Happy New Year! Now that 2010 is underway, many people are resolving to improve themselves in various and sundry ways. If your New Year’s Resolution is to shed those holiday pounds, I’m afraid Accordance won’t be much help to you. But if your New Year’s Resolution is to read the Bible through in a year, Accordance has got your back. Here are a few tips designed to make keeping that resolution easy.

Discover the Daily Readings module: If you’ve purchased any level of the Library or Scholar’s collections, you should have a module named Daily Readings installed. You’ll find it in the General tools pop-up of the Resource palette, or you could just type “daily r” in the Find box of the Library window. This module has two plans for reading through the Bible in a year. The devotional arrangement presents you with an Old Testament passage, a New Testament passage, and passages from Psalms and Proverbs for each day of the year. The chronological arrangement presents passages in a roughly chronological order, so that, for example, passages from the prophets are presented in the context of the historical events they discuss.

Command-click to view all the passages: Once you’ve selected the arrangement you want and gone to today’s date, you can click each hypertextable Scripture link to read each passage. Of course, who wants to go back and forth between the Daily Readings module and the Bible window that opens when you click each link? Wouldn’t it be better to click once and view all the passages in the same window? Sure it would. To do that, just hold down the command key when you click one of the links. It’s like clicking all the links at once.

Auto-scroll the passages: Once the passages are opened in a single window, you can use the auto-scroll feature to make it easy to read through the text as you would read from a teleprompter. To turn auto-scroll on, go to the Appearance settings of the Preferences and choose a speed from auto-scrolling pop-up (I use medium). You can then command-click the up or down scroll arrows on the scroll bar to start auto-scrolling. If you find it scrolling too fast or too slow, try resizing the text in the window. A large text size together with the medium scroll speed works well for me. If I find myself falling behind the scrolling, I’ll just click with the mouse to stop it momentarily, then command-click again once I’ve caught up.

Have Accordance read to you: Sometimes hearing a passage read aloud can help you notice things you miss when reading it yourself. So there may be days you’ll find it helpful to select a passage and click the Speech button on the Resource palette. Accordance will then use the Mac’s text-to-speech to read the passage aloud. You can set the voice in the Preferences (I like the new Leopard voice named “Alex”). You may also want to modify the text to suppress superscripts or remove the references so that Accordance doesn’t try to vocalize those.

Use Highlighting to keep your place: The Daily Readings are arranged by date, so if you never miss a day you’ll always know where you last left off. But let’s be realistic. At some point you’re probably going to fall behind, so you may want to remember where you last left off. One way to do that is to highlight the day you last finished reading. Simply select the name of the day you just completed, then choose a highlight color from the highlight palette. (You can open the highlight palette from the Window menu.) The next time you open the Daily Readings module, use the Style command (Search menu –> Enter Command) to search for the highlight style you used. That will take you right to where you last left off. You can then clear the highlight style from that day and highlight the following day.

By following this simple methodology, I hope you’ll find it easy to keep your resolution of reading the Bible regularly in 2010.