Monday, June 11, 2018

BibleWorks closing down... What should you do?

With the recent announcement that BibleWorks will cease operation on June 15, 2018, a number of my students for whom BibleWorks was our required Bible software program for many years have asked me what to do. There has also been considerable speculation on both the Accordance and Logos forums about options and transition possibilities.

I'll first say that I am counting on BibleWorks running for quite a few more years. Even with upgrades to Windows down the line, there has usually been a legacy program option. (I still can run Win95 programs on Win10!) BW had gotten to a stable release running in VM in Mac, but I'm less confident about its future in the Mac world.

If you are thinking about making a transition, both Accordance and Logos will be happy to help, and both are working on ways to import any notes you've written in BibleWorks into their own programs. What should you do?

As for Accordance, compared to BW, it’s easier to use, less hassle to install on a Mac, and cheaper (for the program/arrangement I got) compared to Logos. BW still has so many more resources in it, and it’s still my preferred way for doing many searches I typically do and conducting a number of other tasks. (For example, neither Accordance nor Logos can generate a listing of passages that I can use in exercises like this one that is just a couple clicks in BW.) 

That said, except for a few odd omissions, Logos is the more advanced program. The difference is cost. What I can get in Accordance for $200 for my students would cost closer to $600 in Logos. (If I tried to match all the resources one got in the standard library with BibleWorks, it would cost many hundreds of dollars more in either Accordance or Logos.) Logos has some really excellent features that make great use of their reverse interlinears, and they have a number of other tools and (interactive) guides that are extremely handy. I.e., you do get what you pay for with either, so it's more a matter of deciding what you really need and can afford. I've ended up going with the Accordance Greek and Hebrew Discoverer as a good entry point. It's a reasonable price for our students with a purchase agreement discount.

But what should current BibleWorks owners do? As I mentioned above, your first option is to stay with BibleWorks. As BW announced,

If you have a valid license for BibleWorks 10 you can continue to use the program as usual. We will, Lord willing, continue to provide compatibility fixes for BibleWorks 10 well into the future. This will ensure that you can continue to use the program for the long term. Compatibility updates will be provided through the normal updater mechanism within the program.

If you want to start transitioning, Accordance offers some crossover options
UPDATE 2022.02: I've updated prices. Also note that this offer ends 28 February 2022. I can also add that features have been added to Accordance that pick up BibleWorks features such as Live Click and Text Browser. Accordance is also able to import all your BibleWorks notes.
If you have BW versions 6-7, it's $149 to get pretty much all the same in Accordance. 
Then, if you can add an advanced crossover for $199 for BW 8-9 or for $249 for BW 10.
The advanced packages get you pretty much the full set of resources you had in BW. (There were more resources in BW10 which is why it is more expensive.)

So what should a BibleWorks user do? I'm thinking the basic crossover will be fine for most users, especially if you don’t need Philo, Josephus, Syriac, or Targums. You may need to add whatever other English versions you want, but NRSV, NET, CEB and more are included. Hebrew texts and resources are good, and all the most-used parallels and features are included as well.
Here is what you might miss with just the basic crossover:
  • LXX Rahlfs: Swete's LXX is included which is fine and actually has some benefits, but it's tagging is a bit different and Rahlf's is usually the standard for basic LXX work.
  •  Greek lexicons: Louw & Nida are included as is Intermediate Liddell & Scott, but you may want to get something more like the NT Word Study Dictionary (which is not in Advanced either).
(BTW, if you do decide to go with Accordance, please list me--Mark Hoffman--as a referral. I get a little store credit. Thanks!)

Logos asks you to call to obtain a crossgrade or upgrade for BibleWorks. You can see what resources they offer, but the price is not posted and might vary based on their dynamic pricing policy. They have also posted a helpful video, "How to Use Logos Like a BibleWorks Pro."

I suspect that with BibleWorks closing, it provides better long-term prospects for Accordance and Logos. One always runs a risk with any digital technology, but even books can be lost, burned, or flooded. Only the Word of God endures forever!


  1. If you can import your library into Logos, the software itself is free with a minimum of resources. Some of the extra features and libraries is what costs.

    But of course I'm a die hard Logos fan and user.

  2. How did you generate that report (list of passages)? I've been using BibleWorks daily since 2010 and have kept up with version changes 8 through 10. I'm not sure how you did that. I followed the four steps that you gave under Mark 6:45 but under Stats I get a graph. I'd appreciate knowing the steps to do that. Thank you.

    1. J.Gary: Check out this video I created showing the steps I used.

  3. That is tremendous! I'll be using that in sermon preparation. Thanks so much.

  4. Alternatively, a person could put their support behind an open source project such as Xiphos or BibleTime to make sure this doesn't happen to them again in the future :-)