Accordance Blog
Feb 11, 2020 Accordance Bible Software

Celebrate Valentine's Day with 25% Off Storewide

25 Off Valentine

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Accordance is offering users a Storewide 25% Off Discount*! If there are any resources you've had your eyes on, now is the time to act.

But that's not all! Our Accordance 13 Collections Sale is still going through Feb. 17, so if you haven't upgraded to the latest version of Accordance yet, there's still time to save!

Also, the International Septuagint Day Sales are a great way to save on several of our most useful LXX resources, including the lowest prices we have ever offered on the LXX Göttingen: Big 19 Bundle and the LXX Advanced Studies Add-on Bundle!

Special storewide discount cannot be combined with other discounts. The special coupon offer will end on Monday, February 17 (11:59 PM EST.) See below for special conditions.

Save with 25% Off Storewide Coupon

This week, you get to choose what goes on sale! So, take this opportunity to expand your personal Accordance Library, improve your biblical study, and discover new and exciting modules. To show our appreciation to our customers, and to celebrate this time of year, we invite you to visit the Accordance Store today to cash in on your savings! Fill your shopping cart and save 25% using discount code 25Off-Feb2020. Your savings will be applied to the entire cart (*some restrictions apply). So, what's your choice?




Remember this is for one week only and will expire Monday, February 17, 2020 (11:59 PM EST); so happy shopping and savings.

*This coupon does have special conditions:

  • The coupon can be used multiple times.
  • Cannot be combined with other sales (i.e. the Accordance 13 Collections and Septuagint Day sales.)
  • No additional discounts apply.
  • The coupon cannot be applied retroactively; it is for new purchases only.
  • Does not apply to non-discountable items (Crossgrades, Gift Cards, etc.)
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Feb 8, 2020 Richard Mansfield

Happy International Septuagint Day!

Septuagint Day

Today is recognized as "International Septuagint Day" by the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies (IOSCS). Why today? Well, according to the IOSCS website...

The date was chosen because, as Robert Kraft noted, it is “the one date we know of from late antiquity on which LXX/OG/Aquila received special attention." Emperor Justinian’s Novella 146 permitted the Jews of the Roman Empire to read the Scriptures in their synagogues in Greek, Latin, or "any other tongue which in any district allows the hearers better to understand the text". Specifically, "We make this proviso that those who use Greek shall use the text of the seventy interpreters..."

This novella (see English translation) was published on the eighth day of February in the year 553 CE.

To celebrate International Septuagint Day, we have deep discounts on a number of important LXX resources, including the lowest price we've ever offered on the Göttingen LXX series.

If you're looking for fun things to do to celebrate International Septuagint Day, consider viewing one of our previously recorded webinars related to LXX study in Accordance:

LXX Studies

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Feb 7, 2020 Abram Kielsmeier-Jones

Septuagint Vocabulary for Greek New Testament Readers

Abram K-J My love of reading Septuagint texts began with a struggle in Greek 2.

I aced first-semester Greek. But second semester brought “second aorists,” and those irregular verb forms gave me trouble. (Increased responsibilities at home and at work added to my challenge.)

As Willam D. Mounce notes in his Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, sometimes a single letter sets apart a second aorist from the imperfect form of the same verb. So, he recommends, “Memorize exactly.”

I did not memorize exactly, and it showed on my first Greek 2 exam, which was full of second aorists to parse. I didn’t bomb the exam, but I did have to work hard the rest of the semester to get my grade back up to my goal. The exam was also enough to get my (and my professor’s) attention. I scheduled a meeting with him—in part, because my motivation to memorize morphology was waning.

“I loved Hebrew,” I told my professor, “but I’m feeling stuck. And I’m not loving what feels like rote memorization.”

He helped me with some motivational techniques, and then asked me about the Septuagint. Had I ever read it?

I wonder how many second aorists it has, I thought.

But the idea of going back to the Hebrew Bible—in Greek!—was enthralling to me.

I had the added motivation I needed. I wasn’t learning Greek just to read the New Testament now. I was learning it to read the Old Testament, too.

But there was one huge hurdle: even after I completed Greek 2, my vocabulary knowledge was no match for all I was encountering in the Septuagint. There are, after all, about four times as many verses in the Septuagint as in the Greek New Testament. I knew from Mounce’s grammar that there were more than 5,000 unique words in the Greek New Testament. The Septuagint has 2.5 times as many!

This is a significant challenge Greek New Testament readers face when moving to Septuagint reading: there are more (and different) words, so a good knowledge of New Testament vocabulary alone goes only so far.\

Let’s say I’ve learned all the words that occur 50 times or more in the Greek New Testament. How can I get a list of Septuagint words I might not know, but that I should expect to see regularly in the LXX?

Accordance can help.

The HITS command allows us to compare LXX vocabulary with GNT vocabulary. More specifically, I’m going to use Accordance to help me find Greek words that occur infrequently in the Greek New Testament (words I may not know) but that occur frequently in the Septuagint (words I will encounter).

You can define what “infrequently” and “frequently” mean for you; for this example, let’s say anything occurring 49 times or fewer in the GNT is “infrequently” occurring and anything occurring 100 times or more in the LXX is “frequently” occurring. The list I want to generate is the overlap of these two conditions, that is, any Greek word that occurs 49 times or fewer in the GNT and 100 times or more in the LXX. (These will be my “trouble” words when reading the Septuagint.)

The HITS command is designed exactly for this, since it allows you to search the hits from one text in another. Here’s how to do it:

1. Find words that occur 49 times or fewer in the Greek New Testament.

This is an easy search for Accordance. We use the COUNT command to do it. Open any Greek New Testament text, set the search field to “Words,” and enter this string:

[COUNT 1-49]

That will highlight in your New Testament text every word occurring 49 times or fewer.

1_[COUNT 1-49]

(Note: [COUNT 49] will only show you words that occur 49 times, not 49 times or fewer, so be sure to enter the query as [COUNT 1-49] or even [COUNT -49]. You can access the COUNT command by right-clicking in the search entry area, or by starting to type the word COUNT and selecting it from the Quick Entry menu that comes up, or by going to the Search menu and Enter Command.)

You could at this point take a detour and generate an “infrequently occurring vocabulary” word list for the New Testament. Simply go to Analytics (shaded in blue, at the far right of your search bar), and select Word Count Totals/Analysis from the drop-down menu. Then set the Sort drop-down menu to “Count down,” and you’ve got a list of GNT vocabulary from 49 occurrences on down to one occurrence.

Analysis menu

2. Find words that occur 49 times or fewer in the Greek New Testament and 100 times or more in the Septuagint.

This is the second and final step. Open any Septuagint text (we’ll use LXX Rahlfs here), and set the search field to “Words.”

You could use the COUNT command to find words occurring 100 times or more in the Septuagint, just to see them, but we’ll go beyond that with the HITS command, which allows us to take all the words we found from [COUNT 1-49] in our GNT, and search them in the LXX… with the added condition that we don’t want to see all those [COUNT 1-49] words in our LXX, just the ones that occur 100 times or more.

Here’s the search string to enter in your LXX search tab:

[HITS NA28 Greek NT]@[COUNT 100+]

The @ combines the two search criteria: you want to search those GNT hits ([HITS NA28 Greek NT]) in your LXX, but only see those same GNT words when  (@) they occur 100 times or more in the LXX  ([COUNT 100+]).

2_HITS search

Having run this search, you can open the Word Count Totals/Analysis again, sorted by Count Down, to see the list you want: words occurring 49 times or fewer in the New Testament and 100 times or more in the Septuagint. (You can change these COUNT numbers to be whatever you want.) Now you’re setting yourself up for success in Septuagint reading!

word list sorted

I ended my Greek 2 class with an improved grade and, more important, a deeper knowledge and understanding of biblical Greek. Some nine years later, I still immerse myself in the text of the Septuagint whenever I can. Using COUNT and HITS searches in Accordance helps me target Septuagint vocabulary I still don’t recognize. And I even smile a little bit now when I come across a second aorist.

Abram Kielsmeier-Jones is Pastor of Union Congregational Church in Magnolia, Mass. He writes at Words on the Word and is a frequent instructor for Accordance webinars.


Feb 6, 2020 Accordance Bible Software

Accordance 13 Collections and LXX Resources

Acc13 25 Off

It’s time to save big on Accordance 13! This week we're offering 25% savings on all of our Accordance 13 Collections! If you haven't upgraded yet, this is the perfect time. Don't miss out on all the new features offered in Accordance 13 such as Cross Highlighting, searches using the TEXT Command, and more!

But that's not all! In celebration of International Septuagint Day, we're putting many of our most useful LXX resources on sale, some at the LOWEST PRICES we've ever offered!

All featured sale prices are good through Monday, February 17, 2020 (11:59 PM EST) and cannot be combined with any other discounts.

Save 25% on ALL Accordance 13 Collections

Acc13 25 Sale


If you haven't already upgraded to Accordance 13, there's no time like the present! Through February 17, we're offering all of our Accordance 13 Collections at 25% off! This even includes the Starter, Graphics, and Triple Collections!

See What's So Great about 13!

Custom upgrades are available, so you never pay for the same module twice! Easy Payment Plans are also available.

*Just a reminder: Sorry, this offer cannot be applied retroactively.

See Collection Comparison

See Collection Listing and Pricing

Celebrate International Septuagint Day

February 8 is International Septuagint Day, a day to celebrate the Septuagint and encourage its study. Celebrate with Accordance by taking advantage of the special savings we're offering on several of our most useful LXX resources, including the lowest prices we have ever offered on the LXX Göttingen: Big 19 Bundle and the LXX Advanced Studies Add-on Bundle!


LXX Göttingen: Big 19 Bundle (34 Books plus Apparatus)

This product includes the grammatically tagged critical text of the books listed below together with the accompanying apparatus of 34 books.

Print value is over $2800!

List Price $1,139
Regular Price $849
Sale Price $499 (Save 41%)

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LXX Advanced

LXX Advanced Studies Add-on Bundle

This bundle of advanced Septuagint study material can be added to any Accordance Collection.

It contains the MT-LXX Parallel (Tov and Polak), Rahlfs' tagged LXX with Apparatus, the LXXS (Swete text and apparatus), LXXC Apparatus (Cambridge), LEH Lexicon (3rd Edition), along with two grammars (Conybeare & Stock and Thackeray), and two English LXX Translations (Brenton and NETS).

List Price $551
Regular Price $319
Sale Price $199 (Save 38%)

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LEH Septuagint Lexicon (3rd Edition)

The Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint provides a helpful research tool for studying the Septuagint. It presents the vocabulary of the revised edition of the Septuagint, offering English equivalents and discussing special cases in which the Septuagint differs from the masoretic text.

Regular Price $99.90
Sale Price $69.90 (Save 30%)

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The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research (Tov)

This handbook provides a practical guide for the student and scholar alike who wishes to use the Septuagint (LXX) in the text-critical analysis of the Hebrew Bible. It does not serve as another theoretical introduction to the LXX, but it provides all the practical background information needed for the integration of the LXX in biblical studies. The LXX, together with the Masoretic Text and several Qumran scrolls, remains the most significant source of information for the study of ancient Scripture, but it is written in Greek, and many technical details need to be taken into consideration when using this tool. Therefore, a practical handbook such as this is needed for the integration of the Greek translation in the study of the Hebrew Bible.

Regular Price $42.90
Sale Price $29.90 (Save 30%)

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Discovering LXX_120

Discovering the Septuagint: A Guided Reader (Jobes)

This reader presents, in Septuagint canonical order, ten Greek texts from the Rahlfs—Hanhart Septuaginta critical edition. It explains the syntax, grammar, and vocabulary of more than 700 verses from select Old Testament texts representing a variety of genres, including the Psalms, the Prophets, and more.

Regular Price $34.90
Sale Price $25.90 (Save 26%)

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New English Translation of the Septuagint

The 2014 Oxford NETS translation of the Greek into contemporary English, with introductions and notes.

Regular Price $29.90
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Feb 4, 2020 Richard Mansfield

A Closer Look at the CSB Study Bible

CSB Study Bible 3D Last week, we released the CSB Study Bible notes for Accordance Bible Software. Our users have eagerly awaited the release of these study Bible notes since they were first released in print.

Naturally, Accordance users who already have the HCSB Study Bible notes in their libraries will want to know what’s different in the new CSB edition. I will get to that below, but first, the features of the CSB Study Bible notes:

  • 15,000+ study notes

  • 368 word studies

  • 94 photographs

  • 61 timelines• 55 maps

  • 34 articles/essays

  • 21 illustrations/reconstructions

  • 19 charts

  • Book introductions and outlines

  • 52-week Scripture Memory Plan

  • Separate Accordance module for CSB Crossreferences

  • Separate Accordance module for a one-year CSB Study Bible Reading Plan that combines both M’Cheyne Family Readings and M’Cheyne Secret Readings into one plan.

Purchasers of the previous HCSB Study Bible notes will have two questions: (1) What is the difference between the two editions, and (2) is there an upgrade path? I reached out to Lifeway and was told that while there is a great amount of common material between the two volumes, there is new content as well.

CSB Study Bible - iPad

Click/tap on the image above for a larger view

In the update to the new CSB Study Bible notes, there is now an additional front matter essay on “Reading the Bible for Transformation” by Briah H. Cosby. At the end of the New Testament notes, readers will discover an article by Sean McDowell, “What Really Happened to the Apostles” that explores events after the Gospels and Acts. In addition to these, there are six additional essays:

And, of course, all notes and word studies have been updated to reflect the wording of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) in place of the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB).

CSB Study Bible + Daily Reading - macOS

Click/tap on the image above for a larger view

Unfortunately, there is not a direct upgrade path between the new editions, so Accordance users who purchased the previously available HCSB Study Bible notes will have to decide if the changes and additions in the new CSB Study Bible notes are worth the price.

Note that the Christian Standard Bible translation must be purchased separately. In Accordance, the CSB Study Bible notes can be placed in parallel with the CSB or any other text or translation of the Bible.

CSB Study Bible Notes
Regular Price 34.90

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Feb 3, 2020 Richard Mansfield

A Note from an Accordance User in Mainland China

Note: Mark Allison, one of our Content Developers, received this note from an Accordance user in China. If you're keeping up with the news at all these days, you know that China is fairly isolated at the moment because of the outbreak of the Coronavirus. We are reproducing the note below with permission, but withholding the Accordance user's name by his request out of caution.

mouth guard china Hi, Mark. I have been meaning to write this for a while. I am guessing that the majority of Accordance users are students of the original languages and I can clearly see the strengths in the software for doing this.

However, Accordance actually offers something that you may not have considered before. I live in China, and have done so for the last 20 years. (originally from the [withheld]). I was brought up in a Christian home but like so many people, fell away from my faith. In 2014 I came back to the Lord. The immediate problem I had was that I had no Bible or access to any Christian teaching locally.

I found Accordance on the web, and purchased it. Since then I have built up a library of modules. Having this available on my phone, iPad and Mac is incredibly convenient, but more than anything it gives me access to materials that I just cannot find in China. Christian books are just not available. I did manage to order a couple of Bibles from the US which I eventually received; however, they were held in customs for a long time and were clearly opened when I eventually got them.

Accordance gives me the ability to purchase materials online and have instant access to them in a format that is fantastically portable. It would just be impossible for me to purchase what I have in Accordance in a printed format. I would never be able to do that here.

My reliance on Accordance has just increased a whole new level with the outbreak of the virus in China. I am currently at home with my family, stockpiled food and not going outdoors. Sitting with accordance in this current situation is a true blessing.

Anyway, I just wanted to say a big thanks to all the people at Accordance. While I may not be a user that challenges the full functionality of Accordance, I use the software daily, and it is completely invaluable to me.



[name withheld]


Jan 31, 2020 David Lang

A Fond Farewell

Today is my last day at Accordance, at least as a full-time employee. I've been with the company so long I can’t remember exactly when I started, but I do remember that it was around the time Accordance 1.1a was released in April of 1995. That was the version which added support for the tagged Greek Septuagint—heady stuff at the time!


Trying to work with my son on my lap in 1996


As I look back over the last 25 years, I am amazed at the variety of work I have gotten to do. I started as a part-time module developer, writing macros and scripts to convert electronic texts from publishers into fully functional Accordance resources. Over the years, I also had the opportunity to:

  • contribute to the design of the program interface
  • help with marketing
  • test new features and products
  • demonstrate Accordance at conferences like MacWorld Expo and ETS/SBL
  • develop the program’s first in-app help system
  • develop the new interactive tutorials in Accordance 13
  • inaugurate the company blog (almost 14 years ago to the day!)
  • lead live training seminars
  • produce Accordance’s first video training DVD
  • conduct web-based training
  • train other module developers and write supporting documentation
  • create the data for the interactive Atlas and Timeline
  • establish relationships with book publishers, seminaries, and universities
  • write original reference works, including the Bible Lands PhotoGuide and the Bible Times PhotoMuseum
  • support users of all kinds, from Bible scholars to ministry professionals to lay people

In addition to this wide variety of tasks, I have also gotten to see Accordance grow from a small, family-owned business to one of the top Bible software producers in the world. Best of all, I have had the privilege of working with some incredibly brilliant, creative, and genuinely lovely people. Over the years, I've had people look at me and wonder how I landed such a dream job. It has been a dream job, and I know I will miss it.

Demoing Accordance 10 in 2012


So why am I leaving? Because I have other dreams I have long wanted to pursue, and it’s time I gave them my full attention. I have just finished writing a little book about marriage that I have been working on for years, and I want to see it published. I have a half-written devotional I need to dust off and finish, and I have other books in me that have been fighting to get out. I also want to take a more active role in teaching the Bible after so many years of getting paid to study it. So as much as it saddens me to say goodbye to my Accordance family and the work I have loved doing, I need to put my hand to a new plow without looking back.

Let me just end this post by saying what a delight it has been to serve and support so many amazing Accordance users over the years. Your encouragement has kept me motivated to work hard for a quarter century, and one of my greatest rewards has been to see the way your eyes light up when I demo some cool new feature or module we’ve been working on. You are this company’s greatest “asset,” and it has been my pleasure to know you.

If you would like to learn more about my new endeavors, I’ll be actively posting news and updates at I also plan to remain active on the Accordance User Forums. After all, I was an Accordance user before I became an Accordance employee, and I plan to remain an enthusiastic Accordance user for many years to come!


Jan 29, 2020 Sean Nelson

NEW! Targums Wordmap

Newly available with the release of Accordance Version 13.0.3, the Targums WordMap database is the product of the Equivalent Project – a research initiative headed by Dr. Leeor Gottlieb of Bar-Ilan University – which strives to identify and link the contents of ancient biblical translations back to their equivalents in the Hebrew Bible, thus creating a comprehensive synopsis and thesaurus of equivalents of the ancient translations of the Bible.

Targums - Acc 13 - Win

Utilizing Accordance Software’s Targums texts, (the most advanced digital Targum editions available with morphological tagging), the Targums WordMap provides users with powerful and previously unavailable cross-textual search capabilities. For example, a user can easily search for any word in the Hebrew Bible and create a comprehensive list of equivalent translations in the Targums. The results could also be narrowed by specifying which Targum texts to include in the search. Users can also create a detailed synopsis of the texts with precise alignment of all words and their equivalents.


Beyond this, the Targums WordMap allows users to perform searches between the Targums themselves, identifying equivalents and parallels even where these depart from the Hebrew text in expansions. Additionally, if a user wished to quickly find such departures, they could search for any word or words in the Targums that have no equivalents in the Hebrew, or other Targums. Searches like these are especially useful to those wishing to better understand the relationships between the Targums, their choices in translation, and the development of explanatory traditions.

This database also allows users to take advantage of many new features in Accordance 13 such as cross-highlighting of tagged texts and the use of the TEXT command in searches. Learn more about how Accordance 13 can improve your studies!

The Targums WordMap database currently allows users to search and align all words and equivalents in Genesis through Leviticus, and future updates will expand these capabilities to the entire Pentateuch. These updates will be free of charge to those who previously purchased the database.

We are excited to see what new discoveries are made and what new insights are gained by our users as they utilize the capabilities of this database that were heretofore unavailable to the world of biblical scholarship. In truth, the only limit to the usefulness of the Targums WordMap is what question you can think of to ask!

Targums Wordmap Database
Regular Price $149
Sale Price $99.90

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The special pricing listed above is good through Wednesday, February 5, 2020 (11:59 PM EST) and cannot be combined with any other discounts.**  This sale has been extended through Sunday, February 9, 2020.

Note: Hebrew Bible and Targum texts sold separately.

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Jan 27, 2020 Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman

New! Hoffman's Understanding New Testament Greek

Note: We are pleased to announce the immediate release of Understanding New Testament Greek by Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman. Rather than have us describe this phenomenally unique resource (designed specifically to work with Accordance) ourselves, we thought we'd let Dr. Hoffman tell you about this work himself.

Understanding NT Greek - larger cover with border Understanding New Testament Greek: A new and straightforward way to acquire Greek language skills quickly

Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman

There was a time when the typical language requirement for Master of Divinity students was two years of Koine Greek plus a year of Hebrew followed by expectations of using the languages in exegetical classes. For Greek, the goal was to teach students how to read the Greek New Testament. Experience showed that not many students actually achieved that level of competence. Further, it takes ongoing practice to retain and expand one’s reading ability. The unfortunate result was that most pastors had forgotten their Greek and no longer used it in a couple years after seminary.

Meanwhile, changing curriculum requirements often reduced the language requirements to the point where some institutions have no language requirements at all. At the same time, however, incredible advances were being made in Bible software capabilities. What formerly took many books and the tedious process of paging through them was now accessible simply with the click of a mouse button.

This Understanding New Testament Greek grammar is the culmination of these factors in my teaching experience. It was developed out of necessity as a way to teach Greek in one semester. The goal, however, is not to read Greek but, as the title states, to understand Greek. There is very little memorization of vocabulary that is expected, since the software can easily provide the lexical information. The only paradigms students are encouraged to memorize are those of the Greek article and forms of the verb εἰμί. The software provides all the analysis. The focus is on understanding Greek grammar and syntax and becoming proficient in using the tools and resources available in the software.

If one steps back for a moment, the wisdom of such an approach becomes apparent. Unless a student ends up in advanced Greek studies, it is unreasonable to expect that they are going to come up with an English translation that is superior to one that committees of scholars have produced in the many standard versions now available. What students can do, however, is understand why a translation renders in a certain way. Further, they should be able to compare English versions, assess why there are differences, and make decisions on preferred renderings. Approaching Greek this way is a skill that is more easily retained and can be used throughout a ministry career than trying to maintain the ability to read Greek. Learning the software also provides them with the tools and resources to do a wide variety of secondary research.

Hoffman - Understanding NT Greek - macOS

Understanding New Testament Greek comes with a special highlighting file, available on the Accordance Exchange, for anyone to download.

How can the Bible software be leveraged to make understanding Greek possible in a semester’s worth of work? Understanding New Testament Greek accomplishes this by using a color coding system applied to the Greek text (GNT28-T) and in the grammar. For example, most Greek sentences have an indicative verb which appears with gold highlighting in the text. To learn about the possible nuances of translating the different Greek indicative tenses, one consults the gold section of the grammar. Similarly, infinitives are highlighted in green in the text, and one consults the green section of the grammar to identify all the syntactical functions of infinitives in Greek and determine what is the function and how to render it in any particular context. Highlighting is provided for nominative nouns and pronouns (to help locate the subject of a sentence), participles, subjunctive verbs, imperatives, conditional constructions, and prepositions with their objects.

The value of this approach is quickly evident to students.

  • The color coding makes it easier to visualize the structure of the Greek.
  • The color coding provides a visual way to reference the information needed in the grammar.
  • They work with the New Testament Greek text from the beginning. There is no need for made-up simplified sentences.
  • They are equipped to compare and evaluate various English translations.
  • They are trained to use the range of resources available in the Bible software.
  • Studying a Greek text ‘feels doable’ in that it does not require huge commitments of time to get through a verse, and it is a skill that can be applied over a ministry career.

This grammar is intended as a reference grammar, but I have also used it as a teaching grammar. By the end of the second week, students have reviewed English and Greek grammar and are able to translate any Greek indicative verb. In the third week, nouns, the Greek article, and the function of cases is covered. One session covers all that is needed to know for infinitives and another one for imperatives. Subjunctives and conditional constructions get two sessions. Participles take three sessions to cover. That still leaves time to cover the remaining, finer points of Greek grammar.

Whether used for a class or by individuals, whether as an approach to the language or as a resource to more efficiently study the text, Understanding New Testament Greek is a wonderful and colorful (!) resource to use.

Understanding New Testament Greek
Regular Price $19.90

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Note: The highlight file (UnderstandingNTG2) used with this product works with the Greek New Testament (tagged, based on NA28) (GNT28-T). It does not highlight any other Greek text.

Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman, Glatfelter Professor of Biblical Studies at United Lutheran Seminary, has over 20 years of experience teaching Greek. He has been a leader in using technology in the service of seminary education. (Cf. his Biblical Studies and Technological Tools blog.)


Jan 17, 2020 David Lang

Constrained by the Text: The Importance of Greek and Hebrew for Exegesis

Some time ago I was talking with a woman who said she likes to think of the Lord’s prayer differently than it is traditionally recited. She enthusiastically explained that if you just understand the sentence structure a little differently, Jesus’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 takes on a whole new meaning. Here, as best as I can remember, is how she likes to divide the text:

Our Father which art
In heaven hallowed be
Thy name thy kingdom
Come thy will
Be done in earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us
not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

By rearranging the text in this way, this woman “discovered” all kinds of new insights. For example, praying “Our Father which art” enabled her to focus on God’s existence, and reminded her of God describing himself as “I AM” in Exodus 3:14. As I listened to her explanation, I had two thoughts.

On the one hand, I know that the original Greek text did not include punctuation. That was added later, and it is perfectly reasonable to debate how the text should be divided into sentences, clauses, and phrases. For example, one place where I think a simple punctuation change does clarify the text is in Romans 8:33-34. I think the statements “It is God who justifies” and “Christ Jesus is the one who died” are better read as rhetorical questions: “God who justifies?” and “Christ Jesus who died?” Reading the text that way improves the flow of the passage, which is essentially a series of rhetorical questions designed to drive home Paul’s point. Knowing this, I was not willing to dismiss this woman’s suggestion until I had a chance to look at the Greek.

That, of course, was my second thought: “What does the Greek say?” I was pretty sure that the King James Bible’s “which art” was simply supplied by the translators and did not reflect any actual emphasis on God’s existence, but I couldn’t be certain until I had a chance to fire up Accordance. Sure enough, the Greek of Matthew 6:9 reads “Our Father in heaven.” There is nothing in the Greek that emphasizes God’s being or existence—“which art” was simply supplied by the KJV translators. Furthermore, the beginning of the first three petitions is clearly indicated by the presence of a third-person imperative. There is more variation in the structure of the later petitions, but the traditional division is still pretty clearly vindicated.



In a day and age when many people question the value of learning Hebrew and Greek, situations like this underscore the importance of at least a cursory understanding of the languages. Good exegesis is constrained by the text itself. If our interpretations are not supported by the text as it is written, then we know we need to adjust our interpretations.

Yes, much exegesis can be done using a good English translation. In fact, I’ve even argued that it is better to be able to read English well than to know Greek and Hebrew. Nevertheless, the text which we are ultimately exegeting is the original text written in Hebrew and Greek, and there are some interpretive questions which simply cannot be answered unless we ask, “What does the Greek (or Hebrew) say?”

Accordance provides many tools for exploring and analyzing the original Greek and Hebrew texts of the Bible, from English Bibles tagged with Strong’s numbers to high end features designed for language experts. With Accordance, it’s easy for anyone to find out what the Greek or Hebrew says.