Like many, my wife and I tend to start every year with aspirations to read the Bible through in a year. And like many, we usually get hopelessly behind schedule about half-way through January! This year, we've committed our family devotions to this ambitious reading schedule. The advantage of doing this is that we now have the kids keeping us accountable to stick with it. The disadvantage is that it is extremely difficult to read three chapters a day—especially when those pesky kids insist on asking questions so they can actually understand what's going on!
Thankfully, I have a secret weapon in my arsenal: Accordance! Here are some of the ways Accordance has bailed me out in recent weeks.
First, I'm using the Daily Readings module (included in the Introductory Level of the Library) to give me the passages for each day. This module includes two through-the-Bible-in-a-year reading plans. A devotional arrangement gives you an Old Testament passage, a New Testament passage, a psalm and/or proverb for each day. A chronological arrangement arranges various Biblical passages in roughly chronological order. We're using the chronological arrangement. I open this module to the current day, and then drag a selection across all the linked Scripture references to view all of them in a text window.
Since pictures always help cement the stories in my kids' minds (okay, I like pictures too!), I've made liberal use of the Bible Art module and the PhotoGuide. We're going through Genesis right now, so the Bible Art module contains wonderful images of Eden, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. I'll use the PhotoGuide whenever a particular place name is mentioned, such as Beer-sheba, which figures prominently in the patriarchal narratives.
Where Accordance really saves the day is when we come to a passage which is particularly difficult to explain—and let's face it, Genesis is chock full of those kinds of stories! Last night we read about Jacob placing striped rods in front of his mating flocks in the hopes that it would magically produce striped offspring. How does one explain that? Thankfully, the IVP Bible Background Commentary on the Old Testament had a very helpful comment on that whole passage. Yet while that commentary helped us understand what Jacob was generally trying to do, it didn't help explain the actual sequence of events in the passage, which was itself somewhat confusing. So I turned to the NIV Study Bible Notes, which gave a nice succinct explanation of who was doing what to whom. I probably could have turned to any decent commentary on the text rather than a study Bible, but time was short and I was looking for something I could scan quickly.
Throughout this little family adventure, Accordance has come in very handy in getting me the information I need to help my children understand a very foreign world. About the only thing Accordance hasn't been much help with is in explaining things like polygamy, incest, deception, rape, and all the other fun topics the Bible exposes us to. When it comes to explaining those things, I'm afraid I'm on my own!