As I put together a personal study of Ephesians 1:3-14 for my teaching in our adult Sunday School at our church, I had a number of print resources at my hands, and built a set of class plans using them. As a first real exercise in putting together Bible study notes using BibleWorks, I set my hand to the task for Ephesians 1:15-23, which I'll be teaching in about a week.
I'll have to say that the numerous training and help videos that the BibleWorks team has put together are fantastic and VERY helpful. The interface is very straightforward, enough so that for many tasks I've not even observed the training videos that are included - but for subtler tasks, and because I wanted to see this aspect of the software in action, I did take in several of the videos included in the "Study Guide" section of the program. One of them that I found particularly useful and which highlighted a VERY useful feature of BibleWorks for the teacher and preacher is the one which illustrated the building of a personal lexicon (a personal selection of words and their lexical entries from, say, the Friberg Analytical Lexicon, or the Gingrich Lexicon, both of which are included among the standard reference tools) for use in exegeting and teaching a particular passage. The video lays out the steps in clear order for selecting, say, the words in a given passage or book that occur 50 times or less in the whole of the NT, and 3 or more times in the passage. These numbers are of course completely flexible - and the procedure as laid out in the video was something I could easily replicate... so, for my own study, I did put such a lexicon together for Ephesians - and perhaps it took me all of 2 minutes.
Overall the videos that I've taken in so far I've found very helpful - clearly explaining each step of any multi-step task, and multiple ways of doing simpler tasks if such multiple ways exist. The videos include the audio from the instructor and a view of the BibleWorks screen with a highlighted cursor actually performing the tasks being described. I don't think it could be more clearly and concisely done.
In putting together my notes for Ephesians 1:15-23, I began with my usual task of copying out to Microsoft Word the ESV and Greek texts. An easy hot-key combination allows this quickly after setting up the hot-key per instructions in the Help file to automatically copy straight away to Word (although copying to the clipboard is the default option and equally handy).
One of the unique phrases found in Ephesians, used twice in chapter 1, is the phrase usually translated as "in the heavenly places" (e.g., ESV), or ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις, so I first did what came naturally - that is, double clicking on the word ἐπουρανίοις. Double clicking on any word brings up a single word search in the left-hand search window (see screenshot below), which shows every instance of the word having exactly the same form. Immediately what's recognized in the search screen is that every instance of the same form of the adjective ἐπουρανίος,namely the dative plural neutral, is to be found in Ephesians, in exactly the same phrasing.
To check other uses of the same word, ἐπουρανίος, in its various forms, I quickly zipped over to the Analysis window and double clicked on the word's lexical form ἐπουρανίος, and the search window updated to find all the instances throughout the Scriptures and also the LXX Apocrypha. Each of the entries in the search window is clickable, and brings you to the word in its immediate context. To check many instances (in the case of ἐπουρανίος, 20+) takes no time at all - and rounds out the picture of the usage of the word in question. (See screenshot below, where I've also set the options to summarize the whole lemma in the Analysis window - another helpful feature, though I suppose for very common words this might be a bit overwhelming)
I found this incredibly useful and very efficient. All one needs to do to get back to the original browse window is to click back on the verse originally searched in (in this case, Eph. 1:20).
For taking a look at words in a little more detail using lexical and other resources, the Resources tab in the right-hand window enables one to check on all unlocked resources for references to a given verse - this includes not only the available lexicons, but also things like the included grammars of Hebrew and Greek - a nice and unexpected feature. Bringing up any of these entries in the Lexicon browser is again just the matter of a single mouse click on the entry for the word of interest. (See screen shot below)
User notes are also saveable and coordinated with the browser window - so as I put together the notes for my Bible study teaching (or, I suppose, if I were preaching on the text it would also apply) I am able to create either verse-by-verse or chapter-by-chapter notes in a full-featured editor, copying and pasting both English and Greek text easily as one would naturally do in any editor by highlighting, and right-clicking text that I'm interested in, and pasting it into the notes editor.
Very quickly, then, just in terms of studying the word ἐπουρανίος in its contexts throughout Scripture, and making perusal through the lexical entries and cross-references, I was able to put together several minutes of commentary concerning the phrase ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις as Paul uses it in Ephesians, and as it pertains to discussions of the meaning of Christ's being seated ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις. The interface is slick - and really quite self-explanatory. I'm particularly happy with the functioning of the personal note feature, which really gives me the opportunity to put notes together on the fly for later extraction into my Word document that I'm preparing for the lesson.
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