The Biblical Hebrew Companion for Bible Software User by Michael Williams is a unique language resource that both refreshes and guides the reader through a plethora of Hebrew grammatical terms utilized by today’s leading Bible software programs. This resource rightly recognizes the popularity of such programs, and instead of allowing the users of such programs to float aimlessly amid a sea of grammatical terms (they may or may not know), Williams has intentionally curated The Biblical Hebrew Companion to fill this void.
The Biblical Hebrew Companion presumes ownership or access to a biblical language software program. There are a number of options available and most of the programs on the market today possess the ability to hover over or click a word to display the grammatical information relevant to that specific word. It is here that the reader discovers the grammatical terms comprising the content of the book. The terms are addressed alphabetically and each entry contains a two-page spread including three major sections: (1) What It Looks Like, (2) What It Does, and (3) An Exegetical Insight.
I use Bible software daily and have been for nearly a decade. I use it for personal study, leisure reading, academic work, various ministerial duties, and much more. I even use multiple Bible software platforms for different objectives. It should be noted to the reader that most of the top-tier Bible software platforms also provide at least a glossary definition of the grammatical terms mentioned above with a quick hover. In other words, it is safe to assume that most of the software programs have recognized and attempted to fill the same void as Williams here—at least in part. Still, it is clear from even a cursory use of this book that Williams has provided the reader with much more than a short definition with examples.
The organization of the book intentionally guides the reader from the point identification to application. It is here that The Biblical Hebrew Companion exhibits the most benefit. Not only is Williams removing the grammatical rust from the reader through helping them (re)identify and (re)discover the meaning of the term, but he is also actively helping them restore the original finish that once provided exegetical payoff. The latter is exceptionally useful for readers of all levels of linguistic understanding—from seasoned readers of the biblical languages to the Bible software user with no formal training whatsoever. Lastly, for those landing in the latter category, or somewhere in between, Williams has provided a host of helpful appendices on Hebrew consonants, vowels, syllables, the effects of the accent on vowels, and much more.
The use of technology in Bible study and academic work isn’t going away. Today more than ever, pastors, students, teachers, and laity are utilizing the ever-growing and increasingly accessible market of Bible software. The answer isn’t to eliminate these tools to promise proficiency in the original languages, rather the answer is to equip the user with resources to ensure that these tools do not become a replacement for proficiency. It is here that The Biblical Hebrew Companion for Bible Software Users by Michael Williams is best represented, and it is here that this resource comes highly recommended!
I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.