When being a Christian was a crime against the Roman Empire, believers used the fish symbol to identify other followers. If strangers met along the way, one would draw part of a fish on the ground, using his staff or perhaps a sword. A curved line by itself meant nothing. The other person would complete the fish to show that he too was a Christian.
BibleWorks 10, when first opened, will dazzle and confuse anyone, including those (like me) who used the earlier versions. I think I had version 4, so opening BibleWorks 10 was like being promoted from Kindergarten to graduate school.
However, do not let that intimidate any serious student of the Bible, including those without Biblical language training. This program is the equivalent of owning all the important reference works on the Bible and all the translations and versions.
Clergy are known for having plenty of books, and using printed works will never go out of style. However, keeping a lot of books open and in order is a major problem when pursuing an issue. The advantage of computer research is the orderly search accomplished and the results saved where they will not be lost.
English Only Students
Those who only know English at this stage will enjoy comparing translations and looking up examples of various terms and doctrinal issues. This kind of research, in the Word alone, is the best way to grasp the unified Truth of the Word.
Too many stay in the "about mode" - as described by Paul Holmer of Yale University. The about mode means reading a famous expert's opinion and keeping those opinions as filters by which everything is interpreted. For example, the official academic version of Shakespeare is that the actor wrote the plays and sonnets. If one assumes that position, countless puzzles spring up, such as "How did this actor, who owned no books, know so much about the classics, the law, history, and English court rituals?"
Dr. Malherbe at Yale is a great scholar who always emphasizes the text itself and not the theories. He took us through examples of "faith" used in the New Testament, to show that a single word had various meanings, depending on the context. A student of the Bible learns that only by searching and reading, not by reading about the topic and remembering what someone wrote.
Malherbe also showed us how to use the little embedded references in the text, which were equivalent to the same kind of search, but with broader implications.
All this points to the real meaning of Biblical studies for everyone - the Holy Spirit teaches us through the Word.
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Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 280. Pentecost Sunday John 14:23-31.
When the sectarians argue that they know a secret teaching of the Bible revealed only to them - and contrary to the plain meaning - the individual can learn from the best professor of all, the original Author - the Holy Spirit.
Biblical Languages - Beginning and Advanced.
BibleWorks 10 is superb for the Biblical languages, because the extra dictionaries, grammars, and lectionaries are included in the program.
I will write more about that later.