Review by: Mike Meiser
There are two software packages that I would recommend for any scholar or serious student of the Biblical text to purchase. These software packages are BibleWorks 8 and Accordance 8 Scholar’s Collection. One of the common questions that we hear from students and customers in the store is “What is the difference between these two software packages?” This is a very important question to ask due to the fact that both of these Bible software will be at or exceed the $150 mark. Thus, it is imperative to make sure that you are buying the right program for you.
The primary difference between these two is the operating system for which each was built. BibleWorks 8 is intended to be run on a Windows based system while Accordance 8 is built for Macs running OS X. For most, this solves the issue. If they own a PC, they buy BibleWorks. If they own a Mac, they buy Accordance. However, these software can be run across platforms with the help of emulators. If this information settles the issue for you, feel free to stop reading now. But if you are still interested in the differences between the two (either because you are just that curious or because your name is Richie Rich and you own both a PC and a Mac) I will elaborate upon them. I will primarily focus upon cost, user-friendliness/aesthetics, functionality, and titles available.
I will begin with cost because, let’s face it, cost is typically the most important factor for almost all. BibleWorks 8 will set you back $349.95. This is quite a steep price, but one must take into account the amount of resources that you will receive with this package. You can find the full contents of BibleWorks 8 here. Some resources of note included in this package are Dan Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Waltke and O’Connor’s Biblical Hebrew Syntax, Gesenius’s Hebrew Grammar, and customizable Atlases and Timelines.
Accordance 8 Scholar’s Collection comes in 3 different options. These are the Introductory Level, Standard Level, and Premier Level. A list of the full contents of each of these can be found here. These levels increase the amount of resources you receive, but also increase in price. They are $119.20, $199.00, and $349.00 respectively. At first look, Accordance appears to be less expensive than BibleWorks, but for the cost, you receive a lot less than you do with BibleWorks. If you are simply looking for a package that has a Greek New Testament and a Hebrew Bible with not a lot of extra resources, then the Intro. Level is for you. If you go with the Premier Level, you receive more resources, but at $349.00 you still are not receiving as much as you would from comparably priced BibleWorks 8. BibleWorks 8 might have more resources in its base package than you would ever need, but as far as bang-for-your-buck is concerned, it is the better of the two. Not to mention, the comparable Accordance modules (or add-ons) are often more expensive than its BibleWorks counterparts, e.g. Metzger’s Textual Commentary for Accordance and for BibleWorks.
As far as user-friendliness and aesthetics are concerned, Accordance is far superior to BibleWorks. Accordance has a much more intuitive user interface than does BibleWorks. After using both programs, I found that it was much easier to jump right into using Accordance than BibleWorks. You tend to get bogged down in the clutter of BibleWorks’s user-interface. There are far too many buttons, functions, and search bars to keep track of.
Accordance has a much cleaner look to it, and is much less intimidating than BibleWorks. However, this simplicity does not take away from Accordance’s overall power in grammatical searches and in-depth exegetical research. If looks are a big deal to you, or if you are more interested in only doing simple grammatical searches and reading original languages quickly and easily, Accordance is the better option.
With functionality in view, both BibleWorks and Accordance are on quite similar levels. Both have fully functional grammatically tagged Greek New Testaments and Hebrew Old Testaments, command line grammatical searches, graphical search engines, and countless resources to aid in studying the Biblical text. After using both quite extensively, I cannot say that one is better than the other in terms of functionality. Both are able to do the same types of searches and deliver the same results. The way one goes about retrieving those results are different due to the different layouts of each program; however, one is not handicapped by choosing one of these programs over the other.
Accordance has far more titles available for its software package. While BibleWorks comes with more modules in its initial package, it cannot stand up to the number of resources that Accordance provides. Most notable of the modules available for Accordance that are not available for BibleWorks are the Word Biblical Commentary set and the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary set. BibleWorks simply cannot compete with the number of resources that Accordance gives its users. If you are looking to build more of an electronic library, Accordance is the way to go.
Ultimately, one’s software decision comes down to a matter of preference. What are your interests and what are you going to be doing with your software? I personally prefer the simplicity of Accordance over the complexities of BibleWorks. However, I used BibleWorks quite extensively and found it to meet almost every one of my needs. You really cannot go wrong with either one of these software packages.
For an Update on the newest features of both BibleWorks and Accordance, check out the link here.