Accordance Blog
Aug 22, 2016 Richard Mansfield

NEW! Fresh Illustrations

This past summer while visiting multiple countries in Asia, I was able to sit in on some local church services. In one of these church services, the pastor—an excellent communicator—used an illustration in his sermon that I had actually heard before. On the positive side, it was an illustration that crossed cultural boundaries. On the downside side, though, it was an illustration that I first heard at least two decades ago.

Some illustrations, of course, are timeless and will always hold great impact for communicating a biblical idea to a modern audience. However, every communicator at one time or another wishes for fresh illustrations. If that’s a thought you often have, you will be very pleased to learn of Jim Wilson’s 6-volume Fresh Illustrations Series.

Fresh Illustrations-Mac

Click/tap the image above for a larger view of Fresh Illustrations in Accordance 11.

The volumes in the Fresh Illustrations Series are focused by the following topics:

  • Volume 1: Forgiveness & Reconciliation
  • Volume 2: Family
  • Volume 3: Faith, Hope & Love
  • Volume 4: Evangelism and Missions
  • Volume 5: Sin & Salvation
  • Volume 6: Stewardship

These illustrations are based on current events and recognizable people or quotations from popular books and movies. These are not the same old stories that everybody has already heard and repeated a million times. They’ve been described as “hot-off-the-grill fresh.”

Many of the illustrations have links to originating articles on the internet. Illustrations from movies offer suggestions for when to start and stop clips as well as what points to emphasize. Scripture quotations from the Holman Christian Standard Bible related to the theme of the illustration accompany each entry.

Fresh Illustrations-Accordance Mobile As described in the author information, Jim Wilson began preaching at 17 and became a pastor when he was 18. Today, he is the Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program and an Associate Professor of Leadership Formation at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary where he teaches Leadership and Preaching Seminars to DMin Candidates.

Click/tap the image to the right for a larger view of Fresh Illustrations in Accordance Mobile.

Wilson is also an award-winning writer with hundreds of pieces in print in 60+ publications including some published by Christianity Today, Int., Focus on the Family, and Lifeway Christian Resources.

In Accordance, users can instantaneously find the information they need in the Fresh Illustrations Series by searching not only on topics, content, and sources, but by Scripture references as well. Fresh Illustration is an excellent resource to keep in Accordance Mobile for accessing illustrations on the go.

For a limited time, Accordance users can obtain all six volumes in the entire Fresh Illustrations Series at an incredible introductory discount.

Buy Now 2 Fresh Illustrations (6 Volumes) (Wilson)
Regular Price $39.90


Aug 1, 2016 Richard Mansfield

NEW! AMG Illustrations Set (4 volumes)

AMG Illustrations In preaching or teaching settings, good illustrations are essential and with good reason: people tend to remember illustrations easier than other parts of a lesson or sermon. We see illustrations used throughout the Bible, from the Prophets to the teachings of Jesus. An essential part of any communicator’s “toolkit” is a good collection of illustrations, so today we are releasing the much-treasured AMG Illustrations Set comprising 4 volumes of over 4,000 illustrations on every topic from Actions to Worship.

The AMG Illustrations Set contains the following titles, each with over 1,000 illustrations per volume:

  • Illustrations of Bible Truths
  • A Treasury of Bible Illustrations
  • Practical Bible Illustrations from Yesterday and Today
  • Heartwarming Bible Illustrations

All of the illustrations were compiled from past issues of Pulpit Helps Magazine, so they have all been collected with the preacher and Bible teacher in mind.

AMG Illustrations

Click/tap the image above for a larger view of the AMG Illustrations Set.

This past weekend, I was teaching from 1 Samuel 18-20 which details the friendship between Jonathan and David. Searching for the topic “friendship,” I found a number of entries, including these two:

“A friend—a true friend—the first person who comes in when the whole world has gone out.”

Friend! What a precious word. Most of us concur wholeheartedly with William Shakespeare who said:

Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel.

One of the privileges of friendship is being able to speak frankly. Little by little, and day by day, we become accustomed to saying what we think we ought to say instead of what we really think. How comfortable and how pleasant it is to speak freely without having to be on guard. As the Arabian says, “A friend is one to whom we may pour out the contents of our hearts, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away!”

Another privilege of friendship is that of being understood. Perhaps it was this quality which caused George Eliot to write: “Animals are such agreeable friends. They ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.” Understanding is to be expected of friends. Total agreement and acceptance? Not necessarily! As one anonymous writer has said, “The strength and sweetness of friendship depends on sincerity tempered by sympathy.”

A third privilege of friendship is the privilege of silence. If one is but a mere acquaintance we feel that we must talk. So we turn to such exciting subjects as the weather, our ailments, and our latest surgery. But what a joy it is to have a friend that will even understand your silence and not say, “My friend is not my friend anymore because he is not talking.”

Friends have mutual interests. They enjoy doing the same kinds of things, and talking about their shared interests. That’s why there is such great camaraderie between fishermen, woodworkers, gardeners, authors, etc.

Friends are mutually devoted to each other. When you are in trouble, it is not merely your friend’s duty but his privilege to stand by. If he is in trouble, you count it a privilege to help.

Friendship is this… and a whole lot more. But it causes one to ask, “Are God and I friends?”

Each volume contains both a subject and Scripture index. Of course, because these titles are in Accordance, even the content is fully searchable, allowing the user to find information that may have been missed when the publisher compiled the original indexes.

Bonus Tip: Create a User Group for all of your illustration and quotation titles that allows you to search through all of them at once using the Research tool.

Illustrations Group

Buy Now 2 AMG Illustrations Set (4 Volumes)



Jul 10, 2015

Pastor Spotlight: Brian Tabb

This post continues our look at ministers who use Accordance. If you would like to share your story, please email [email protected].

This week's installment is a bit different in focus as Dr. Brian Tabb has given us permission to adapt a section of his Themelios review of the Accordance 10 Ultimate Collection. In this post, Dr. Tabb details how a pastor might use Accordance in sermon preparation.

Let us consider how a pastor could use Accordance Bible Software to prepare a sermon on Genesis 1:26. First, the pastor could quickly set up a workspace to display several English Bibles—for example, NIV and ESV with Strong’s—alongside the morphologically tagged Hebrew Bible (BHS–W4). Moving the cursor over the Hebrew text automatically highlights the corresponding word in the parallel texts, which clearly draws attention to key translation differences, such as mankind (NIV) and man (ESV), rendering אָדָם, and rule (NIV) and dominion (ESV) for וְיִרְדּוּ.

Genesis 1:26

Key terms such as צֶלֶם and דְּמוּת may be studied by triple clicking on the word to open the preferred Hebrew lexicon (HALOT) in a new panel next to the text search or by right clicking on the word to reveal various search options (more on this below). The pastor could then consult various reference tools, such as “Cross References,” which yields 48 (!) parallel passages, or “ESV Cross References,” which lists twelve parallels, each of which may be instantly viewed by hovering one’s cursor over the reference.

Genesis 1:26 with Cross References and HALOT

For further study on “image of God,” the pastor could consult the substantial entries by Merrill in the Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch (IVP) and Bray in the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (IVP), as well as Genesis commentaries by Matthews (NAC) and Kidner (Tyndale).

Genesis 1:26 with Dictionaries

The pastor could utilize the user notes module (Command+U) to keep track of notes for particular verses and could copy and paste relevant quotations and verses into a word processor or presentation slideshow.

Brian Tabb

Brian Tabb, PhD
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies
Bethlehem College & Seminary
Minneapolis, MN


Jul 3, 2015

Pastor Spotlight: Wes Allen

This post continues our look at ministers who use Accordance. If you would like to share your story, please email [email protected].

Wes Allen I love to study, learn, and grow. I feel fidgety when I don’t have a book to read and grow anxious when I can’t explore new avenues. This is one of the reasons I love Accordance so much!

Accordance allows me to narrow in on a singular passage and to explore whatever level of depth I can afford at the time. When I need to explore a similar idea in another part of the Bible, commentary, or even a map, I simply open a new tab and dive in. Even better, my rabbit trails are easy to mark. Saved workspaces narrow my study focus, user notes highlight study I’ve already done on individual verses, and user tools store my personal refections on the passages I end up studying.

Using Accordance means I never have to feel I need to include every detail in a sermon or lesson, because I can always get back to my thoughts. It allows me to go deep over the long-term, and is a tool which has helped me become a better student and preacher.

Wes Allen
Pastor, Central Baptist Church of Riverton-Palmyra, New Jersey

Associate Regional Pastor and Communications Coordinator
The American Baptist Churches of New Jersey



Way back in 2011, Wes Allen wrote an installment of our Pastor's Study series. Still just as relevant, see his post, "Gathering Thoughts in User Tools."


Jun 26, 2015

Pastor Spotlight: Matt Smith


Matt Smith

I have used Accordance since the founding of our church. I use it daily as an app on my phone to look up biblical verses I may be asked to comment on.  I use it also to stay sharp, reading a sentence or two in the original language each day right from my smartphone. When I teach mid-week, I often use Accordance as a teaching tool, utilizing Apple TV and my phone to illustrate technical nuances of passages relevant passages on the big screen.  Our church is used to having it and I cannot imagine ever doing without it.

For sermon preparation I use Accordance to look up the various verses I want to reference all at once and for a quick look at the languages. Having used each of the various Bible software programs, I can confidently say that Accordance is--without a doubt--the fastest and most effective program for use in working with the original languages.  

The cause of Christ at Barabbas Road Church has been furthered because of Accordance and I would highly recommend it to any pastor.

Matt Smith
Senior Pastor of Barabbas Road Church
San Diego, California


Jun 18, 2015 Richard Mansfield

Pastor Spotlight: Bryan Catherman

This post continues our look at ministers who use Accordance. If you would like to share your story, please email [email protected].

Catherman I'm a guy who loves paper books, especially thick ones. I have shelves full of them in my study. But they don't do me much good when I'm at the coffee shop, on visitation, or in a hurry.

Books are especially difficult when I'm not even sure where to start my research for a sermon or doctoral paper. Accordance and Accordance Mobile are not only lifesavers, they make me a better pastor.

I use Accordance to prepare for sermons and conduct research for papers. It's also my source for devotional study and curious rabbit trails. I could do almost everything I do on Accordance with paper books (if I owned such a huge paper library), but it would take me much longer, it wouldn't be as fun, and it would be a serious drag hauling so many books around in my trunk.

Thanks for all you do Accordance! Keep up the great work.

Pastor Bryan Catherman
Redeeming Life Church
Salt Lake City, Utah


Jun 12, 2015

Pastor Spotlight: Derek King

This post continues our look at ministers who use Accordance. If you would like to share your story, please email [email protected].


Derek King I work full time at a campus ministry on the University of Kentucky campus, where one of my primary roles is teaching, specifically when it comes to the intellectual side of faith. In addition to that, I am also a full time seminary student at Asbury theological seminary. So I use Accordance in 3 primary ways:

Teaching and Preaching

I commonly get students coming to me and asking me questions about certain sections of scripture--Accordance is incredible in these situations. I can quickly access the best commentaries and dictionaries, as well as the original language. This is enormously helpful for the sometimes obscure questions students can ask about a given text.

My routine is this for any teaching or preaching scenario I find myself in for a text: Preaching preparation user tool--I created a user tool full of great quotes and resources to prepare my heart and soul for communication. This includes scripture, prayer, and quotes. I read the text in different translations. I make user notes along the way that include initial thoughts and notes. I put the text in context, clear up any confusions about certain words or themes found in the text. Then I consult commentaries. Using Evernote, I brainstorm a structure for a sermon and do my writing there. Finally, I copy and paste to a user tool.


I use Accordance whenever possible in seminary. Any of my school books available in accordance I purchase there. It's extremely helpful for my original languageand exegesis classes.

Personal Study

I read the Bible every morning on Accordance. I use a combo of the New International Version and New Testament for Everyone (NT Wright) for New Testament study. I use the New English Translation and New American Commentary for Old Testament study.

And I'm currently using GNT and BDAG to read through the Sermon on the Mount. Sometimes I'll also mix in other resources, such as Learning Theology with the Church Fathers.

Derek King

Lead Staff at Christian Student Fellowship
University of Kentucky


Jun 11, 2015

Pastor Spotlight: Abram Kielsmeier-Jones

This week we begin a new feature that highlights ministers who use Accordance. If you would like to tell us your story, contact [email protected]

Abram K-J
I use Accordance every week for sermon preparation and devotional Bible reading. Rare is the day that I don't open the program on my Mac or the app on a mobile device. The customizability, speed, sophistication, and availability of resources for preachers are second to none. Want to compare multiple English translations and instantaneously generate a comparative list of differences? Accordance can do that. Want to delve into the original languages for in-depth research? Accordance is ready. Want to access virtual bookshelves full of popular, pastoral, semi-technical and technical commentaries? Accordance can help you do that, too. I came to Accordance as a reviewer in late 2012. Since then I've used it as an aid in blogging, worship leading, teaching, planning membership class, leading Bible studies, preaching, and even in confidentially keeping track of congregational prayer requests. Accordance won't pastor for you -- you still have to prayerfully discern how to be faithful in that. But it sure will give you some sharp and powerful tools to help.

-- Abram Kielsmeier-Jones

Pastor, Writer, Editor, and Blogger at Words on the Word
Note: Abram is also a regular Accordance webinar instructor, specializing in teaching Accordance users how to use the software to prepare sermons. Here is a recording of one of his more recent webinars:


Aug 11, 2011 David Lang

The Pastor's Study: Cross-Word Dictionary and the CIA

StudyIt's been a while since our last installment of The Pastor's Study, but I'm grateful for some other pastors who have chosen to contribute to this series. This new installment comes from Levi Durfey, Pastor-Teacher of the First Baptist Church of Baker, Montana.

How I Use Accordance in My Sermon Preparation


While I use Accordance’s user notes feature for short notes and quotes, I use iWork Pages for the writing of my sermon notes. This is partly because I like writing in one tool instead of using two and transferring from one to another, and partly because Accordance notes do not support Mac Services (Which I depend on for a very good clipboard utility named PTH Pasteboard and Joe Weak’s Accordance services for copying and pasting verses from Accordance into documents).

So one of the first things I do is create a new Pages document. (If needed, I create a separate document for each chapter of the Bible.) This document is 5.75 inches wide so that it fits nicely beside Accordance. I then paste in the sermon text in English and Greek (using the Accordance services that Joe Weaks made). I use the parsing function in Accordance and print out the parsing for the passage for easy reference.

I also copy the English and Greek texts to another document, which I call my “Observation Worksheet.” There I double-space the text and print it. At the beginning of my study, and continuing throughout the study, I use this sheet to jot down little bits of information, draw connecting lines, mark key words, etc. I find that my mental juices flow more easily at times with good old-fashioned pen and paper.

I use my observation worksheet to jot down my observations about the text.

Cross-Word-Dictionary and the C.I.A.

I work through the text systematically, verse by verse. First, I read the whole passage aloud or silently and jot any new insights onto my Observation Worksheet (I do this after each verse).

Then I precede through the verse systematically, using the phrase, “Cross-Word-Dictionary and the C.I.A.” as my guide. As insights come to me, I write them down in my notes. Here’s my Accordance and Pages layout:

My Accordance and Pages Layout

1. CROSS-references: One of my favorite Accordance features is how you can hover your mouse over a list of cross-references. When you do, it turns to a magnifying glass. Then you can click and select some or all the references. When you release the click, all those references open in a separate window. From there you can easily read through all the references without hovering over each one and reading it in the Instant Details box.

In terms of my study, doing cross-references first helps me see the wider Biblical picture first, before I get into the details of the verse. For my sermons, I usually pick only a few: ones that the congregation knows or should know or ones that would make a good Biblical illustration.

2. WORD studies: This step actually includes several parts. I work through the Greek, using the parsing sheet that I printed earlier. I look for any grammatical insights and connections.

Then I may look up some of the words in a lexicon. For in-depth study, I have a separate “Greek Lexicons” workspace with all my main lexicons opened in separate tabs. All I have to do is select the word, click on the “Favorites” icon and select the “Greek Lexicons” and it opens my lexicons to the appropriate word.

Accordance Sermon Prep 3

I often do a word search on the word to see how it is used elsewhere (right click on the word and select “Search For”). I have a tab named “Greek Search” set on recycle so it is used for every Greek search I make. Accordance allows me to open a parallel English text alongside the search results in Greek, so it isn’t a hassle to quickly scan my search results.

This is also the step where I compare translations (for which I have a separate tab in Accordance) to see what other translators did with the word definitions and grammar in the verse.

3. Bible DICTIONARY: Is there an obvious topic or a cultural question? I try to make my first stop a Bible dictionary rather than a commentary. I have the IVP Dictionaries in Accordance as well as the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. I’ve put these into a group called “Dictionaries,” so all I have to do is click the search icon on the Resource Toolbar to search all my dictionaries. It's nice that I don't have to wade through the whole article of each search hit in each dictionary, as the Search All window will just show the relevant parts of the articles where a hit was found.

Accordance Sermon Prep 4

Next I move on to the C.I.A.

4. Commentaries: I have separate tabs for the commentaries in Accordance. I don’t want to see them too early in my study, so I don’t keep them visible. I try not to just copy and paste. I read, and then try to put whatever interested me (or answered a question) into my own words.

5. Illustrate: It’s miserable to get done with your sermon study and then have to find illustrations. If the week was too busy, you end up skipping them. So I try to illustrate as I go. I am not trying to find a neat story to entertain people, I want to illustrate the points and principles that I am finding in the text.

6. Apply: What are the implications for us? Again, I don’t want to be left on Saturday trying to figure out applications, so I make it a point to try and find them as I go through the text.

After I work through a verse, I go back to my Observation Worksheet and read the text again to keep sight of the forest and start the process over with the next verse.

Concluding Steps

Another step, after I’ve worked through the passage completely and if I have the time, is to use FoxTrot Personal Search to search my past sermons and other articles and sermons that I’ve collected.

I will Search [All Tools] in Accordance. I love how I can search for a range, like Romans 9:19-24, and Accordance will pick up single references like 9:20 and 9:21, or even phrases like “verse twenty-two.”

As a final step, I refine the notes and shape them into sermon form. I copy information that I don’t need to the end of the document. I usually put Pages into full-screen mode for this, as I like being able to focus on just the sermon.

One inspirational quote that I keep before me is this (I’ve lost the reference):

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was a gifted expositor who saw preaching not as “preaching a sermon for each service, but simply [as] continuing where he was in the ongoing exposition of a book of the Bible.”

That’s what I want to do. Accordance, because of its speed, its tool set, and its ability to help me focus on the Bible, is an integral part of my own ongoing exposition of the Bible.


Jul 11, 2011 David Lang

Contribute to the Next Pastor's Study Post

Study The Pastor's Study series of blog posts has been immensely popular—so much so that on the weeks I missed getting one posted, people on the Accordance forums would anxiously ask if the series was over. I've now run out of guest posts by individual pastors, but I want to keep the series going by asking a little less of a lot more of you. Are you a pastor who would like to contribute to the next Pastor's Study post but who doesn't have time to write a dissertation about your sermon-prep workflow? Then read on:

Most pastors don't have the money to spend on resources they'll never end up using, so I want the next Pastor's Study post to provide helpful advice on which Accordance resources you pastors have found most helpful. Specifically, I'm interested in the resources which have surprised you by becoming more helpful to you than you originally anticipated. So here's my question:

Have you ever bought an Accordance module you thought would be somewhat helpful, only to find that it has become one of your most valuable resources? Something you thought you would use occasionally which you now find yourself consulting all the time? If so, what are those modules and why do you think they have exceeded your initial expectations?

I asked this question on the forums over the weekend and have already gotten a couple of helpful responses, but I'm looking for more. You can add your own response in the comments on this post or in the forum thread I just linked to. All I ask is that you give me a brief description of why you originally purchased the module, how it has exceeded your expectations, and why you would recommend it to other pastors. Please also include your name and title as you would like it to appear in the blog post.

Thanks for your help.