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Jun 4, 2014 David Lang

Apostles of Faith, Hope, and Love?

In distinguishing among the authors of the New Testament epistles, someone has observed that Paul is the apostle of faith, Peter is the apostle of hope, and John is the apostle of love. Do these three authors really have such clearly discernible emphases? That's the kind of question that can easily be explored with a simple search and the use of Accordance's search analytics.

Using an English Bible tagged with Key Numbers (the HCSBS), I simply searched for (faith, hope, love). Enclosing a series of words separated by commas within parentheses like this is the same as using the OR command between each word. Either approach tells Accordance I want to find every occurrence of any of these three words.

FaithHopeLove1

Now that I have my search results, I can use Accordance's search analytics to analyze my search results. Here's what I get when I choose Analysis Graph from the Analytics pop-up menu. Note that I've chosen to graph Words rather than Key Numbers in the pop-up menu at the top right.

FaithHopeLove2

From this graph we can see that faith (red) is indeed a major emphasis of the apostle Paul—at least in Romans, Galatians, and the Pastoral Epistles. Yet the author of Hebrews and the apostle James focus on faith just as much as Paul does in his more faith-oriented letters. Perhaps it's a bit misleading to call him the "apostle of faith."

As for the epistles of Peter, 1 Peter seems to emphasize "faith" (red) and "love" (blue) with roughly the same frequency as "hope" (green). In fact, by narrowing this search to 1 Peter by itself, I found that "faith" and "hope" each appear 5 times, while "love" appears 9 times. 2 Peter mentions "faith" and "love," but leaves out "hope" altogether. Not only does Peter not necessarily emphasize "hope," "hope" actually appears to receive more frequent mention in the Pauline epistles of Romans and 2 Corinthians.

Where "love" is concerned, the apostle John certainly does look to deserve the title "apostle of love." "Love" receives far more frequent mention in John's epistles than anywhere else—even the famous "love chapter" of 1 Corinthians 13.

The value of analytics like these is that they make it easy to spot (or verify) patterns in the Biblical text. The next time you're told that a Biblical author has a particular emphasis, put that assertion to the test using Accordance analytics.


 

Apr 17, 2013 David Lang

Zigging Won't Work? Try Zagging!

Monday, I wrote about a panel discussion at a recent conference which compared the use of the words βασιλεια (kingdom) and ευαγγελιον (gospel) in the Greek New Testament. To see the relevant data for myself, I did a search for βασιλεια <OR> ευαγγελιον, then chose Analysis Graph from the Stats and Graphs icon of the Search tab. I then chose to have the Analysis Graph break down this search by Lexical form (LEX).

The resulting graph plotted the frequency of these two lexical forms across the entire New Testament, and I made some observations about what it revealed. I also mentioned, in passing, that when Matthew uses the term "gospel," he is speaking of the "gospel of the kingdom."

Now, by graphing the use of each Greek lexical form separately, the Analysis Graph does not make it easy to see where the two terms are used together in a phrase like "gospel of the kingdom." So how would we see something like that?

It's in situations like this that it helps to know enough about Accordance to know when to zig and when to zag. The Analysis Graph takes whatever search you do and then breaks it down by whatever category you choose. Thus, even if we were to search for the phrase "gospel of the kingdom," the Analysis Graph will never graph the occurrences of that phrase. Instead, it will go right on graphing each occurrence of "gospel" and each occurrence of "kingdom." In short, zigging won't work in this case.

There is, however, a way to accomplish this by zagging. The Hits Graph is an older, simpler analytic tool which does one thing: plots the frequency of occurrence of the search term. Thus, if you search for a single word, it will plot the frequency of occurrence of that word. If you search for two words connected by an <OR> command, it will plot the frequency of occurrence of both those words together. If you search for a phrase, it will plot the frequency of occurrence of that phrase. You get the idea.

Now, although the Hits Graph doesn't do the kinds of comparisons that are possible with the Analysis Graph, it does include a little known feature that can come in really handy: the Keep button. In the days before the Analysis Graph, this was the only way to compare two different graphs. In the case of our comparison of βασιλεια (kingdom) and ευαγγελιον (gospel), we would have first done a search for one of those terms and then done a HITS graph. Now, because the HITS graph is dynamically linked to the search tab, it will automatically update when you do a new search—that is, unless you click the Keep button on the graph before doing the new search. Thus, we would search for βασιλεια, open a HITS graph, click the Keep button, return to the search tab and search for ευαγγελιον. The resulting HITS graph will look the same as the Analysis Graph we did the other day, showing the frequency of occurrence of each term separately.

Obviously, the Analysis Graph is easier to use than the HITS Graph for comparing two lexical forms like this, which is why few Accordance users even bother with the Keep button any more. But it still comes in handy, like when you want to compare the use of a phrase like "gospel of the kingdom" (εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας). After doing a HITS graph of βασιλεια, clicking the Keep button, and doing a new search for ευαγγελιον, simply click the Keep button a second time, and search for εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας. The resulting HITS Graph will look like this:

GospelOfKingdom

Here we can see that the three occurrences of the phrase "gospel of the kingdom" correspond exactly to the first three occurrences of the word for "gospel" in Matthew. Nowhere else is this phrase used, though Matthew frequently uses "kingdom" outside the phrase "gospel of the kingdom."

If you find yourself wanting to compare the frequency of phrases like this, the Analysis Graph won't work because it wants to break everything down into individual words, but a HITS Graph with the Keep button will let you compare each phrase you search for. In Accordance, even when zigging won't work, there's usually a way to zag.


 

Sep 7, 2012 David Lang

Accordance 10 Analytics: Making Options More Accessible

In January of this year, I heard a conference speaker make an oft-repeated observation about the book of Ephesians: namely, that it is clearly divided into two parts. The speaker asserted that in the first three chapters, Paul uses verbs in the indicative mood—that is, verbs that make a statement or convey information. In the last three chapters, Paul switches to imperative verbs. Thus, he moves from theology to application, from instruction to exhortation. This inspired me to blog about how you could use Accordance's Analytics tools to see if Ephesians really is that divided.

In that post, I searched the tagged Greek New Testament for all indicative or imperative verbs in the book of Ephesians and then graphed the results using an Analysis Graph. The initial graph looked like this:

DividedEphesians4

I then showed how you could customize the appearance of the Analysis Graph by opening the Set Analysis Graph Display dialog. Through that dialog, we reduced the number of words per hit to achieve a more detailed graph, chose an area graph rather than a bar graph, chose to overlay the two graphs rather than stacking them, and changed the background from white to black. The modified graph looked like this:

DividedEphesians6

Now, the reason I'm bringing all this up again is that I want to show you how much more accessible Accordance 10 makes these various display options.

NewDividedEphesians1

First, there is now a new slider that lets you adjust the number of words per hit and see the changes on the fly. While hits per 1000 words is a good sample size for a large search range like the entire New Testament, it is far too large a sample size for a small book like Ephesians. That is why the initial graph looks so blocky and imprecise. To see more detail, simply drag the slider to the left until you're happy with the look of the graph. Here is what it looks like with the slider set to 100 words per hit.

NewDividedEphesians2

The new Gear menu likewise lets you set the most-used display options right from within the Graph itself, rather than having to go through a dialog box. Simply select the options you want until you achieve the desired look. Here is the resulting graph when we change from Bars to Areas, Stack to Overlay, and white background to black.

NewDividedEphesians3

As you can see, the sample size slider and the Gear menu now make all the cool graph display options far more accessible and discoverable.

Oh, and the graphs look better too!