith' and 'works'. The forward slash tells BibleWorks that you are running an 'OR' search. On the Command Line type: 'faith works then hit Enter. This search finds every verse that contains either the word 'faith' or the word 'works'. If any verses contain both words, these verses will be found as well. Click here for a video demonstrating AND and OR searches.
For the next example, search for the exact phrase 'kingdom of God'. You will begin the search by typing a single quote mark. The single quote mark tells BibleWorks that you are searching for an exact phrase. On the Command Line type: 'kingdom of god
then hit Enter. This search finds every place where the phrase 'kingdom of God' appears. It does not find verses where the three words appear apart from each other in the verse. Click here for a video.
For other examples of Command Line searches, click Search on the main menu, and then select Command Line Examples.
Which Version Uses that Word?
Do you sometimes try to find a word or phrase that you are certain is in the Bible, but cannot remember which translation has it? BibleWorks can help you find a word or phrase even if you cannot remember which translation contains it.
Select an English translation as your search version such as the NAS (you can type nas on the Command Line and hit <Enter>). On the main BibleWorks menu select Search, and choose Cross Version Search Mode. Select Search and Display All Same Language Versions. Notice that the second green box in the Command Line Versions Button is now yellow. This yellow box indicates that cross version search mode is enabled.
On the Command Line type the 'or' search:
Notice that the word turns red, since the word 'husbandman' does not occur in the NAS. Hit Enter to run the search.
A Cross Version Search Results window opens and shows all the English versions that contain the word 'husbandman.' Click on KJV and the seven KJV search results appear in the Search Results window. Even if you have difficulty remembering the wording of a verse in a particular version, BibleWorks will help you remember! After you have completed your Cross Versions Search you will probably want to return to Search Only Current Search Version on the Cross Version Search Mode menu option. The yellow box on the Command Line Versions Button should turn to green. Click here for a video. See Help | BibleWorks Help Contents for further information on performing searches on the Command Line.
Searching More than One Version at the Same Time
The Graphical Search Engine (GSE) is a powerful search tool with special abilities that English Bible-Only users will enjoy. The GSE allows you to search in two or more English translations at the same time for different words.
For example, if you want to find all the verses where the NAS has 'spirit' and the KJV has 'ghost,' this search cannot be run from the Command Line. You can only use one search version at a time with that tool. You could run each search separately and use the Verse List Manager to filter the verses, but the GSE provides another way. See the help file for information on how to use the Verse List Manager to filter two verse lists.
Click here for a video demonstrating the process described below.
The GSE allows you to search as many versions at the same time as you wish. Open the GSE by selecting Search on the main BibleWorks menu and select Graphical Search Engine. The GSE window will open and contain 2 boxes. If the boxes are not NAS, select Edit on the menu and choose Select all. Select the Edit menu option again and choose Change version of selected objects. Choose NAS on the dropdown box.
The box with the blue insert is a Word Box. Double-click on the Word Box to open it. Select Word in the Search Method box and enter the word 'spirit'. Click the OK button, and the Word Box now contains the word 'spirit.' Now you need to enter another Word Box for the KJV. On the GSE menu, select Insert and choose Word box. Move the new Word Box away from the other boxes so there is room between the boxes. Double-click the new Word Box to open it. In the Version box select KJV, and then enter the word 'ghost.' Click OK.
Now connect the KJV Word Box to the Merge Box, the box with a green insert. On the GSE menu, select Mode, and Connect. Click and hold your left mouse button over the KJV Word Box and drag your cursor to the Merge Box. Once your cursor is over the Merge Box, release your mouse button. You should now have an arrow from the Word Box to the Merge Box. Click the green Go button to run the search. Our search yields 100 times in 92 verses where the word 'spirit' appears in the NAS and the word 'ghost' appears in the KJV. You will have to check manually to see if these words correspond to each other or not in the verse, but it is likely that they do correspond. See the help file for more information on how to use the GSE.
Specialized Searches Using the Key Word in Context Window
You can prepare interesting studies by using the search and display features unique to the Key Word in Context Window. This window allows you to search for a word and show you which words appear most commonly near your word. The KWIC (Key Word In Context) window in the Collocation Table Module allows you to export a list of verses in the format popular in printed concordances. To open the Key Word in Context Window, select Tools on the main BibleWorks menu, Analyzing the text and then choose KWIC/Collocation Table Module. Click here for a video on how to use KWIC to view words that relate to a word in a verse.
Following Cross References
Cross references allow you to quickly find passages related to the verse you are studying. The X-Refs tab allows you to display cross-references from a variety of cross reference sources, including the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, the New Chain-Reference Bible (Thompson, 1934), Nave’s Topical Bible, Torrey’s Topical Text Book, Stephan’s Biographical Bible, and cross-references from a number of popular translations like the ESV, NAS/NAU, and NIV Bibles.
You can access these sets of notes very easily in the X-Refs tab. The first time that the X-Refs tab is chosen it will display the cross referenced passages for the current verse on display in the Browse Window using the BW Master, a combination of frequently cited cross-references from the cross-reference databases in BibleWorks. You can use the dropdown list in the upper left corner of the X-Refs tab header to change to one of the other cross reference systems and you can choose the version you wish to use to display cross-references. Click here for a video on how to view cross-references for a verse. For more information on using the X-Refs tab see the help file.
Using Reference Works
While BibleWorks emphasizes direct study in the Bible, it does include some reference works to enhance your study of the Bible.
There are three Bible dictionaries included in BibleWorks. To open a Bible dictionary, select Resources from the main BibleWorks menu and then choose Bible Dictionaries. From the Dictionaries menu item in the window that opens you can display the various BibleWorks Bible dictionaries. You can quickly look up a word in a Bible dictionary from the Browse Window by placing your cursor over the word in the English version, and then click your right mouse button. Select Lookup in Default Bible Dictionary on the context menu.
Comparing Bible Versions
Most people have a favorite translation. Their reasons for choosing their favorite translation vary. No matter what translation you prefer or why you prefer it, you can benefit from comparing different translations as you study the Bible.
Why Do Translations Differ?
Bible translation differences result from a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include:
— The English language changes. More recent translations use different words, phrases, and sentence structures than translations that were completed even a few decades ago.
— The translators may have translated from different Greek and Hebrew texts. If the Greek and Hebrew texts have different readings in some verses, then the translation will differ in those places.
— Some translators seek to render the meaning of each individual word as much as possible, while other translators seek to render the Bible's meaning on a phrase-by-phrase basis.
— Translation requires interpretation. When translators interpret the passage differently, their translations will differ.
A Brief Description of Major English Translations
By comparing translations that were translated in different ways, you can benefit from the differences for your personal study. Here is a brief description of some popular English translations and their unique characteristics for purposes of comparing different Bible versions.
CSB - a word-for-word translation. A modern translation that capitalizes the pronouns referring to deity.
ESV - a word-for-word translation.
KJV - a word-for-word translation that often retains the sentence structure of the original Greek or Hebrew text. Uses a different Greek and Hebrew text than is used in most modern English translations.
NAS/NAU - a word-for-word translation. A modern translation that capitalizes the pronouns referring to deity.
NET - a translation in the middle between a word-for-word and a thought-for-thought translation. Seeks to render the tone of the original in the English translation. Extensive translator notes.
NIV - a translation that is sometimes translated in a word-for-word fashion, but at other times results in a thought-for-thought translation.
NKJ - a word-for-word translation. A modern translation that capitalizes the pronouns referring to deity. Updates certain words in the KJV to help clarify word meaning for modern readers. In a few places uses a different Greek and Hebrew text than the KJV.
NLT - a thought-for-thought translation that seeks to make the meaning of the verse clear to the reader. Seeks to render the tone of the original in the English translation.
NRS - a translation that is usually translated in a word-for-word fashion. Also includes the Apocrypha.
How Translation Differences Can Help Your Study
As an English Bible-Only user, you can use the differences in the Bible translations to help you better interpret the text.
— Differences between translations can show you where different Greek or Hebrew manuscripts have different words. In these cases you should be careful not to place too much emphasis upon the words that differ, since the original language manuscripts differ.
— Differences between translations can show where interpretation and translation is difficult, even for those who know the original languages very well. In these cases be careful not to place too much emphasis upon the words that differ significantly, since good interpreters differ concerning the interpretation and translation.
— Similarities between different types of translations gives confidence that the English translations are very accurate and faithfully deliver the message of the Greek or Hebrew text, with little question about the interpretation and translation of that passage. Most verses are in this category.
Your comparison of the different translation will be most beneficial if you choose translation from a couple of different categories.
Choose translations that use different Greek and Hebrew texts. The KJV and NKJ use different Greek and Hebrew texts than most of the other translations. Compare these versions with some of the more recent versions that use different Greek and Hebrew texts.
Also choose different types of translations. Compare word-for-word translations like the NAS/NAU with thought-for-thought translations like the NLT.
Comparing Bible Versions
One easy way to compare translations in BibleWorks in the Browse Window is by toggling on Difference Highlighting. If this option is activated the differences between same-language versions displayed in the Browse Window will be highlighted in color to make them easy to see.
Difference Highlighting can be toggled on or off from the Browse Window Options menu, or with a keyboard shortcut. Click here for a video that demonstrates how to use Difference Highlighting in the Browse Window.
Versions Tagged with Strong's Numbers
Strong's numbers are a reference system in which the words in the modern translation of the Bible are tagged with a number that is used to identify the Greek or Hebrew word that the word or words translate. Currently, the NAS, NAU, KJV, NKJ, CSB, RWB, RST, SVV, LSG, LUO and MNT versions have words tagged with Strong's Numbers.
Strong's numbers are primarily used as a search tool and means of identifying information about the given word.
Finding the Appropriate Strong's Number
You can display the Strong's numbers in these versions by clicking the Browse Window Options button above the Browse Window and selecting Toggle Strong's Numbers.
You can also toggle the Strong's numbers on or off by clicking in the Browse Window and pressing 'r' on your keyboard. The Strong's numbers will then appear within < > after most words in the verse. The Strong's number also appears in the Analysis tab when you mouse over a word in one of the versions tagged with Strong's numbers. The Strong's numbers do not have to be displayed in the Browse Window to view the information for the word in the Analysis tab when you mouse over a word..
(The numbers in parentheses immediately after certain Strong's numbers describe the parsing information for Greek and Hebrew verbs in the KJV, NKJ, SVV, LSG, and LUO versions).
Searching Strong's Numbers
You can search on Strong's numbers in a variety of ways, but the first step to using them is to figure out what the Strong's number is for the word you wish to search for. One way is to search for the English word you are investigating, and then view the Strong's number. Strong's numbers are searchable and can be an initial way to search for the Greek or Hebrew word that is the basis for translated words. Click here for a video on how to search using Strong's numbers.
You can search on the Strong's number in the Search Window using the Command Line by setting your search version to one of the versions tagged with Strong's numbers, then typing .*@ plus the Strong's number of the word you wish to search for. You can also double-click on a displayed Strong's number in the Browse Window to search for that number.
Strong's numbers can be a helpful tool as an initial means to search for a Greek or Hebrew word, but it is more accurate to search for all occurrences of the Greek or Hebrew word itself rather than to rely only on the Strong's number system. When you display the Analysis tab and then hold your mouse cursor over a word or its Strong's number in one of the tagged versions in the Browse Window, the Greek or Hebrew word it translates will be displayed in the Analysis tab in its basic form as it would appear in a dictionary. This form is referred to as a Lemma in BibleWorks menus and documentation.
To search for all occurrences of that Greek or Hebrew word,
1) with your mouse hold down the Shift key to freeze the Analysis tab,
2) then move your cursor to place it over the Greek or Hebrew word immediately to the right of the Strong's number in the top line of the Analysis tab window. Double-click this Greek or Hebrew word. This executes a search of that word in a Greek or Hebrew Bible version.
3) The search results appear in the Search Window, with the Greek or Hebrew word highlighted in yellow. This action will change the search version to the Greek or Hebrew version BibleWorks used to conduct the search (here it was changed to the WTM).
NAS and Thayer/BDB Dictionaries in the Analysis tab
The NAS dictionary and Thayer/BDB definitions are helpful tools for using the Bible in translation. When you mouse over a word or Strong's number in the NAS and NAU versions, entries from the NAS dictionary will display in the Analysis tab. When you mouse over a word or Strong's number in the KJV, NKJ, CSB, RWB, RST, SVV, LSG, LUO or MNT versions, Thayer/BDB definitions will display. If you are using the RST, SVV, LSG, LUO, and MNT you can right click in the Analysis tab and choose a different Default Strong's Language for displaying the definitions. (The Thayer/BDB definitions have sometimes been referred to as the Strong's dictionary, however they are not the same definitions as found in the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, but are enhanced definitions from the Thayer/BDB lexicons.
Finding English Words That Translate a Greek or Hebrew Word
The NAS dictionary lists a summary meaning of the word, followed by ways in which the word is translated in the NAS and their frequency of use, see Usage in the dictionary entry.
In the Thayer/BDB definitions, the list of the ways the Greek or Hebrew word is translated is only for the KJV when you mouse over words in the KJV, NKJ, CSB, RWB).
Using Strong's numbers to Lookup Words in Greek or Hebrew Lexicons.
These dictionaries have their limits. They cannot compare to the accuracy and better information found in many of the Greek and Hebrew lexicons contained in BibleWorks. Lexicon is another word for dictionary. The Greek and Hebrew lexicons in BibleWorks offer a number of benefits over the NAS dictionary and Thayer/BDB definitions. First, the Greek and Hebrew lexicons offer much more information. Second, they organize the information into meaningful groups. Third, they often contain links to Bible verses containing these words. You can place your cursor over the highlighted verse links and the verse displays in a popup window. Fourth, the Greek and Hebrew lexicons are usually more up-to-date than the NAS dictionary and Thayer/BDB definitions. Researchers continue to find more ancient writings and refine their understanding of word meanings. The newer lexicons include this up-to-date information.
It is possible for an non-Greek or Hebrew-user to display and use the Greek and Hebrew lexicons in BibleWorks. Begin your study with the English translation. For example, display NAS in the Browse Window. Click the Browse Window Options button, and then select Toggle Strong's Numbers. Display Philippians 1:5 in the Browse Window. Place your cursor over the Strong's number <2842> in brackets in the NAS. The NAS number 2842 definition shows the word 'koinonia' with a meaning of 'fellowship.'
To view a lexicon entry for a Greek or Hebrew word, we must first identify the word in the Greek or Hebrew text. You can do this in two ways. You can display a Greek or Hebrew text and then look through the text to identify the same word that appears in the NAS dictionary entry. This will be difficult, though, since the words in a Greek or Hebrew text often do not look the same as the dictionary entry word, as the words appear in different forms in the text.
The second way is easier, since you do not have to read any Greek or Hebrew. Because we are studying a New Testament passage, we need to display a Greek text. Display the BGT in the Browse Window.
1) In the NAS of Philippians 1:5, place your cursor over the Strong's number <2842>, the number for the word 'participation.' Hold down the Shift key to freeze the Analysis tab, and then
2) move your cursor to place it over the Greek word immediately to the right of the Strong's number in the top line of the Analysis Window. Double-click this Greek word. This begins a search of that Greek word in a Greek Bible version.
The search results appear in the Search Window, with the Greek word highlighted in yellow. Scroll through the list of search results in the Search Window and select Philippians 1:5. The Greek word will appear highlighted in the BGT text in the Browse Window.
Place your cursor over the highlighted Greek word to show a Greek lexicon in the Analysis Window.
There are other Greek lexicons in BibleWorks. With your cursor over the highlighted Greek word, click your right mouse button, and then select Lookup Lemma in Lexicon Browser to display the lexicon entry. Select Lexicons and you can choose to view the word in any of the Greek lexicons.
How to Read a Lexicon
Each lexicon is slightly different, but there are elements common to the major lexicons. Unlike English dictionaries, Greek and Hebrew lexicons do not always list the most common uses first. While editors of modern English dictionaries can survey thousands of people to find how people use a word, editors of ancient Greek and Hebrew lexicons can only use the written documents and inscriptions that are available from those ancient times. Some words appear hundreds of times, so that the editor has much information to guide his definitions. Other words only occur a few times, so that writing an accurate definition is difficult.
Greek and Hebrew lexicons often include source references with their definitions. These source references provide illustrations so you can see the word in context having a particular meaning.
Some lexicons provide meanings, while others list glosses. A meaning is a description of how the word is used, or what it conveys. Usually meanings are listed separately. A gloss is a list of possible translations. Be careful with glosses, since they are usually listed in such a way that it appears that any or all of the words are legitimate in your context. For example, the English word 'plane' used in a sentence does not at the same time mean a flat surface, a tool for working with wood, a level of existence, and a means of transportation. Usually only one of these meanings is appropriate in a sentence. When using Greek and Hebrew lexicons, choose the one meaning that best agrees with the meaning implied in the sentence.
Lexicons do not give words their meaning. They are simply a guide to help you better understand the way a word is commonly used. The way to understand a word meaning is to see how it is used in the specific context.
Sometimes lexicons show that a word has different meanings depending upon the form in which it appears in the sentence. In such cases, you also need to know the word form if you are to use the lexicon to obtain accurate word meanings. Sometimes lexicons also show that a word has a particular meaning when it occurs with other words. In such cases you will have to look at the words next to your word in order to obtain an accurate meaning.
A Summary of BibleWorks Lexicons
By knowing what information you are looking for and what each lexicon contains, you can use the lexicon that will provide the most accurate information for your purposes. The following is a description of the Hebrew and Greek lexicons available in BibleWorks.
Holladay-The Holladay Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament provides summaries of Hebrew and Aramaic word meanings. It is similar to BDB, but has brief dictionary entries. (This lexicon is the default Hebrew lexicon in the Analysis tab).
BDB-The Brown, Driver, and Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon provides lengthy descriptions of Hebrew and Aramaic words. This is an advanced lexicon containing many Hebrew and other foreign language words.
TWOT-The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament provides lengthy descriptions of words with discussion of ways in which words are found in theological discussions. This lexicon is easy to use for the English Bible-Only user, though there are occasional references to advanced theological concepts.
Gingrich-The Gingrich Shorter Lexicon of the Greek New Testament is an abridged version of a larger Greek-English lexicon. It is easy to use and provides numerous example passages. Sometimes the definitions are essentially glosses, however. (This lexicon is the default Greek lexicon in the Analysis tab).
Friberg-The Friberg Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament is a concise Greek lexicon that categorizes word meanings. It is reasonably easy to use for English Bible-Only users.
Louw-Nida-The Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domains groups words according to their range of meanings. This unique lexicon is helpful for finding related words and creating topical studies.
LS-The Liddell-Scott Greek-English Lexicon is an abridged edition of a very large Greek-English lexicon. It provides definitions for ancient secular Greek writings that were written before the time of the New Testament. A BibleWorks supplement to the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint) and Josephus is included in this lexicon. Since the definitions in this lexicon are for materials written before the New Testament, these definitions may not be accurate for defining words in the New Testament.
Thayer-The Thayer Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament is an older work. It is largely superseded by more recent lexicons.
VGNT Greek Dictionary - The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament Illustrated from the Papyri and Other Non-Literary Sources explores Greek terms as they were used in the papyri of the period that was essentially contemporaneous with the New Testament period. Good for exploration of how Greek terms were used in the New Testament world.
Last updated: GW/MC/RG/May 2, 2014