BibleWorks Tutorial

BibleWorks Tutorial

This tutorial is meant to introduce you to BibleWorks and explain the necessary functions to get you started.  It is based on the BibleWorks 8 Help Contents, which you can always access through BibleWorks by hitting the F1 key or selecting Help from the menu bar.  There you can also find Study Guides, which are task specific.  You can receive additional support by emailing Academic Services.

A pdf of this tutorial is available here.

Orienting yourself to BibleWorks

There are three primary windows that compose the BibleWorks interface. The Search Window is comprised of the Command Line and the Results Box.  The Browse Window displays your results and you can select to view as many translations as you wish.  The Analysis Window provides lexical and morphological information as well as a place for notes, a section to edit text, cross references, and other helpful tabs.



Search Window

There are twelve search tabs above the Command Line. Each tab permits a separate search and retains the history of that entire search.  You may wish to conduct searches in different languages or there may be a subtopic you wish to explore without losing your primary search.  The tabs allow you to do that.

 search tabs8

The drop-down arrow directly to the right of the Command Line shows the successful search history.

The Tools icon tools serves as an easy access point for some Common Search Utilities, including the Graphical Search Engine and the Word List Manager, but is also a quick gateway to viewing Command Line examples.  Searching will be covered later, but there is much to remember and because BibleWorks has sophisticated searching capabilities, it is difficult to remember everything.  Keep this in mind if you experience difficulty structuring a search.

Browse Window

The Outline List Box contains an entire outline of the Bible and displays the section currently showing in the Browse Window. Clicking on the drop-down arrow to the right allows you to select the desired section.


The Browse Window Options button bw options allows you to choose various options in the Browse Window, including viewing Strong's numbers, choosing additional display versions, and adding additional Browse or Analysis Windows.

There are two options to view text in the Browse Window. Users can easily toggle between the two by clicking the Toggle Browse Mode button toggle browse.

SingleVersionBrowseMode: This displays a single version (same as search version) in full with surrounding text. This mode is best for evaluating context.
MultipleVersionMode: This displays a single verse in all the selected display versions. This mode is best for comparing a passage in different languages and translations.

Getting started with BibleWorks

Choose your search version

Select the version of the Bible you wish to search.  Type the three-letter abbreviation into the Command Line if you know it (example: NRS for the New Revised Standard Version).  If you do not know the abbreviation, click the green bar displaying the current search version below the Command Line and select Choose Search Version. Then select the desired version. Translations are organized alphabetically by language.

search version


Perform a scripture search

In the Command Line, type the three-letter book abbreviation followed by the chapter and verse(s). The abbreviation for all canonical works is the first three letters of the book name. Genesis is gen. 1 Kings is 1ki.

script gn1

script gn2

Tip: Typing “gen” or “Genesis” into the Command Line will result in an error message.  If you want to search a particular book from the beginning, include a “1” beside the book abbreviation so BibleWorks does not interpret your query as an attempt to change the Search Version.  Your search should read “gen 1.”

Performing a word(s) search

Single word search

In the Command Line, type a period (.) immediately followed by the word.

cl8 word

If you wish to search for Greek and Hebrew words, select the appropriate search version. BibleWorks will automatically switch to Greek/Hebrew characters based on the search version.

cl8 hebrew

You can also perform a single word search by double clicking on any word in the Browse Window.

Multiple words search using Boolean operators (and, or, not)


In the Command Line, type a period (.) followed by the words you wish to search. This will find “god” and “love” in the same verse.

cl8 and


In the Command Line, type a forward slash (/) followed by the words you wish to search. This will find “Paul” or “Saul.”

cl8 or

To search either a phrase OR a single word, structure your search as follows.

cl8 or2


In the Command Line, structure your search the way you would for either a single word search or a phrase search. Then place an exclamation point (!) immediately followed by the word you do not want to search for. This will locate all verses that have “Jesus” but not “Christ.”

cl8 not

Phrase search

In the Command Line, type a single quotation mark (') immediately followed by the phrase.

cl8 phrase

You can also perform a phrase search by highlighting the phrase in the Browse Window, right clicking on the highlighted phrase, and choose Search for Phrase.

Search multiple versions

The Command Line is only capable of searching a single version, but users can search multiple versions various ways depending on the desired outcome of the query.  Below are two options.

Searching for the same word or phrase in multiple versions

  • Display all the versions you want to search in the Browse Window
  • From the menu bar, select Search > Cross Version Search Mode > Search All Same Language Display Versions

cross version search

  • Enter the search query in the Command Line

Searching for differences in word choice or structure in multiple versions
For this example, let us assume that we wish to find all the verses where the NRSV uses “spirit” and the KJV uses “ghost.”  This can also be applied to searches in different languages. 

  • Open the Graphical Search Engine (GSE) from the menu bar, Search > Graphical Search Engine.  The GSE will appear in a new window.
  • There will be two boxes.  If the boxes are not the correct version, NRSV for this example, change the version by going to Edit and choose Select all.  Go back to Edit and select Change version of selected objects.  Select the appropriate version from the drop-down menu. 
  • The blue box is a Word box.  Double click on it to open your search options.  Click the radio button Word in the Search Methods Box and type “spirit.”  Click OK.

wrd options box

  • Now add a second box for the KJV by selecting Insert from the menu bar and then Word box.

insert word box

  • Move the new box away from the first box. Double click on it to open the Word Box Options. Select KJV for the version and enter “ghost” as a Word Search Method. Click OK.

wrd search box 2

  • Now, connect the KJV Word box with the Merge box at the top of the window (the one with the green insert). From the GSE Menu, go to Mode and select Connect. Your cursor now has two parallel lines. Place it over the KJV Word box and drag it to the green Merge box. Your GSE window should now look like this:

gse search

  • Now perform the search by clicking on the green Go button on the tool bar. go
  • Exit out of the GSE (there is no need to save your changes) and return to the main BibleWorks window. In the bottom left of the window, you see how many hits your search had.

gse hits

  • You will now have to manually check to see if the words correspond to each other, but it is likely that they do.


Display multiple versions using the Parallel Versions Window

The Parallel Versions Window enables you to view the same passage in more than one version, but it also allows you to compare different passages.

To open the Parallel Versions Window, go to Tools on the main menu bar and select Parallel Versions Window. Select each version you want to display by highlighting it and clicking the Add button. You can rearrange the order by using the Up and Down radio buttons under Versions to Display in Parallel.

You can also open the Parallel Versions Window by clicking the Parallel Versions icon parallel versions icon on the toolbar.

Parallel Versions Window

parallel versions window


Displaying Multiple Passages Using the Synopsis Window

The Synopsis Window allows you to view predefined parallel passages.

To open the Synopsis Window from the main menu bar, select Tools > Viewing the text > Synopsis Window. Select File and Open to open the Synopsis Window file that displays the passages you need. This example will use the aland file. 

synopsis window

To search for a verse, go to View and select Find Verse and enter the verse you are looking for. You can also scroll through the upper window using the scroll arrows at the right of the window.


Copying Text to Other Programs

You can always use standard Copy/Paste and Drag 'n' Drop methods to copy text in BibleWorks.  However there are some other ways as well that may improve you efficiency with the program.  Below are some of the most useful steps depending on your need.

Copying from the Browse Window

  • If you wish to copy a single verse from the Browse Window, select Copy (below the Command Line) > Copy Browse Window Verses and choose the proper location.

copy browse window

This is quite quick but only copies the search version.

  • Highlight the text you wish to copy, including that from different versions, right-click, select Copy Selected Text, and choose the desired location.

copy selected text

Copying Lexicon Entries

  • From the Analysis Window - Place your cursor in the Analysis Window, right-click, select Copy Analysis Window Text to Clipboard. The text is now ready to paste in another program.
  • From the Lexicon Browser - Highlight the entry you wish to copy, right-click, and select Copy Text to Clipboard. The text is now ready to paste in another program.

Copying Search Results

  • To copy verse and text - Select Copy (below the Command Line) > Copy Verse List + Text and choose your desired location.

copy verse list text

  • To copy only the verse references - Select Copy (below Command line) > Copy Verse List (no Text). The reference list is now ready to paste in another program.

copy verse list

Special note about copying text
The BibleWorks default for copying text is the BibleWorks font.  If BibleWorks is loaded onto your computer, these fonts should already be installed and you should have no problems.  However, if you are transferring the files to a computer that does not have the BibleWorks fonts, then you will need to alter the export option to a Unicode font. 

Export to Unicode font

  • From the menu bar, select Tools > Options
  • Select Fonts on the left-hand column
  • Under Select Font Set to Edit, choose Export Fonts
  • Under Unicode Fonts (Export Only), select SBL Greek and SBL Hebrew or another favorite Unicode font.
  • It is also recommended that you export Greek and Hebrew resources in Unicode, which can be selected at the bottom of the window.

export fonts

Analysis Window

The Analysis Window provides information for words in the Browse Window.  The user is able to view lexicons for Greek and Hebrew words, grammar resources, notes from the NRSV, and Strong's numbers for certain translations, such as NAS and KJV.  Ten (10) tabs comprise the Analysis Window, and this tutorial will only examine the most important to get you started. 

Word Analysis Tab

The information in the Word Analysis Tab will depend on what word and version your cursor is over in the Browse Window.  Greek text displays parsing information and the default lexicon entry.  Hebrew text displays the morphological information and the default lexicon entry.  English text will provide translator notes, Strong's numbers, or other useful information. 

Changing the default lexicon

To change the default lexicon for the Word Analysis Tab, right-click anywhere in the window, choose Default Analysis Window Greek (or Hebrew) Lexicon and select your desired lexicon.

default lexicon


Freezing the Word Analysis Window

You will notice that the Analysis Window changes every time your cursor moves over a different word. To freeze the frame to display the desired word, hold down the shift key. This will permit you to scroll through the window and copy text.

Resource Tab

Summary Tab

The Resource Summary Window provides a summary of lexical and grammatical resources for the related Greek/Hebrew words in the Browse Window.  If the word appears in multiple lexicons, you will see each lexical entry along with the first line.  Click the entry to view the full lexicon.

Lexicons, Grammars, and References Tabs

You can modify what lexicons, grammars, and references appear in the Summary Tab by selecting from these tabs. Simply check the ones you want to appear and uncheck those you wish to suppress. You can also change the order by highlighting the reference you want to move and clicking the up-down arrows at the bottom of the window.



Further Help

  • The F1 key will bring up the Online Help contents.
  • Right clicking the mouse will bring up a context menu with options for each window and the Command Line.
  • Help is always available by choosing Help > Online Help Contents
  • BibleWorks Study Guides can be found by choosing Help > Study Guides
  • The BibleWorks User Forums
  • Email Andy in Academic Services


bible abbrev


Common Bible Translations

bible trans


BibleWorks Keyboard

Hebrew (Bwhebb.ttf)

heb keyboard


Greek (Bwgrkl.tff)

greek keyboard


Created by Andy Newgren, Computer Software Specialist, Princeton Theological Seminary