In session 3 of this Accordance Bible Software Training Seminar, David Lang demonstrates the Search Window along with Greek and Hebrew searches. Filmed in San Antonio, Texas, on November 18, 2016.
Using a tool as powerful as Accordance Bible Software while learning a biblical language can be like walking a fine line: you want to harness the power and time-saving benefits of using Accordance, but you don’t want to shortcut the learning process, or worse become dependent on Accordance instead of actually learning the language. Let’s face it, studying any language requires a lot of memorization. And my own experience echoes what I’ve always heard—memory is like a muscle; the more you use it, the better it becomes.
I remember that in both my introductory Greek and Hebrew classes, I spent a lot of time looking up words in lexicons. Having instantaneous access to all the major lexicons is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how Accordance can help you in your biblical language classes. We’ve already covered getting Accordance versions of textbooks (be certain to check whether or not your Hebrew or Greek grammar is available for Accordance!). Here are just a few of the ways Accordance can help you while you study Greek and Hebrew.
Translation is the main task of any language class. In the multiple biblical language classes I took years ago, I wrote my translations out by hand and carried sheets of paper to class. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I have very little of that work today. I probably translated the majority of the New Testament and much of the Old Testament when I was in school. I wish I had my translation and notes saved digitally, but it wasn’t an easy option back then.
Regardless of whether you want to work out a translation by hand or directly on the computer, consider saying your translation work (the translation itself and your syntax notes) in an Accordance User Notes file. This set of notes can be viewed in parallel with the original language text as well as popular Bible versions.
Need to turn your translation in as homework? Select the text you need to turn in and from the contextual menu choose Print Selected Text. Or if you need to format it or submit it electronically, copy and paste it into the word processor of your choice.
Don’t be surprised if you’re referring to these notes for years to come! And it’s also good practice to continue saving this kind of work when you’re teaching or preaching after you graduate.
Using Accordance is like having Greek or Hebrew super powers: with just a mouseover, you can get instant morphological and syntax information. However, I regularly tell users, “Use your Accordance super powers for good, not evil.” So, you don’t want to use Accordance to do your parsing homework for you. However, you can use Accordance to check your parsing homework.
In some cases parsing a Greek or Hebrew word can be interpretive. If your personal parsing work doesn’t line up with what you find in Accordance, don’t just correct your work according to what you’ve found in the software. Instead, try to figure out why Accordance is giving you different information than what you found on your own.
In addition to moving your mouse over the tagged original language text, you can also create a Parsing Chart. Begin by highlighting the text (this can be individual words, verses, or entire passages), and from the contextual menu, select Lookup: Parsing. If you want to save your chart, make certain it is the active tab, and from the File menu, choose Save Active Tab.
Diagramming sentences has really made a strong comeback in recent years after being neglected for an entire generation of students. There’s no real substitute for diagramming a sentence to understand not only syntax, but also the thought process and logic of the biblical writer.
Accordance has a built-in diagramming feature that’s extremely flexible. You can create your own diagrams and save them for later use in Accordance. Save your diagrams in Accordance and re-edit them later if necessary. Print them out to turn in for homework or take a screenshot to paste them in a word processor. If you want to incorporate a diagram with your Translation Notes (see above), take a screenshot of your diagram and add it to your notes.
You can create as many diagrams as you want in Accordance; however, we also have a Greek Diagrams module available for sale in the Accordance Store. If you purchase these diagrams while taking a class, though, remember proper use of your super powers! You will want to use the purchased Accordance Diagrams to compare and check the diagrams you have already created.
Word Charts (Syntax Practice)
Many Accordance users may not even know they have access to Word Charts from within the software. Select a passage in an original language biblical text, and from the Amplify Menu, choose Language: Word Chart.
This will give you a table with columns for the biblical word (inflected form), lexemes (lexical form), parsing, function, translation, and comments. By default, the function and comments sections are blank. These tables are completely editable, so double-clicking a blank cell will allow you to add your work to it.
If you really want to challenge yourself, double-click any of the cells that already have content and delete what’s there. Test yourself by figuring out on your own information such as lexical form, parsing, and translation. These charts can also be saved for later reference. With the Word Chart as the active tab, select the File menu: Save Active Tab.
And here’s a tip for the profs: follow the same procedure in the paragraph above to create a quiz that can be printed out for your students to fill in the missing information.
Beginning Hebrew and Greek students live or die by memorizing vocabulary. Here’s how to create a vocabulary list in Accordance. Since almost every intro Hebrew class translates the Book of Ruth, we’ll use it as an example in the steps below.
With a Hebrew text set to search for words, type this into the search field: [RANGE Ruth] <AND> *
Note that because Hebrew is a right to left language, your search argument will appear reversed from what you see above, but that’s okay. In fact, you can enter the elements of this search in any order as long as <AND> is in the middle. The asterisk is the wild card symbol used to find every word in Ruth.
After you run your search, you should see every word in Ruth appear in red because every word is a hit resulting from the wild card (*). Click View Analytics immediately above the text and choose Word Count Totals: Analysis.
Click on the Display Settings (gear icon) for your Analysis tab and make certain the first column shows the LEX. Set Sort to Count Down, Secondary Sort to Alphabetical, the Count to None (to remove the numbers), and check Show Root with LEX and Show Gloss with LEX. Click OK.
Print the list or Copy it from the Analysis window to a word processor or whatever app you intend to use with your vocabulary.
Learning an ancient language is tough enough, but Accordance Bible Software gives students a tremendous advantage with tools for diagramming sentences, creating word charts and vocab lists, checking parsing homework, and translating the Hebrew or Greek text itself.
Don't miss previous installments in our Strategies for Students series!
“I always use the most updated version of Accordance. What I like? Fair pricing. Fairly simple to use with a little help from support. You can buy what you need and want. Better yet? While working on my Ph.D., it has helped tons! I have the Greek and Latin and Hebrew text in front of me all the time. The parsing is an excellent feature, especially since my primary goal is not to teach these languages, but to use them. I don't have to constantly review what I'm supposed to have memorized many, many years ago."
—Floyd Schneider, Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies, Moody Bible Institute/Spokane, Washington
Construct Searches are a unique, Accordance-exclusive graphical interface for complex searches. Once we understand the concept, they are actually easier to use than regular searches! In podcast, Dr. J introduces this feature for those interested in searching Bibles and texts, including Greek and Hebrew grammatically-tagged texts. [Accordance 11.2: Intermediate]
See more episodes of Lighting the Lamp on our Podcast Page!
Bible devotions are a great way to start the day. Some offer a nice reflective thought to orient one’s thoughts toward more spiritual matters in light of the day’s necessary routines. Sometimes, though, many devotional titles tend to fall a bit on the “lite” side. That is, while their content may be doctrinally sound, they might just leave the reader wishing for a bit more theological depth.
If you would like to take your devotions to the next level, consider joining J. D. Watson to explore a Hebrew or Greek word each day. In two volumes from AMG--A Word for the Day: Key Words from the New Testament and A Hebrew Word for the Day: Key Words from the Old Testament--Watson presents, for each day of the year, a brief word study on an original language term and then offers an application to help that particular Hebrew or Greek word become real for practical living. To aid reinforcement, related verses are listed for the reader's personal study.
Click/tap the image above to see a larger view of
A Hebrew Word for the Day: Key Words from the Old Testament
Hebrew and Greek words are transliterated making these resources available to anyone, even if you’ve never formally studied biblical languages. In most entries, the Strong’s number is referenced, hyperlinked to either AMG’s The Complete Word Study: Old Testament or The Complete Word Study: New Testament. If neither of these dictionaries are in your personal Accordance Library, you can use the Amplify function to launch the dictionary of your choice.
Click/tap the image above to see a larger view of
A Word for the Day: Key Words from the New Testament
Entries are meant to be read in order as later entries often build upon previous ones. While each title can be used as a standalone reference, either can be made the default Daily Reading in Accordance Preferences: Reading/Research. With either title as the default, clicking on the Daily Reading icon in the Accordance toolbar will launch the entry for the current date in one column with all related scripture references in a second one.
Entries go beyond surface-level discussion by addressing cultural meaning, biblical context and theological importance. Moreover, Watson regularly challenges the reader to reflect on his or her faith commitments in regard to the theme of particular entries. With the Accordance 11 note-taking features, users can take the next step by recording their personal responses and reflections to the word of the day entries.
Best of all, these two titles are extremely affordable. Both A Word for the Day: Key Words from the New Testament and A Hebrew Word for the Day: Key Words from the Old Testament lists for $12.90 each. That’s less than $26for 732 (Leap Year entries included!) devotionals with real depth and lasting impact.
Accordance users will want to know that Watson strongly prefers the King James Version over modern translations.
A Hebrew Word for the Day:
A Word for the Day:
When I took my Greek and Hebrew courses at seminary in the nineties, I went through lots of paper. I kept a notebook for the exercises at the end of every chapter, and I also painstakingly worked out my translations by hand in the more advanced classes. I believe I still have all that work packed away in a box somewhere. It’s too bad I can’t easily access it for review whenever I want.
Of course, people have different ways of studying. I certainly don’t discount the value of being disciplined to write things out by hand, especially practice writing Hebrew and Greek characters. Having said that, however, I am also glad that I have other options because of the power of Accordance.
One of the new features in Accordance 11 is the ability to take notes anywhere. Perhaps you’ve already enjoyed the freedom of adding your own notes to commentaries or theologies in addition to the biblical text. Have you ever thought about how this can be applied in Greek and Hebrew grammars?
There are actually two benefits for using biblical language grammars in Accordance. Some of printed grammars that still sit on my shelf are filled with my notes in the margins that came from the insights of my instructors. And yet margins are ultimately limited. Some of my notes went into notebooks, but that actually put these comments in two separate places. In Accordance you can take notes anywhere; so if your instructor is elaborating on a specific point in the grammar, you can click on the little pencil icon to the right of the text in Accordance and add your instructor’s comments or your own reflections.
More importantly, you can answer the exercises that are at the end of chapters in most grammars. Again, click on the pencil icon to the right of the text and add your answers to the questions and problems in the excercises. You can add your answers to the header above the entire exercise or each numbered exercise individually—whichever way works best for you.
And here’s a tip: copy the question or the text to be translated into your notes and add your answers underneath. This will be especially helpful if you need to export your work out of Accordance to turn in for a homework assignment.
This ability to add your own content to grammars currently works in Accordance 11 on Windows and Macintosh; it will eventually be added to Accordance Mobile. In the meantime, if you want to go with the tablet experience, consider using a Windows tablet that offers the best of both worlds (see our post with tips for using Accordance on Windows tablets for ideas on how to make this experience even better).
Not all Bible studies begin with a passage. Some start with a simple question, “What does the Bible say about ______?” Investigations of this kind are called “topical studies” and may well be the most popular kind of Bible study. Topical sermons are certainly a favorite among preachers. In this podcast Dr. J shows us how to study a topic using Accordance—and how to transform that study into three simple kinds of topical sermons.
Download Dr. J's Topical Study Template for Microsoft Word!
Go to our Lighting the Lamp page to see even more podcasts on how to use Accordance Bible Software.
Accordance users already familiar with quality Carta Jerusalem titles such as The Sacred Bridge will be pleased to see two new inscription-related titles added to the Accordance Library: The Raging Torrent and Echoes from the Past.
The Raging Torrent (translated and annotated by Mordechai Cogan) collects Assyrian and Babylonian historical inscriptions relating to Israel and its neighbors in biblical times. These inscriptions, composed in cuneiform script between the 9th and 6th centuries BCE, cast new light on many events mentioned in the Bible in greater detail (such as the conquest of Galilee by Tiglath-pileser, the fall of Samaria under Sargon II, or Sennacherib's campaign to Judah). The biblical text and the cuneiform inscriptions present the contrasting viewpoints of opponents at war, of conqueror, and conquered.
The inscriptions are presented here in a new English translation, and each is supplemented by an introduction describing the general background and by extensive explanatory notes and bibliographic references. The translations and annotations, by Prof. Mordechai Cogan of the Hebrew University, are accompanied by many helpful maps and illustrations. Bible students and scholars alike will benefit from the historical insight this work provides.
The Raging Torrent has been carefully analyzed by our developers and content has been tagged to allow for very specific research. Users can search this title by the follow fields: Titles, Texts, English Content, Hebrew Content, Arabic Content, Greek Content, Transliteration, Scripture, Bibliography, Image Captions and Page Numbers.
For even more information regarding this title, see this review by David Vanderhooft of Boston College.
The Raging Torrent
Echoes from the Past is a collection of inscriptions from the biblical period, in Hebrew and closely-related languages (Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite). It includes historical records and dedicatory inscriptions graven on stone, letters and administrative documents written on ostraca and papyri, weights and measures, and more. Each inscription is shown in photograph and facsimile, and the original text is presented alongside a vocalized Hebrew version and an English translation. A short introduction provides information on the inscription’s provenance and history, and the inscription’s content is discussed in detailed notes expounding its paleographic and linguistic features and its historical context and relation to the Bible; the notes are accompanied by a comprehensive bibliography.
Of particular note are inscriptions such as the inscription of the Meshaʿ Stela, the Siloam Inscription, and the Book of Balaam son of Beor, that feature events and people mentioned in the biblical texts; while many lesser-known texts give us valuable insight on the lives and mores of ordinary people in biblical times. This collection will thus be of great interest to anyone interested in the world of the Bible, whether from a linguistic, an epigraphic, a historical, an archeological, or a religious perspective.
Echoes from the Past was first published in Hebrew in 1992 as The Handbook of Hebrew Inscriptions (אסופת כתובות עבריות), and in 2005 in revised form as HaKetav VeHaMiḵtav (הכתב והמכתב), by Prof. Shmuel Aḥituv of the Ben-Gurion University, a leading Bible scholar and laureate of the 2015 Israel prize. The English translation, published in 2008, was made by Prof. Anson Rainey of Tel-Aviv University, a world-renowned authority on Semitic linguistics and historical geography of the biblical period.
Echoes from the Past has been carefully analyzed by our developers and content has been tagged to allow for very specific research. Users can search this title by the follow fields: Titles, Glossary Entries, Inscriptions Text, Inscriptions Translation, English Content, Hebrew Content, Arabic Content, Syriac Content, Greek Content, Transliteration, Scripture, Bibliography, Image Captions, and Page Numbers.
For even more information, see this review by Matthieu Richelle.
Echoes from the Past