Accordance Blog
Apr 23, 2019 Accordance Bible Software

Collections Sale and New Offerings

Historical Pricing

This week, we’re turning back the clock with special "Historical Pricing" on Collections, Custom Upgrades, new titles, and a few more favorites! With prices from an era gone by, take 35% off most Collections and Custom Upgrades (for the next two weeks).

Speaking of past things, you can now see the progression of the Church in the Atlas of Christian History from Fortress Press—new this week for Accordance. And go way back in your exploration of historical hermeneutics with the release of the monumental, 3-volume History of Biblical Interpretation series from Eerdmans Publishing. We have all of this and other history-focused titles on sale this week with savings up to 52% off regular prices. With prices this low, you might just have to check your calendar to see what year this is!

Special pricing on the Collections/Custom Upgrades is good through Monday, May 6, 2019 (11:59 PM EDT). Sale prices on all other products end Monday, April 29, 2019 (11:59 PM EDT) and cannot be combined with any other discounts.


Accordance XII Collections & Custom Upgrades: Huge 35% Off Sale

Collections_banner_nonMaster

Accordance Is the Answer
(Available natively on Windows, Mac, iOS & Android)

No matter where you are in your journey of studying the Scriptures, we have a collection that is right for you, fits your needs, and won't break the bank!

Shop online anytime, or call Customer Service (407-339-5855 from 9 AM to 6 PM EST) for answers to any questions you may have, and receive expert advice on your upgrade purchase.

*Just a reminder: Sorry, this offer cannot be applied retroactively. Also, with Accordance Custom Upgrades, you will only be charged for the modules you are adding or upgrading, never the ones you already own.

See Collections Comparison

See Sale Pricing

Payments plans available.

*This sale excludes Accordance 12 Master Collections and the All-in-All Collection.

Special pricing on Collections/Custom Upgrades is good through Monday, May 6, 2019 and cannot be combined with any other discounts.


New Offerings – History Provides Understanding!

Atlas Christian History_120

Atlas of Christian History

The Atlas of Christian History is built new from the ground up. Featuring more than fifty new maps, graphics, and timelines, the atlas is a necessary companion to any study of Christian history. Concise, helpful text, written by acknowledged authorities, guide the experience and interpret the visuals. Consciously written for students at any level, the volume is perfect for independent students, as well as those in structured courses.

The atlas is broken into five primary parts that correspond well to most major introductions to the topic. The final section on the modern era pays significant attention to the growth of Christianity as a global religion. Extensive maps are provided that illuminate Christianity in Asian, African, and Latin American contexts.

Learn More

Regular Price $21.90
Sale Price $13.90 (Save 37%)

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History of Interpretation_120

A History of Biblical Interpretation Series (3 Volumes)

A History of Biblical Interpretation provides detailed and extensive studies of the interpretation of the Scriptures by Jewish and Christian writers throughout the ages. Written by internationally renowned scholars, this multi-volume work comprehensively treats the many different methods of interpretation, the important interpreters from various eras, and the key issues that have surfaced repeatedly over the long course of biblical interpretation.

Its essays cover broad intellectual and historical movements such as historical criticism, textual criticism, and the quest for the historical Jesus. Each chapter also includes a helpful bibliography for additional study.

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List Price $170
Regular Price $109
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Historical References – It Is Written with Savings up to 52%

Encyclopedia Christianity_120

Encyclopedia of Christianity (5 Volumes)

The Encyclopedia of Christianity is a monumental reference work that addresses the broad interest in Christianity and religion around the world today. Comprehensive, up to date, reflecting the highest standards in scholarship yet intended for a wide range of readers, the ECdescribes the Christian faith and community in their myriad forms today and throughout the 2,000 years of Christian history.

Regular Price $349
Sale Price $169 (Save 52%)

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EAC_120

Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity (3 Volumes)

The Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity covers eight centuries of the Christian church and comprises 3,220 entries by a team of 266 scholars from 26 countries representing a variety of Christian traditions. It draws upon such fields as archaeology, art and architecture, biography, cultural studies, ecclesiology, geography, history, philosophy, and theology.

Regular Price $389
Sale Price $189 (Save 51%)

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Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Period (2 Volumes) (Fiensy, Strange)

In this two-volume set, David A. Fiensy and James Riley Strange have invited an international cast of experts to provide a comprehensive analysis of past and current research on Galilee and up-to-date commentary regarding ongoing site excavations. The articles are filled with supporting photographs, maps, and diagrams to help both experts and nonexperts visualize this important period in the history of Galilee and make it come to life.

Regular Price $120
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Atlas of the European Reformations

A new, definitive atlas of the European Reformations has been needed for many years. Now, coinciding with the reformation anniversaries, Fortress Press is pleased to offer the Atlas of the European Reformations (and a Study Guide).

Regular Price $24.90
Sale Price $15.90 (Save 36%)

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BP-AmColsm

Historic Views of the Holy Land: Bible Places – American Colony Collection

This Accordance module includes all 8 volumes of The American Colony and Eric Matson Collection of photos from the Historic Views of the Holy Land series published by Bible Places. The module includes all the images in high resolution, together with searchable descriptions, captions, bibliography, and Scripture links. This collection includes more than 4,000 selected photographs of sites and scenes from Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. Quotations from 19th-century travelers give additional context to many of the photographs.

Regular Price $149
Sale Price $94.90 (Save 36%)

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Collection of Four (4) Historical Works by Walter Brueggemann

Collection Includes:

  • The Prophetic Imagination (Second Edition)
  • David's Truth in Israel's Imagination and Memory (Second Edition)
  • Hopeful Imagination: Prophetic Voices in Exile
  • The Land: Place as Gift, Promise, and Challenge in Biblical Faith

Regular Price $65.90
Sale Price $41.90 (Save 36%)

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Apr 22, 2019 Richard Mansfield

NEW! A History of Biblical Interpretation Series (3 volumes)

History of Biblical Interpretation - 3D Many might agree with the statement in the New Testament that “no prophetic writing is a matter for private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20, REB). Nevertheless, there has been no lack of suggesting a diverse assortment of interpretive methods over the past few millennia. Making one’s way through the forest of suggestions for understanding the Bible has been aided by such resources as IVP’s Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters, but sometimes there’s a need to gain a perspective from a more chronological and in-depth viewpoint.

Coming at biblical interpretation from its earliest forms down to today is nowhere better handled than in the three-volume History of Biblical Interpretation series edited by Alan J. Hauser and Duane F. Watson. This multi-author work is divided into three volumes: (1) The Ancient Period, (2) The Medieval through the Reformation Periods, and (3) The Enlightenment through the 19th Century. Nearly forty separate scholars contribute to the approximately combined equal number of chapters across the three installments.

Need a better understanding of Rabbinic Midrash? Check out vol. 1, ch. 7. Want to explore Eastern Orthodox Biblical Interpretation? Consult the 5th chapter of the second volume. Find yourself expected to know the lasting legacy of Graf and Wellhausen? Go directly to ch. 10 in the final volume. This series can be read straight through or consulted as needed regarding just about any subject related to Jewish or Christian biblical interpretation, whether ancient or modern.

History of Biblical Interpretation - macOS

Chapters are readable, but not simplified. Covering nearly 1500 combined pages in the print edition, these 40 or so chapters offer an adequate bit of depth; but for the reader wanting to learn even more, a helpful bibliography of further reading is provided with each chapter. Introductory discounted pricing is available for a limited time.

History of Biblical Interpretation
List Price $170
Regular Price $109
Sale Price $69.90

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Special pricing listed above is good through Monday, April 29, 2019 (11:59 PM EDT) and cannot be combined with any other discounts.


List of topics covered and their contributors:

  • Inner-Biblical Exegesis in the Tanak (Esther Menn)

  • Hebrew Into Greek: Interpretation In, By, and Of the Septuagint (Leonard Greenspoon)

  • Philo of Alexandria as Exegete (Peder Borgen)

  • Biblical Interpretation in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Philip R. Davies)

  • Interpretation of Scripture in the Targumim (Martin McNamara)

  • Rabbinic Midrash (Gary G. Porton)

  • The Stabilization of the Tanak (James A. Sanders)

  • The Interpretation of the Tanak in the Jewish Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha (James H. Charlesworth)

  • Interpreting Israel’s Scriptures in the New Testament (Donald H. Juel)

  • The Apostolic Fathers and the Apologists (Joseph Trigg)

  • Alexandrian and Antiochene Exegesis (Frances Young)

  • Jerome and the Vulgate (Dennis Brown

  • Augustine and the Close of the Ancient Period of Interpretation (Richard A. Norris, Jr.)

  • The Formation of the New Testament Canon and Its Significance for the History of Biblical Interpretation (Harry Gamble)

  • The Interpretation of Scripture in the New Testament Apocrypha and Gnostic Writings (Craig A. Evans)

  • Early Medieval Exegesis: Gregory I to the Twelfth Century (Mary A. Mayeski)

  • Jewish Midrashic Interpretation in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (Carol Bakhos)

  • Medieval Jewish Biblical Exegesis (Robert A. Harris)

  • Eastern Orthodox Biblical Interpretation (Paul M. Blowers)

  • The Text of the Tanak (Russell Fuller)

  • The Text of the New Testament (J. Keith Elliott)

  • Scholastic Interpretation of the Bible (Christopher Ocker)

  • The Renaissance Humanists (Erika Rummel)

  • Biblical Interpretation in the Works of Martin Luther (Mark D. Thompson)

  • Biblical Interpretation in the Works of Philip Melanchthon (Timothy Wengert)

  • John Calvin and the Interpretation of the Bible (Barbara Pitkin)

  • Biblical Interpretation in Medieval England and the English Reformation (Lee W. Gibbs)

  • Biblical Interpretation among the Anabaptist Reformers (Stuart Murray)

  • Biblical Interpretation in the Catholic Reformation (Guy Bedouelle)

  • Scriptures in the Vernacular Up to 1800 (Lynne Long)

  • The Term “Enlightenment” and Biblical Interpretation (Michael C. Legaspi)

  • An Overview of Historical Criticism (William Baird)

  • Spinoza and His Influence on Biblical Interpretation (Travis L. Frampton)

  • Schleiermacher as New Testament Scholar and Theologian (Christine Helmer)

  • Biblical Interpretation in the Work of F. C. Baur and the Tübingen School (Darrell Jodock)

  • David Friedrich Strauss and Ludwig Feuerbach: The Rise of Sturm und Drang in Biblical Scholarship (Jeffrey F. Keuss)

  • Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible: Masoretes to the Nineteenth Century (James A. Sanders)

  • Wilhelm De Wette and His Contemporaries (J. W. Rogerson)

  • Graf and Wellhausen, and Their Legacy (Bill T. Arnold and David B. Schreiner)

  • The Text and Lexicography of the New Testament in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (Dirk Jongkind)

  • The Quest for the Historical Jesus and Its Implications for Biblical Interpretation (J. D. G. Dunn)

  • Biblical Interpretation in Continental and American Pietism (Carter Lindberg)

  • Biblical Interpretation in North America Through the Nineteenth Century (Thomas H. Olbricht)

 

Apr 22, 2019 Richard Mansfield

NEW! Altas of Christian History

Atlas of Christian History - 3D Print Bibles usually have maps near the back (and most of our study Bible notes in the Accordance Library have them, too!). Most of the standard Bible maps include some kind of map of the Roman Empire, often related to the travels of the Apostle Paul. But for those interested in the ongoing story of the church, Bible maps tend to only be so helpful.

Releasing today for the Accordance Library, the Atlas of Christian History, by Tim Dowley, “has been designed to examine the origins, beginnings, growth, and worldwide spread and development of Christianity.” This very unique atlas includes over 60 maps (listed below) covering all facets of Christianity from the Early Church to today. These maps are divided up among five sections: (1) The Early Christians, (2) The Church under Siege, (3) The Middle Ages, (4) The Reformation and After, and (5) The Modern Church.

Mission of the 12

This work is not merely a collection of images, but rather Tim Dowley has also included his own detailed descriptions of the spread of Christianity. In print, Atlas of Christian History is around 176 pages. The nature of the written content essentially makes this volume a brief but very competent history of the church in addition to the unique set of geographical images.

Persecution

Accordance users who also have Tim Dowley’s Atlas of European Reformations in their Library already know the usefulness of the maps in these works. Pastors, professors and teachers will especially find these maps helpful for illustrating information in teaching and preaching settings.

Atlas of Christian History is available for discounted introductory pricing for a limited time.

Atlas of Christian History
Regular Price $21.90
Sale Price $13.90

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Special pricing listed above is good through Monday, April 29, 2019 (11:59 PM EDT) and cannot be combined with any other discounts.


List of maps:

  • The Apostles and Tradition

  • Early Christian Communities in Palestine

  • Distribution of Christianity by AD 100

  • Distribution of Christianity by AD 300

  • Constantine the Great and the Christian Church

  • The Spread of Arianism

  • The Council of Chalcedon and the Monophysite Church

  • The Spread of the Nestorian and Monophysite Churches

  • The Church in the West in the Sixth Century

  • The Spread of Monasticism

  • The Empire of Justinian I

  • The Spread of Islam: 622–1075

  • Byzantium under Threat: 632–750

  • Early Missions in the Christian West

  • The Empire of Charlemagne

  • The British Church c. 800

  • The Eastern Orthodox Church c. 1000

  • Christianity in the Kievan Rus’: 1050

  • The Great Schism: 1054

  • The Spread of Cluniac Monasticism

  • The Spread of Cistercian Monasticism

  • The First Three Crusades

  • Christian Oppression of the Jews 1200–1500

  • Medieval Pilgrimage Routes

  • The Rise of the European Universities

  • The Spread of the Franciscan and Dominican Orders

  • Medieval Missions to the Mongol Empire and the East

  • Distribution of Medieval Heresy and Dissent

  • The Growth of Christian Muscovy

  • The Western Church in 1500

  • Charles V and the European Reformation

  • Reformation Europe: 1560

  • Christian Europe: 1600

  • Christian Europe after the Peace of Westphalia: 1648

  • Catholic Missions Worldwide: 1400–1800

  • Christianity in the Philippines C16–C21

  • Protestant Settlers in North America: C17

  • The Church in Europe in 1700

  • Roman Catholic Missions in South America: 1750

  • Pietist Activity in Europe: 1650–1820

  • Distribution of English-speaking Churches in North America: 1750

  • The Great Awakening in North America

  • The Second Awakening in North America: 1790–1830

  • Christianity in Africa to 1800

  • Pioneers of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions

  • Christianity in Africa 1800–1914

  • Christian Missions to India and South-east Asia

  • Protestant and Catholic Missions to China and Japan: 1920

  • Growth and Distribution of Roman Catholicism in the U.S.A.

  • The Rise of New Religious Movements in the U.S.A.

  • The Origins of Pentecostalism in the U.S.A.

  • The Growth and Distribution of African-American Churches

  • The Rise and Distribution of the Church in Australasia

  • Christianity in Latin America: 1900–

  • Worldwide Distribution of Protestant Mission Stations: 1925

  • Significant Meetings of the Worldwide Ecumenical Movement

  • Distribution of Christian Denominations in the U.S.A.: 2000

  • The Russian Church today

  • Worldwide Christianity Today

  • Roman Catholics
  • Eastern Orthodox
  • Protestants
  • Persecution of Christians

 

Atlas of Christian History - ThinkPad

 

 

Apr 19, 2019 Accordance Bible Software

Invaluable! Allen P. Young's Accordance 25 Story

Accordance 25 image no background I first discovered Accordance in 1998 as a student at Talbot School of Theology. I hadn’t started my language studies, but Dr. Clinton Arnold (then current Dean) suggested Bible software compatible with the Mac platform from The Gramcord Institute directed by Dr. Paul Miller. During those early years I eventually upgraded to the Scholar 4 version. On August 25, 2005, I moved under the Accordance banner with Scholar 6.4.

Over the years, I have added modules that have aided me in ministry. Accordance is invaluable for sermon and teaching preparation, personal Bible study, and biblical research.

I always look forward to the weekly newsletter with its specials. Currently I am using Accordance 12.3.4. I have had the opportunity to attend several seminars at Talbot (2005, 2007) and at ETS. I love the Accordance podcast, “Lighting the Lamp,” with Dr. J., as well as the free webinars. I appreciate that the Accordance team shares their wisdom on how to more effectively use Accordance in ministry. The Devotional feature in Accordance has encouraged me read through the Scriptures annually.

Allen P. Young

Thank you to the gifted team at Accordance for making this tool available to glorify our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!


Throughout many years of ministry, Allen P. Young has been the English Pastor for a Taiwanese church, the Outreach Pastor for a multicultural church, and preached and taught at a multitude of churches and venues (including MCB Camp Pendleton and University of Irvine Christian club) throughout southern California.

Want to tell your Accordance 25 Story? Email it to [email protected] If we use your story, you could get a $25 credit for your next purchase.

 

Apr 16, 2019 Accordance Bible Software

Redemption and Renewal – 25% Off Entire Order

Redemption Renewal

This year, Passover begins at sunset on April 19. Easter/Pascha falls on April 21 for most Catholic and Protestant churches and April 28 for most Eastern Orthodox churches. How do these holidays relate to each other, and what are the origins of these names? For a brief overview, be certain to check out a recent post on the Accordance blog.This week we have reduced prices on a number of select titles to go with this week's sacred observances. If you don't see what you need in our selections, take an additional 25% off the non-sale items of your choice with the coupon code below. We pray that the coming days will truly be a special season of Redemption and Renewal for all our Accordance customers.

Sale prices on all products featured below end Monday, April 22, 2019 (11:59 PM EDT) and cannot be combined with any other discounts.


25% Off Your Entire Order

Spr19-25x1

Use coupon code Spr19-25x1 at checkout to get 25% off one entire order! The code can be used once and can be applied to any items including Custom Upgrades, but cannot be combined with any other offers. Remember, this offer is for one week only and will expire Monday, April 22, 2019; so, get anything you want or need and save! You can even put the order on our Payment Plan for up to 12 months.

This coupon does have special conditions:

  • The coupon is valid for only one use, but applies to the entire order.
  • No additional discounts apply.
  • The coupon cannot be applied retroactively; it is for new purchases only.
  • Does not apply to non-discountable items (Crossovers, Crossgrades, Gift Cards, etc.)

Select Works for Passover and Easter

JPS Haggadah_120

JPS Commentary on the Haggadah: Historical Introduction, Translation, and Commentary

Joseph Tabory, one of the world’s leading authorities on the history of the haggadah, traces the development of the seder and the haggadah through the ages.

Regular Price $39.90
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NTW-Resurrection_120

The Resurrection of the Son of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God (Volume 3)

This book, third in Wright’s series Christian Origins and the Question of God, sketches a map of ancient beliefs about life after death, in both the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds. It then highlights the fact that the early Christians’ belief about the afterlife belonged firmly on the Jewish spectrum, while introducing several new mutations and sharper definitions.

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Bonhoeffer-God on Cross_120

God Is on the Cross: Reflections on Lent and Easter

These forty-seven stirring devotions will guide and inspire readers as they move thematically through the weeks of Lent and Easter, encountering themes of prayerful reflection, self-denial, temptation, suffering, and the meaning of the cross.

Regular Price $9.90
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Jesus Final Days_120

Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened

What do history and archaeology have to say about Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection? In this superb book, two of the world’s most celebrated writers on the historical Jesus share their greatest findings. Together, Craig A. Evans and N. T. Wright concisely and compellingly convey the drama and the world-shattering significance of Jesus’ final days on earth.

Regular Price $12.90
Sale Price $6.90 (Save 47%)

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Feasting-Worship_120

Feasting on the Word Worship Companion (6 Volumes)

Based on the Revised Common Lectionary, the Feasting on the Word Worship Companion series provides liturgical pieces used in preparing for worship, offering a multitude of poetic prayers and responsive readings for all parts of worship.

Regular Price $139
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Apr 15, 2019 Richard Mansfield

What's in a name? Passover, Pesach, Pascha & Easter

Although historically often at odds with each other, the Jewish and Christian faiths can potentially find common ground through related holidays occurring every Spring. I’m referring, of course, to Passover (Pesach) and Easter (Pascha). This year, Passover begins at sunset on April 19. Easter/Pascha falls on April 21 for most Catholic and Protestant churches and April 28 for most Eastern Orthodox churches. How do these holidays relate to each other, and what are the origins of these names? See below for a brief summary and follow the hyperlinks to much more detailed information.

Passover

The origins of the Jewish Passover can be found in Exodus 12. After centuries of slavery, God is about to lead His people out of Egypt, but not before delivering upon the threat given to Pharaoh of the tenth and final plague: the death of the firstborn. Preparations were to be made regarding Israelite families’ final meal in Egypt as well as a command to apply the blood of the animal eaten in that meal upon the doorposts and lintels of the houses. When the death angel visited Egypt that night, the firstborn was spared if the blood of a sheep or goat was found at the door of that home. Thus, it is said that the angel passed over each protected home, giving the name “Passover” to the event.

Later on, when Moses received the Law from God in the wilderness, the Israelites were commanded to commemorate the Passover event:

“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, there shall be a passover offering to the LORD, and on the fifteenth day of that month the LORD’S Feast of Unleavened Bread. You shall eat unleavened bread for seven days.”

(Leviticus 23:5-6, JPS Tanakh)

Although, technically two commemorations—Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread—the designation Passover today generally refers to the full celebration lasting eight days. Unleavened bread is eaten as part of this commemoration because the Israelites had to eat the Passover meal in a hurry and did not have time to wait for yeast to make bread rise before it could be baked. The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words describes the traditional Passover observance in its entry, “Pesach”—

Pharaoh allowed the Israelites, led by Moses, to flee. They left Egypt in such haste that they did not even have time for their bread to rise. They had to eat unleavened bread, or matzah. This is the basis for one of the most important traditions of Pesach: eating only matzah, not bread or leavened products. During the week of Pesach, special cookies and cakes made with matzah meal and other pesachdik ingredients are eaten.

Before Pesach begins, a Jewish family cleans the entire home—especially the kitchen—to remove all crumbs and traces of regular bread and bakery products, called hametz. Many families even change their dishes and silverware, using special sets reserved for Pesach.

Pesach begins with a long, carefully ordered meal and service called a seder. On the table is a seder plate with symbolic foods: beitzah, maror, haroset, zeroa, and karpas, whose meanings are explained in the course of the seder. Other special items, such as matzah, Elijah’s Cup, and sometimes Miriam’s Cup, are also on the table. Participants use a prayer book called a haggadah, which includes the story of the holiday, the Four Questions, and traditional songs.

While Pesach is observed primarily at home, there are synagogue festival services on the first and last days. Biblical readings are from The Song of Songs, one of the five megillot. A Yizkor service is held on one of the last days.

Seder meal

Passover Seder Plate from Pictorial Library of Bible Lands: Cultural Images of the Holy Land

Joseph Tabory, in The JPS Commentary on the Haggadah (the most extensive source I know on the subject!), writes that the seder meal mentioned above “is the founding ceremony of the Jewish people, a ceremony based on the centrality of the family as the basic Jewish institution.” Tabory further states that the seder observance “is…a celebration of freedom of person and of nation.”

Pesach to Pascha

Sometimes you might see mention of Passover, especially when celebrated in non-English traditions, referred to its Hebrew name: פֶּסַח or the English transliteration, pesach. This word occurs about 74 times in the Hebrew Bible. When the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek (known as the Septuagint, or abbreviated as LXX) beginning around 200 BCE, the Greek word πάσχα/pascha (or variants φασεκ, φασεχ in 2 Chronicles). When the New Testament writings were composed in the first century, the precedent set in the LXX was followed, and pascha was used to refer to the Passover around 29 times.

OSB Resurrection Icon

Image to the right: Resurrection of Christ icon from The Orthodox Study Bible

In the New Testament, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is directly connected to the Jewish Passover celebration by way of both timing and theology. Jesus is specifically arrested and crucified before the Passover for fear of riots once an influx of pilgrims appear in Jerusalem (see Matt 26:2 and Mark 14:2). Jesus’ “Last Supper” is a Passover meal that he celebrated with his disciples (see Matt 26:17). The crucifixion takes place on the Jewish Day of Preparation for the Passover (see John 19:14, 31) “when the Passover lambs [were] slaughtered in the Temple” (see note in the Jewish Annotated New Testament). The Jewish Babylonian Talmud also gives witness to Jesus’ crucifixion taking place on the eve of Passover (see Sanhedrin 43:1, II.1.C). The timing of these events was not lost on the early Christians who saw Jesus Christ as the “Passover lamb” (see, for instance, 1 Cor 5:7). In Christian celebrations, it is not the day of the crucifixion (“Good Friday”) that receives most attention, but rather the “Resurrection Sunday,” which is primarily referred to as Pascha or Easter, although the terms are sometimes used generically to also include the events leading up to the day.

Easter

Interestingly, although using a variety of words to refer to the Passover in both Old and New Testaments, the Latin Vulgate retains pascha for many references to the Passover, especially in the New Testament. In fact, worldwide, most Christians refer to their holiday as “Pascha,” and not “Easter.” Primarily, it is only English-speaking Catholics and Protestants who use the word Easter. Why is this?

Not a lot is known for certain about the English word Easter. In fact, everything we know about the word comes from one mention in passing by the Venerable Bede (673-735). According to him, the word referred to an Anglo-Saxon goddess, Ēostre. In his day, the pagan springtime festival honoring the goddess had already been replaced by Christian Pascha celebrations, but the old name for the occasion had still stuck around (see articles in The Encyclopedia of Christianity and The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary for more information). Although some have wanted to connect Ēostre to the Canaanite goddess Asherah, mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, there has not been a definitive connection made to date, to my knowledge. The explanation from Bede is the only real information how “Easter” came to be known for Pascha in English-speaking Christian traditions. English-speaking Orthodox Christians still generally refer to the holiday as Pascha as do most non-English-speaking Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Christians.

Final thoughts

We occasionally receive correspondence objecting to the use of “Easter” in one of our newsletters or other marketing material since the name, as described above, has pagan roots. Personally, I don’t get too hung up on this kind of thing. I believe God honors our intentions with such designations, but if we want to remove all pagan references from the calendar, we have lots of work to do (Thor’s Day anyone?). My faith tradition primarily uses the name Pascha instead of Easter, and I believe that to be a good, biblical substitute if anyone is especially concerned about such things.

Regardless of whether one goes by the label of Jewish or Christian, the festivities of Passover/Pesach/Pascha/Easter offer us a time of celebrating redemption and renewal. We thank God for his active role in seeking us out and providing means for our salvation. We reflect upon the new opportunities given to us to serve him out of thankful hearts. Even with the differences that sometimes divide us, we can surely agree on these common ideas of God’s redemptive acts on our behalf.

This year Passover and Good Friday (in the West) observances fall on the same day (April 19). What determines the dates for Passover/Pesach and Pascha/Easter? The answer to that question can be complicated, but it can be found with the right tools in the Accordance Library. Stay tuned for an upcoming post to address that issue!

 

 

 

Apr 11, 2019 David Lang

25 Reasons We’re Still Going Strong: Design Philosophy

Accordance 25 image no background When Accordance 1.0 was released 25 years ago, there were seemingly dozens of Bible software programs to choose from. Today, only a small handful are still in operation. So how has Accordance managed to keep going strong after all these years?

In this series of posts, I’m considering 25 reasons I think we’ve managed to defy the odds. In previous posts, I covered 5 motivational reasons for our continued success, as well as 6 reasons related to our development philosophy. In this post, I’ll cover five aspects of our approach to software design which have contributed to Accordance’s longevity.

Design Reasons

12. We Keep the Bible Central. It seems pretty obvious that Bible Software should keep the Bible at the center of the user’s attention, but alas, not all Bible programs do.

The value of Bible software is that it offers various tools for studying the Bible: commentaries, highlighting, searching, language tools, etc. Each of these tools has its place, but none is more important than actually reading the text of the Bible itself. For example, if you’re too quick to turn to a commentary, you can end up reading your passage of study through the lens of that commentator’s opinions. Likewise, if you do a search and don’t take the time to read each result in context, you can get a distorted view of what the Bible actually says on that subject.

Now, if a Bible program wants to be seen as powerful, the temptation is to make all those various Bible study tools as visible as possible. The danger is that you end up encouraging the user to leave the biblical text in order to play with all of the toys or to work their way through an information dump. It’s an easy trap to fall into, and one which we work hard to avoid.

In Accordance, the text of the Bible is typically the first thing that you’ll see. The various tools you can use are readily available, but we’ve tried to make them relatively unobtrusive rather than letting them scream for attention. When you do access those tools, they typically open beside your Bible, so that the text remains the central aspect of your Bible study experience.

13. We Think Outside the Book. You’ve heard of thinking outside the box? At Accordance, we think outside the book.

Before Kindle mainstreamed the e-Book, Bible Software developers were almost certainly the most active distributors of electronic books. Even now, Accordance and most other Bible programs offer far more sophisticated e-books than those available for Kindle, with better hyperlinking, easier searching, and better integration with other books in the user’s library. Nevertheless, many developers are so focused on replicating the experience of using a book that they actually bring some of the limitations of printed books into their electronic libraries.

At Accordance, we’ve always looked for ways to think outside the book, to leverage the power of the computer to encourage new ways to interact with the information contained in our electronic books. When it comes to the Bible text, we let you customize the appearance of the text to your heart’s content. Don’t like red-letter? Hide it. Find all the footnote markers distracting? Get rid of them. Find the poetic formatting looks awkward in narrow panes? Suppress it. You can even remove the verse references to create your own “Reader’s Bible”! Why should you be bound by the design choices of publishers who were preparing a book for print?

DisplayOptions

In addition to customizing the kinds of content you see, you can also adjust the amount of content you see. In Bible tabs, you can drag the context slider to change the amount of context you see. In Tool tabs, you can go to the Gear menu and choose how much content you want to see from the Show Text As submenu. For example, let’s say I want to search a resource for illustrations I can use in a slide presentation. By searching the Captions field of the The Holman Illustrated Study Bible and choosing Paragraphs from the Show Text As submenu, I turn the study Bible into an image catalog!

ImageCatalog

That’s what I mean by thinking outside of the book. Rather than being bound by the way a given book presents information, Accordance lets you tailor that information according to your current needs.

14. We Don’t Compartmentalize. Many Bible programs fall into the trap of compartmentalizing various kinds of Bible study tasks. Thus, each Bible study task—reading the Bible, examining the results of a search, comparing translations, viewing an interlinear, and so on—tends to be treated as a separate task which takes place in its own window with its own distinct interface. If you’re like me, Bible study is typically a much more organic and free-flowing process. I may start to read, find something I want to search, become curious about how other translations handle that aspect of the text, look up the Greek or Hebrew behind it, consult a commentary, etc. If I had to open a separate window with a distinct interface for each of these tasks, Bible study would become painfully laborious. But in Accordance, I can do all of these things within the Search tab as the occasion demands: open a pane, check a box, drag a slider, enter a search, or whatever. By not compartmentalizing Bible study tasks, Accordance offers a flexible interface that is ready for anything.

FlexibleInterface

15. We Don’t Play Hide and Seek. Up to now, the design principles we’ve covered have been “more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules” (to quote Captain Barbosa from Pirates of the Caribbean). This one feels more like a rule. Our development team is absolutely committed to avoiding an interface which plays hide-and-seek with the user.

For example, when you enter a search in the top part of a search tab, you get your search results down below, but the search argument itself stays visible. Why? Because we never want you to be confused about how you got your search results. What’s more, we always try to give you visual feedback so you know exactly what’s going on. For example, when you enter your search argument, the text appears black, but once you hit return, it changes to gray to indicate that the search has been run. It may seem like a little thing, but I have actually had times when I have created a complex search, and before I could hit Return to run the search, my little boy came in and distracted me. When I finished with him, I looked at my search results and was confused, because they didn’t match what I expected. It was only when I looked at the text color of my search argument that I realized I simply hadn’t run my newest search.

Here’s another example. In the Atlas window, you can select more than one map layer from one of the pop-up menus by holding down the Shift key while selecting the second layer. In this example, I’ve combined two region layers: Herod’s Kingdom and Tribe Borders. But since the pop-up menu can only show one layer at a time, we add a plus beside the name so you will know there are additional layers. You can then open the pop-up menu to see all the currently selected layers, which are marked by a plus sign.

TwoRegionLayers

I could give you countless other examples, but you get the idea. We never want what you view to be affected by some hidden criteria or selection which you can’t immediately see has been selected. So we always offer some sort of visual feedback.

16. “Easy is Hard”. I stole my title for this design principle from The Macintosh Bible, an old book about Macintosh computers which included this bit of wisdom:

There’s a macho attitude among some computer jocks … that the harder something is to deal with, the more advanced it is. Actually, of course, it’s very hard to make things easy. The more work you put into something, the less work the person who uses it has to do. So if you find yourself beating your head against a wall erected by someone’s laziness (or greed), look around for a different wall that someone else took the trouble to put a door in. And if anybody mocks what you’re using as a toy, just smile and say, “Easy is hard. Hard is primitive.”

That actually sums up our approach to software design quite nicely. It’s hard to make something easy, which is why many software developers never bother to try. It takes effort to program Accordance to recognize just about any Bible book abbreviation you happen to enter. It required work to let you enter Greek and Hebrew grammatical tags using real words in any order you want rather than forcing you to learn cryptic codes which must be placed in a specific order. It requires work to continually streamline and refine the Accordance interface to make it increasingly easy to use.

Easy is indeed hard. But when you create a product that makes studying the Bible easy for many thousands of people, all that effort is well worth it.


That’s 5 aspects of our design philosophy which have enabled Accordance to keep going strong after 25 years. In my next post, we’ll look at reasons related to some key business decisions we’ve made along the way.

 

Apr 8, 2019 Richard Mansfield

NEW! All the People of the Bible

All the People in the Bible - 3D If you’re already thinking to yourself, “I don’t need another Bible dictionary; I’ve got plenty of Bible dictionaries,” please keep reading a bit longer.

All the People in the Bible: An A-Z Guide to the Saints, Scoundrels, and Other Characters in Scripture by Richard Losch is not your typical, dry Bible dictionary. Losch writes the entries in narrative fashion with a style that is personal, witty, and occasionally (with appropriateness) a bit sarcastic.

When the title says, “All the People in the Bible,” it means just that. Everyone is covered here, although insignificant people who only appear in genealogies and have no bearing on the story of the Bible will only be included in a list without a separate entry. However, there are entries for insignificant characters—whether mentioned in the Bible or not—if they had greater impact in world history. Losch goes beyond just the biblical data to occasionally include information from pseudepigrapha and other ancient legends and histories.

Major biblical characters are covered in All the People in the Bible as you would expect in any Bible dictionary, but the major focus is “on the lesser characters in the Bible than on the great.” The bulk of the dictionary focuses on biblical characters, but there are also separate sections for “All the people in the Bible and Apocrypha,” kings of the Jewish monarchies, Seleucid emperors, Maccabean leaders, Hasmonean kings, and the Herodian family line and dynasty.

All the People in the Bible - macOS

To give you a taste for the entries, here are a few excerpts. Note that none of these excerpts constitutes the entire longer entry for each subject.

Samson. Instead of spiritual strength, it seems that Samson was given great physical strength. He was something of an enigma. He was ostensibly a holy man, yet he had a vile temper, an insatiable thirst for vengeance, and a penchant for immoral women (rather like Rasputin). Apparently the only part of his vow that Samson observed was that no razor should ever touch his head, because there was liberal use of wine at many of his encounters with Delilah and the Philistines. He also violated Jewish Law in eating the honey from the lion’s carcass, because any contact with a dead body, including that of an animal (except one that was ceremonially killed), made a person ritually unclean (Judg. 14:8ff.)…The collection of Samson stories in the book of Judges is an example of ancient Hebrew story-telling at its best.

Delilah. That Samson continued to be with her despite her attempts to deceive him is evidence that his infatuation had completely overcome his wisdom and his caution. It even makes one question his intelligence. One can picture Delilah pouting in the corner whining, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me?” (Judg. 16:15).

Abraham. Probably the most common image that people hold of Abraham is that of a wandering mystic, the founder of a new religion. Nothing could be further from the truth. He was, indeed, the patriarch through whom God first revealed himself to what would become the Jewish people. However, he was in no way a gaunt ascetic roaming the hills of Canaan, but the ancient counterpart of a very wealthy Bedouin sheik ruling over hundreds of subjects and retainers. His name was Abram, and it was changed to Abraham when he made the final confirmation of his covenant with God.

Lazarus of Bethany. John reports that the word of this miracle shocked his enemies to the point that they were ready to kill Jesus (John 11:53), and it was unquestionably one of the most important events in Jesus’ ministry short of the passion itself. This immediately raises the question of why such an important event is not mentioned by any of the other three evangelists. Some believe that the story is a fiction, having grown out of the parable of Lazarus and Dives (in which Jesus said that they would not believe even if one returned from the dead). This, however, does not account for the presence of Mary and Martha in the story. It is also possible that the others had not heard of it, but this is unlikely. A reasonable explanation is that Matthew, Mark, and Luke chose not to tell the story during the lifetime of Lazarus, because his very existence was a threat to the enemies of Christianity, who would be happy to see him dead.

In the novel The Last Temptation of Christ, Nikos Kazantzakis presents an entirely different view of Lazarus. In his account Lazarus is restored to life but retains the ravages of four days’ decay in order to demonstrate the unimportance [p. 257] of life in this world compared to everlasting life with God. He is then murdered by fanatics. While this is out of the mainstream of Christian theology, it is certainly not inconsistent with it. It presents a fascinating image to contemplate.

Jonah. While the first part of the book deals with an unwilling prophet, the second deals with a petulant one. When Jonah preached his message of repentance to Nineveh, the king rent his clothes, proclaimed a fast, demanded that his people change their ways, and prayed that God would not destroy the city as Jonah had prophesied. God had compassion on them and spared the city.

Jonah was furious and stomped out of the city, saying that he wanted to die. He represents a typical weakness of the overzealous—he preached the compassion of God and then was angry when it was bestowed on a people who did not think exactly as he did.

Judas Iscariot. Judas Iscariot is undoubtedly one of the most despised men in history. His very name has become a synonym for treachery and betrayal, and in the Inferno Dante places him in the deepest pit in Hell.1 He is also a great enigma. Almost everything about him poses questions for which there are few or no answers. … We will never know for sure what motivated Judas to deliver up Jesus, and this may be just as well. The aura of mystery and the plethora of unanswered questions enable us to see ourselves in him. The weakness, misplaced zeal, and misunderstanding of the truth that we see in Judas we can also see in ourselves, underscoring the belief of Christians that only the death and resurrection of Jesus could save us from the same faults that are within all human beings.

Mary Magdalene. She is also the center of much controversy. In recent years, because of the novel The Da Vinci Code, a number of ancient and mostly forgotten traditions have resurged. These include the claim that she was Jesus’ wife and that she was chosen by Jesus to lead the apostles, only to be suppressed later by the male apostles and by the church. These stories have gained wide popular interest, but they are given little credence by most scholars.1

The most commonly believed story about Mary is that she was a reformed prostitute. There is absolutely no evidence for this claim, and the consensus among scholars is that it is patently untrue. The reason for this misconception is that Luke introduces her immediately following a story of a prostitute (Luke 7:36ff.), and readers have associated the two women. In the sixth century CE Pope Gregory I made this association in a sermon, and Mary has been identified as a prostitute ever since. Luke introduces her in the next chapter (8:2) as one of several women who had been cured of diseases and evil spirits. Prostitution (or any moral lapse) was not considered by the Jews to be the work of possession by evil spirits but the result [p. 278] of human sinfulness. Luke says that Mary was freed of seven demons, indicating some kind of mental or spiritual problem. She may have had a nervous breakdown, some serious neurosis, or deep depression, and apparently Jesus cured her. The statement that there were seven demons denotes that her condition was very serious and probably recurrent.

Luke also identifies her as a financial supporter of Jesus (8:3), indicating that she was one of his patrons.


All the People in the Bible: An A-Z Guide to the Saints, Scoundrels, and Other Characters in Scripture by Richard Losch is available with introductory discounted pricing for a limited time.

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Apr 8, 2019 Richard Mansfield

NEW! Eerdmans' Preaching Christ from the Old Testament Series

Preaching Christ from the OT - all 5

In expository preaching circles, the name of Dr. Sidney Greidanus has become synonymous with the idea of preaching Christ from the Old Testament. He has been able to put his experience as both pastor and professor to good use in his series of books on Preaching Christ from the Old Testament. We’re pleased to offer his complete series of five volumes for the Accordance Library, beginning today. These volumes may be purchased together as a set or individually.

Greidanus calls the methodology used in his books a “redemptive-historical Christocentric method.” He has developed a 10-step method for going from the biblical text to the sermon. These steps are included in every book. Context and literary features are essential early steps for understanding the passage. That is, Greidanus emphasizes that no passage in the Old Testament can be looked at from a Christocentric perspective before it can be understood in its original setting.

Each of the four volumes on specific Old Testament books are means of giving further concrete explorations of the methods in the first book upon specific writings of the Old Testament. The final volume focuses on the 22 psalms found in The Revised Common Lectionary for reading in Year A of the Christian year. Each chapter of these books walks the reader through the issues related to Greidanus’ 10 steps of sermon preparation. These chapters are not sermons themselves but explorations of methodology related to specific passages. Sample sermons following Greidanus' methods, preached by the author himself at actual churches, can be found in the appendices of the books.

Preaching Christ from the OT - Win

Although initially written for classroom use, Greidanus states that he has preachers, seminary students, and Bible teachers in mind as the target audience of these volumes. Scripture quotations are most often from the New Revised Standard Version.

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Here is a brief overview of the individual volumes.

Preaching Christ from the Old Testament - 3D Preaching Christ from the Old Testament (1999)

This is the volume that started it all! When Dr. Greidanus began teaching preaching classes at Calvin College, he wanted to offer a course on Christocentric preaching in the Old Testament. To his surprise, he couldn’t find a suitable textbook; so he wrote his own.

Greidanus outlines an overview of this book in his preface:

We are about to embark on a journey of discovery. Our voyage will take us from the necessity of preaching Christ to the necessity of preaching from the Old Testament (Chapter 1), to the necessity of preaching Christ from the Old Testament (Chapter 2), to the struggles in church history to attain this requirement (Chapters 3 and 4). We expect to learn from the failures as well as the triumphs. Meanwhile, we will have to sort through many fundamental issues on which there is no agreement among contemporary scholars. For example: What do we mean precisely by preaching Christ? Is God-centered preaching of the Old Testament sufficient, or should preachers aim for explicitly Christ-centered sermons? Is the Old Testament a sub-Christian, a pre-Christian, or a Christian book? Should the Old Testament be interpreted in its own context, in the context of the New Testament, or both? Does or does not the Old Testament witness to Christ, and, if so, how? Is typological interpretation in the same league with allegorical interpretation? Is the New Testament use of the [p. xiv] Old Testament normative for preachers today, or is this “precritical” interpretation outdated (Chapter 5)? And how, specifically, does one go about preaching Christ from the Old Testament in a responsible manner (Chapter 6)? We will conclude our journey by suggesting specific steps for moving from Old Testament text to Christian sermon (Chapter 7) and by providing concrete examples of ways of preaching Christ from the Old Testament (Chapter 8).

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Preaching Christ from Genesis - 3D Preaching Christ from Genesis: Foundations for Expository Sermons (2007)

From the publisher:

Packed with unique features, Preaching Christ from Genesis

  • uses the latest scholarly research to analyze twenty-three Genesis narratives
  • presents the rhetorical structures and other literary features of each narrative
  • discloses the message for Israel (theme) as well as the author's likely purpose (goal)
  • explores various ways of preaching Christ from each narrative
  • offers sermon exposition and commentary in oral style
  • suggests relevant sermon forms, introductions, and applications

Including helpful appendixes -- "Ten Steps from Text to Sermon," "An Expository Sermon Model," and three of the author's own Genesis sermons -- this volume will be an invaluable resource for preachers and Bible teachers.

Preaching Christ from Genesis
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Preaching Christ from Ecclesiastes - 3D Preaching Christ from Ecclesiastes: Foundations for Expository Sermons (2010)

From the publisher:

A respected expert in both hermeneutics and homiletics, Greidanus does preachers a great service here by providing the foundations for a series of expository sermons on Ecclesiastes. He walks students and preachers through the steps from text to sermon for all of the book's fifteen major literary units, explores various ways to move from Ecclesiastes to Jesus Christ in the New Testament, and offers insightful expositions that help the preacher in sermon production but omit the theoretical and often impractical discussions in many commentaries.

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Preaching Christ from Daniel - 3D Preaching Christ from Daniel: Foundations for Expository Sermons

From the publisher:

In Preaching Christ from Daniel Sidney Greidanus shows preachers and teachers how to prepare expository messages from the six narratives and four visions in the book of Daniel. Using the most up-to- date biblical scholarship, Greidanus addresses foundational issues such as the date of composition, the author(s) and original audience of the book, its overall message and goal, and various ways of preaching Christ from Daniel. Throughout his book Greidanus puts front and center God's sovereignty, providence, and coming kingdom.

 

Preaching Christ from Daniel - iPad/iOS

 

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Preaching Christ from the Psalms Preaching Christ from the Psalms: Foundations for Expository Sermons in the Christian Year (2016)

From the publisher:

Beginning with a general introduction on how pastors can interpret and preach from the biblical psalms — and why they should — Greidanus proceeds by discussing twenty-two psalms in the Revised Common Lectionary, Year A, supplying the building blocks necessary to preach from Psalms at Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, and other major days and seasons of the church year. In addition to laying out basic homiletical-theological approaches suitable for each selected psalm, these chapters also provide verse-by-verse exposition, bridges to Christ in the New Testament, and ideas for placing the psalmist's words into contemporary context.

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For even more information, check out this review.

 

Apr 1, 2019 Richard Mansfield

NEW! The Access Bible

Access Bible - 3D Most study Bibles are aimed at Evangelical readers. Released today for the Accordance Library, The Access Bible (notes) has been a favorite study Bible for “mainline” Christians for a nearly two decades. Now in its second edition, The Access Bible has updated all content of the original but has also added additional essays and introductions.

Here is the publisher’s description of The Access Bible:

The Access Bible has long been the go-to study Bible for mainline Christians looking for insight into and background for the Bible. Designed for the individual reader, it's accessible to new readers but also offers enough depth for those who are already familiar with the texts but want to delve deeper into the culture and context of their authors and origins. A unique feature of the Access Bible is the running commentary which is interspersed with the Bible text. Difficult concepts are clearly explained in terms which everyday readers can easily understand. There's no need to have a dictionary by your side when you're using the Access Bible, Updated Edition. When a technical explanation is required, all of the terms are defined right on the page, as well as in a glossary at the back. History, social contexts, religious practices, the beliefs of ancient peoples-all are explained when the Bible text requires it. In addition, this Bible was designed to contain all the background information needed by believers from a wide spectrum of churches. The Access Bible sets a new standard for ease of understanding.

Access Bible - macOS

Click/tap on the image above for a larger look at The Access Bible notes in Accordance 12.

The Access Bible notes provides commentary and other content on all books of the Hebrew Bible, Apocrypha, and New Testament that are found in the New Revised Standard Version Bible. Don't miss this point, by the way: The Access Bible is one of the few study Bibles that also cover the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books of the Bible. Although the print version of the Access Bible includes the NRSV, Accordance users can place The Access Bible notes in parallel with any biblical text or translation.

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