Accordance Blog
Mar 17, 2014 David Lang

Compare all the Pauline Salutations

In my last Throwback Thursday post, I mentioned my role in the design of the Parallels window. This window lets you view parallel passages side-by-side, such as parallels in the Synoptic Gospels or those found in Kings and Chronicles. Yet Accordance also includes Parallel databases covering less obvious parallel passages. For example, the Epistles parallel database lets you compare similar passages in the various New Testament epistles.

You can open the Epistles parallel from the Library or from the New pop-up menu of the Toolbar. When you do, the first "pericope"—that is, set of parallel passages—is automatically displayed. This first pericope just happens to be all of the Pauline Salutations, and it is fascinating to look at how Paul introduces himself in each of his epistles.


By default, the Parallels window will typically open with two or three panes. If there happen to be more than two or three parallel passages in a pericope, you'll see two right-facing arrows on the right side of the parallel window directly beneath the list of pericopes. Just click on that to add another pane.


You can add as many panes as you have room for on the screen. On my 17-inch MacBook Pro I can view 11 parallel passages—all but two of the 13 epistles attributed to Paul. To see the passages from Titus and Philemon, I can simply view them in any of the existing 11 panes. A pop-up menu at the top of each pane lets you choose which passage you want displayed in that pane. You can also use these pop-up menus to change the order in which the passages are displayed. For example, if I wanted to group all the passages where Paul calls himself a "slave" together, I could change the second pane to Philippians and the third pane to Titus.


Viewing parallel parts of the epistles like this can reveal interesting things about the author's situation, or his purpose for writing, or the nature of his audience. We might ask why, for example, Paul refers to himself as a "slave" in Romans, Philippians, and Titus but not in the other epistles. Or we might observe that Paul calls himself an apostle in all but four of the epistles (Philippians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon) and ask ourselves why those four are the exception to the rule. As for those that do use "apostle," we might look at the ones where Paul adds to the usual formula. Why, for example, does he emphasize that his apostleship is "not from men" in Galatians or that he was "singled out for God's good news" in Romans?

If you're starting a study of one of the epistles, I'd recommend you spend a little time with the Epistles parallel. You'll be surprised at the observations you can make by comparing one epistle with another.


Apr 25, 2011 David Lang

Don't Forget the Parallels

Yesterday I spent the afternoon writing an Easter meditation, and I wanted to see all the gospel accounts of the resurrection. I could have gone about finding those passages in a variety of ways, but by far the easiest way was to open one of the parallel modules dealing with the gospels. A Parallel module is a database of parallel passages, and we currently have three pertaining to the gospels. Harmony is based on A. T. Robertson's Harmony of the Gospels, Gospels is based on the Aland synopsis, and Synoptics is based on the synopsis of Huck and Lietzmann. I happened to use Gospels yesterday.

After opening the Gospels parallel, I could have searched it for a particular passage or pericope title, but since I knew the resurrection would be among the last pericopes I simply chose to scroll toward the end of the list and browse until I found the one I wanted. I chose the one titled "The Burial of Jesus." Once I clicked on it, I could see three of the four gospel accounts, and a plus on the right side of the window indicated that there was at least one more parallel that wasn't currently being shown. Clicking the plus opened a fourth pane showing John's account. Now I simply needed to skim each parallel in order to find the details I was looking for.


When looking for a particular episode in the Bible, the various parallel modules can be extremely helpful. Don't forget about them.