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#1 Rick Yentzer

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 10:42 PM

I'm a layman simply interested in studying God's Word as best I can and would like to begin looking into the original languages. I'm not a seminary student and don't plan on attending anytime soon unless I'm called in that direction. I have zero knowledge of the greek language but a lot of interest in learning it. I would absolutely love to be able to speak and read the NT in it's original language.

I currently own the Library 8 Premier Level which includes the GNT-TR.

What I like about the Zondervan's scholar version is that it includes Mounce's Basics to Biblical greek and a few more commentaries and Intros.

The Accordance Scholar Intro includes the Greek New Testament NA27 (tagged), although I currently have the GNT-TR. (What is the difference?)

For someone without any prior knowledge of Greek what would you recommend? What about the other texts included with each package?

Thanks for your time.
"I'm not afraid of failure. I'm afraid to succeed in something that isn't important." William Carey

#2 Dewayne Davis

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 09:14 AM

I was a Logos user for years before moving to Mac. I have the Gold package with tons of additional packages. In these packages are included many different greek texts. My experience as a layman has been that this was just complicating things for me. When I moved to Mac and discovered Accordance, I started with just the Zondervan packages. I did go ahead and purchase the BHS-W4 and eventually the Library 8 Premier as you have. As far as original language texts, I think this is sufficient for someone like myself that does not thoroughly know the language. If I need to do a search of the texts, I have that ability. I don't need a lot more versions for this. Alongside IVP, TJL, and the Greek Group, this seems to be a great package. I did unlock the EBC, NIDNTT, and NIDOTTE as well, and That being said, I do plan to upgrade the Greek Group to the Accordance Scholar's Standard for the lexicons. Everyone studies differently. So this is just my soapbox presentation.

I think the NA27 is the Critical Text and the GNT-TR is the Received Text.

#3 mikes

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 10:03 AM

I'm in the same boat. Ive been working on my greek now for a few years at a glacial pace, but sticking with it all the way. It has been a great joy for me and really enriched my study of the word and understanding of the context. That said, unless you find a group of people and work at a pace with goals and leadership from someone that is formally trained, you really cannot get to that place where you're doing exegesis at a seminary level. That takes a good amount of training.

Even just learning greek is tough (leaving out exegesis, hermeneutics, etc.). Mounce's book is a text meant to be used with an instructor. To start, I found a different book that prepared me to use mounce without an instructor. That book is:
I use two iphone apps for flash cards (GreekGrams and GreekFlash) in addition to printed ones I carry around for times I'm in line, etc. Frankly, NT vocab is so limited that it is not nearly as much an issue as learning declensions, pronouns, verbs, and grammar in general. The more I learn, the less I know I don't know.

What I like about the Zondervan's scholar version is that it includes Mounce's Basics to Biblical greek and a few more commentaries and Intros.

I have this package and find its content to be quite useful. I have the Standard Premium as well, but not the Scholars (I think).

The Accordance Scholar Intro includes the Greek New Testament NA27 (tagged), although I currently have the GNT-TR. (What is the difference?)

I would suggest you pick up a book or two on this subject. Again, I'm not a seminarian and this subject could start a flame war far too quickly (although the accordance users do tend to be far more mature about these subjects then in other places), but the following is an intro book I give to friends that tends to be on the more conservative side. In some places I feel as though it chickens out on facing some of the issues, but in the area of textual criticism I felt it did a good job:
"How We Got the Bible" by Lightfoot

Easiest and simplest way to put it:
  • Textus Receptus is the foundation of the KJV
  • NA is the foundation of more "modern" translations like the NASB, NIV, NRSV and ESV
I would strongly suggest you have both. Most all of the study you'll be doing for greek will assume you're using the NA, and it is always fun to do a diff between the two and show how things have matured from the KJV without touching the foundations of our faith.

For someone without any prior knowledge of Greek what would you recommend? What about the other texts included with each package?

Here's what I use on a day to day basis:
  • GNT-T - my primary greek text
  • BDAG - not cheap, but really useful in my experience. Referenced just about everywhere
  • Louw & Nida - I find it to be a very accessible lexicon for greek
  • Thayer - Yet another greek lexicon. I find that sometimes I get stuck on BDAG with too much data, and that going to L&N and Thayer helps me a LOT.
  • Wallace - The greek grammar I always end up using more then the mounce stuff in accordance. Not sure why, but it just is the case.
  • NAS95S - This is the translation I've spent a good 10 years with... and it's tagged
  • ESVS - Tagged ESV is a translation I've grown to really like
  • NIV-G/K - Tagged NIV... sooo many lay people hooked on NIV that I find it useful to make sure I can see what they see
  • Net Notes - Fantastic translation notes for people like you and me!!
On a less frequent basis I end up using the Mounce general tools, but again, Wallace always seems to work out better for me. This MIGHT be because I have the actual Mounce text I've worked through.

Share what you end up with and what works for you! I'm always learning and growing.

Edited by mikes, 11 May 2009 - 10:31 AM.


#4 mikes

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 10:25 AM

I was a Logos user for years before moving to Mac. I have the Gold package with tons of additional packages. In these packages are included many different greek texts. My experience as a layman has been that this was just complicating things for me. When I moved to Mac and discovered Accordance, I started with just the Zondervan packages. I did go ahead and purchase the BHS-W4 and eventually the Library 8 Premier as you have. As far as original language texts, I think this is sufficient for someone like myself that does not thoroughly know the language. If I need to do a search of the texts, I have that ability. I don't need a lot more versions for this. Alongside IVP, TJL, and the Greek Group, this seems to be a great package. I did unlock the EBC, NIDNTT, and NIDOTTE as well, and That being said, I do plan to upgrade the Greek Group to the Accordance Scholar's Standard for the lexicons. Everyone studies differently. So this is just my soapbox presentation.

I think the NA27 is the Critical Text and the GNT-TR is the Received Text.

Love your soapbox!

A few questions for you:
  • Would you say that the EBC is useful to people that do NOT use the NIV regularly? The content looks fantastic, but I don't usually use the NIV.
  • If you only had the money to spend on either the EBC or the NID, which would you go for and why?
  • Did you spend the full $350+ on the TLJ? Wow! Again, looks like great content, but no way to know without hearing from others (I know you're out there David... hint hint for your next blog). How do you typically use it? Examples would be fantastic!


#5 Lorinda H. M. Hoover

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 12:24 PM

My own sense from your self description is that Zondervan's Scholarly Suite would be your best bet, supplemented with some additional resources.

One must is a grammatically tagged text. Most of the grammars, etc. assume students are working with the NA or UBS text. Accordance's tagged version of the NA/UBS is the GNT-T. The value of the GNT-TR depends greatly on your (and/or your tradition's) perspective on the KJV and the Greek texts it used. You already have the GNT-TR; you can purchase the GNT-T separately, or as part of the Greek Add-on Modules package. You're not obligated to purchase the Scholar's collection to get it.

As has already been mentioned, at least one (if not more) lexicons/dictionaries is another must.

I think you would also find it helpful to have a key number version of your most commonly used English Bible, if one is available. These English texts are marked with either Strong's or G/K numbers. They allow you to access the Hebrew or Greek from the English text, and the key number highlighting available with version 8 means you can hover your mouse over an English word and see the Greek (or Hebrew) word highlighted in the Greek (or Hebrew) text. The following English translations are currently available with key numbers: NRSVS, NIV-G/K, NAS95S, ESVS, KJVS.

Since you have the Library Premier, you have the NAS95S, the ESVS, and the KJVS.

I would second mikes' endorsement of the NET Notes as helpful. They are included at every level of the Library collection.

My comments have presumed that you are interested in learning Greek, but not Hebrew. If you want to be able to delve into the Hebrew, too, then there are other resources you would need. (Personally I think Hebrew is easier to learn than Greek. But most folks look at me oddly when I say so!)

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#6 Dewayne Davis

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 01:23 PM

Love your soapbox!

A few questions for you:

  • Would you say that the EBC is useful to people that do NOT use the NIV regularly? The content looks fantastic, but I don't usually use the NIV.
  • If you only had the money to spend on either the EBC or the NID, which would you go for and why?
  • Did you spend the full $350+ on the TLJ? Wow! Again, looks like great content, but no way to know without hearing from others (I know you're out there David... hint hint for your next blog). How do you typically use it? Examples would be fantastic!


1. I don't personally lean upon any one translation or theological system. I read a lot when studying something. Whether the EBC is NIV based or not has nothing to do with it as far as I am concerned. I just find it valuable as a commentary that goes into the language with it's explanations. I would compare it to and I like it better than the UBS Handbook commentaries only more condensed and readable. The more witnesses you read, the better rounded your understanding of a topic or passage will be. I am not afraid of opposing opinions. Even at church I read from my ipod that has NIV, KJV, NKJV, NLTse, NASB and ESV. I mostly read from NKJV, but only because it is read from more from the speaker.
2. I bought the NID first. I really rely on works like these to try to understand concepts of the early language. The articles are not short definitions but theological explanations to make you really think. I would compare it to and like it better than the TDNT only more condensed and more readable.
3. I got the TJL on sale and received many cross grade discounts since I have been buying them for many years. I really love the TJL. I will read everything I can from all of them on a subject of study in order to come to my own conclusions.

#7 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 09:20 PM

I thought I might as well stick my 2 in here.

I am heavily biased toward short, in-depth and well-organized resources. [I don't like sifting a lot of chaff to find my wheat.] That said, I always recommend great Bible dictionaries over great commentaries. Here's why...

A commentary is the most theologically biased reference work in biblical studies. It is written by a single author, with a very specific theological slant. So I recommend people NEVER buy just a single commentary, but at least two, and preferable two that disagree with each other. [One hopes the truth will lie somewhere in the middle.] The theological bias is less important if the author carefully reviews the major theories at each point, with their strengths and weaknesses. This is often true of the major exegetical commentaries (WBC, NIGNT, Hermenia, etc.), which are more expensive for just that reason.

On the other hand, a good Bible dictionary is an anthology of articles written by scholars. In a great multi-volume one (the ABD comes to mind, as does the IVP set) or even a great single volume (EBD), scholars are writing in their major field of specialization. Each article must address the topic as it appears across the whole Bible, not just a single passage. That provides some built-in balance for those of us who work methodically through the Bible, passage by passage.

My recommendation? Forget the commentaries for the moment. Buy ABD and/or the IVP set. If you have some money left over, consider the theological wordbooks NIDOTT and NIDNTT. You'll have a wealth of information at your fingertips, but still be able to make up your own mind about the meaning of each passage.
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#8 Tom

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 11:11 AM

(Personally I think Hebrew is easier to learn than Greek. But most folks look at me oddly when I say so!)

Lorinda


I would think most who have studied both would understand the statement that Hebrew is much more of a consistent with less exceptions-to-the-rule type of language. This makes learning the rules of grammar and syntax easier. Don't you agree?

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#9 Lorinda H. M. Hoover

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 11:33 AM

I would think most who have studied both would understand the statement that Hebrew is much more of a consistent with less exceptions-to-the-rule type of language. This makes learning the rules of grammar and syntax easier. Don't you agree?

Tom


Exactly! In Hebrew, even the exceptions to the rules have rules--with only two exceptions to those rules (when it comes to verbs) that are easily memorized. Whereas in Greek the number of irregular stems and exceptions is (to my mind) astronomical.

What trips up a lot of students of Hebrew is:
-right to left orientation
-a very different alphabet (many folks have at least some familiarity with Greek alphabet due to its use in math, science, etc.)
-a very different tense and mood structure

Those issues were not a stumbling block for me at all; but I really did struggle with all the exceptions in Greek.

Based on the (very non-scientific and probably not representative) percentage of folks who look askance when I say Hebrew is easier, it would appear that more people have trouble with the different structure of Hebrew than the frequency of exceptions in Greek.

Of course, most of those folks have been native (American) English speakers, and English is at least as bad as Greek when it comes to exceptions to the rule!

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#10 David Lang

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 01:30 PM

I took Classical Greek and Biblical Hebrew simultaneously in college, and would agree that Hebrew is much simpler to learn. When I went to seminary, however, everyone thought Greek was easy and Hebrew impossibly hard. In addition to the reasons Lorinda gave, I think it had to do with the fact that the sentence structure of Biblical Greek is much simpler than that of classical Greek, and that most seminarians who have grown up in the church have at least been exposed to much of the Greek vocabulary already: agapao, phileo, ekklesia, baptizw, etc. About the only Hebrew vocabulary they might have any familarity with are some of the names for God.

Then there's the motivation factor. The first-year seminarian wants to learn Greek so he can figure out what Paul is "really saying." There's less of that feeling of secret knowledge when you pick up on a wordplay in a Hebrew narrative.
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#11 Lorinda H. M. Hoover

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 01:47 PM

Then there's the motivation factor. The first-year seminarian wants to learn Greek so he can figure out what Paul is "really saying." There's less of that feeling of secret knowledge when you pick up on a wordplay in a Hebrew narrative.


Interesting thought. I was always far more interested in the word plays than "what Paul is really saying." Maybe because I'm more of a narrative theologian than a propositional or systematic theologian.

And now I've really strayed off topic! ;)

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#12 Rick Yentzer

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 03:06 PM

Well now that David and Lorinda threw in a monkey wrench, I'm really at odds now!

I was also looking at the GNT add-on module package which had the basics of what I was looking for and what many of you seemed to recommend, including the Louw and Nida and the GNT-T.

I do already have the IVP Essentials which I use all of the time. Thanks Timothy for the perspective on the dictionaries.

But now I'm torn, Greek or Hebrew or both!

If you were to learn Greek (or Hebrew) what outside sources would you use? Mounce is the only one I've really heard about. I see that some like Wallace.

Thanks to everyone for the great advice. I'm soaking it all in.
"I'm not afraid of failure. I'm afraid to succeed in something that isn't important." William Carey

#13 Lorinda H. M. Hoover

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 03:57 PM

I suppose it depends on your time, interests, and gifts at language learning, but generally I would say it's better to do one at a time--at least in the earliest stages.

My Hebrew textbook in seminary was "A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew" by Seow. I'm not sure how it would work as a study-on-your own text, although I think there was a companion piece with answers to (some) of the exercises. It's not available on Accordance. Gesenius, which is available on Accordance, is a old-standby reference grammar. (I think my hard copy may have been my mother's, although I don't remember for sure).

My Greek textbook was, I think, relatively obscure, namely "The Language of the New Testament" by Goetchius. But I loved it. (Despite the fact that I don't like Greek as much as Hebrew!). Most chapters began with a discussion of how a particular English construction or grammatical concept worked (e.g. adjectives, adverbs, future tense, etc.), and then dealt with how the "same" concept or construction worked in Greek. I found the comparative grammar very helpful, and added my own notes about connections with French and/or Hebrew grammar in places. (I was a French major in college and took Hebrew before I took Greek). But some of my fellow students struggled with that approach; it all depends on your learning style, I suppose. As far as I know, it's hard copy only.

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#14 RobM

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 04:53 PM

Rick,

My Hebrew textbook in seminary was "A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew" by Seow. I'm not sure how it would work as a study-on-your own text, although I think there was a companion piece with answers to (some) of the exercises. It's not available on Accordance.


I also used Seow in seminary. I found that it was a great grammar when someone who knows Hebrew can walk you through it. I agree with Lorinda that it may not be the best study-on-your-own text.

There is a new Hebrew Grammar coming out within the next month or two. It is by Dr. Brian Webster (HUC grad, DTS prof). I've had a couple classes with him and not only does he know Hebrew (and Semitic) really well, his pedagogical method is superb. I didn't take first year grammar at DTS (I transferred in after taking 1st year Hebrew), but have heard from other DTS OT profs that the method he developed for his textbook is unique and ground breaking. I have also seen bits and pieces of the software that will come with the grammar. It is loaded with graphics that visually show the morphology of nouns and verbs through vowels, prefixes, suffixes, etc floating around the screen, changing before your eyes into the correct forms. It is as close to a professor physically writing out the morphological progression on a chalk board (and that is the background of the software!) as you will get without taking a formal course. It will be published by Oxford, but will be remarkably affordable: $40 (I think; this is remarkable because Oxford typically has high prices for their books)

Right now, DTS uses Ross' Grammar (available in Accordance), but will switch to Webster's once it is published.

My Greek textbook was, I think, relatively obscure, namely "The Language of the New Testament" by Goetchius. But I loved it. (Despite the fact that I don't like Greek as much as Hebrew!). Most chapters began with a discussion of how a particular English construction or grammatical concept worked (e.g. adjectives, adverbs, future tense, etc.), and then dealt with how the "same" concept or construction worked in Greek. I found the comparative grammar very helpful, and added my own notes about connections with French and/or Hebrew grammar in places. (I was a French major in college and took Hebrew before I took Greek). But some of my fellow students struggled with that approach; it all depends on your learning style, I suppose. As far as I know, it's hard copy only.


I am not familiar with this grammar. But I would definitely endorse Mounce (if you go with Mounce you ought to get the work book as well). Mounce does a lot of the comparative grammar that Lorinda says Goetchius does. I find his explanations lengthy, at times, but simple and easy to understand.

Having gone through and taught through Mounce, I highly recommend it.

#15 jackcav

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 09:58 AM

Rick

If you are learning Greek, you would want Mounce (or some other entry level grammar). Wallace is an intermediate text, as implied by the title "Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics"

Jack

If you were to learn Greek (or Hebrew) what outside sources would you use? Mounce is the only one I've really heard about. I see that some like Wallace.

Thanks to everyone for the great advice. I'm soaking it all in.



#16 Steve Raine

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 12:12 PM

Hi Rick--

First, thanks for taking many of us back to "back when..." we were asking similar questions.

Which to learn first? Which language do you think you would most use first? I suggest that is your answer.

Unless you are strong in language learning, you would probably be wise to learn the first year of each separately.


Please don't think learning Greek and/or Hebrew is a 'completely reachable goal'. (Calm down, folks.)
By that, I mean you probably will never reach a point where you conclude, "Well, I've got all that stuff down!"
I am not alone in coming to realize that learning either is a life-long adventure...
and a very enjoyable journey.

When I began Greek, I felt much like you appear to: 'I will soon understand the NT...'
Greek resulted in my asking as many, if not more questions, about what the NT says.
It was a wonderful realization that encourages--if not forces--one to get into the text even more.

I hope you will eventually endeavor to learn both languages. You will appreciate the richness of each, and accrue greater insights into the Bible. I suspect it will also deepen your relationship with the Lord.

Blessings on your decision-making and your studies,
Steve

#17 Rick Yentzer

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 12:31 PM

Please don't think learning Greek and/or Hebrew is a 'completely reachable goal'. (Calm down, folks.)
By that, I mean you probably will never reach a point where you conclude, "Well, I've got all that stuff down!"
I am not alone in coming to realize that learning either is a life-long adventure...
and a very enjoyable journey.


This makes a lot of sense. It seems with many things the more I learn, the more I learn how little I know. I went ahead and ordered Mounces' Grammar and Workbook. I will most likely follow with purchasing the GNT add-on package that includes:

GNT-T
Louw & Nida Semantic Domain Lexicon
Thayer's Greek Lexicon
UBS Lexicon


I think this will best fit my needs for the time being as my current focus is in the NT. I must say I'm really looking forward to this. My hope is to spend a year (or three) getting into Greek and once I feel comfortable with it, at that time assess whether or not Hebrew will be my next step.

I appreciate everyone's input. It has been a very enriching and lively discussion.
"I'm not afraid of failure. I'm afraid to succeed in something that isn't important." William Carey

#18 Dewayne Davis

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 11:48 AM

I was a Logos user for years before moving to Mac. I have the Gold package with tons of additional packages. In these packages are included many different greek texts. My experience as a layman has been that this was just complicating things for me. When I moved to Mac and discovered Accordance, I started with just the Zondervan packages. I did go ahead and purchase the BHS-W4 and eventually the Library 8 Premier as you have. As far as original language texts, I think this is sufficient for someone like myself that does not thoroughly know the language. If I need to do a search of the texts, I have that ability. I don't need a lot more versions for this. Alongside IVP, TJL, and the Greek Group, this seems to be a great package. I did unlock the EBC, NIDNTT, and NIDOTTE as well, and That being said, I do plan to upgrade the Greek Group to the Accordance Scholar's Standard for the lexicons. Everyone studies differently. So this is just my soapbox presentation.

I think the NA27 is the Critical Text and the GNT-TR is the Received Text.



I guess it didn't take me as long as I thought it might. I went ahead and picked up the Scholar's Standard. Now they have the level ups for 75. I think I might have to do that too now. I see that some of the Zondervan Titles are on sale too. You might give it a look. Now I can sell off my Logos Library and pick up the NIGTC and I think I will be finished.

#19 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 09:12 AM

Be finished?

Surely not!

"Of making many books there is no end..." (Eccl 12:11) and, if you are an Accordance user, there is always another great resource out there, just waiting, waiting... ;)
Blessings,
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#20 Dewayne Davis

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 08:57 AM

Be finished?

Surely not!

"Of making many books there is no end..." (Eccl 12:11) and, if you are an Accordance user, there is always another great resource out there, just waiting, waiting... ;)



I agree that there will be other things along the way that will be helpful in my studies. But I don't want to be like I was with Libronix, always more, more, more. Just to give you an idea of what I mean...Logos will charge 10 percent for a transfer fee. I asked them what my charges will be to transfer when I find someone who wants to buy my license. They are only charging me for 63 of the license transfers but not for the rest of the books and unlocks. The fee will be 560.00 As you can see, one can really get out of hand in thinking they need more books...

This is one of the reasons I like using Accordance. It focuses on the text and not so much on external resources.




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