Accordance Bible Study –– 5. Knowing the Time
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Sample Accordance Bible Study

K. Allison Brannon

Introduction to the Timeline

As we continue our study of Mark 1:1-11, we turn now to the Timeline, a truly unique resource in Accordance. The Timeline allows the student of the Bible to put events that take place within the pages of the Bible into the context of history. Easy to use and easy to understand, the Timeline is unique to Accordance because of the options it offers, allowing the user to personalize it according to needs and desires.

In previous articles, we discussed the need to put passages we are studying into Biblical context. Similarly, putting those passages into historical context gives a picture of the story and events that is fuller and clearer. In order to really understand the facts, we must understand the events surrounding the facts. For example, if we see that the book of Isaiah was written within a hundred years of the first temple destruction, we understand a little more about the issues addressed in the book.

Basics of the Timeline

There are two main ways to access the Timeline. The first is simply by selecting it from the Library. The icon is located under the Background heading, under the Atlas. Clicking on this icon will open the Timeline in another tab or window. Go ahead and open the Timeline and let's cover some of the basic functions and features. As you see, the legend at the top of the window shows that the Timeline displays rulers, prophets, and more.

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(click image to see at full size)

Zooming out and scrolling up and down shows the different regions that are parallel in time. Greece, Rome, Asia and others can all be viewed this way, making it easy to see what was taking place around the world at the time being studied. Notice that during the Roman Empire, the red color that represents Rome covers almost all of the regions. Across the bottom of the window, you can see the different ages marked to give further historical context.

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The two pop-up menus at the top, similar to the menus you find in the Atlas, allow you to define regions and categories of people and events. Try some of these options and see how the Timeline shifts. You will also find the option of choosing to set the Timeline according to Conservative or Critical dates.

Linking to the Text

The second way to access the Timeline is by hyperlinking directly to it from the text you are studying. For example, highlight the word Isaiah in Mark 1:2. Then go over to the Library and click on the Timeline. You will notice that your cursor becomes a magnifying glass when you have something selected. The Timeline appears with the selected person and corresponding book in red.

Try switching from Conservative to Critical interpretations to see how they differ. You'll notice, for example, that there are two books of Isaiah in the Critical scheme. The lighter colored parts of the markers (as seen on Isaiah and others) indicate the spectrum of possible dates. Click on any item to see its name, dates, and references in the center of the top bar. Look up Jesus and John the Baptist the same way, exploring the Timeline and seeing what you can discover about the times of these men. Double-clicking on John the Baptist, for example, will open a Bible Dictionary. Here you will read about his beheading by Herod, but you may wonder which Herod it refers to. The Timeline will answer this question.

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Timeline Data

If you want to see information about what is going on in all the regions at once, in a particular time, it is easy to pull up a Timeline Data workspace. Pass the cursor over a particular date on the top bar, and note how the cursor again becomes a magnifying glass. Clicking on one of these dates will bring up a new window that lists all the events, rulers, and people in each region. This gives a useful overview.

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The Timeline provides valuable information relating to the historical context of a given passage, person, event, or book. It allows us to look at specifics or overviews, in one of two interpretations. It can be accessed directly through the Resource Palette or by hyperlinking from the text. Use the Timeline whenever you want to learn the historical information surrounding a named person or event in the Bible. As you become more familiar with it, you will gain an understanding of the flow of the events and the relationships between them.

(Article content and images updated September 2013)

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