This weekend, we experimented with doing a different kind of training seminar here in Orlando. Rather than giving systematic instruction on how to use the main features of Accordance, we took a more topically-oriented approach. For example, rather than spending an hour hurriedly showing all the features of the Atlas and Timeline, I spent two hours discussing how to use those tools and others to explore the historical and geographical background of a specific passage. Rather than merely discussing how to set certain preferences or arrange your workspace, Dr. J talked about ways to use Accordance to “read the Bible better.” Rather than just showing how to use Accordance’s prodigious Greek and Hebrew capabilities, I focused on how you would use those features to do word studies.

Many of those who attended drove long distances to get here: from various corners of Florida and even as far as Georgia. We’ll wait to hear their feedback before we decide to try this seminar format again, but as far as I could see, everyone appeared to leave happy.

My own assessment is that this topical approach has both its pros and its cons. On the one hand, this less systematic presentation didn’t cover all the nuts-and-bolts we cover in a typical seminar, and I think the more systematic approach is generally better for new Accordance users. (To offer some systematic instruction to beginners, we offered a two-hour Accordance Primer on Friday.) On the other hand, a typical Accordance seminar can’t focus as much on the application of Accordance to specific Bible study methods or passages.

Of course, from a presenter’s standpoint, this topical seminar was a lot of fun to do. All of the presenters love to teach the Bible even more than we enjoy showing off Accordance. In one of my sessions I got to show some of the literary artistry of 2 Samuel 11. Another presenter taught us a number of interesting things about the book of Amos, such as how Amos drew in his audience before pronouncing God’s judgment against them. Dr. J showed how to benefit from both functional and formal translations and how to arrange our resources for ready access to background information—all the while offering up interesting biblical examples. Our hope is that even if we couldn’t cover every Accordance feature, we helped those who attended get even more excited about studying the Scriptures. I know my own excitement was renewed.