Yesterday in my Sunday School class, I was teaching through Romans 8:31-39. In that passage, Paul reflects on whether anything can separate those who "love God and are called according to his purpose" (v. 28) from the "love of God that is in Christ Jesus" (v. 39). He does this by asking a series of questions such as "Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect?" (v. 33), "Who is the one who condemns?" (v. 34), and "Who can separate us from the love of Christ?" (v. 35). He answers each of these questions by eliminating every potential accuser, but it has always bothered me that in most English translations of this passage, Paul's answers don't quite seem to fit the questions.
In this video, I use highlight symbols to illustrate the pattern of questions and answers in this passage, and then I look at the underlying Greek to understand what is going on. I then argue that two answers in the text would be better rendered as questions. I hope you find it helpful.
In addition to the release of our native Windows version, we quietly released Accordance 10.3 for Mac as well. This free update for existing users features a number of significant new features. Among these, are the addition of highlight symbols.
Accordance has long let you apply highlight styles to any text you select. This is akin to using a pen to highlight, underline, or circle words in a print book. But if you've ever annotated a print book, chances are you've also drawn little symbols in the text or margins. Perhaps it was a star, an arrow, an exclamation point, or a question mark, but it's so natural you may not even have been aware you did it. Now you can do the same thing in Accordance, by choosing from a wide variety of symbols.
To apply a highlight symbol to a word, simply select it, then click the Highlight icon on the Toolbar. Beneath your existing highlight styles, you'll see a palette of symbols. Scroll to the right to see them all, then click the one you want. That symbol will now appear beneath the word you selected.
Tip: You can make the symbols easier to see if you increase the spacing between lines of text. To do this, go to the Text Display settings of the Preferences and drag the Line Spacing slider to the right. I found that with my preferred font, a line spacing of 24% is enough to show the symbols clearly.
Many inductive Bible study systems have specific symbols they encourage you to use, and we have tried to incorporate those. Yet even if you don't follow one of those markup systems, you may find symbols a helpful way to visualize aspects of the text.
For example, in 2 Samuel 11, the story of David and Bathsheba, there are certain oft-repeated words (like "sent" and "house") that point to important motifs. In this blog post from 2011, I showed how you can highlight every occurrence of those words to help you identify these motifs.
While using different highlight colors and styles can help, using appropriate symbols can make it even easier to track repeated words.
As you can see, I used the Point Ahead symbol to mark everywhere this passage talks about someone being "sent" somewhere. There is currently no symbol for "house," but the Church symbol was close enough for my purposes.
With a little creativity, you can apply these symbols in a wide variety of ways.