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News, How-tos, and assorted Views on Accordance Bible Software.

Friday, September 22, 2006  

Lots and Lots of Ranges

My first exposure to studying the Bible on my own was at a high school youth retreat when I was fifteen years old. We were given a slip of paper with passages to be read and questions to be answered, all in the span of about 20 minutes. At that time, I didn't know one end of the Bible from the other, so I struggled to even find the assigned passages in the time allotted. But by the end of the week, I had come up with a basic system for helping me to know approximately where each book of the New Testament was located.

To me, the New Testament could be neatly divided into three basic sections: the "Names," the "Shuns," and the "Numbered Names." The "Names" were those books at the beginning which I have since learned to refer to as the "Gospels": Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The "Shuns" were the "Epistles," which all had names like Gala-shuns, Ephe-shuns, and Colo-shuns. Finally, the "Numbered Names" were all those "Pastoral" and "General Epistles" toward the back like 1 and 2 Timothy, 1 and 2 Peter, and 1-3 John. It wasn't a perfect system. I'm not sure what I did with "James" and "Jude" which were "names" in the "numbered names" section, but hey, it was the best I could do at the time!

What's that got to do with Accordance? Not much, except that Accordance has always let you define your own ranges of books, chapters, and verses so that you can narrow a search to appropriate sections of the Bible. If you want to use my system of "Names," "Shuns," and "Numbered Names," you can do that. Of course, it's more likely that you'll want to use more well known and logical categories. Thankfully, you can do that too!

Of course, it can be time-consuming to create a large number of ranges, so it would be nice to be able to use someone else's predefined set of ranges. Prior to version 7, however, that was impossible. Because ranges were one of the first custom options in Accordance, they have always been stored in the main Accordance settings file, which included lots of other kinds of settings. In version 7, we reorganized the way we store preferences to make Accordance more OS X compatible, and while we were at it, we moved the search ranges into their own settings file so that they could be shared.

For those of you who have never bothered to create many search ranges, I'm making my own ranges available for download in .zip (for Mac OS X) and .sit (for classic Mac OS) compression formats. Don't worry, you won't find any "Shuns," but you will find a few more traditional groupings of books, followed by ranges for each individual book of the Bible. To install these ranges, just download and uncompress them, then drag the "Search Ranges" file into the Accordance Preferences folder inside your Accordance folder. (In OS X, drag it into your User folder-->Library-->Preferences-->Accordance Preferences.) Be warned, doing so will replace any ranges you've already defined. And of course, this can only be done with Accordance 7. Once installed, you should see all of those ranges in the range pop-up menu inside the More Options section of the Search window.

I hope this is helpful to some of you.

In OS X you will need to replace the Search ranges in your user/Preferences/Accordance Preferences, rather than in the Accordance folder.

Thanks! That about covered all the search ranges I need, now I don't have to enter them myself. I love Accordance!

When I tried this Accordance would not launch. The error given was the the search range file was an invalid file type.
Is it the file I move to the prefs or the folder? I moved the file "Search Ranges" that was in the Search_Ranges Folder.

I have found that ranges based on NT authors are helpful as well.

Is there a way to see what ranges you have defined before (or without) replacing the ranges I have defined?

Well, Robb, you could drag your Search Ranges file to the desktop before dragging mine into your Accordance Preferences folder. That way, it wouldn't be replaced and you could drag it back if you prefer your ranges to mine.

But short of that, I can tell you what's included:

For the OT, I have: Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Torah/Pentateuch, Historical Books, Wisdom Literature, Major Prophets, Minor Prophets, Aramaic Passages.

For the NT, I have: New Testament, Gospels, Synoptics, Lukan Corpus, Johannine Corpus, Pauline Epistles, Pastoral Epistles, Non-Pastorals, and General Epistles.

Then I just have a range for each book of the Old and New Testaments.

Hope this helps.

Where is the user/Preferences/Accordance Preference located at, because when I try to get the search ranges to work, it says invalid file type.

It works for me. You just replace the file called Search Ranges in your home user/Library/preferences/Accordance Preferences folder, and restart Accordance. The file should have the same icon as the one it is replacing, if not it got corrupted and I would try downloading again and unstuffing. Zip sometimes messes up the resource fork of files.

I also got a message saying "The name 'search ranges'cannot be used, since it is used by a different type of file."

Is there any kind of hack or feature where I can go up to the search and type something like "Exodus serpent" and it would just search Exodus for the word serpent? It seems like that would be a great shortcut if it could automagically detect a verse range and then a keyword. Is there a way to do that with an applescript?

There is a simple command: try [RANGE ex] < AND > serpent.

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