We are pleased to announce the immediate release of The Bible Speaks Today series for the Old Testament, complete in 33 volumes, for the Accordance Bible Software Library.
Click/tap images below for larger views of the series in Accordance on various platforms.
2O to feel the deepness
of the kisses of your mouth!
Your gentle touch intoxicates,
your fondling strokes inflame,
a heady wine more potent
than any ancient vintage.
3The aroma of your presence,
the fresh fragrance of your name,
a wafted scent, a perfume sweet,
to shed abroad your fame.
With such a reputation
you are bathed in admiration,
by the virgin city maidens
who are eager for your love.
4My darling, take me with you.
Quick, make haste, let’s run.
My royal king has drawn me
to his inner private sanctum,
the haven for our love.
How we exult in you!
The memory of your fragrant love
shall never fade away.
The mellowness of smooth mulled wine,
lingering long, and there to stay.
Back in the late nineties, I was asked to teach a six-week study for married couples on Song of Solomon. I called the series something like “Celebration of Love: A Study of the Song of Songs,” but word around church quickly spread that I was teaching “Song of Solomon: The Racy Version.” My goal had not been to teach an immodest version of Song of Songs, but I did want to teach a study of the book that avoided allegorical interpretations such as “God’s love for Israel” or “Christ’s love for his bride, the church.” I also wanted to teach a study that took the timeless principles of Scripture and had immediate impact on the couples attending the study and their marriages.
This is where Tom Gledhill’s book, The Message of Song of Songs: The Lyrics of Love, became my secret weapon for teaching the class. Gledhill’s commentary (I’ll come back to this term below) was not the only one I consulted, but I found his to be the most valuable for this context. Gledhill included both a literal translation of the Song and also a free paraphrase. I often transcribed both versions (there was no digital edition for copy and paste back then) and included them on the handout I used with the class. And in what became a highly anticipated introduction each week, I began each study by recruiting a married couple (often with great protestation after our first session) to come to the front and read aloud the male and female parts from Gledhill’s free paraphrase. There was never any need for any other ice breaker after our dramatic reading by the participants.
I use this extended recollection as a primary example of the kind of value brought by the entire Bible Speaks Today series. The editors refer to the series not as a commentary, per se, but as an exposition of the Bible with three goals: (1) to expound the biblical text with accuracy (2) to relate it to contemporary life, and (3) to be readable. As stated in the General Preface:
These books are, therefore, not "commentaries," for the commentary seeks rather to elucidate the text than to apply it, and tends to be a work rather of reference than of literature. Nor, on the other hand, do they contain the kinds of "sermons" that attempt to be contemporary and readable without taking Scripture seriously enough. The contributors to The Bible Speaks Today series are all united in their convictions that God still speaks through what he has spoken, and that nothing is more necessary for the life, health and growth of Christians than that they should hear what the Spirit is saying to them through his ancient—yet ever modern—Word.
Now, to be clear, I would personally say that at the very least, the volumes of the BST series are Bible commentaries. And in Accordance, they will appear in the Commentaries folder of your Library and you can place them in parallel with any biblical text as you can with any of our commentaries (note that you can also create a parallel Combined Tool consisting of both the Old and New Testament Bible Speaks Today series). Nevertheless, the series does seem to be something more. If you only place them in parallel with the Bible, you will miss out on some of the remarkably exceptional content found in these volumes that is not constrained by verse-by-verse references.
I’ve already mentioned the literal and paraphrased translations in Gledhill’s work on Song of Solomon. But Gledhill also includes a set of discussion questions which he suggests could be used in marriage preparation classes. In David Firth’s volume on the Book of Joshua, he begins his introduction not with the usual date, authorship, and theme discussions, but with the words, “We should begin by noting the elephant in the room.” Here he jumps right into what is often seen as some of the most troubling aspects to modern readers about the violence in Joshua. And Firth is not afraid to interact with specific concerns by noted atheist Richard Dawkins about the biblical text of Joshua.
The Bible Speaks Today series very much lives up to its name in that the writers allow ancient Scripture to “speak” to the modern reader and the concerns of the world in which we live. Certainly not a technical commentary, the BST OT does not bog the reader down in minutia, but the writers also do not shy away from controversial subjects. And while this series can be treated as a commentary, there is also a distinct literary flavor which allows the volumes to be read from cover to cover, becoming much more than merely reference books for occasional consultation. In fact, I would challenge any Accordance user to download the BST OT series to your tablet or smartphone and just begin reading the content by itself like you would with any other book you intend to read from beginning to end. Don’t be surprised to find the series both inspiring and challenging at the same time.
A knowledge of original languages is not needed to make use of the Bible Speaks Today series for the Old Testament. Although the writers do at times deal with the Hebrew and Aramaic languages, they use transliteration, thus opening up the series to a wide audience of students, teachers, pastors and other serious Bible readers. See the BST OT product page for a full listing of authors for individual volumes.
Bible Speaks Today: Old Testament (33 Volumes)
List Price $550
Regular Price $249
Bible Speaks Today: New Testament
Bible Speaks Today: OT/NT Set
Walther Eichrodt (1890-1978) taught at University of Basel (Switzerland) from 1921-1966 where Karl Barth also taught. Previously, he had received his education at Griefswald, Heidelberg and Erlangen where, like Gerhard von Rad, he studied under Otto Procksch. He was a close colleague to Adolf Schlatter with whom he often led Bible conferences.
In 1933, Eichrodt broke with many of his recent teachers and peers by publishing Theology of the Old Testament (now in its 5th edition, 1960), affirming that the Hebrew Scriptures were not a substandard religious document, an idea that was in conflict with the prevailing German cultural mindset of the time. Throughout his life, although he remained a proponent of his contemporary understanding of an evolutionary origin to the Pentateuch as presented in the Documentary Hypothesis, nevertheless, he retained a very reverent view of the biblical text.
For Eichrodt, covenant (Hebrew: בְּרִית/bᵉriyṯ; German: bund) is the central theme of the OT. He defined covenant as God’s self-revelation in choosing people and how they should live (see ch. 2, "The Covenant Relationship" in vol. 1 for much greater detail than my summary here). Eichrodt suggests that covenant involves personal obligation of two parties, but the peculiar thing about biblical covenants was that God obligated himself. God’s covenant was mediated to Israel through charismatic leaders of their religious system. Covenant was so central to later events, that Eichrodt believed Moses and the events at Sinai to be historical, unlike some of his contemporaries at the time. According to him, Israel existed for the covenant, not the reverse. However, Eichrodt never quite reveals his view of exactly what happened at Sinai.
In choosing covenant as a central theme, Gerald Bray has suggested that Eichrodt was able “to uphold the doctrine of divine revelation, and to explain how God had been at work in the history of Israel” (Biblical Interpretation Past & Present, 1996, p. 386). Elaborating on the meaning of covenant, Eichrodt's first explanation focuses on how the covenant delivered through Moses “emphasizes one basic element in the whole Israelite experience of God, namely the factual nature of divine revelation.” Eichrodt explains that “God’s disclosure of himself…[is understood]…as he breaks in on the life of his people in his dealings with them and molds them according to his will that he grants them knowledge of his being.”
For Eichrodt, textual development began with oral tradition. Behind these oral traditions were specific historical events. Then there was a pre-textual reflection on the events which led to the production of the written sources of the Documentary Hypothesis: JEPD. Eichrodt points out that words held more power in ancient times than in contemporary times. He writes of “the cosmic power of God.” For him, the word of God is linked to the Spirit of God.
As stated earlier, Eichrodt held to the central theme of covenant in his theology. Rather than using a book-by-book approach, Eichrodt uses systematic categories to discuss the theology of the OT. Having a central theme gives him a number of benefits. First, it offers an organizing structure to Theology of the Old Testament since everything in the OT must therefore—somehow—be related to covenant. This also allows him to relate very divergent texts to each other because they had the single common element of the covenant connecting them. Second, it stresses the unity of the OT, which could be seen as a work containing multiple sources focused upon the same theme rather than a work of divergent literature that only had nationality as a common element.
Of course, one could ask how to fit the ever-present issue of Wisdom literature to the central-theme approach. How does the Song of Solomon relate specifically to covenant? If Eichrodt focuses on one major theme, how well can he treat divergent themes in Scripture? To be fair, E. A. Martens writes that “Eichrodt did not ignore the diversity others saw in the Old Testament. However, he started with the notion of theological unity. Other scholars since Eichrodt’s time have been more enamored with theological diversity in the Old Testament.”
Regardless of the one's opinion of a one-theme approach for the Old Testament, Eichrodt brought fresh understanding and insight into OT scholarship that arguably can still be wrestled with today. His two volumes on OT theology display not only his ability to communicate well, sometimes even poetically, but also they display his sincere devotion to God.
[Note: this blog post has been adapted from a review of Eichrodt's Old Testament Theology that I wrote a few years ago.]
Dr. Daniel Kim is Assistant Professor of Old Testament and Semitics at Talbot School of Theology. Dr. Kim describes his own use of Accordance for personal study and research as well as his use in the classroom. Hear how he stuns students with Accordance's speed, ease of use, and power for studying and learning Hebrew. This video was filmed in November, 2016, in San Antonio, Texas, at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society.
Mari Jørstad, a PhD candidate in the Hebrew Bible & the Old Testament, also teaches the Hebrew language to students at Duke University. She quickly came to realize that simply giving students syntax guides for them to memorize was not a singularly effective way for them to learn the language. How can an instructor teach students language while keeping them interested? Jørstad decided to use Accordance, a Bible research software, to help foster exploration as a means of teaching Hebrew. Students use the software to discover various grammatical forms in the scriptural text they are studying, which engenders greater engagement. The PhD Lab is instrumental in helping Jørstad to develop this pedagogical approach along with supporting her own research in the perceptions of nature found in the Hebrew Bible. The lab does this by connecting her with other Duke PhD scholars to form a community for constructive feedback and collaboration.
The PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge at the Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI) provides an arena in which PhD and MFA students involved in the humanities and interpretive social sciences can learn about new digital scholarship, engage with its challenges, and see its promise for their own research and professional lives within or outside the university. For more information, visit http://sites.fhi.duke.edu/phdlab/.
Content above reproduced with permission of the Duke University PhD Lab.
Join Abram Kielsmeir-Jones in this webinar recorded on March 2, 2016, as he discusses basic Hebrew resources available for Accordance. This webinar will show the user how to get started with studies in Accordance using the Hebrew Bible, how to do basic Hebrew word studies, how to go deeper with Hebrew word studies and how to save your Workspace for repeated use.
For the past week, we have discounted our New International Commentary on the Old and New Testaments at our lowest offering ever (if you’re reading this blog post on the day I’m posting it, you have until midnight to take advantage of this phenomenal price). Although not often touted as a feature of the NICOT/NT, the fact remains that unlike many commentary series written by multiple authors, this one is uniformly good throughout. And for years, many Accordance users have benefitted from the first two volumes in the NICOT, which are Victor P. Hamilton’s thorough analysis and commentary on the book of Genesis.
If you’re someone who has benefitted from Hamilton’s NICOT commentary, you will be excited to know that today we are releasing all four volumes of Baker’s Handbook on the Old Testament series for the Accordance Library.
Victor P. Hamilton, Professor Emeritus at Asbury University, published the first edition of his Handbook on the Pentateuch in 1982. Now, revised in its second edition, Hamilton’s coverage of the first five books of the Bible is not meant to replicate his verse-by-verse coverage in his NICOT volumes, but does work well as a complementary resource. In his Handbook, Hamilton does include commentary, but there is a greater emphasis on sections and themes and how they tie together. Much like a biblical theology, Hamilton focuses on the many intertextual connections that exist among the component sections of the Old Testament. Every chapter contains a bibliography of related works allowing the reader who wants to study further pursue additional avenues of research.
If you’re one of the many Accordance users who has benefitted from Hamilton’s work on Genesis, you will certainly want to read his treatments that go beyond the first book of the Bible. As he explores Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, Hamilton demonstrates not only his insights and knowledge of these books from a lifetime of study and teaching, he is also able to do so in a manner that is engaging without coming across stuffy or dry. Hamilton writes for the undergraduate- or seminary-level student, or even the serious layperson, who wants to gain a better grasp on the structure and themes of the Old Testament. Hebrew is transliterated, allowing access both to those who have studied biblical languages as well as those who have not.
With such a wonderful treatment of the Pentateuch, it would be a shame to stop with just the first five books of the Old Testament. Therefore, in addition to Hamilton’s original volume (now revised in its second edition), the entire Old Testament has now been covered using the same methods and style as in the original volume. Hamilton contributes a second volume to the series with his Handbook on the Historical Books, which begins with Joshua and concludes with Esther. Daniel J. Estes writes the Handbook on the Wisdom Books and Psalms, while Robert B. Chisholm Jr. delivers the Handbook on the Prophets.
Not only will students benefit from Baker’s Handbooks on the Old Testament series, but teachers and pastors will, too. Read the volumes to get a better understanding of the overall structure and thematic elements of a section, or simply read them through to gain greater insights into the Old Testament as a whole.
Baker’s Handbooks on the Old Testament series can be obtained individually or at greater discount when purchased together.
The Introductory Sale prices listed above are good through Tuesday, February 22, 2016 (11:59 pm EST) and cannot be combined with any other discounts.
Dr. Cleotha Robertson, Old Testament Professor at Alliance Theological Seminary in New York, discusses his use of Accordance in his studies and in the classroom. He also explains why he recommends Accordance and why it stands "head and shoulders" above other Bible software.
The story of the prophet Jonah is a delight, filled with unexpected twists and turns. In this podcast, we’ll explore the way it turns the tables on its readers. Expecting judgment to fall upon others, we instead find judgement falling upon ourselves. Join Dr. J as he helps us “hear” the story of Jonah as its ancient Israelite audience would have when they heard it for the very first time. [Accordance 11: Study]
See more episodes of Lighting the Lamp on our Podcast Page!
If you want to be your church’s Bible Trivia champ, you have to know your Old Testament: Which books are in the Pentateuch? Who was the left-handed judge? In what year did Samaria fall?
And yet, according to John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill, authors of Old Testament Today: A Journey from Ancient Context to Contemporary Relevance, the Old Testament should be understood as something much greater than a Bible trivia resource. The problem lies with the reality that many people today don’t know how to handle the Old Testament. How should it be understood? How should it be read in relationship to the New Testament?
Answering these questions is the goal for Old Testament Today, and the emphasis is really on that word today. Walton and Hill want to move the reader of the Old Testament beyond biblical and historical trivia to greater understanding of the Old Testament’s message and significance for modern readers.
Walton and Hill state in the preface:
Our vision for this book is that we would be able to introduce students to the Old Testament by going beyond basic content to help them know just what they are supposed to do with it and what it is supposed to mean to them. Our hope is that this approach will remedy the all-too-frequent caricature of the Old Testament as little more than endless trivia, irrelevant history, and obscure prophecies only alleviated by some comforting psalms and models for living from the heroes and heroines of the faith. Students will not be overwhelmed by names and dates, but in contrast will be impressed with the way the Old Testament uniquely reveals the God of the universe. They will gain an appreciation for the central importance of this sacred text and in doing so will come to appreciate the literature, theology, and history for the contribution they make and, most of all, the role they play in the greater story of God’s plan for reconciling his creation to himself.
- Each book of the Old Testament is coherent and has an inner connectedness.
- There is a connectedness between the books of the Old Testament.
- There is a connectedness between the Old Testament and the New Testament that we must understand in order to appreciate either one.
- There is a connectedness of believers across the millennia for which the Bible provides a foundation.
- There is a connectedness to all the levels of significance as the content serves as the basis for the message and theology, providing the foundation for our appropriation and application of the text’s teaching to our lives.
Old Testament Today can be used as a textbook for group study or for personal reading to gain a better understanding of the Old Testament. There are four main sections to the work: The Pentateuch, Old Testament Narrative, Prophets and Prophetic Literature, and Wisdom and Psalms. In addition to going into the depths of each of these types of literature, each section begins with five common factors to understand the connectedness described above: Orientation, Yahweh Focus, Key Verses, Outline and Key Plotline Terms.
There are lots of hidden gems in Old Testament Today such as the appendix providing 150 of the most significant chapters in the Old Testament. That's a three-year plan for your weekly Bible study group right there! A glossary of terms is included so that unfamiliar terms can be easily looked up.
TIP: Add a bookmark for the glossary and leave the Library window open. Anytime you come across an unfamiliar word, you can double-click this bookmark in your Library window. A second tab will appear opened to the glossary, and you won’t lose your place where you were reading.
From a personal perspective I can say that Old Testament Today is my favorite kind of title to have in Accordance. It is graphically rich with hundreds of images, tables, charts and maps. The images have captions, which means that they can be included in image searches in Research. Purchase of this title includes the license to use any of these images, tables, charts and maps in teaching or preaching settings.
Old Testament Today has been prepared for use in Accordance with the following search fields: English Content, Scripture, Transliteration, Bibliography, Captions, Image Credits, Table Titles, Sidebar Titles, Page Numbers.
Old Testament Today ia available now at the regular price of $39.90.
We are pleased to announce for Accordance three highly-anticipated and requested titles from InterVarsity Press. The first two titles to mention are the final two volumes in the informally named “Black Dictionary Series.” These volumes on Wisdom, Poetry & Writings as well as the final installment on the Prophets bring IVP’s dictionary series to a total of eight volumes covering all of Scripture.
Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings
Edited by Tremper Longman III & Peter Enns
This volume brings nearly 150 insightful new articles from 90 contributors covering Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Psalms, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Ruth and Esther. As with any of the installments in IVP’s dictionary series, the content of each should really be seen as more than mere dictionary entries. I’ve found the entries actually function more as insightful articles thoroughly covering the subject matter of the volume.
Take, for instance, the entry on “Ethics” by C. H. Bullock in the Wisdom, Poetry & Writings dictionary (I’ve posted a screen capture of a portion of the table of contents window below, to the right). This outline alone immediately demonstrates the extent of analysis that Bullock gives to the subject and invites the reader in to explore the subject of ethics from its basis in the Image of God to its application in subjects like the Excellent Wife.
Since I am teaching through Esther at my church right now, I wanted to see what kind of coverage the book (and person) received in this dictionary. Often a Bible dictionary will include at least two articles on a subject such as Esther—one for the book of the Bible and another for the person for whom the book is named. Here, however, I was surprised to see six articles by three different authors treating the following subjects: (1) the book, (2) extrabiblical background, (3) history of interpretation, (4) additions to Esther, (5) Greek versions of Esther, and (6) the person of Esther. In fact, there is this same multiple-article approach to all of the biblical books covered in the Wisdom, Poetry and Writings volume.
The Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings is not just a reference tool to be consulted occasionally when wanting to find out more information on the subjects it covers. Rather, it is the kind of book that makes me want to find a comfortable chair and spend some time reading these articles from my iPhone 6 Plus, iPad or a Windows tablet computer.
Dictionary of the Old Testament: Prophets
Edited by Mark J. Boda & J. Gordon McConville
The Prophets volume of IVP’s dictionary series brings to the Bible student 115 new articles from both Jewish and Christian scholars devoted to significant subjects in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and the 12 Minor Prophets. As stated on the publisher’s website, "Each book's historical, cultural, religious and literary background is thoroughly covered, alongside articles on interpretation history and critical method.”
The dictionary covers other important topics, too, such as significant locations in the Prophets such as Babylon, Israel and Zion; and important subjects such as Cosmology, Dead Sea Scrolls and the Day of the Lord. The value of this dictionary series has always been found in the focus of each topic’s coverage that remains primarily under the overall subject umbrella of a particular volume. Therefore, the article on the Messiah by D. G. Firth does not try to trace the subject throughout all of Scripture, but primarily focuses on what is said about the Messiah in the Prophetic writings.
As with all reference works in Accordance, the IVP Dictionary covering the Prophets has been thoroughly tagged according to type of content allowing the reader to perform very specific searches. This volume contains the following specific search fields: Titles, English Content, Scripture, Hebrew Content, Transliteration, Bibliography, Authors, Captions, Table Titles, and Page Numbers.
Although the content of the volume is thoroughly searchable, the Scripture, Subject, and Article indexes have been included, giving the Accordance user access to all content found in the near 1000 pages of the print edition.
Although Witherington initially set out to write a New Testament theology, what makes The Indelible Image different from other similar works is the attempt to keep the ethical dimension of the text intact with the theological message.
As Witherington states in his preface,
"Take the teaching of Jesus, for instance. All those parables, aphorisms, maxims and stories have both a theological and an ethical character, edge and punch line. It seems that Jesus does not want us to talk about belief without also talking about behavior, however uncomfortable that may make us."
In print The Indelible Image has been published in two volumes. The Accordance edition combines both volumes in the same module for easy searching of content throughout the entire title. The content has been carefully analyzed and tagged into one of the following searchable categories: Titles, English Content, Scripture, Greek Content, Transliteration, Manuscripts, Captions and Page Numbers.
As mentioned above, The Indelible Image is made up of two volumes: (1) The Individual Witnesses, and (2) The Collective Witness. Witherington attempts to start by first hearing what is said by the individual authors of the New Testament and Jesus. The second volume attempts to combine these individual voices together.
Witherington says of this approach:
"If this first volume is about closely analyzing the sheet music left to us by which each musician’s part is delineated, the second volume will attempt to re-create what it might have sounded like had they ever gotten together and performed their scores ensemble—to produce a single masterful cantata. Let those who have two good ears listen intently."
When reading reviews of The Indelible Image, the word creative is often used by the reviewer. Witherington has managed to create a serious work that is also a pleasure to read. In other words, this is not a dry, boring survey. His approach reflects his belief that the New Testament contains a message that is both important and relevant to today’s audience after first understanding how it was meant to be received by its original audience.