Mar 28, 2011 David Lang

Any Questions?

At the Ligonier national conference this past weekend, one of the speakers mentioned the fact that the first question in the Bible is asked by the serpent in Genesis 3:1. In doing a demo to someone after that session, one of my colleagues showed how you can use Accordance to search for question marks and other punctuation.

The method is ridiculously simple. Just enter a period followed by whatever single character you want to find. If you want to find all question marks, just enter .?. If you want to find all quotations, just enter .“. If you want to find all exclamations, just enter .!. Okay, so you get the idea. By searching an English translation for .?, my colleague was able to show that the speaker had, in fact, correctly identified the first question in the Bible.

Now that you know how to search for all the questions in the Bible, let's go even further by seeing where those questions occur. To do this, click the graph icon to the right of the Context slider and choose Hits Graph from the pop-up menu.


The graph that appears should look something like this:


It's interesting to note where the greatest concentration of questions is: near the end of Job, where God bombards Job with a series of questions he cannot answer. It's also interesting to note where the fewest questions appear. Look how rare they are in the latter half of Exodus and in the entire book of Leviticus.

To examine any of these occurrences, simply double-click that place in the Graph. Your search results will then be scrolled to the corresponding text.

Tomorrow, I'll show you another way to visualize the results of this search. Any questions?

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Archived Comments

James Nash

March 29, 2011 10:01 AM

Interesting search info.  Are you sure that the ."  search is supposed to work?  It won't for me.

David Lang

March 29, 2011 10:06 AM

James, be sure you're using an open curly quote rather than a straight double quote. You can enter that character by holding the option key while pressing the open bracket key on your keyboard.