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- Extensive resources for studying, cross referencing, and analyzing the Bible.
- Powerful search capabilities for finding words, clauses, patterns, and even grammatical constructs.
- The Instant Detail window provides some Greek and Hebrew expansions on keyed words.
- Small memory footprint and runs on old macs (also pre-OS X and Mac emulators on Windows and Unix).
- Free iPhone companion app available.
Really only a few nit-picky points. That there are no major complaints says a lot about the quality of the software.
- The Instant Detail window doesn’t always pick the instant resource you might think it would (however you can always open another synchronized pane instead)
- The Library window lists translations by their abbreviation only (KJV, AFL-E, RVR09, etc) with little aid in discovering their name. (granted, KJV is an easy one…)
- Optional Dashboard Widget must launch Accordance to look up a verse.
The Bottom Line
Accordance Bible is a great Bible program for serious and intimate study of the Word. It is lean and fast, and it promotes thorough and thoughtful research. It is well focused and has extensive resources without losing its identity in a sea of unnecessary content.
Accordance Bible software is an exciting step past the many, powerful, web-based Bible tools available on the Internet. Sure you could look up “that verse about Esther” with Google, but for in-depth study with many resources available both to amplify a point in question and to drill down to finer details, Accordance Bible software provides a refreshing, intimate connection with the Scriptures. It has a real “Mac” feel that will be welcome and refreshing to long time Mac users. Anyone wanting to study the Word more seriously, whether trained in a seminary or not, can get a lot of value out of this thorough tool, which has plenty to discover around every corner.
After a reasonable initial download the Accordance software connected to the company’s servers to determine which packages I had available in my account (you can buy as you go) and began the download process. You may as well wait for all the packages to download first, since the program is not as interesting without the content (no surprise).
This being my first time using Accordance, I had a sort of deer-in-the-headlights look when it first opened, but as I began to explore, I came to feel a very intimate relationship with the passages I was studying, much more so than in other Bible tools I have used. You are greeted with a Library window showing Texts and other documents available to you. Here I double click NAS95S to open up a window with the New American Standard text.
Simple searches are straightforward as you would expect. Typing “Eph 2:8-9″ returns expected results, but I can also adjust a Context slider to show extra verses following those I requested. For some users leaving the context slider turned all the way up will provide search results more to their liking, so there is something for everyone here.
Listing multiple references at once compiles all the references into one place. This is handy when compiling a notes sheet to hand out to others.
Speaking of which, when you copy verses, you have the option of copying as a Citation which results in nicely formatted text:
This results in something easy to paste into a word processor:
Extra Window Panes
You can add other Bible texts and references to a window that will all track the search you are performing. Here I have the King James Version along with the New English Translation and its 60k+ translator notes (the Instant Detail window would be a good place for these notes to appear instead, but that does not seem to be supported):
Perhaps you want to see how two translations differ. Here we can see even the differences between NASB and NAS95S with additions, deletions, and alternatives indicated:
Depending on the packages you buy, you may have a number of extra documents available such as Bible Art, here showing an artist’s rendition of Queen Esther accusing Haman the Agagite.
Your packages may also include commentaries, timelines, maps, hymns, confessions of faith and more.
The map package lets you explore the geography and even generate 3D maps of an area of interest.
Greek and Hebrew
It is in the area of serious Greek and Hebrew study where Accordance Bible really shines and shows itself as a tool not just for casual study but for deep searching into the Word.
Say you want to know more about the Greek and Hebrew text behind your language’s translation. Here we look at Gen 22 where God tempted/tested Abraham. Hovering the mouse over the word “tested” shows me some information in the Instant Detail window (usually floating at the bottom of your screen), and triple clicking a word brings up detailed information in another pane:
Now I want to know where else this “tested” word appears, so I copy the Hebrew characters נִסָּה and do a word search. I add the plus sign to indicate that I want to search word roots, not just that exact word.
If that is not enough, you can select a word, say “test,” and then select another resource from the palette to learn what that resource has to say about the word. This amplification theme runs throughout Accordance.
You can also follow along with original texts and a translation. Here we see NAS95S beside a Hebrew Bible.
This is all too easy. Suppose I want to see all the instances where Molech is used in a proper name. After exploring the more advanced search features available in the Search menu (or learning the keyboard shortcuts), I get my answer. I can also bring up an Analysis pane to show usage statistics (in word or chart form):
The computerized equivalent of writing in the margins is the User Notes feature. You can tag verses with notes which you can bring up all together in sequence. You can have multiple sets of notes to help you as you perform different studies. An Accordance Bible representative mentioned that at least one missionary used the User Notes feature to record a translation work into a local language.
There are many resources available through Accordance Bible, yet it remains focused on studying the Word. I found that it strikes a great balance. I have used other Bible programs that offer a wealth of extra data, which I appreciate when generating worksheets for my kids or when it turns up unexpected sermons or graphics on a topic, but I have Google for that, so it is not required in my Bible software. Instead having a focused tool helps me focus on the Word.
With so many advanced features available in Accordance Bible, I highly recommend looking on their website to see if they are offering a free training seminar in your area. I had the opportunity to sit in on a one-day seminar, and my comfort level with the software greatly improved after the instruction. It was evident that the presenter had a deep knowledge of and reverence for God’s Word, and he was enthusiastic about helping us understand their tool so that we too could study better.
Accordance Bible uses surprisingly little memory, only 15MB at startup, and after a day of hard use, memory had grown to only 100MB. For users of old Macs, all the way back to System 7 even, this is a blessing. The application responds quickly, and the hard drive does not thrash about to keep the program running.
Because Accordance Bible can run on on systems as far back as System 7.5, users of Windows, Gnu/Linux, and other systems supported by the Basilisk emulator can run the Accordance Bible software in a Mac emulator (though it really may be time to switch to a Mac!).
There is a Dashboard Widget for looking up verses, however it requires Accordance to launch in order to look up a verse, which is rather unexpected behavior and rather annoying (unless, I suppose, you always have Accordance running).
Accordance Bible software aids in an intimate and thorough study of the Scriptures. The clean interface and focused approach to software design helps complete your connection to the Word before you.
Price: $149 and higher
Platform: Mac OS X 10.4 and higher
Version Tested: 9
Website: Product Webpage