Effective preachers require effective tools. As far as I am concerned, there is no more effective tool than Accordance Bible software. Biblical preaching derives from the text of Scripture and there is no more efficient means of studying the text of Scripture than by utilizing a comprehensive Bible software package. You simply cannot find a better product for the purpose than Accordance.
Accordance was first developed in 1994, a time when computer technology was still new to many of us. Accordance was a leader then and it continues to lead the field today. This was the first program to offer features such as graphical searching, statistical analysis of search results, diagramming, and instant parsing. Accordance was the first to offer grammatically tagged versions of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Mishna, the Aramaic Targums, and the Pseudepigrapha. Granted, most preachers don’t have cause to parse the Dead Sea Scrolls as part of their daily work, but such things show something of the scope and quality of the product. It’s nice to know you have that kind of horsepower under the hood for those rare times you need it.
Accordance is designed for the Mac and available for PC by means of emulation software. As a product which originated with Mac, it brings the intuitive, user-friendly features that Mac is known for and that Mac users are accustomed to. With Accordance, what you see is what you get. The page prints the way it looks upon the screen. Navigation is sensible so that controls and features are available where you expect to find them. It just works. Accordance was designed to encourage economy of effort and ease of use. You won’t waste a lot of time trying to figure out how to use the product.
With Accordance the Bible is central, which is a great thing from the perspective of a preacher. When you launch the software, the first thing you see is a window that features the entire text of the Bible. Consequently, the Bible serves as the hub around which one’s study will revolve. It is that focus on the Bible that makes the product so productive for a preacher’s work.
How might a preacher actually utilize Accordance? I start by opening my chosen texts in various versions, including the original Greek or Hebrew. Each text is opened in a parallel window so that I can easily compare all versions at once. Significant words are instantly parsed in a separate window. I might choose, further, to select a particular part of the text and open the parsing window or the syntax window in order to see the grammatical structure of the text. I may even choose to create a graphic sentence diagram of the section utilizing the program’s intuitive diagramming tools.
Having read the text, I may choose to select particular words or passages to investigate further. An array of dictionaries, lexicons, and commentaries are just a click away. Place name encyclopedias are available with photography, maps, and timelines. Maps in Accordance are three dimensional which means that the student can easily appreciate the terrain, which can be particularly helpful when trying to understand some of those Old Testament historical books.
Of course all of these things are available in print to some degree, but storing and searching your treasured books in print is very time-consuming, and not always entirely satisfying in terms of the actual results. Of course, storing up books in print is also very expensive. A software program like Accordance will set you back a few dollars, but one has to compare that expense with the costs involved in purchasing, storing, and inevitably moving a comparable stack of books. This is to say nothing of the monetary value of one’s time spent in searching.
A “starter” copy of Accordance which includes a few basic English Bible study tools sells for $49. “Premier” levels featuring an extensive package of scholarly tools sell for $319. Most preachers will find a package that suits their needs somewhere in between those two figures. If that sounds expensive, I note that a copy of Keil and Delitzsch’s Commentary on the Old Testament is currently listed on Amazon for more than $800 not counting shipping costs. Of course K&D looks more impressive on your shelf, but a copy of Accordance featuring numerous such commentaries and tools comes at a fraction of the price.
We preachers love the Bible. Accordance will feed your affection for the Scriptures, resulting in a deeper understanding of the Word and a more powerful preaching of it.
Accordance is produced by Oak Tree Software. An extensive and helpful website can be found at accordancebible.com. Go there to read expert reviews, to view the video tutorial, and to download a free trial of the software.