As the availability of titles you can add to your Accordance Library grows, you may find it difficult at times to keep up with the works available that can inform your study of the Bible. In this post, I’d like to shine the spotlight on three Zondervan reference works that you may or may not have considered for your Bible study toolkit.
Have you discovered the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary Series: New Testament (ZECNT for short)? It’s so new (the volume on James has the earliest copyright date, 2008) that you may not have noticed it yet. If you spend some time with the series, though, you will immediately see that it is different from many other commentary series. Imagine if some of the top Evangelical scholars were to write exegesis papers—not stuffy ones, but ones you actually wanted to read—over every passage in the New Testament. This is what the ZECNT is like!
Though not complete yet, the ZECNT is an ongoing commentary project that takes every New Testament passage and analyzes it by the following categories:
- Literary Context—a concise discussion of how the passage functions in the broader literary context of the book.
- Main Idea—a one- or two-sentence statement of the big idea or central thrust of the passage.
- Translation and Graphical Layout—perhaps the greatest distinction of the series, the purpose of this diagram is to help the reader visualize, and thus better understand, the flow of thought within the text.
- Structure—the commentator describes the flow of thought in the passage and explains how certain interpretive decisions regarding the relationship of the clauses were made in the passage.
- The Exegetical Outline—the overall structure of the passage is described in a detailed exegetical outline.
- Explanation of the Text—the emphasis on this section of the text is to convey the meaning of the passage.
- Theology in Application—a reflection of the theological contribution of the passage.
This series is ideal for the person who has had one or two years of Greek, but may or may not be a little bit rusty. The ZECNT is not as technical as the Word Biblical Commentary or the New International Greek Testament Commentary as it is designed for a broader audience. If the reader has not had any training in biblical Greek, the series is still accessible because all Greek text follows English translation.
Volumes available so far:
- Matthew by Grant R. Osborne (2010)
- Luke by David E. Garland (2012)
- Acts by Eckhard J. Schnabel (2012)
- Galatians by Thomas R. Schreiner (2010)
- Ephesians by Clinton R. Arnold (2010)
- Colossians & Philemon by David W. Pao (2012)
- 1-2 Thessalonians by Gary S. Shogren (2012)
- James by Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell (2008)
Perhaps you are a longtime user of the now classic Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. Did you know it has been thoroughly revised and improved? Now known as the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible (ZEB), this work has become one of my favorite Bible reference works.
I admit up front that I tend to be a very visual person. I gravitate toward the works in my Accordance Library that have a good selection of photos and illustrations. The ZEB has a caption search field, so in addition to simply looking up and reading about subjects, I can actually search for images of a particular subject. I often use these pictures when I am teaching at church or in the classroom by inserting them into a Keynote (Apple’s equivalent of PowerPoint) presentation.
The original ZPEB was edited by Merrill C. Tenney, and the ZEB revision has been edited under the care of Moisés Silva. The completely new work contains the following features:
- The equivalent of more than 5,000 pages of vital information on Bible lands and people
- More than 7,500 articles alphabetically arranged for easy reference
- Hundreds of full-color and black-and-white illustrations, charts, and graphs
- 32 pages of full-color maps and hundreds of black-and-white outline maps for ready reference
- Scholarly articles ranging across the entire spectrum of theological and biblical topics, backed by the most current body of archaeological research
- 238 contributors from around the world
Tip: Make the ZEB your default Bible dictionary for triple-clicking in the Amplify section of Accordance’s preferences.
Here is another fantastic update to an established reference work. Perhaps you wore out your print copy of the 1999 Zondervan NIV Atlas of the Bible by Carl. G. Rasmussen. Well, if so, you’ll be glad to know that this title has been completely revised as the Zondervan Atlas of the Bible, and it is now available in Accordance to integrate with your other Bible study tools.
Frankly, you simply cannot understand the Bible’s story without understanding the land in which it takes place. Although there are a number of quality Bible atlases available for Accordance in addition to our own dynamic atlas, the Zondervan Atlas of the Bible is now a standard work indispensible for study of biblical geography.
The atlas has two primary sections. The first covers the general region of the Middle East to give context to the next section, a thorough exploration of biblical geography from Eden to the Seven Churches of Revelation. With the print equivalent of over 300 pages, the Zondervan Atlas of the Bible includes the following features:
- Thoroughly revised edition of the Gold Medallion Award-winning Zondervan NIV Atlas of the Bible
- Innovative 3D imaging technology
- Over one hundred images to bring the biblical world to life with unprecedented clarity
- Over one hundred full-color, multidimensional maps trace the progression of Old and New Testament history
Use the Zondervan Atlas of the Bible as a reference to which you can amplify locations straight from the biblical text, or study through it chapter by chapter as a means of better understanding the biblical story.
One more thing...It is also worth mentioning that any of these titles make great add-ons to our iOS versoin of Accordance if you have never bought a standard Accordance collection for Macintosh or Windows computers.
You don't search Accordance tools by words and verses, but by the various fields of content each tool contains (Titles, Content, Scripture, etc.). Entering an asterisk in the search entry box, regardless of which field is selected, will always display the entire contents of the tool. This is analogous to the asterisk in a Bible window when Verses is selected.
There may be times, however, when you actually want to search for every word in a particular search field. If the asterisk by itself always displays the entire text without actually searching for every word, how would you search for every word in a field? An easy way to do it is to search for a question mark followed by an asterisk, like this: ?*. The question mark is a wildcard symbol which represents any single character, and the asterisk is a wildcard symbol which represents any combination of characters. Entering the two together in a tool window makes it clear that you want to find and highlight every word in the currently selected field.
Why would you want to highlight every word in a given field? Here's one useful example. Let's say you've taken advantage of our current dictionary sale (which ends next week) to pick up the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible. One of the selling points of this five-volume reference is its many high-quality photographs and illustrations. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to search for all those images so you can quickly scroll through them, just to get an idea of the kinds of illustrations you now have access to?
To do this, open the ZEB and select Captions in the field pop-up menu. Now enter ?* and hit return. Accordance will search for every word in the captions field, effectively finding every image. You can then use the Mark buttons to jump from image to image.
Now, here's the cool trick. Select Paragraphs from the Show pop-up menu to see only those paragraphs of the ZEB which contain a search hit. This effectively hides everything but the images and their captions, enabling you to scroll through the entire tool to see the kinds of images it contains. Set the image size to Large (by choosing Set Tool Display from the Display menu), and you'll get a result which looks like this:
Try doing that with the print edition!