“I’ve tried at least a dozen brands of Bible software and I always come back to Accordance. No other program compares on one particular feature that is a deal-breaker for me—the ability to see multiple translations, in parallel, and to save that workspace for regular use. It’s the best!”
Brandon Cox, Founding Pastor of Grace Hills Church in Northwest Arkansas, and Editor of Rick Warren’s Hugely Popular Pastors.com
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.
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.
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.
Fresh Illustrations (6 Volumes) (Wilson)
Regular Price $39.90
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.
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.
If you regularly teach or preach the Bible, Accordance is an excellent resource for illustrating your content! Any of the graphics in the titles of your personal Accordance library can be legally used in non-commercial, fair-use contexts like the classroom or church setting. This short video demonstrates how to export images from the Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum (or any other graphical resource in the Accordance Library) to popular presentation software like PowerPoint and Keynote.
Note: fair use does not include posting images on a website. Permission should be obtained from the copyright holder for this kind of use.
Our release of Accordance Mobile 2.3 in February was a major update that took full advantage of new iOS 9 features. One of the major updates we featured was iOS Split View that allows Accordance to run side-by-side with another app on the devices that can support this.*
In February, I showed off a screenshot of Accordance Mobile on the left and the Mellel word processor on the right. In Mellel, I displayed a paper I wrote years ago for a class (click or tap the image to the right to see a larger view) as a kind of "proof of concept" for how a a user might employ Split View. Using Accordance in Split View with word processing programs such as Mellel and Microsoft Word or note-taking apps like Evernote and Apple’s Notes seemed like a natural combination. And of course, it is.
Just recently, Clay Norwood, pastor of Superior Avenue Baptist Church in Bogalusa, Louisiana, told me of how he uses Accordance and Evernote in Split View for his sermon preparation:
I have really enjoyed doing my commentary work in Accordance using the new split screen feature. It is great having the Scripture text and a commentary open alongside of Evernote. Sections of the commentary that might be useful in outlining or drafting a sermon are easily copied and pasted into Evernote. The iPad Pro (12.9") provides ample screen space for both Accordance and Evernote.
Click/tap the image above for a larger view of
Clay Norwood's sermon prep in Split View.
Regular readers of the Accordance Blog know that those of us who work for Accordance, perhaps more importantly, are users of Accordance ourselves. In recent weeks, I’ve discovered a couple of other ways that Accordance Mobile can be used in Split View, which I’d like to share with you.
I’ve been using Keynote on an iPad to teach an adult Bible study at my church since 2010. I use Lifeway’s Explore the Bible curriculum and prepare slides each week with content combined from their leader materials and my own study of the passage in Accordance. Keynote has been my teaching tool of choice because, until recently, it was the only presentation tool I could find on the iPad that had a true Presenter View that displayed both the current slide and my teaching notes while projecting the slide alone on the external screen. Last year, Microsoft released PowerPoint for the iPad that also has a Presenter View.
Once Accordance worked in iOS 9’s Split View, I had a thought: What if I could put Accordance in Split View with Keynote? That way I could have access to the biblical text, my personal notes that I’ve added to Accordance, and the Presenter View in Keynote. At first, I had difficulty getting it to work. Although I could get Accordance on the left and Keynote on the right in Split View, I couldn’t get Keynote to project to the screen by itself. Then I decided to switch the side each app was displayed. Voila! It worked once Keynote was on the left. Although I would prefer Accordance to be on the left, Keynote would only project if it was in what iOS considers the primary application pane—the one that is on the left side.
Click/tap the image above for a larger view of
PowerPoint and Accordance Mobile in Split View.
I decided to see if PowerPoint would do this, too. So, I exported my Keynote file to PowerPoint and it worked like a charm. I also discovered that PowerPoint has a much nicer Presenter View (PowerPoint is shown in the images in this blog post). I hope that Apple will update the Presenter View in Keynote; but if not, I may have to give PowerPoint another try after abandoning it well over a decade ago.
All pastors and teachers should take note of this. This kind of split screen functionality for presentation software is something I cannot replicate on a traditional laptop because going into presentation mode in either Keynote or PowerPoint takes over the entire screen. I can only do this on my iPad. In Keynote or PowerPoint, a pastor could have a sermon text or outline in presenter notes adjacent to the current slide while using Accordance to display a biblical text plus a parallel text, personal notes, or commentary--all on one iPad screen. Classroom teachers could make use of this kind of setup as well.
Speaking of teaching Bible studies, it’s rare that I get to sit in on someone else lead a study, but I so greatly enjoy doing so when I get the chance. A few weeks ago, we were visiting family back home, and I decided to sit in on an old friend’s Bible study class. To my surprise, he was also using Lifeway’s Explore the Bible curriculum. Since I already had all the lessons in PDF format on my iPad in GoodReader, I simply put Accordance on one side of the screen, and the Sunday School lesson on the other side. I was even able to use my Apple Pencil to take a few handwritten notes on the lesson PDF.
Click/tap the image above for a larger view of
Accordance Mobile and the Bible study lesson in Split View.
This was a bit of a revelation, too. If I were regularly taking part in a class like this, Split View really creates an ideal learning experience. Although the number of iPad models that can support Split View are limited at the moment,* I assume every new iPad released in the future will support it. What a great way for participants in a learning setting to make use of both Accordance and third party curriculum!
What about you? Have you discovered new ways to use Accordance thanks to Split View or other new features in iOS 9? If so, feel free to share them in the comments, or email me at [email protected] along with a screenshot, and perhaps I will feature your idea in a future blog post.
*Note: Currently, Split View is only available on iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, and iPad Mini 4.
Note: A version of this post previously appeared on SermonCentral's website.
SermonCentral and Accordance Bible Software make a great sermon prep and preaching combination. Sermons and other content from SermonCentral can be imported into Accordance User Tools and User Notes for sermon prep, live preaching, or archived for later reference.
Now through March 26, we're giving away a PRO subscription and digital library from Accordance Bible Software to six winners!
Importing SermonCentral Content into an Accordance UserTool
In the example below, note the hierarchical table of contents that follows the outline of the sermon. All Scripture in a User Tool can be automatically hyperlinked.
- Find a sermon at SermonCentral.com and click the link to view the sermon on a single page (PRO feature).
- Select the text and copy it to your clipboard.
- In Accordance 11 for Windows or Mac, go to File: User Files: New User Tool.
- Give your User Tool a title.
- Then open the editing mode with the keyboard command Ctrl-U (Win) or Cmd-U (Mac).
- Paste your text into the editing window and touch up any formatting issues that need adjusting.
- Click on the Auto Link button ( ) to convert all Scripture references to to hyperlinks.
- Select the title of the sermon and click on the Link button ( ) to create a hyperlink back to the SermonCentral webpage where the sermon originated.
- Create a hierarchical table of contents by clicking left of any headings in the narrow gray margin on the left of the User Tool.
- Use the Alt (Win) or Option (Mac) key when clicking to create submenus.
When your User Tool is formatted to your liking, click the Update button at the bottom right of the editing window, and your User Tool is ready to go. It is fully searchable and integrated into the rest of Accordance. This entire process should only take 5 to 10 minutes. If you want to make changes to the sermon User Tool later, simply go into edit mode again.
There is only one Scripture reference near the top in this screenshot, but all of them throughout the sermon are hyperlinked. The hyperlinked “SermonCentral.com” points to the original sermon on the website as can be seen in the Instant Details at the bottom of the screen.
Over on the left side, I entered the basic outline of the sermon in the User notes. User notes are great for reminders of more detailed content elsewhere in Accordance, or you may want to preach directly from the outline in the User Note. The hyperlinked title at the top of the note points to the User Tool that I created. So, if I had only the biblical text and User Notes open, I could click on that link, and it would open my User Tool that contained the sermon.
Take Your Sermon with You with Accordance Mobile
In this screenshot from my iPad Pro, the entire sermon has been dropped into the User Note allowing anyone to preach from an outline or the entire sermon. All links described in the previous example apply here in iOS, too.
File Ideas for Later
Here, User Notes are used to list messages from SermonCentral based on a particular passage. As shown in the Instant Details, the titles are hyperlinked to the original sermon on the SermonCentral website.
- Keep multiple sermons or sermon series in the same User Tool, adding to them as needed.
- Export jpeg or png files of individual PowerPoint or Keynote slides from your sermon and incorporate them into your User Tool at the point in the sermon in which they would be displayed.
- Utilize User Notes for quick outlines of a sermon, linking back back to the full sermon in your User Tool.
Have ideas of your own? Let us know about them in the comments section!
Don't miss out! Giveaway ends March 26, 2016!
Accordance Bible Software and SermonCentral make a great combination for sermon preparation! Now through March 26, enter to win an Accordance 11 Essential Collection plus a three-year SermonCentral PRO membership! Combined, this is a $946 value.
SermonCentral PRO offers unparalleled access to video illustrations, PowerPoint slides, and more, worth $26,000. The Accordance Essential Collection provides entry-level professional resources for the pastor, professor, or Bible study leader, valued at $6,000 in print.
- 1 Grand Prize Winner gets 3 Years of SermonCentral PRO and an Accordance 11 Essential Collection
- 5 Runners Up get 1 Year of SermonCentral PRO and an Accordance 11 Starter Collection
Together, these powerful resources give you everything you need to prepare, preach, and present your Easter sermon.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834 - 1892) is known to this day as the "Prince of Preachers." Recognized quickly as a prodigy of sermon exposition, Spurgeon became pastor at London's New Park Street Chapel (later the Metropolitan Tabernacle) at the age of 19, where he served until his death 38 years later. Often controversial, Spurgeon lived a colorful, if not short, life; but his thousands of collected sermons and written works still inspire pastors and laity well into the 21st century. [Image on right: an early photo of Charles Haddon Spurgeon from the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible.]
In his nearly 40 years of ministry, Spurgeon became the most famous preacher of his day. Some have estimated that over 10,000,000 people heard him preach; yet, he was much more than mere religious celebrity. As J. G. G. Norman notes in the New International Dictionary of the Christian Church,
He read widely and especially loved the seventeenth-century Puritans. A diverse author, he wrote biblical expositions, lectures to students, hymns, and the homely philosophy of “John Ploughman,” among other works. Preeminently he was a preacher. His clear voice, his mastery of Anglo-Saxon, and his keen sense of humor, allied to a sure grasp of Scripture and a deep love for Christ, produced some of the noblest preaching of any age. His sermons have been printed and distributed throughout the world. Two popular works still widely used today are Treasury of David and Morning and Evening, the latter a compilation of devotional readings.
Many do not realize that Charles Spurgeon’s legacy goes beyond his thousands of recorded sermons still read today. In 1868, Spurgeon founded Stockwell Orphanage, which still operates today as a child advocacy charity, Spurgeon’s Child Care. In 1856, Spurgeon opened The Pastors’ College in London. After his death, it was renamed Spurgeon’s College.
Above: Spurgeon preaching at Surrey Music Hall from Parade of Faith: A Biographical History of the Christian Church
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a larger-than-life figure in his day; but even after his death, he continues to impact the lives of others—not only through his writings, but also through the institutions which he founded.
Now that we’re deep into the middle of Clergy Appreciation Month, we’re excited to introduce two new resources that are beloved by preachers and laity alike.
James Montgomery Boice stands as a giant in the history of expository preaching. One could even say he wrote the book on the subject if we want to count his collected Expositional Commentary. These 27 volumes collect Boice’s sermons in biblical order to cover most of the Old and New Testaments.
In his chapter, “Expository Preaching,” in the book Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching, Derek Thomas says this about Boice and the individual books that make up his commentary series (pp. 39-40):
Boice believed in expository preaching and said so often. His four-volume set of sermons on Romans is rightly called An Expositional Commentary, as is his five-volume set of sermons on John’s Gospel and similar works on Genesis, the Psalms, the Minor Prophets, Acts, Ephesians, and Philippians. These books were sermons before they ever saw the printed format. They are classic in style: simple, structured, highlighting main themes, alluding to other passages only to illustrate what is already drawn out of the text in question, and always applicatory.
Thomas goes on to write, “Few congregations in the twentieth century enjoyed such rich fare as did Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia during Boice’s tenure as senior minister” (p. 40). And while we can’t go back in time to sit in the pews at Tenth Presbyterian and hear Boice preach his master sermons in person, we are fortunate to have this collection of his messages organized in commentary form.
Pastors will appreciate Boice’s style and method of exposition in this collection, but truly this is still a commentary series that can be appreciated by anyone. Individual chapters might cover a portion of a verse, a single verse, or an entire passage. However, each of these chapters averages five or six pages each, which allows Boice’s Commentary to serve even as a source of daily study and reflection.
There are approximately 1250 separate chapters in the entire series, but if the reader wants to go really deep, consider that Genesis has 180 chapters, John has 270, and there are 239 chapters on Romans! And although Boice’s preaching at Tenth Presbyterian spanned from 1968 to 2000, readers will discover that even 15 years later, his exposition of the ancient Scripture texts are amazingly current, even seemingly prophetic at times.
Accordance developers have analyzed Boice’s Expositional Commentary in great detail, tagging every bit of text according to the following fields: Reference, Titles, English Content, Translation, Scripture, Transliteration, and Page Numbers. Such detailed tagging allows the Accordance user to maneuver through this commentary series quickly and find the exact content needed.
In some preaching classes, seminary students are taught that they should spend one hour in sermon preparation for every minute spent in the pulpit (in spite of this admonition, I have not noticed an expected decrease in sermon length in the churches of which I’m familiar!). But let’s be honest: very few pastors actually have time to fulfill this kind of instruction. Good pastors who take their calling to ministry seriously are usually the busiest people I know. And heaven forbid if pastors have to prepare multiple sermons in a week—there’s simply no way they could devote the above prescribed amount of time to sermon prep.
Although the proclamation of God’s Word is a very serious part of ministry, often sermon planning time is set aside because of other demands such as visiting the sick and homebound, counseling troubled church members, administering wedding and funeral services, and attending a seemingly infinite number of church committee meetings.
Here’s another pearl of wisdom some preaching professors like to throw out: “Sermon outlines are a crutch!” However, in light of all the responsibilities mentioned above, sometimes an extremely busy pastor needs a bit of help—whether it’s referred to as a crutch or something else.
This is where Baker’s Sermon Outline Series comes to the rescue. It’s no accident that the Sermon Outline Series is abbreviated “S.O.S.” because that’s exactly what this resource is--a lifesaver in tumultuous seas of church life. Let’s be clear: these are not books of sermons that can be preached as is. The busy pastor is still going to have to spend a certain amount of time fleshing these outlines out. Exposition is still required, including the pastor’s own illustrations and points of emphasis. These sermon outlines merely give the busy pastor a head start and a helping hand when it’s most needed.
Who will benefit from the Sermon Outline Series?
- Busy pastors
- Bi-vocational pastors
- Supply preachers who often get calls at the last minute
- Lay leaders who often have to teach or preach
- Anyone who experiences writer’s block occasionally
- Anyone who simply wants a collection of outlines on Scripture for study purposes
In adding the Sermon Outline Series to Accordance, we decided that rather than sell these various titles piecemeal, we would offer them together all at once at an economical price. The Sermon Outline Series bundle for the Accordance Library contains hundreds of sermons from nearly 40 volumes of sermon outline titles sold individually in print.
The Sermon Outline Series contains a significant amount of variety. Included are both expositional sermon outlines as well as topical. There are sermons for holidays and special occasions, as well as funerals. In fact, there are nearly 40 funeral sermons alone in this bundle. Any experienced pastor knows that sometimes it seems as if death comes in seasons, when there is one funeral after another. During these times, it can be difficult to continually come up with new ways of offering the same kinds of encouraging words to those who grieve. Having a diverse collection of funeral sermon outlines on hand can be a very welcome prospect.
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.
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.
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).
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.