If you haven't added a Graphics Collection to your personal Accordance Library or taken advantage of our Custom Upgrades to a larger Graphics Collection, here are 7 reasons to reconsider.
Custom Upgrades. Accordance comes with four levels of Graphics Collections: Learner, Discoverer, Pro, and Master. Once you have any level in your personal Accordance Library, you never have to pay full price to go to a higher level. Custom Upgrades take into account titles you already have, so you never pay for the same title twice!
Use in Teaching and Preaching Settings. Did you know that your purchase of any Graphics Collection entitles you to use images in teaching and preaching settings? Illustrate your lesson or sermon with any of the thousands of photos available in Accordance Graphics Collections.
PhotoGuide. Who knew when we first released the Accordance Bible Land PhotoGuide, it would eventually mushroom into six volumes covering Egypt, Europe, Israel, the Near East, Turkey as well as an Overview? The PhotoGuide Overview comes with the Graphics Learner and includes links to more details and photos in all the other guides. Get the Graphics Pro or Master to obtain all six of the PhotoGuides!
Customizable Atlas. The Accordance Atlas is an unparalleled exploration into the geography of the world of the Bible. Create the exact map you need for your next lesson or sermon through a series of pre-defined overlays, and even create your own! The Accordance Atlas comes with every level of our Graphics Collections. Double-click on a location and the PhotoGuide Overview will automatically launch to the appropriate article!
And Timeline! Every Graphics Collection also comes with the Accordance Timeline. Not only does the Timeline cover biblical books, people, and events, it puts the biblical world in the context of the ancient world by including coverage of not just Israel/Palestine, but also Egypt, Aram (Syria), Mesopotamia, Persia, Asia (Anatolia), Greece and Rome. Recent updates have improved the overall visual design of the Timeline as well as adding church history events. Can’t find a person or event on the Timeline? It’s customizable, so you can add your own. Double-click on any item in the Accordance Timeline to open the article on that subject in your preferred Accordance dictionary!
Carta Titles. Carta, The Israel Map and Publishing Company, has become synonymous with the geography of the biblical world, both ancient and modern. Available on no other Bible software platform, add eight of our many Carta titles to your Accordance Library with the addition of the Graphics Master Collection.
PhotoMuseum. What the PhotoGuide is to places, the Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum is to things. Discover images of artifacts in the Photomuseum not found in any other publication--print or digital! For many of these items, the only other way to see them is to view them for yourself in a museum!
Want to see the exact differences among all four Accordance Graphics Collections? Go to the Collection Comparison Chart in the Accordance Online Store, and select each of the Graphics Collections to see a side-by-side comparison!
First published nearly 50 years ago, The Carta Bible Atlas (previously, The MacMillan Bible Atlas) is one of the bestselling and most well-respected Bible atlases of all time. Today, we’re pleased to announce the release of the 5th edition, now available for the Accordance Bible Software Library.
Click/tap the above image for a closer look at The Carta Bible Atlas, 5th ed.
The new edition is a corrected and expanded edition with 40 new maps, bringing the total to over 300 total, in addition to 100 other illustrations. Accordance users who had the previous edition of The Carta Bible Atlas, will notice images contained in both volumes are crisper and have a higher resolution in the new 5th edition.
As with previous editions, The Carta Bible Atlas provides not just maps but detailed articles on biblical events. The new edition has been updated and revised to reflect recent discoveries and ongoing research into the geography of the Bible. Additional information has been added to New Testament events. Also, an appendix adds maps based on information from the Onomasticon of Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, extending the coverage of The Carta Bible Atlas to the 4th century AD.
One extra note: the monochromatic colors in the maps of The Carta Bible Atlas make them excellent choices for black and white photocopies for teachers or pastors wanting to illustrate handouts in fair-use educational settings.
Owners of the 4th edition of The Carta Bible Atlas may purchase the 5th edition at upgrade pricing, and introductory pricing for new purchasers is available for a limited time.
The Carta Bible Atlas (5th Edition)
Regular Price $59.90
Upgrade to 5th Edition from 4th Edition
Regular Price $39.90
Accordance’s Graphics Bundle includes three separate resources, all of which Dr. J reviews in this podcast. The Bible Atlas is a fully customizable map that covers the biblical world, with layers for backgrounds, roads, regions, and sites; its scale and center are adjustable and it includes a rotatable 3D section map. The Timeline covers the Biblical period and includes the nations, empires, wars, prophets, books, rulers, and important individuals. The Bible Lands PhotoGuide is an illustrated dictionary of places in the Bible, including a brief description of each, with scripture references, and over 2000 high-quality photos of these sites. Purchasers can view, print, or copy and paste material from all three resources for use in the classroom or pulpit.
See more episodes of Lighting the Lamp on our Podcast Page!
As the availability of titles you can add to your Accordance Library grows, you may find it difficult at times to keep up with the works available that can inform your study of the Bible. In this post, I’d like to shine the spotlight on three Zondervan reference works that you may or may not have considered for your Bible study toolkit.
Have you discovered the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary Series: New Testament (ZECNT for short)? It’s so new (the volume on James has the earliest copyright date, 2008) that you may not have noticed it yet. If you spend some time with the series, though, you will immediately see that it is different from many other commentary series. Imagine if some of the top Evangelical scholars were to write exegesis papers—not stuffy ones, but ones you actually wanted to read—over every passage in the New Testament. This is what the ZECNT is like!
Though not complete yet, the ZECNT is an ongoing commentary project that takes every New Testament passage and analyzes it by the following categories:
- Literary Context—a concise discussion of how the passage functions in the broader literary context of the book.
- Main Idea—a one- or two-sentence statement of the big idea or central thrust of the passage.
- Translation and Graphical Layout—perhaps the greatest distinction of the series, the purpose of this diagram is to help the reader visualize, and thus better understand, the flow of thought within the text.
- Structure—the commentator describes the flow of thought in the passage and explains how certain interpretive decisions regarding the relationship of the clauses were made in the passage.
- The Exegetical Outline—the overall structure of the passage is described in a detailed exegetical outline.
- Explanation of the Text—the emphasis on this section of the text is to convey the meaning of the passage.
- Theology in Application—a reflection of the theological contribution of the passage.
This series is ideal for the person who has had one or two years of Greek, but may or may not be a little bit rusty. The ZECNT is not as technical as the Word Biblical Commentary or the New International Greek Testament Commentary as it is designed for a broader audience. If the reader has not had any training in biblical Greek, the series is still accessible because all Greek text follows English translation.
Volumes available so far:
- Matthew by Grant R. Osborne (2010)
- Luke by David E. Garland (2012)
- Acts by Eckhard J. Schnabel (2012)
- Galatians by Thomas R. Schreiner (2010)
- Ephesians by Clinton R. Arnold (2010)
- Colossians & Philemon by David W. Pao (2012)
- 1-2 Thessalonians by Gary S. Shogren (2012)
- James by Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell (2008)
Perhaps you are a longtime user of the now classic Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. Did you know it has been thoroughly revised and improved? Now known as the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible (ZEB), this work has become one of my favorite Bible reference works.
I admit up front that I tend to be a very visual person. I gravitate toward the works in my Accordance Library that have a good selection of photos and illustrations. The ZEB has a caption search field, so in addition to simply looking up and reading about subjects, I can actually search for images of a particular subject. I often use these pictures when I am teaching at church or in the classroom by inserting them into a Keynote (Apple’s equivalent of PowerPoint) presentation.
The original ZPEB was edited by Merrill C. Tenney, and the ZEB revision has been edited under the care of Moisés Silva. The completely new work contains the following features:
- The equivalent of more than 5,000 pages of vital information on Bible lands and people
- More than 7,500 articles alphabetically arranged for easy reference
- Hundreds of full-color and black-and-white illustrations, charts, and graphs
- 32 pages of full-color maps and hundreds of black-and-white outline maps for ready reference
- Scholarly articles ranging across the entire spectrum of theological and biblical topics, backed by the most current body of archaeological research
- 238 contributors from around the world
Tip: Make the ZEB your default Bible dictionary for triple-clicking in the Amplify section of Accordance’s preferences.
Here is another fantastic update to an established reference work. Perhaps you wore out your print copy of the 1999 Zondervan NIV Atlas of the Bible by Carl. G. Rasmussen. Well, if so, you’ll be glad to know that this title has been completely revised as the Zondervan Atlas of the Bible, and it is now available in Accordance to integrate with your other Bible study tools.
Frankly, you simply cannot understand the Bible’s story without understanding the land in which it takes place. Although there are a number of quality Bible atlases available for Accordance in addition to our own dynamic atlas, the Zondervan Atlas of the Bible is now a standard work indispensible for study of biblical geography.
The atlas has two primary sections. The first covers the general region of the Middle East to give context to the next section, a thorough exploration of biblical geography from Eden to the Seven Churches of Revelation. With the print equivalent of over 300 pages, the Zondervan Atlas of the Bible includes the following features:
- Thoroughly revised edition of the Gold Medallion Award-winning Zondervan NIV Atlas of the Bible
- Innovative 3D imaging technology
- Over one hundred images to bring the biblical world to life with unprecedented clarity
- Over one hundred full-color, multidimensional maps trace the progression of Old and New Testament history
Use the Zondervan Atlas of the Bible as a reference to which you can amplify locations straight from the biblical text, or study through it chapter by chapter as a means of better understanding the biblical story.
One more thing...It is also worth mentioning that any of these titles make great add-ons to our iOS versoin of Accordance if you have never bought a standard Accordance collection for Macintosh or Windows computers.
When we first developed the Accordance Bible Atlas, we knew we needed to include a resource that would give information about the more important site and region names on the map. The other module developer (there were only two of us at the time) was occupied with developing the data for the Atlas, so I was tasked with developing this tool which would come to be called Place Names.
Each of the sites on the Atlas are given an importance ranking on a scale from 1 (least important) to 5 (most important). This ranking is used to determine which sites should be hidden when you zoom out from the map. We decided to use the sites of importance 3 or above as the ones we would cover in the Place Names module. Once I had this list of sites, I then had to research each site and write up a description of its location, history, and overall significance.
The main challenge of developing the Place Names module was the deadline. The Atlas was nearing completion and Place Names had to be finished before it could be released. To meet that deadline, the site descriptions had to be kept pretty basic and concise.
Some time after the release of the Atlas, I was approached with the idea of expanding the work I had done on Place Names into a new resource that would include photos of each site. This new resource would eventually come to be called the Bible Lands PhotoGuide.
I was given a large archive of photographs of Biblical places I had never personally visited, and I had to decide which photos best illustrated each site.
My research often began with the Bible dictionaries I had available in Accordance. Anchor Bible Dictionary was especially good about giving information about the archaeological discoveries at each site, but it had relatively few photos and illustrations. Going from a description of a Bronze Age wall discovered at a site to actually identifying that wall in a photo was next to impossible. I soon was combing through coffee table books and magazines on Biblical archaeology, tourist guide books which might illustrate how a site looks today—anything I could find that would give me clues as to what I was looking at. It would have been easy to annotate each photo with something like "Ruins at Miletus," but I wanted users of the PhotoGuide to be able to see the outline of the ancient harbor and the surrounding bay which have long since silted up. It's that level of detail which sets the PhotoGuide apart from the typical illustrated Bible dictionary.
At times it was frustrating finding the information I needed, but I learned more about the Bible doing the research for the PhotoGuide than I ever learned in seminary. If you haven't explored the PhotoGuide in depth, begin reading through its articles on sites mentioned in your current passage of study. You'll be surprised how much it can deepen your understanding of the Bible.
Yesterday in my Sunday School class, I was teaching on Genesis 22, the story of Abraham's binding of Isaac. One of the elements of that narrative is the description of their journey to the land of Moriah.
It is clear from the surrounding context that Abraham and Isaac began their journey at Beer-sheba, and the narrative records that "on the third day" Abraham saw their destination in the distance. Since 2 Chronicles 3:1 identifies the temple mount in Jerusalem as "Mount Moriah," it appears that Jerusalem was their intended destination. If that was really the case that they were traveling from Beersheba to Jerusalem, would Abraham really have seen Mount Moriah at a distance "on the third day"?
The Accordance Bible Atlas makes it easy to measure distances from one point to another: simply hold down the option key (on Mac) or alt key (on Windows), then click and drag from one point to another. The distance will be calculated and displayed in the top right corner of the map window as well as in the Instant Details. As long as you keep holding down the option/alt key, you can even click and then drag in a different direction.
Using 20 miles as the average distance they could have walked per day, I dragged until I reached 20 miles, which put them a little south of Hebron. Twenty miles more placed them just north of Bethlehem, and Jerusalem was only 4 or 5 miles beyond that. Thus, Abraham would indeed have seen Mount Moriah at a distance at some point on their third day of traveling.
Have you used this feature of the Accordance Atlas yet? Share any interesting discoveries you've made about biblical distances in the comments on this post.
In a previous Throwback Thursday post, I told you about a meeting way back in 1995 that helped get us thinking about developing a Bible Atlas that would prove to be years ahead of its time. Two years later, we had developed a limited prototype covering little more than the region of Galilee, and we were about to focus all of our attention on completing development of the Atlas. Having just released Accordance 3.0, with ground-breaking features such as Greek and Hebrew text-to-speech and diagramming, we had plenty to show at that year's Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, but we were so excited about the Atlas prototype we couldn't resist showing it off as well.
By 1997, the success of Windows 95 and Apple's own missteps had sent it into something of a death spiral. At the same time, the power and ease-of-use Accordance offered had earned it a reputation as the software to have for serious study, and many Bible scholars were buying Macs just to be able to use Accordance. This meant that we had a lot of people coming by the booth wanting to see what Accordance could do, yet with serious misgivings about the future of the Mac platform. The Atlas was a great way to show that there were still some really cool things you could only do on a Mac.
At that year's SBL, we were using a projector to show Accordance on a big screen. We naturally showed Accordance with Greek and Hebrew text in parallel, the new Diagram window, and other features of Accordance 3.0. We also showed some of the map images from the new Atlas prototype. Our hope was that these would grab the attention of conference attendees and draw them into the booth to learn more about Accordance. I saw this as a no-brainer, but someone from outside our company questioned the wisdom of using maps to attract attention. Apparently believing that serious scholars would regard such flash as fluff, he told us, "Scholars don't care about maps."
Now, as a very part-time seminary student at the time, I was admittedly no Bible scholar, but I found myself completely dumbfounded by this assertion that scholars don't care about maps. Even those engaged in high-level linguistic study presumably had to teach the occasional introductory survey course, and surely maps would come in handy then, right? I therefore ignored the unsolicited advice not to show the Atlas and kept the maps on the screen.
Sure enough, the Atlas prototype drew a lot of people in, and when we demonstrated what you could already do with the prototype people were absolutely blown away. We released the Atlas in July of 1998, right about the time Steve Jobs was back at Apple unveiling a colorful new all-in-one desktop computer called the iMac. That year's annual meeting of SBL was fun. We had people coming into the booth just to see our new iMac, and when we showed them the new Bible Atlas they seemed to forget any questions they might have had about the Mac's long-term viability.
Since that time, our interactive Bible Atlas has been one of our best-selling products and among our users' favorite features. If you've been missing out on all the fun, be sure to check out our Graphics Bundle.
That is, of course, unless you're one of those scholars who just doesn't care about maps!
In my last Throwback Thursday post, I talked about the development of the very first Tool modules for Accordance 2.0. Although version 2.0 was not yet ready for release in November of 1995, we were planning to offer a preview of all the new features to attendees at the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) in Philadelphia. I did not accompany my employers to ETS, since it was a smaller conference and they could manage the booth without me. I flew in to join them for the start of the larger SBL meeting. I had used that extra time at home to whip out a couple more prototype modules, so I arrived at SBL with some Accordance tools to demonstrate which my employers hadn't even seen yet.
Today when we attend a conference, we bring laptops and relatively portable flat-screen monitors. Back in 1995, laptops were not nearly as ubiquitous as they are today. They were expensive, and they had significant drawbacks such as tiny screens or limited speed compared to desktop computers. Fortunately, airline passengers could check more baggage back then. I had to lug my desktop Mac in one box and my 14-inch CRT monitor in another, along with my suitcase, to the airport and hope it all made it to Philadelphia without getting broken, lost, or stolen. Then I had to schlep all that stuff to the hotel and exhibit hall to get it set up. Once it was all set up, I had to be without my computer for the duration of the show.
At that time, we exhibited Accordance under the auspices of the GRAMCORD Institute, which served as the exclusive distributor of Accordance. Basically, we formed the Macintosh side of the GRAMCORD booth.
I actually found an old photo on the GRAMCORD website of Dr. Rex Koivisto, our associate Greek scholar (right), demonstrating Accordance 2.0 to Frederick Danker (the D in BDAG, center) at that very conference. If you look closely at the background, you can see me seated with my back to the camera, demonstrating Accordance to someone else. This was my very first time demoing Accordance to the public, and it was fun to be able to show scholars and students some of the cool stuff we had been working on.
Today when I demonstrate Accordance at ETS and SBL, I can only show a tiny portion of what Accordance can do. It is therefore rare that we offer a sneak peek at any not-yet-released features. Back then, however, we were the new kid on the block, doing our best to show people Accordance's potential as a Bible study platform. In those early days, we would demonstrate what the current version of Accordance could do, then offer a look at what was coming in the next version.
In the evenings, I got to be part of meetings where we would discuss new feature ideas or new resources we hoped to license, such as the massive Anchor Bible Dictionary. It was all pretty heady stuff for a young kid still in seminary.
One of the most memorable moments of this conference was when I got to tag along to a meeting with a gentleman who had high-resolution atlas data of Israel. As with laptops, such data was far less ubiquitous back then, and this gentleman was looking to establish partnerships to develop computer applications that could utilize his data. This gentleman did not have a booth in the exhibit hall. Instead, he had booked a hotel suite where he was meeting with potential partners. I remember entering his suite and seeing a Silicon Graphics workstation on the desk. Beside it was a large set of goggles. It was in this meeting that I went from the demoer to the demoee. The gentleman handed me the goggles and joked that I should be careful not to drop them, since they cost a substantial amount of money. If I remember correctly, it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000. Needless to say, I was very careful not to break them!
Looking through the goggles I saw a three-dimensional image of some portion of Israel. These days I might actually recognize it, but back then it was just an unfamiliar series of hills and valleys. If I remember correctly, it was just a wireframe image, but it was at a resolution that required some serious computing power to generate. Next I was shown a simulated 3D flyover. This was done without the goggles, and I seem to recall that it used actual satellite imagery rather than a mere wireframe. This felt snappier than the wireframe image as well, but that was because it was essentially a pre-rendered animation rather than a 3D image being rendered on the fly. The downside of this was that you couldn't really navigate the flyover to go wherever you wanted; you merely went where the animator had decided to take you.
This was all very cutting-edge stuff, and I must have seemed like a kid in a candy store. Our discussions centered around how we might use this data to provide Mac users with a 3D Bible Atlas. After all, there were far more people with Macs than with graphics workstations. Apple had recently begun incorporating 3D technologies into the Mac operating system, so the possibilities were tantalizing, but we also knew it would be challenging to deliver acceptable 3D performance on a personal computer.
That meeting helped get us thinking about adding an Atlas component to Accordance, but that wouldn't actually happen until Accordance 3.5 was released in July of 1998. I'll tell you the rest of the story behind the Accordance Bible Atlas in a future Throwback Thursday post.
I returned home from that first SBL Conference exhausted but excited about the future of Accordance. At that point I was still only working for Accordance part-time, but I was now officially hooked. I was getting to be a part of the creation of something truly cutting edge, and I had seen how Accordance was changing the lives of its users. Since 1995, I have exhibited Accordance at SBL every year except 1996 (when my second son was born). To this day, I return home from SBL each year both exhausted and excited about the future.
How about you? Were any of you at the 1995 SBL or ETS meetings in Philadelphia? If so, did you stop by for a demo of Accordance?
This past Sunday I covered the end of Genesis 19 for my Sunday School class. Describing the aftermath of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, this passage relates how Abraham gazed out from the vicinity of Hebron to see smoke rising from the Dead Sea plain. He does not know that Lot has escaped to the small town of Zoar with his daughters. The passage then describes how Lot and his daughters leave Zoar to live in a nearby cave. There each of Lot's daughters conceives a son through incest with their father. These sons go on to father the nations of Moab and Ammon.
Because this passage contains a lot of geographical information, I wanted to create a map that would show the location of Hebron, Sodom and Gomorrah, Zoar, and the territory settled by the nations of Moab and Ammon. In creating that map, I used a number of little tricks and powerful features you may not have seen before. The following video tutorial will show you how I created this map. Watch it, and you'll learn my favorite trick for zooming in, how to highlight a site without searching for it, how to create a custom region layer, how to display two region layers on the map at the same time, and how to create a 3D map. I hope you find it helpful.
Last week, my wife and kids participated in Vacation Bible School at our church. This has had two ongoing effects on our family. First, they brought back a cold which has inexorably worked its way through every member of the family! Second, since the VBS curriculum took several lessons from the life of Paul, they have come back with a lot of questions about Paul's conversion, his missionary journeys, and his imprisonment. We have therefore been spending time in family devotions surveying the chapters in Acts which deal with Paul's life and ministry.
The other day we were reading through Acts 13, which relates the events of Paul's first missionary journey. After the conversion of Sergius Paulus, the Roman proconsul at Paphos, Paul and Barnabas suddenly leave the island of Cyprus and head to Pisidian Antioch in what is now southwest Turkey. To show them this sudden change of location, as well as to explain the difference between this Antioch and the one at the beginning of the chapter, I naturally turned to the Accordance Bible Atlas.
Now, I have an icon for the Atlas in my workspace Toolbar, so I simply opened a map by choosing a map background from the pop-up menu associated with that icon. (I like the Light Browns background.) Once the map was open, I chose Paul's First Journey from the Route Layer pop-up menu.
Now I could show them how Paul and Barnabas started from Syrian Antioch, sailed to Cyprus (where Barnabas was from), crossed the island until they reached Paphos, then sailed to Attalia, passed through Perga, and arrived at Antioch of Pisidia. I then asked my family why Paul and Barnabas would decide to go there.
I have to admit that I asked the question before I was entirely sure the point I wanted to make was correct. You see, I vaguely remembered from somewhere that there is a connection between Sergius Paulus, the proconsul converted at Paphos, and the city of Pisidian Antioch. So while my family was pondering the question, I double-clicked the name Antioch on the map to look it up in my Bible Lands PhotoGuide.
Sure enough, a quick skim of that article reminded me that an inscription with the name Sergius Paulus had been found at Pisidian Antioch. This suggests that Sergius Paulus may have urged Paul and Barnabas to take their message to Pisidian Antioch because he had some personal connection there.
While explaining this to my family, it occurred to me that it would be clearer if I could actually show them the inscription. Unfortunately, the PhotoGuide does not include a photograph of the inscription itself. So I decided to search the rest of my library for any pictures of the Sergius Paulus inscription. I clicked the magnifying glass inside the Search All field of the Workspace toolbar and chose Image from the pop-up menu. Then I entered the word "Sergius" and hit return. Instantly I found several pictures of the Sergius Paulus inscription—in the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, the Biblical Archaeology Review archive, the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary on the New Testament, and Gundry's Survey of the New Testament.
Now that I had brought this interesting archaeological discovery to their attention, I needed to answer that all-important question: so what? I explained that for me, the so what is that Paul and Barnabas began their missionary work by going places where they had a natural connection: to Barnabas' native land of Cyprus, then to Pisidian Antioch because of its connection to Sergius Paulus. They didn't just go haphazardly from town to town, but chose their destinations strategically, going through whichever doors were most open to them.
Our family Bible study started out as an attempt to clarify the details about Paul's life, but thanks to Accordance, I was able to (re)discover an interesting detail that led to a meaningful application.