Throwback Thursday: Getting Stronger, Part 1
The initial release of Accordance in 1994 made it easy to study grammatically-tagged Greek and Hebrew texts. Accordance 2.0, released in April of 1996, added much needed features like tools (commentaries, dictionaries, etc.), user notes, parallels, and more. Accordance 3.0, released in October of 1997, added library-wide searching, grammatical diagramming (a first for Bible software), and the ability to select any text—including Greek and Hebrew—and have the computer "speak" it. Accordance 3.5, released the summer of 1998, added support for our amazing new Bible Atlas.
Needless to say, it had been a busy four years. Accordance had gone from a specialized tool for language scholars to the coolest, most groundbreaking, and graphically-rich Bible program available. Yet for all this sizzle and innovation, we were still missing a feature which many people regarded as a must-have: support for Strong's numbers.
As I mentioned last week, Strong's numbers are like a "magic portal" that enables people who don't know the languages to dig into the Greek and Hebrew words behind a particular translation. Strong's numbers were originally a link from the concordance to the Greek and Hebrew dictionaries in the back of Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, and the publishers of the NASB and NIV had modified Strong's numbering system for use in their own print concordances. Strong's numbers made the jump from print to electronic media when someone had the idea to tag each word of a given Bible translation with its corresponding Strong's number. Suddenly Bible software users could stop flipping back and forth in those unwieldy print concordances and explore the original Greek and Hebrew with a few mouse-clicks.
By 1998, other Bible programs typically offered Strong's-tagged versions of the King James Bible as well as the 1995 update to the New American Standard Bible. Accordance users either had to interact with the Greek and Hebrew texts directly or turn to other programs that offered Strong's tagged translations. For that reason, support for Strong's numbers was at the top of our list of features to add in Accordance 4.0.
There was just one problem. Every implementation of Strong's numbers we had seen was ugly and inelegant, and we knew we had to do better.
I'll continue the story of how we made Accordance "stronger" in my next post.