Reviews by John Fidel
November 30, 2011  | 11:08 AM  |  Good (4)
Why would someone that has a more comprehensive commentary consider a study bible? For me there are three reasons:
1. It is the perfect amount of information I want when I am using the Accordance app on my iPad in church.
2. It has some very useful background, timelines, maps and general introductory material to begin my study with.
3. It is very affordable given the amount of information provided.
Study bibles are really a combination of a bible handbook, an atlas, study ...
Why would someone that has a more comprehensive commentary consider a study bible? For me there are three reasons:
1. It is the perfect amount of information I want when I am using the Accordance app on my iPad in church.
2. It has some very useful background, timelines, maps and general introductory material to begin my study with.
3. It is very affordable given the amount of information provided.
Study bibles are really a combination of a bible handbook, an atlas, study notes and bible introductions. I use the ESV extensively, and as such this is my favorite study bible. I first purchased the ESV SB after watching Dr. J’s Podcast #2 which highlights the ESV SB in Accordance very well. The ESV SB has articles, maps and introductions that provide the reader a good overview and a starting point for bible study. I find that the ESB SB is balanced in the length and depth of the various articles and study notes. If I want more, I open a more in-depth resource, but often times start with the ESV SB.
The ESV Study Bible in Accordance is separated into three volumes: The Study Bible, ESV Cross-References, and ESV Notes. These can easily be opened together in a single pane that will link all the resources together as you study in Accordance. However, in the IOS app, only one resource can be open at a time. I find this somewhat limiting however, I can change the resource to the ESV notes and cross-references however without too much difficulty. I did edit the IOS App library so the three resources are in a row and easy to change to quickly.
The ESV Study Bible is an affordable way to provide some excellent background, introductory and bible notes to your Accordance library and IOS app. I find it to be just the right tool to start with in my studies.
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November 29, 2011  |  5:36 PM  |  Fantastic (5)
Deciding where to start with accordance can be somewhat challenging given the many different options available. My experience with Accordance leads me to recommend a higher library level to begin with for a few reasons:
1. Accordance really shines when combined with original language texts and resources.
2. The new interlinear feature with Accordance 9.5 really needs the GNT and BHS tagged texts to be fully functional with the Strong's English texts.
3. The new Mounce Greek ...
Deciding where to start with accordance can be somewhat challenging given the many different options available. My experience with Accordance leads me to recommend a higher library level to begin with for a few reasons:
1. Accordance really shines when combined with original language texts and resources.
2. The new interlinear feature with Accordance 9.5 really needs the GNT and BHS tagged texts to be fully functional with the Strong's English texts.
3. The new Mounce Greek series will begin to open up Greek to those not proficient, especially the lexicons and commentaries.
4. The LXX and NETS are very useful resources and are included in this collection.
5. The collection includes the Louw Nida lexicon, one that I really appreciate.
6. For the student, these resources are a must.

Like all collections there are resources that are not as useful, such as Thayers Lexicon, but overall this is a great value for the dollar. It may appear to be more extensive for a starting set, but those truly interested in the original languages will grow into it pretty quickly.

If after reviewing the collection, if it appears too much you can always start lower and upgrade without penalties as your needs develop.
  [ FULL REVIEW ]
November 29, 2011  |  5:18 PM  |  Good (4)
Accordance has numerous resources for studying the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scroll Bible, in English, is probably the most approachable way to compare the Dead Sea Scrolls to other English texts. The DSSB is titled “The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English.” It is edited by Martin Abegg, Jr, Peter Flint and Eugene Ulrich. These names should be familiar to those that have done any work with the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The resource comes in two volumes, the Bible ...
Accordance has numerous resources for studying the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scroll Bible, in English, is probably the most approachable way to compare the Dead Sea Scrolls to other English texts. The DSSB is titled “The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English.” It is edited by Martin Abegg, Jr, Peter Flint and Eugene Ulrich. These names should be familiar to those that have done any work with the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The resource comes in two volumes, the Bible itself and DSSB Notes. The introductory material is included in the notes along with articles discussing the various OT texts; the Masoretic, the Septuagint and the Samaritan Pentateuch. There are a few brief but insightful articles on the discovery of the scrolls and their contents.

The Dead Sea Scroll Bible will link to any other OT bible, with the notes providing additional details as to what scroll is being referenced in the biblical text. I like to show the DSSB next to the NETS (LXX in English) and the Tanakh JPS OT, with the DSSB Notes below. By selecting the compare text box I get a good starting point for comparing various OT texts.

The DSSB will not make you an expert in the DSS’s, but will provide you a starting point for further study. The DSSB is a very unique resource, valuable for those interested in getting access to the Biblical Scrolls and their content in English. Please note that not all the OT is contained in the DSSB.
  [ FULL REVIEW ]
November 29, 2011  | 10:39 AM  |  Fantastic (5)
The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (NIDNT) by Colin Brown is one of my favorite Greek lexicons in Accordance. First of all, as the title indicates, it is a theological lexicon. While Accordance can find a particular lemma in a split second, the resource itself is indexed by word groups. This is similar to the TDNT, only the resource includes up-to-date research and archeological findings.

The NIDNT is indexed both in Greek and English, which is a feature other ...
The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (NIDNT) by Colin Brown is one of my favorite Greek lexicons in Accordance. First of all, as the title indicates, it is a theological lexicon. While Accordance can find a particular lemma in a split second, the resource itself is indexed by word groups. This is similar to the TDNT, only the resource includes up-to-date research and archeological findings.

The NIDNT is indexed both in Greek and English, which is a feature other lexicons do not provide. In fact, back when I purchased this resource it was grouped as an English Tool rather than a Greek Tool. The resource was updated and is now in the Greek Tools. I find the historical and theological focus on the word groups greatly compliment my other two favorite lexicons: BDAG and Louw Nida. The entries are thorough, yet very readable for the non-scholar. I have the full 10 volume TDNT and actually prefer this set in most instances.

Recently an abridged version of this title has been made available for around $40 rather than $109. I have not reviewed this resource, but it may be a worthy alternative to the complete 4-volume set.

I highly recommend complimenting your current lexicons with either the complete or abridged NIDNT… in Accordance.
  [ FULL REVIEW ]
November 24, 2011  |  8:52 AM  |  Fantastic (5)
The New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT) is probably the strongest overall exegetical commentary set available to date written from an evangelical/conservative prospective. The set is scholarly, yet accessible to the non-scholar. The original languages are transliterated for those that are not strong in Biblical Greek. This however does not diminish the scholarship or exegetical strength of this set.

This set is not for everyone given its scope and price. Some may ...
The New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT) is probably the strongest overall exegetical commentary set available to date written from an evangelical/conservative prospective. The set is scholarly, yet accessible to the non-scholar. The original languages are transliterated for those that are not strong in Biblical Greek. This however does not diminish the scholarship or exegetical strength of this set.

This set is not for everyone given its scope and price. Some may question making such a large investment in a digital resource and may prefer the the set in paper. However, in my opinion, those that are ready to make an investment in a top-grade commentary set, the NICNT is one that must be considered along with the Pillar, Word and Hermeneia Commentary sets.

The highlights of the NICNT are the volumes on Mark (Lane), Acts (FF Bruce). Romans (Moo) and 1st Corinthians (Fee). The great scholarship of this set combined with the search capabilities of Accordance make this set a real blessing to use.

While I understand the concerns about investing in digital texts, I feel the incredible benefits that Accordance provides minimize any concerns. If you are going to make such an investment, you should make sure it is with a Bible software company that has shown its strength over many years. Accordance is such a company.

Accordance also has individual volumes available for purchase. Perhaps the best way to review this set is to purchase a few of the volumes mentioned above before purchasing the entire set.
  [ FULL REVIEW ]
November 13, 2011  | 10:16 AM  |  Good (4)
The Archeological Study Bible has to be one of the most unique and specialized resources I have in my library. The purpose as stated in the introduction is to put the Bible in historical and archeological context. The study bible includes discussions of most significant cultures that existed during biblical times. For example Genesis has discussions of the Serpent Motif in other Ancient Near East Cultures; other ancient flood narratives, the location of Eden as well as Documentary Hypothesis ...
The Archeological Study Bible has to be one of the most unique and specialized resources I have in my library. The purpose as stated in the introduction is to put the Bible in historical and archeological context. The study bible includes discussions of most significant cultures that existed during biblical times. For example Genesis has discussions of the Serpent Motif in other Ancient Near East Cultures; other ancient flood narratives, the location of Eden as well as Documentary Hypothesis discussing the writing of the Pentateuch.
In addition the introductory material for each book of the bible contains a timeline; cultural facts; a “Did you Know” discussion and other valuable information.
Having the study bible in Accordance allows for the easy access to the commentary on the verse being studied. However, it is important not to miss the introductory materials and other articles that are not tied to a specific verse.
Overall, the Archeological Study Bible has been very useful. I think it is challenging to tie some of the archeological material to specific bible verses, and sometimes find it a stretch as to what articles appear with certain biblical texts. For example Romans 14 discusses Pompeii, which is interesting, does not exactly apply to Paul’s discussion of Christian Liberty. However, for the most part the articles are useful in providing historical context to the biblical text.
Given the unique nature of this resource, it has information that may not be readily available in other resources in your library. If you are interested in historical and archeological background, this is a resource you should consider.
  [ FULL REVIEW ]
November 12, 2011  | 10:08 AM  |  Fantastic (5)
The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology an Exegesis (NIDOTE) is, as the title says, a theological lexicon. The other theological lexicon available in Accordance is the Theological Word Book of the Old Testament. Of the two, the NIDOTE is a much stronger, up-to-date resource.
One of the strengths of NIDOTE is the introductory material provided. The articles range from introductions to hermeneutics; the reliability of the Old Testament texts; interpretation and theology; ...
The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology an Exegesis (NIDOTE) is, as the title says, a theological lexicon. The other theological lexicon available in Accordance is the Theological Word Book of the Old Testament. Of the two, the NIDOTE is a much stronger, up-to-date resource.
One of the strengths of NIDOTE is the introductory material provided. The articles range from introductions to hermeneutics; the reliability of the Old Testament texts; interpretation and theology; semantics and the canon of the OT. These are very extensive articles worth the price of the lexicon alone.
The lexicon also includes a very helpful Index of Semantic Fields by English words. Since the OT does not have anything similar to the Louw Nida for the NT; this can be a very helpful index.
The lexical articles themselves cover Hebrew word use in the ANE and OT as well as a bibliography after most entries. The references to texts are not as exhaustive as HALOT, but this lexicon is really complimentary to that lexicon given the difference in focus.
The Lexicon is very accessible to the layperson as well as the student and scholar. Accordance just released an abridged version of the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, so there may be an abridged, and less expensive version of this lexicon coming available as well. If you are not interested in the more exhaustive version you may want to call and see before ordering. Either way, this is a very valuable tool for OT studies.
  [ FULL REVIEW ]
November 11, 2011  | 11:30 AM  |  Fantastic (5)
Not all Greek lexicons are the same. There are concise lexicons, those keyed to Strong’s numbers, Lexicons specific to the LXX or classical Greek (LEH or LS), exhaustive lexicons (BDAG), theological lexicons (NIDNT) and then there is the Louw Nida Semantic Domain Lexicon.

The Louw Nida Semantic Domain Lexicon is unique in its approach and design. It provides the user information on how Greek words can be used in different semantic domains within the context of the text. A criticism of t ...
Not all Greek lexicons are the same. There are concise lexicons, those keyed to Strong’s numbers, Lexicons specific to the LXX or classical Greek (LEH or LS), exhaustive lexicons (BDAG), theological lexicons (NIDNT) and then there is the Louw Nida Semantic Domain Lexicon.

The Louw Nida Semantic Domain Lexicon is unique in its approach and design. It provides the user information on how Greek words can be used in different semantic domains within the context of the text. A criticism of the Amplified Bible as well as how some perform Bible word studies, is that the reader is given the impression that they can select between the many meanings of a word and apply the one they want in translating the text. However, a more educated and thorough analysis requires selecting between the various meanings and applying the correct meaning within the context of the text. This is where the Louw Nida Lexicon shines.

This lexicon is design to provide not only all the available semantic domains and uses of a word, but assists in selecting the correct meaning by providing Biblical references. When you amplify a Greek word to this lexicon in Accordance, the software will open the lexicon to the correct entry and highlight the biblical verse amplified from if it is referenced in the lexicon. This assists in zeroing in on the meaning of the Greek word. A good example is the Greek word sarx (flesh). According to Louw Nida, there are 13 different semantic uses of this word. If you are amplifying from Gal 5:19, the lexicon will provide you a suggested semantic domain. This is a very useful lexicon made more powerful in Accordance.

I highly recommend this lexicon as an addition to your library to assist you in digging for the meaning of the text within the context of the text.
  [ FULL REVIEW ]
November 11, 2011  |  8:04 AM  |  Fantastic (5)
The Comfort New Testament Text and Translation Commentary is a very specialize resource. The focus is on variant readings in the Greek New Testament that are significant for Bible interpretation and translation. The commentary has some interesting introductory and appendix articles, but really focuses primarily on the textual variants in the NT. The articles for each verse with a variant are structured to show the variants between the Greek texts, the translations that follow which variants a ...
The Comfort New Testament Text and Translation Commentary is a very specialize resource. The focus is on variant readings in the Greek New Testament that are significant for Bible interpretation and translation. The commentary has some interesting introductory and appendix articles, but really focuses primarily on the textual variants in the NT. The articles for each verse with a variant are structured to show the variants between the Greek texts, the translations that follow which variants and then commentary regarding the variants.
I find the structure of the commentary very easy to follow and very useful as a first or second look at textual differences. This resource is much easier to read and understand for those not trained in textual criticism than an apparatus. The other commentary offered by Accordance that is similar in nature is Metzger’s Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. It is more concise and does not include information as to which translations follow which variant. I prefer the Comfort Commentary in most instances because of the additional detail provided.
When it comes to Textual Criticism, Accordance offers many ways in which a user can approach the subject. There are at least two excellent apparatus, the actual manuscripts, texts from various codex and more. With the new, as of November 2011, interlinear features, these tools become really effective. As to this particular commentary, the user needs to determine to what extent they are going to jump into textual critical issues. The commentary is very useful for those that want summarized information to answer why certain translations may have significant differences or as a starting point for further study. For those interested in textual criticism, the CNTTS apparatus along with several codex texts and manuscripts would be the better approach.
For my use, the Comfort New Testament Text and Translation Commentary is a great tool for initial textual variant study. It is useful for the layperson, pastor as well as scholar as it is much easier to read and understand than an apparatus. I think it is a great addition to most libraries.
  [ FULL REVIEW ]
November 7, 2011  | 10:33 AM  |  Fantastic (5)
In another review I stated that the IVI Essential Reference Collections should be the first add-on resource after the purchase of a base package. Well, I may have been wrong. For many users the Graphics Resources should be their first add-on package. This is an amazing array of tools to graphically bring the biblical text alive.

The package includes the interactive Bible Atlas; The Bible Lands PhotoGuide and the interactive Timeline. Each of these resources are outstanding on their own, ...
In another review I stated that the IVI Essential Reference Collections should be the first add-on resource after the purchase of a base package. Well, I may have been wrong. For many users the Graphics Resources should be their first add-on package. This is an amazing array of tools to graphically bring the biblical text alive.

The package includes the interactive Bible Atlas; The Bible Lands PhotoGuide and the interactive Timeline. Each of these resources are outstanding on their own, but bundled together they make the perfect add-on to any base package.

The Bible Atlas is completely interactive. One can create just about any type of map for just about any situation as well as use many excellent maps provided with the package. The true power and flexibility of this tool is beyond the scope of this review. There are some videos covering this resource that should be watched to see how much power there is in the Biblical Atlas. However, the real power using this in Accordance, once the preferences are set up properly, is how you can select a city and Accordance will take you to the PhotoGuide providing some excellent pictures of the location of interest. The immersion into the biblical world is really helpful in teaching and making the biblical texts come alive.

The PhotoGuide offers excellent pictures of the biblical land along with some history and background. While this is wonderful as a stand alone product, it really shines in conjunction with the Atlas.

The Timeline is also interactive and covers a wide array of history and empires. The timeline can be adjusted to cover just the territories or regimes of interest. Putting perspective into the time of the biblical events in a visual form can be really enlightening.

While many may view these tools as eye-candy, be assured that they are much more. These tools are useful for the student, pastor and scholar alike. For most users this should be purchased along with their base package... it is that useful and informative.
  [ FULL REVIEW ]
November 7, 2011  |  8:39 AM  |  Good (4)
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary is a 12 volume (in print) set of the entire OT and NT. In Accordance it is divided into two resources, the commentary and the notes. Unlike other commentaries, the notes section is where the more technical aspects of language and textual criticism are discussed. This allows for English only users to not have to deal at all with the more technical aspect of the commentary, an yet allows those interested to investigate those matters more deeply by referring to t ...
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary is a 12 volume (in print) set of the entire OT and NT. In Accordance it is divided into two resources, the commentary and the notes. Unlike other commentaries, the notes section is where the more technical aspects of language and textual criticism are discussed. This allows for English only users to not have to deal at all with the more technical aspect of the commentary, an yet allows those interested to investigate those matters more deeply by referring to the EBC Notes module.
In theory this may be a good idea, but I find it less than ideal for my studies. I prefer not to have to reference two resources to get the complete entry on a pericope. This minor detail is however my only criticism of this set.
One of the best features of this set is the introductory material that would be missed if the user simply links the commentary to the biblical text in Accordance. There are 35 introductory articles written by some of the best scholars of the time. A few examples are: The Transmission and Translation of the Bible by F. F. Bruce; Textual Criticism of the Old Testament by Bruce Waltke; Theology of the Old Testament by Walter Kaiser; Textual Criticism of the New Testament by Gordon Fee and many more. These are outstanding resources in themselves.
The set is written from an evangelical/conservative perspective. Like all sets, there are some great and some average volumes. The commentary on Matthew is probably one of the best written on that book. The author, D. A. Carson, did a great job on this commentary, although it is longer than the other volumes in the set.
Lastly, the price of this commentary in Accordance makes it one of the most affordable. There is an Accordance Podcast that compares this commentary with the Tyndale that you should review if you are trying to decide which of these two affordable sets is best for you. Fortunately I have both. As commentary on the text, I prefer the Tyndale set, but I really appreciate the introductory material provided in the Expository Bible Commentary. Either way, you cannot go wrong.
  [ FULL REVIEW ]
November 4, 2011  |  9:48 AM  |  Fantastic (5)
The Essential IVP Reference Collection represents one of the best values in dictionary and biblical references in the Accordance catalog. This set includes 14 excellent up-to-date volumes that will provide excellent support for your biblical research. The set includes 4 commentaries; 9 dictionaries and an atlas.

What makes this set special is that most of the volumes are somewhat specialized and unique. The set has two background commentaries, one for the OT and one for the NT; a ...
The Essential IVP Reference Collection represents one of the best values in dictionary and biblical references in the Accordance catalog. This set includes 14 excellent up-to-date volumes that will provide excellent support for your biblical research. The set includes 4 commentaries; 9 dictionaries and an atlas.

What makes this set special is that most of the volumes are somewhat specialized and unique. The set has two background commentaries, one for the OT and one for the NT; a commentary on "Hard Sayings of the Bible"; and of the 9 dictionaries, 7 are specialized by subject and content. This allows for the user to get research materials beyond what is usually found in other dictionaries or commentaries. It should be noted that there are several OT dictionaries that have not be updated to be included in Accordance as of the date of this review. Hopefully these will be added soon to the collection.

For me this is the first collection that should be added to any base package. It will provide an astounding amount of material to enhance and compliment your studies.
  [ FULL REVIEW ]
November 4, 2011  |  9:18 AM  |  Fantastic (5)
A caveat regarding this review: Providing a review of a commentary set has certain limitations given that the theological perspective of the set can cause some people to love it and others to dislike it, and in addition all commentary sets are uneven in quality.

The Tyndale Commentary set is written so that original language experience is not a requirement. As such it is useful to the layperson and the pastor/scholar/student alike. The commentary set is written from an evangelical, ...
A caveat regarding this review: Providing a review of a commentary set has certain limitations given that the theological perspective of the set can cause some people to love it and others to dislike it, and in addition all commentary sets are uneven in quality.

The Tyndale Commentary set is written so that original language experience is not a requirement. As such it is useful to the layperson and the pastor/scholar/student alike. The commentary set is written from an evangelical, conservative perspective. The preface to the set states the following:

"The aim of this series of Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, as it was in the companion volumes on the New Testament, is to provide the student of the Bible with a handy, up-to-date commentary on each book, with the primary emphasis on exegesis. Major critical questions are discussed in the introductions and additional notes, while undue technicalities have been avoided."

This makes the Tyndale Commentaries especially useful as the first commentary I consult after I have finished my inductive study of the text. Specifically:

1. It is a complete set of commentaries on the OT and NT. There are only a few of the modern commentary sets that cover all the OT and NT. Having one solid set that covers the entire bible is very useful.

2. It is more detailed than a study bible, but more concise than many other exegetical commentary sets. This set does not just state the obvious, but provides insight into textual and exegetical issues without getting lost in too much detail. It is a great starting point for follow up on my own exegesis of the text.

3. It is one of the most highly rated commentaries, especially for the OT volumes. The website, best commenaries rates this set very highly, expecially the OT. This is has benefited my since my library tends to cover the NT more than the OT. There are several volumes that are rated in the top three: Numbers, Joshua (both #1), 1/2 Kings, 1/2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Daniel, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Habakkuk, Zechariah and Malachi.

4. It is especially useful in Accordance. My workspaces are set-up for easy access to this commentary open to the exact pericope I am studying.

5. The set is reasonably priced, providing excellent cost/benefit.
 
There are differing views on whether commentary sets should be purchased in paper or digitally. While I understand both sides of the discussion, having at least one commentary set that covers the entire bible in digital form is a big plus when using Accordance. The Tyndale Commentary set meets this criteria perfectly.
 
Ligonier Ministries' review of this series stated:
 
"The Tyndale Old and New Testament Commentary series is probably the most consistent commentary series available today. Most other series have some really good commentaries, some mediocre commentaries, and at least a handful of commentaries that are not very helpful at all. The volumes in the Tyndale series, on the other hand, are consistently good. The Tyndale commentary on Joshua is particularly good. Like Davis' commentary, this one is also written at an intermediate level and is accessible to all readers.

 
For more information on how each of these volumes compares to other commentary sets visit:
http://www.bestcommentaries.com/topseries/
  [ FULL REVIEW ]
November 2, 2011  |  1:16 PM  |  Fantastic (5)
There are many biblical issues in discussion today that have not been addressed in older biblical resources. What is the best way to keep up with current biblical scholarship? The Theological Journal Library. The library covers a vast amount of material from various biblical perspectives. If you want to research current issues there is no better resource.

As an added benefit, having these resources in Accordance allows for a search by word or reference. I have been doing some research on 1 ...
There are many biblical issues in discussion today that have not been addressed in older biblical resources. What is the best way to keep up with current biblical scholarship? The Theological Journal Library. The library covers a vast amount of material from various biblical perspectives. If you want to research current issues there is no better resource.

As an added benefit, having these resources in Accordance allows for a search by word or reference. I have been doing some research on 1 John 5.7-8 and have found some very useful material discussing the issues from both sides in these journals that have been current and scholarly.

For me the Theological Journal Library have been invaluable.
  [ FULL REVIEW ]
November 2, 2011  |  1:15 PM  |  Fantastic (5)
Please see my review under Theological Journals 1-11.

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