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News, How-tos, and assorted Views on Accordance Bible Software.

Friday, May 05, 2006  

Getting to the Verse You Want

When you first launch Accordance, the program opens with a Search window displaying your default Bible text. The Search for Verses radio button is selected, and an asterisk is entered in the argument entry box. Now, let's say I want to go to 1 Samuel 17. What do I do?

What most people do is replace the asterisk in the argument entry box with a reference to 1 Samuel 17 and click OK. Sure enough, Accordance takes me to 1 Samuel 17. I start reading, and am quite happy until I get to the end of the chapter, and find that the text ends at 1 Samuel 17:58. What, I wonder, happened to 1 Samuel 18, or the rest of the Bible for that matter?

What happened is that when I entered 1 Samuel 17 at the top of the window, I did a search for that passage, and by default, Accordance only shows me the verses which I searched for. In effect, I told Accordance that I only want to see 1 Samuel 17, so Accordance dutifully displayed 1 Samuel 17:1-58 in the text pane of the Search window.

This ability to display just the verses I want is a great feature of Accordance. It means I can type in something like "Genesis 1:1-2; Psalm 119:11; Proverbs 3:5-6" and see just those verses. Surprisingly, many Bible programs don't make this possible. Rather, they force you to view each of those passages in the context of the whole Bible, so that you would have to jump from Genesis to Psalms and then from Psalms to Proverbs. That can be a pain. So Accordance lets you specify exactly what verses you want to see.

However, there are times, like in our 1 Samuel 17 example, when you just want to jump to a passage and see that passage in context. If you enter the passage you want in the top of the window, you limit yourself, and then you have to type something else to get to the next chapter or book. Who wants to do that?

This can be especially frustrating when you're trying to follow along with a Bible study or sermon. If the teacher says, "Turn to Exodus 12:1" and you enter Exodus 12:1 in the argument entry box, you're stuck if he happens to read on to verse 2 or 3.

At times like these, the better approach is to leave that asterisk in the argument entry box so that every verse of the Bible is displayed. When you want to jump quickly to a particular reference, don't enter it at the top of the window, enter it in the Go To Box in the bottom right corner.

Try it. Make sure an asterisk is entered at the top of the window, then enter 1 Samuel 17 in the Go To Box and click OK (or hit return). You've just jumped to 1 Samuel 17. Now scroll back to chapter 16. Now click the down chapter arrow twice to go to 1 Samuel 18. Now enter Exodus 12:1 in the Go To Box. You see? The Go To Box lets you jump to any verse displayed in the text window pane, without changing the display or limiting the number of verses. This is how I get around whenever I'm trying to follow a Bible study that's doing a lot of passage-hopping.

Now, it's important to keep in mind that the Go To Box can only take you to verses which are actually displayed in the text window pane. So if you enter 1 Samuel 17 in the top of the window, and then type 1 Samuel 18 in the Go To Box, you'll be taken to the last verse in 1 Samuel 17. Until you change your verse search to something that includes 1 Samuel 18, you can't get to 1 Samuel 18 using the Go To Box.

In my opinion, the Go To Box may be one of the most underutilized features of Accordance. It's also useful when you've done a word search and want to navigate quickly to one of the "hit" verses which are displayed. If I've done a search for "love," and want to jump to Psalm 136, I can enter that reference in the Go To Box to jump there without scrolling.

Get used to using it, and the Go To Box will make your life much easier.

David, there's one shortcut that you must learn when doing searches: TAB! :)

Thanks for the Blog. It's shocking how much I under utilize the features of Accordance.


When I tried it, and entered Luke 1:1-3, the program told me there were extraneous characters at the end of the reference and highlighted "-3" only allowing me to search for a single verse.

David, thanks for the tip (even though I'm a little late in reading it). Now I know why that thing is there!


Indeed, this is a great tip, and calms me greatly.

Yet I still protest. Why O why cannot there be some way to do this even more simply? It seems to me that I ought to be able to click on something, click on the name of the book (1 Sam), then click the chapter I want, and poof, up it comes. Perhaps not as fast as typing, but it requires less effort, because you're only using the mouse, not the keyboard. Perhaps it is merely another option that can be given. The more I can do using only the mouse, the happier I am.

Still, your post helped me see that there may be some virtue in doing it your way, the Accordance way. And I am convinced that this is a great program, though I haven't been using it long.

But I contend it would be more intuitive, and easier, to just be navigating using only the mouse, clicking here and there scanning through the Bible.

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