Apr 22, 2014 Matt Kenyon

Workspace Wednesday

We at Accordance believe that our software is so much more than just a tool to study the Bible. It's a means of community and creativity. We've created Workspace Wednesday because we want to give you a chance to show us your creative workflow in Accordance.

Watch the video to find out how you can participate:

Join us on social media to post your workspace:

FacebookIconTwitterIconGoogle+YouTube icon

How it works:

  • Take a screenshot of your workspace
  • Post the screenshot to the comments section of our Workspace Wednesday post every Wednesday
  • Hashtag the post with #work_wed
  • Eagerly await sweet victory

How to take a screenshot of your desktop:

Mac users: the keyboard shortcut ⌘Cmd+Shift+3 will take a screenshot of your screen and place the image file on your desktop. If done correctly, you should hear the sound of a camera taking a snapshot.

Windows users: the keyboard shortcut ⌘Win+PrntScrn will take a screenshot of your screen and automatically save it in the Screenshots folder within your pictures folder.

For more information on how to take screenshots with earlier versions of Windows, follow this link.

May the best workspace win!


 

Apr 7, 2014 David Lang

Answering a Question with a Question

Yesterday in my Sunday School class, I was teaching through Romans 8:31-39. In that passage, Paul reflects on whether anything can separate those who "love God and are called according to his purpose" (v. 28) from the "love of God that is in Christ Jesus" (v. 39). He does this by asking a series of questions such as "Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect?" (v. 33), "Who is the one who condemns?" (v. 34), and "Who can separate us from the love of Christ?" (v. 35). He answers each of these questions by eliminating every potential accuser, but it has always bothered me that in most English translations of this passage, Paul's answers don't quite seem to fit the questions.

In this video, I use highlight symbols to illustrate the pattern of questions and answers in this passage, and then I look at the underlying Greek to understand what is going on. I then argue that two answers in the text would be better rendered as questions. I hope you find it helpful.

Answering Questions with Questions from Accordance Bible Software on Vimeo.

 


 

Sep 17, 2013 Darin Allen

Studying Philippians 1 with the GNT Key

GNT Key_120 If you are interested in studying the Greek New Testament, but don’t quite consider yourself a Greek scholar, you may want to pick up The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament (AKA “GNT Key” in Accordance) that was just released. This useful companion to the Greek New Testament is designed for students and pastors whose knowledge of Greek grammar is limited but who want to study the Greek New Testament. This resource is notable for the way it gathers, and filters through, the sea of information available in modern lexicons, grammars, journals, and commentaries. For example, a given verse entry might supply lexical information pulled from BDAG, grammatical information drawn from Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, and exegetical notes cherry-picked from the Word Biblical Commentary. Most of these insights are condensed into a single phrase or sentence, resulting in a set of 3-10 relevant notes for any given verse.

I am relatively new to this resource, but since I am preparing to lead a study in Philippians for my small group Bible study, I thought I would try using the GNT Key as I studied the opening verses of Philippians 1. Here are some of the useful insights the GNT Key provided along the way.

  • Philippians 1:3 ἐπί may have a causal meaning, “I thank my God because of your every remembrance of me” (Word Biblical Commentary).
  • Philippians 1:7 φρονεῖν pres. act. inf. φρονέω (G5858) to be minded, to think, to be concerned for, to feel. The word denotes a general disposition of mind including both feeling and thought, emotions and mind (ICC and Word Biblical Commentary).
  • Philippians 1:8 σπλάγχνον (G5073) the inward parts; i.e., the heart, liver, lungs which were collectively regarded as the seat of feeling. The strongest word in Gr. for the feeling of compassion (Vincent; MNTW, 156f; TDNT; NIDNTT; TLNT; EDNT).
  • Philippians 1:9 ἐπιγνώσις (G2106) knowledge, recognition. Prep. in compound indicates a knowledge directed toward an object. Here the word indicates a firm conception of those spiritual principles which would guide them in their relations w. one another and the world (Expositor’s Greek Testament Commentary).

I found some of these notes quite intriguing. In particular, Philippians 1:3 has always been one of my favorite verses, and the thought of ἐπί being used as a causal preposition was certainly interesting. It essentially swaps the rememberer with the rememberee.

In reflecting on today's study session with the GNT Key, I have a few thoughts that I wanted to pass on. First, the GNT Key seems like a good option for those who want to move beyond their English translation and toward reading the New Testament in Greek. For reference, I typically study the Bible primarily in English and keep the NA28 up in a parallel pane for reference. I use cross-highlighting and Instant Details for basic information, and I triple-click on any Greek words I want to learn more about. However, the GNT Key allowed me to take a fundamentally different approach, instead studying primarily out of the NA28 while consulting the GNT Key when I got stuck. I did keep up a parallel pane with the ESVS as a last resort, but rarely needed it thanks to the insights in the GNT Key, and a little parsing help from Instant Details.

 

GNT Key Phil

My GNT Key Workspace

 

Another thing I like about the GNT Key is the way it clarifies when multiple Greek words are being used together to form a phrase or when one word impacts the translation of another word. Since I only took first-year Greek in seminary, I am mostly familiar with individual words and their definitions. However, there are many times in the Greek New Testament where multiple words are being used together in an expression, and these expressions are often lost on me. However, the GNT Key seems to clarifiy the relationship between words in many cases, which is very helpful for someone like me who doesn't have any advanced Greek training. This information feels like it will be really helpful to anyone who wants to move beyond their English translation and start reading primarily from the Greek New Testament.

Lastly, I just really like the core concept of pulling together droves of information from many sources and whittling it down to just a few relevant nuggets of insight. Anyone who has a large theological library knows that it is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s great to feel like you have endless resources to draw insight from. On the other hand, it can feel a bit overwhelming to sort through it all. Sometimes I can spend my entire study session consulting multiple commentaries on a single verse or two, which is great fun when I have the time, but I often don’t. The GNT Key offered useful insights where I needed them without bogging me down in paragraphs of information.

So, if you’re interested in studying the Greek New Testament, but you lack advanced Greek skills, I’d highly recommend The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament. It seems to be a great choice for those who are ready to move beyond the occasional Greek word study and onto actually reading chapters of the New Testament in the NA28 or GNT-T. You can always keep your English Bible translation up in a parallel pane if you need it, but if your experience was anything like mine, you may not. Click on the Learn More button below to check out the product page for details.

Learn More

Tags: Greek

 

Jul 22, 2013 David Lang

Using the MT-LXX Parallel, Part 2

In a previous post, I introduced you to the MT-LXX Parallel, a specialized Reference tool which offers a word-by-word comparison of the Hebrew Bible and the Greek Septuagint. In that post, I showed how to use the MERGE command to piggyback off a search of the tagged Hebrew Bible and tagged Greek Septuagint. This allowed us to search the Hebrew Bible for every occurrence of the lexical form tselem ("image")—no matter what its inflected form—and to see those results displayed in the MT-LXX parallel. We then searched the tagged Septuagint for every occurrence of the Greek lexical form eikon, and used the MERGE command with the MT-LXX parallel to find every place the LXX translates the Hebrew word tselem by some form of the word eikon. The result of that search looked like this:

MTLXXHowTo7

Now, to explore each of these results in context, I can click the Mark arrows at the bottom of the MT-LXX to jump from one hit to the next. But wouldn't it be quicker if we could just scan the relevant lines of the MT-LXX without having to wade past all the other words? Of course it would! Fortunately, this can easily be done by going to the Gear menu at the top left of the pane containing the MT-LXX and choosing Add Titles from the Show Text As… submenu.

MTLXXHowTo8

The result looks like this:

MTLXXHowTo9

Now, to understand what just happened, let's review what the Show Text As… submenu does. When you do a search in a Tool module, Accordance defaults to showing your search results in the context of the entire tool. This is the All Text setting in the Show Text As… submenu. You can, however, choose to show only those Articles or Paragraphs which contain a hit. In the MT-LXX, each verse is an article and each line is a paragraph, so choosing Articles would show each hit verse in its entirety, while choosing Paragraphs would show only the lines containing each hit word. Because showing only the hit paragraphs in a tool is often too concise, you also have the option to Add Titles. This shows the hit paragraphs as well as the titles of the articles in which they appear. In the MT-LXX, choosing Add Titles shows the hit paragraphs together with the verse references.

This more concise view makes it easy to see that there are a couple cases where tselem in the Hebrew column does not have a corresponding eikon in the Septuagint column (or vice versa). In Genesis 1:27, the first instance of tselem is left untranslated, and in Daniel 2:31, eikon is part of a phrase used to translate an entirely different Hebrew word. Why those two "false" hits?

MTLXXHowTo10

The reason we got those two cases where both words are not found on the same line is that Accordance defaults to looking for words within the same article rather than the same paragraph. For example, if you were to search the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary for Moses <AND> Aaron, you might find a long article where Moses is in the first paragraph and Aaron is in the fifth paragraph. In a tool like MT-LXX where each verse is an article and each line is a paragraph, Accordance's default behavior will find any verse that has tselem in the Hebrew and eikon in the Greek, even if they are on different lines and so do not exactly correspond.

To make this search more accurate, we can refine it by specifying that all words must be found within the same paragraph rather than the same article. To do that, click on the magnifying glass on the left side of the search field. At the bottom of the menu that appears, choose Paragraph.

MTLXXHowTo11

Then hit Enter to re-run the search.

MTLXXHowTo12

Here you can see that the false hits have been removed, and we now have only 49 hits rather than 52.

In this post, we've gone a little further in our use of the MT-LXX Parallel to see how you can tweak the display of the search results and how you can specify that the Hebrew and Greek words must appear on the same line. In my next post of this series, we'll go even further.


 

Jul 9, 2013 David Lang

Using the MT-LXX Parallel

When you display the Hebrew Bible and Greek Septuagint in parallel panes of a Search tab, the parallel verses are displayed side-by-side, but it is not immediately apparent which Hebrew word a particular Greek word is translating. For example, in Genesis 1:1, the Greek word ouranon corresponds to the Hebrew word Shamaim. I can see that by dragging my cursor over each word in the Hebrew and Greek to find out which words mean “heaven,” but other than that, there is no easy way to see the relationships between these two texts.

MTLXXHowTo1

That’s where a specialized Reference Tool called the MT-LXX Parallel comes in. This tool, developed by renowned Hebrew and Septuagint scholars, places each word or phrase of the Masoretic Hebrew text in parallel with the corresponding Greek words from the Septuagint.

One obvious use of the MT-LXX Parallel is to place it in parallel with the text of the Hebrew Bible and Greek Septuagint. As a reference tool, the MT-LXX Parallel will automatically scroll along with the biblical text, enabling you to see word-by-word connections for each verse.

MTLXXHowTo2

For example, if we scroll to Genesis 1:26, we can see that the Hebrew word for "image" (tselem) is translated by the Greek eikon (from which we get the word "icon").

To search the MT-LXX Parallel, we need to view it in a separate Tool tab. As with other Tools, the MT-LXX Parallel is divided into different fields of content. To search for all occurrences of the Hebrew word tselem, our natural impulse would be to set the search field to Hebrew and enter that lexical form.

MTLXXHowTo3

Since the Hebrew text of the MT-LXX is not grammatically tagged, our search only finds the 27 instances when tselem appears in that exact form. When we search for tselem in a tagged Hebrew Bible, we get 34 hits because every inflection of tselem is found.

MTLXXHowTo4

Fortunately, we can overcome this limitation of the MT-LXX Parallel by piggy-backing on the tagging of the Hebrew Bible. We do this through the use of an advanced search command called the MERGE command. By merging the MT-LXX Parallel with the tab containing the BHS-W4, the results of my lexical search of the Hebrew Bible are reflected in the MT/LXX. Notice that now the MT/LXX displays 36 occurrences of tselem. (The extra two occurrences are notes or reconstructions in the MT-LXX database.)

MTLXXHowTo5

Using the MERGE command in this way makes for some very powerful searches. For example, suppose I want to find every place where the LXX translates the Hebrew word tselem by some form of the word eikon. To do this, I’ll open a new Search tab containing the Septuagint, and I’ll do a search for eikon. This search finds 40 hits.

MTLXXHowTo6

To see which of these occurrences of eikon correspond to the Hebrew word tselem, I’ll go back to my MT-LXX Parallel, add an AND command, and then add a second MERGE command. This time, I’ll Merge with the tab containing the LXX.

MTLXXHowTo7

This search turns up 52 hits, and I can see that both the Hebrew word tselem and the Greek word eikon are highlighted. Divide the number of hits by two, and we end up with around 26 places where tselem is translated as eikon.

I hope you can see from this brief example how powerful the MT-LXX Parallel database is. In my next post, I'll examine these results in more detail and offer a few more tips for using this powerful resource.


 

Jun 18, 2013 David Lang

Finding Sentences with Every Letter of the Alphabet

Not long ago I stumbled across a post on a Bible software forum that taught me a new word: "pangram." I had to Google it to find out that a pangram is a sentence that includes every letter of the alphabet. A classic example is that odd sentence used to display all the characters of a typeface: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." The forum post I read cited Deuteronomy 4:34 and Zephaniah 3:8 as examples of pangrams in the Hebrew Bible, then asked how to find a pangram in the Greek New Testament or Septuagint.

Now, I have no idea why the person who wrote the post wanted to find such sentences in Greek, but I could certainly see it being useful in an introductory Greek course. As students are trying to learn the Greek alphabet, the instructor could assign a few sentences to read which would force them to deal with every letter.

Of course, regardless of whether such a search has any practical value, it is an interesting challenge, and it got me wondering how such a search could be constructed using Accordance. Here's what I came up with:

pangram1

By using the asterisk wildcard on either side of each letter of the alphabet, I told Accordance to look for any word containing each letter. By joining those together with the AND command, I told Accordance it must find a verse containing at least one word with each letter of the Greek alphabet. Note also that I've enclosed each search term in quotation marks to make sure I am searching inflected forms (the words as they appear in the text) rather than lexical forms (the dictionary form of each word).

This search finds two verses in the New Testament which contain all 24 letters of the Greek alphabet: Matthew 5:30 and Revelation 2:10. However, Revelation 2:10 does not contain a true pangram, since the entire alphabet is contained in two sentences rather than just one. To make sure we find all the places where a single sentence contains all the letters of the alphabet, we simply need to click the plus icon to the right of the search field, then set the first pop-up to Scope and the second pop-up to Sentence.

pangram2

When you hit return to run the search, Revelation 2:10 is eliminated, while a number of long sentences spanning more than one verse are added.

pangram3

By the way, when I ran a similar search on the Hebrew Bible, Accordance found 17 verses, including Deuteronomy 4:34. However, it did not find Zephaniah 3:8, the second example given in the original post. The reason is that Zephaniah 3:8 has all the letters except sin. Since it does contain the letter shin, whether or not you consider Zephaniah 3:8 as a pangram depends on whether you treat sin and shin as one letter or two.

So there you have it. If you ever need to find sentences with every letter of the alphabet (and who doesn't?), Accordance can do it easily and accurately.


 

Apr 15, 2013 David Lang

Kingdom Versus Gospel

Last week, I was busy exhibiting Accordance at the Gospel Coalition's National Conference here in Orlando. During a few of the sessions, I stepped away from the booth to listen to the speakers. One of these was a panel discussion entitled "Did Jesus Preach the Gospel?" In it Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, Tim Keller, and John Piper discussed the distinction some interpreters make between the "gospel" that Paul preached and Jesus' own emphasis on the coming of the "kingdom."

It was a lively, interesting, and collegial discussion. The speakers all agreed that the Pauline epistles use the word "gospel" more frequently than the Gospels themselves, and that the Gospels use the word "kingdom" more frequently than Paul. But they disagreed with the notion that we misread the Gospels by reading them through a Pauline lens, along with the related notion that we ought instead to read Paul through the interpretive lens of Jesus' message about the coming of the kingdom. They argued that the difference in vocabulary between the Gospels and Paul does not indicate two conflicting messages, and that any attempt to give one priority over the other represented the formation of a canon within a canon. In fact, Carson pointed out that the language of "kingdom" is likewise infrequent in the Gospel of John, so this line of reasoning leads to the Synoptic Gospels becoming a "canon within a canon within a canon." He then pointed out that the belief that Matthew and Luke were dependent on Mark ends up leading to Mark becoming the "canon within a canon within a canon within a canon!"

All this made me curious about the data on which they were basing these observations, and of course, Accordance makes gathering that data a breeze. So when the session was over I returned to our booth and searched the Greek New Testament for βασιλεια <OR> ευαγγελιον. I then chose Analysis Graph from the Stats and Graphs icon of the Search tab.

The Analysis Graph shows the frequency of occurrence of various criteria across your search range. By choosing Lex (for lexical form) from the pop-up menu at the top right, I can compare the use of βασιλεια (kingdom) and ευαγγελιον (gospel) throughout the New Testament.

GospelKingdom

Looking at this graph, we see that "kingdom" is indeed far less frequent in John than in the other gospels. Yet we also see that while "kingdom" appears frequently in Luke, it is relatively infrequent in the other Lukan book of Acts.

Another interesting thing to note is how much more frequent "kingdom" is in Matthew and Luke than in Mark. It would appear from this that rather than Mark, it is the hypothetical source known as Q, which allegedly contained the sayings of Jesus common to Matthew and Luke, which would comprise the "canon within a canon within a canon within a canon" which Carson mentioned.

With respect to "gospel," it certainly does receive more attention in the Pauline corpus than anywhere else, and is almost completely absent from the General Epistles and the writings of John (for whom "kingdom" isn't a major emphasis either). Interestingly, of all the Evangelists, Mark is the one who places the greatest emphasis on "gospel." Matthew, on the other hand, is interesting because almost all of his uses of the term refer to "the gospel of the kingdom."

I will leave it to the scholars to draw meaningful conclusions from all these observations, and of course, this search might need to be supplemented with searches for other related terms. Still, I hope you can see how analytic tools like this can make it easy to spot phenomena in the Bible worth exploring.

What about you? Can you spot any interesting aspects of the above graph which I've failed to mention?


 

Mar 8, 2013 David Lang

Accommodating Mounce's Parsing Order

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm teaching my family Greek using Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek grammar. We're now at the point where they're learning to parse first and second declension nouns, and Mounce suggests that we do so by naming the case first, followed by the number, and then the gender. That is different from the default order in Accordance. If you hover over a noun and look at the Instant Details, you'll see the parsing listed by gender, then number, then case.

In order to avoid the confusion that might be caused by these different parsing orders, I decided to have Accordance follow Mounce's suggested order. It will require a bit of adjustment on my part, since I'm used to Accordance's default order, but I figure that's better than making my wife and kids switch between two slightly different methods of parsing.

Thankfully, customizing the parsing in Accordance is easy. Just open the Preferences and choose Arrange Tags in the list of settings. You'll see a list of tags for Greek and for Hebrew.

DefaultTagOrder

To rearrange the order in which any given tag is listed, just drag it up or down the list. I want case to appear before gender and number, so I'll drag it up in the list above gender. I also want gender to appear after number, so I'll make that change as well. Since the gender, number, and case of participles is handled separately, I'll rearrange those tags as well. When I'm finished, my new tag order looks like this:

MounceTagOrder

Now I just need to click OK to save my changes, and the new parsing order will be used in the Instant Details.


 

Mar 7, 2013 David Lang

So We Really DON'T Need to Learn This

As I've mentioned in a previous post, I've been teaching my family Greek using Accordance and an Apple TV. We're now learning noun case endings and beginning all those initially bewildering processes like parsing words, identifying their lexical forms, etc. As an illustration, I decided to show how Accordance makes all that stuff easy.

I began by hovering my mouse over a word in the Greek New Testament to show how its lexical form and parsing is automatically displayed in the instant details box. I then triple-clicked a word to show how Accordance automatically searches a default lexicon for the lexical form of the word rather than for the particular inflected form I happened to triple-click.

They were, of course, amazed at these very basic Accordance features, and they seemed for a moment to have a deeper appreciation for what I do for a living. Then my plan backfired. When they saw how easy it was to have Accordance do all these things they are working hard to learn, one of the kids voiced what they all must have been thinking: "So we really don't need to learn this stuff!"

I laughed and explained that they had hit on one of the great dangers of using Accordance: it can give us the false assurance that we know Greek better than we do. I went on to explain that the value of learning Greek is that it enables us to use tools like Accordance more responsibly. I think they bought it.

Mounce Video Then again, it's probably good that I didn't tell them about the Mounce Greek Study System, a bundle of video lectures and Accordance resources designed to teach you how to use more robust language tools without having to take full-blown Greek language courses. If they knew that option was available, I might lose half my students!


 

Feb 15, 2013 David Lang

Teaching Greek with Accordance and an Apple TV

My wife and I homeschool four of our five children. (At four, Jo Jo hasn't begun formal schooling yet, although he seems to be learning more than all the rest of us combined.) To satisfy the older kids' high school language requirement, I've been teaching the whole family Greek using Bill Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek. Since I have the textbook on Accordance, I've been viewing it on my laptop and projecting it to our Apple TV using Airplay Mirroring.

My basic set up is a workspace with two zones. One contains Mounce's grammar and the other contains the Greek New Testament. I spend most of my time just showing the grammar, and I make it full screen by choosing Enter Reading Mode from the Gear menu of the Tool tab. Since I want them all to be able to read along with me, I crank the font size up quite a bit using the text size buttons.

TeachGreek1

Occasionally, I find I want to explain something by typing a little Greek myself. So I've created a user tool named "Greek Class" which I basically just use as a kind of scratch pad. When I want to type some Greek, I display that user tool and then choose Edit User Tool from the Selection menu. In the user tool edit window, I choose the Helena font and a large font size (30 point) and just begin typing what I need. Because Accordance automatically handles the correct placement of accents and final forms, it's relatively easy to show them anything I want to.

For example, when trying to explain that sigma takes a different form at the end of a word, I began typing the word ἀπόστολος. When I typed ἀπός, I pointed out that Accordance inserted the final sigma because it was currently the last letter of the word, but that as soon as I typed another letter, Accordance changed the final sigma to a medial sigma. Seeing that dynamic on the screen helped to solidify in their minds the difference between the two forms.

Several days later, we worked through an exercise in which we were supposed to divide various Greek words into syllables. I typed each of those words ahead of time, and then after we discussed where each word should be divided, I simply inserted a vertical bar (|) into each word to show the syllable divisions. Doing it this way was quick and easy, and it visually reinforced the point of the lesson.

Now we're beginning to learn some vocabulary, and Bill Mounce's included audio pronunciations of each word are proving helpful. I'm not sure why, but somehow hearing Dr. Mounce pronounce the words seems more authoritative to my family than when I do it!

At the end of each lesson, I switch to the Greek New Testament where we've been memorizing the beginning of the Gospel of John. We've got verses 1 and 2 down pretty well now, and we started on verse 3 today. As we recite, I show the verses on the screen and try to drag my cursor over each word as we read it.

TeachGreek2

Each word is highlighted as I hover over it so it's a bit like one of those follow-the-bouncing-ball sing-along videos for children. Reading and reciting a real Greek passage is helping to solidify their understanding of the Greek alphabet and Greek pronunciation. I've also used this passage to introduce them to the concept of noun case endings, to explain accents and breathing marks, etc. This way, they're getting exposed to the language inductively as well as deductively.

While Jo Jo is generally playing during these lessons, even he is picking up a few things. He can recite John 1:1-2 as well as any of us, and just the other day, I asked him to turn on the φῶς. His only question was which "light" I wanted him to turn on!