"Keep your Greek" with Accordance
Jan 21, 2009 Rick Bennett

"Keep your Greek" with Accordance

In the third installment of his blog series, “Keep your Greek,” author and professor of NT at Moore Theological College Con Campbell, addresses some potential issues when using Bible software. To summarize, here are his main points:

a. When you’re doing your 10-30 minutes per day of Greek reading, do not have an English translation open on the screen.

b. Be slow to move that cursor. The risk of using software is that you can short-cut the learning process, just as you will with an interlinear.

c. A problem with software is that it doesn’t tell you which words you should already know. You think you don’t know a word, so you get the quick answer, then think, ‘oh yeah, I knew that.’

During my studies I’ve had to combat the same dangers that Con talks about here, so I thought I would share some of the ways I’ve used Accordance to do so successfully.

First, I’ll address the third point Con made. To do this you need to identify the words that you are not familiar with. The traditional Greek courses in college or seminary typically make students responsible for all words occurring 10 times or more in the Greek New Testament. However, the word lists get pretty large the closer you get to 10, so it’s likely that anything in that range will become fuzzy after a while. To identify all words occurring 20 times or less, perform the following word search:

[COUNT 1-20] <AND> [RANGE Rom]

You’ll notice that I added an additional Range command for my example, which you can customize to your needs, or constrain the search for verbs only, etc. Next, I created a highlight style simply titled, ‘less occurring.' If you shift + click on any style in your highlight palette it will only highlight the hits (in my style I used a double-underline so as not to completely obstruct the text). Now, you can simply change your search to verses, i.e. Rom 5 and you will get the full text of Romans 5, but it will have all the words occurring 20 times or fewer highlighted.

Also, if you want to help yourself resist the temptation of moving your cursor over words and displaying the parsing information in the Instant Details box, hit cmd + option + 3 to temporarily hide it (repeat to show it again).

Parse DetailsLet’s take this one step further, and create a customized workspace that will mimic some of the strengths of the Greek Readers that have become popular as of late (a topic that Con promises to cover in an upcoming post). In the same workspace as above, click the History button and bring up our Count search, but let’s constrain it to a smaller portion: [COUNT 1-20] <AND> [RANGE Rom 5].

Now, click anywhere in the text, and hit cmd + A to select all the text. Next, click the Parse icon in the Resource Palette. This will open up a separate tab in your workspace displaying the parsing information for the text you selected. However, we want to limit this to the words highlighted. Hit cmd + T, and select ‘Hit Words Only’ from the Parse drop down menu (I also unchecked the option to display Root, and English Transliteration, but you can customize to your needs). To further customize this you can detach the parsing tab (cmd + option + T), then tile the two alongside each other (cmd + I). You could even add an advanced lexical tool such as the New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the GNT (GNT Key) in parallel with the Greek text, but that may be a little too much help.


GNT Workspace


As you can see, this gives you a nice way to customize a Greek reading workspace to your specific needs so that you can "Keep your Greek"… with Accordance.

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Archived Comments

Helen Brown

January 21, 2009 5:18 PM
Reminder: using the RANGE command like this does give you the words that occur 20 times or less throughout the entire text, displayed where they occur in the range. However, if you use the Range pop-up menu to specify the range, it will be counting the words within the range, so you will get many more hits, and many more common words.


January 21, 2009 7:35 PM
Thanks for the tips! I'm using them right now and I'm very happy that I've gone with Accordance.


January 21, 2009 8:06 PM
No need to publish, just a request. When you include pictures, can you include links to the full size versions of them? I'm sure you have good stuff on these pictures, but I just can't quite make out what's all there! Even though I use BibleWorks, I appreciate you guys blazing the trail in a lot of fields! Mike


January 22, 2009 1:31 AM
excellent tips, keep them coming AMDG

Rick Bennett

January 22, 2009 9:05 AM
Mike: Since you don't use Accordance I'll briefly explain what is displayed so the smaller pics will make more sense to you (btw: on a Mac you can zoom in cmd +). The screen shot of the workspace (bottom pic) has the Greek text on the left with words occurring 20x or fewer underlined, and on the right is a list of all those words. The columns represent (from Left -> right): Inflected form, lexical form, parsing info, and gloss. Helen: Thanks for the reminder. I found this out the hard way a while ago. If you want accurate word frequencies for the entire NT, you must use the RANGE command (Search > Enter Command > Range [shft + cmd + R]).

Steve Walton

February 20, 2009 2:53 PM

I may be being dim, but I lost you after setting up the search: [COUNT 1-20]  [RANGE Rom]. This does not give me the full text of Romans, but only the verses where words which occur 20 times or less occur. What am I doing wrong, please?

Rick Bennett

February 20, 2009 2:59 PM

Steve: From what I can tell you have done everythig correct in finding the words (it may just be that it was dropped because it looked like code, but make sure you use the AND parameter as well).

All you need to do now is highlight these words. To do this open your highlight palette (cmd + option + 4), then hold down Shift and click any of the highlight styles. This will only highlight the search hits.

Now you can navigate to to any selection of Romans in a standard verse search and the words occurring fewer than 20x will be highlighted.

I hope that helps clarify.

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