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#1 mrsstench

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:06 PM

I am still trying to wrap my head around all these tools. Can someone tell me what is the benefit of having multiple dictionaries, concordances, etc. It seems to me that the more resources the more confusion. Am I missing something? I understand why multiple commentaries would be useful..

Thanks,

Lydia

#2 JonathanHuber

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:21 PM

It's actually similar in some ways to multiple commentaries: there will often be some overlap, but reference tools may focus on different areas or offer different information, perspectives, or degrees of conciseness. The production date matters too, as new discoveries in linguistics and archaeology leads to updating of older works or the production of new ones. If there are specific resources you're wondering about, you can provide more details here or discuss your questions with the Accordance sales team. If you're wondering about tools in a package you already bought, the best way to understand them is to use them, and you'll figure out which ones are more helpful for you.

The Accordance video podcast series, Lighting the Lamp, has several episodes that may be helpful to you, including one on bible dictionaries and two on the IVP dictionaries.

Hope this helps!
Jonathan

#3 Donovan R. Palmer

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:35 AM

It takes a bit of effort to understand the background on a resource, but if you can generally figure out an author's theological orientation of a dictionary you can select resources with differing views to compare. Even cross references like New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge by Jerome Smith does have an orientation. Sometimes a dictionary's or Lexicon's theological orientation subtile, sometimes it is obvious.

You can usually find background information by googling on the name of the author or resource. If you have access to journal articles there are often reviews. Last, I keep by my computer D.A. Carsons and Tremper Longman's books on New/Old Testament Commentary Survey. I also find John Glynn's 'Commentary & Reference Survey' a good starting point sometimes as well.

Don't forget these forums. You can post specific questions that you might have and if you keep an eye on out, you will also see discussions on resources which will give you some insight. For example, if you are interested in Hebrew, there is a current thread in the Original Languages section on HALOT, BDB and CDCH. There have also been a couple of threads of late on Greek lexicons and dictionaries as well.

In my mind, this is one of the most important steps to reading. Understanding the author and the resource. Sadly, it is neglected. I have another Bible software product where they push huge bundles of resources, sometimes with older materials in the public domain. These bundles are great for building a resource library for research. Yet many readers don't take the time to think critically about what they are looking up with their search tools. Older resources need to be examined from a perspective of whether recent discoveries have shed additional light or forced adjustments. Many people never look.

Hope this helps. You are asking the right questions and that is the first step.

#4 mrsstench

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:07 AM

I thank you both for the responses, I must admit I was somewhat hesitant to ask the question. I decided to work on the premise that no question is a stupid question.

I assumed that all references would be truthful and without bias.. Should one use only resources that have the same theological views as they have? Or is it better to have a wide range to be more open minded? Lastly is it safe to wonder too far from one's own belief?

#5 Julie Falling

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:29 AM

Lydia - That's a difficult question. I have friends who don't want to read outside of their own theological views because they find it confusing and unsettling. For those who know what they believe and why, venturing out a bit can be healthy, in my opinion. It makes me think, examine why I believe what I do. I may reconsider what I've always thought, or find more evidence to support the views I've held for years. There are some things that are non-negotiable for me: the sufficiency, authority and reliability of God's word, that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and it's all for God's glory (and we get in on it).

My husband and I teach an upper high school through college Sunday school class. We have taught our kids not to rely on a single Bible version, not to rely on a single commentary, and I would also say that, as they mature and have more resources available to them, not to rely on a single dictionary. None are infallible. I haven't found a single Bible version that doesn't fall down somewhere in my opinion. Same goes for the commentaries.

When I look at a resource I might want in Accordance, I read the reviews if available. If that doesn't give me enough information, I read the reviews on Amazon. There are some I've decided to buy because of that, and some that I've decided I never need to own - there are some theological perspectives with which I adamantly disagree.

This is something only you can decide for yourself. Pray about it, and seek the advise of a Christian you trust.

I really appreciate that Accordance has something for everyone who is interested in Bible study.
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#6 Paul Daunno

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:22 PM

Lydia,

I appreciate you asking this question. I've been using Accordance for nearly 2 years and still don't have a good handle on the resources I own.

I've been looking a bit more carefully lately at the Dictionaries I have and am not sure why I would use Eerdmans vs. Unger vs. Holman vs. Easton vs. Smith, etc. I set up a Dictionary workspace with all of them then amplify to that workspace for a given word. For example, last Sunday my Pastor preached on the wise men and the gifts. I decided to see what each dictionary had to say about Myrrh. Some have a lot more info than others but in general they all seem to make the same main points.

I suppose the more we use the resources the more comfortable we will get with them and some will become or default go-to's. It would be helpful if there were a Good, Better, Best list for Accordance modules but I suppose that would be a very subjective list.

It's somewhat akin to having multiple translations. I will typically reference a half dozen or more when I'm researching something. Each one seems to help, some more than others, to gain a better understanding of the scripture.

I am thankful that I'm able to have all of these resources and the tyranny of choices but I agree that it makes it confusing some times.
Thanks,
-Paul

#7 JonathanHuber

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:54 PM

One further comment: the various reference works will often have a forward/preface/introduction that will describe the resource. Take the time to read that material, as that can help you understand the goals and perspectives of the authors.

#8 Donovan R. Palmer

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 05:57 PM

Should one use only resources that have the same theological views as they have? Or is it better to have a wide range to be more open minded? Lastly is it safe to wonder too far from one's own belief?


I think this is a personal decision. I have friends who do not read certain viewpoints due to conviction. I respect that.

Personally, I read widely. I purposely buy resources with different viewpoints so that I can compare their treatment of a subject or issue. It makes me think about what I believe and why. I also hold my views in humility and I ask God for help in discernment.

Hope this helps. Also one other thing... I don't think that there are any stupid questions. I'm not a scholar, nor the son of a scholar... so most likely you will ask questions I have asked or will ask at some point in the future. So you are in good company. Use these forums to find out about resources that you need a bit of help on. My experience is that there are many here that are more than willing to help.

#9 Ken Simpson

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:06 PM

Also one other thing... I don't think that there are any stupid questions. I'm not a scholar, nor the son of a scholar... so most likely you will ask questions I have asked or will ask at some point in the future. So you are in good company. Use these forums to find out about resources that you need a bit of help on. My experience is that there are many here that are more than willing to help.


HI Donovan,
I love this. It's so true. Even after 20+ years of using Accordance people ask questions (often simple ones) that I have never thought of asking, and are really helpful, or remember quite clearly asking at one stage and needing the answer to in order to take the next step.

Let me agree, there is never ever such a thing as an (honestly intended) stupid question.

Edited by Ken Simpson, 13 December 2012 - 06:06 PM.

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Regards
Ken
Lead Australian Accordance Demonstrator

Administrator, Accordance Exchange

Assistant Minister, Summer Hill Church


#10 mrsstench

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 10:58 AM

I want to thank everyone for the responses they gave me food for thought. I think that maybe the purpose of having such a tool as Accordance is not only affirm what I believe, but also learn from others. A case of take what is good and leave the rest behind.
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#11 Julie Falling

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:07 AM

Lydia - I think that is a very good way to approach it. Over the years there have been times when I have discovered that "what I have always been taught" doesn't line up very well with Scripture. The Scriptures will get me thinking, I'll do some digging into the Word, check cross references, etc. Then, after drawing some conclusions, check various references to see how the issue is approached by people who spend their lives studying. "Rabbit chasing," as I call it, has proved to be a very useful way to learn, at least for me. It is a great complement to a more systematic method. And it's all an adventure!

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