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

Friday, April 27, 2007  

I Could Tell You, But Then I'd Have To . . .

Blogging has been difficult this week. Not because I don't know what to talk about, but because I'm dying to discuss a soon-to-be-released update to Accordance, and I just can't tell you about it yet. I've spent much of this week beta-testing a MAJOR new feature which you will soon be able to download for free, along with a truckload of other features and enhancements. There will be so much to talk about when 7.2 is released that I'm finding it hard to write about current features. Fortunately, you and I should only have to wait a little bit longer.

While we wait for this free update to be released, let me remind you of another opportunity to get more for less. This entire month, we've been offering a Customer Appreciation Sale with big discounts on our most popular packages and modules. The sale ends Monday, so if you haven't taken advantage of it yet, now is the time to do it. Think how much fun it will be to play with new modules and new features at the same time!

Monday, April 23, 2007  

Option-Selecting a Resource

On Friday, I wrote about what happens when you option-click the Search button on the Resource palette. If you select a word in a Greek or Hebrew tagged text, then option-click the Search button, Accordance will search for the inflected form of that word (the way it actually appears in the text) rather than searching for the lexical form (a broader search which will find the word no matter how it appears in the text). If you select a word in a Bible text with Strong's Numbers and option-click the Search button, Accordance will search for the Key number which was attached to the selected word, rather than for the word itself.

Today, I want to show you that these options also work when you click other buttons or choose other resources from the Resource palette. For example, if I select a word in a text with Key numbers, then hold down the option key while selecting a lexicon like BDAG or HALOT, Accordance will automatically search that lexicon for the Greek or Hebrew word represented by that word's Key Number! This little feature means users who may not have a grammatically tagged Greek or Hebrew text can jump directly to the best lexicons from their Key numbered Bibles.

Or how about this? You do have a tagged Greek or Hebrew text, but you still primarily work with an English translation. If you run across a word you want to research further, select it and then hold down the option key while selecting your Greek or Hebrew Bible text from the Resource palette. Accordance will then automatically search for every occurrence of that Greek or Hebrew word. The cool part is that all that happens without you having to type a single letter of Greek or Hebrew!

Thursday, April 19, 2007  

More on the Search Button

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of the Search button on the Resource palette. When you select a word in a Bible text or tool and then click this button, that text or tool will automatically be searched for the word you selected. In that previous blog post, I showed how Accordance automatically formats such searches with the proper search syntax, particularly with respect to Greek and Hebrew searches. Today, I want to expose you to more cool stuff you can do with the Search button.

Whenever I teach a training seminar like the recent ones in Atlanta, I'm struck with how many times during the course of the day I mention the option key. If you hold down the option key while clicking the Search button, you can modify the way Accordance searches for the selected word.

If you select a Greek or Hebrew word, and hold the option key down while clicking the Search button, Accordance will search for the inflected form of the selected word, rather than its lexical form.

If you select a word in a text with Strong's numbers, option-clicking the Search button will search for the Strong's number attached to the selected word, rather than for the word itself. For example, if I select the word love in Matthew 5:43 of the KJVS, then option-click the search button, Accordance automatically searches the KJVS for the Key number G25, which represents the Greek word agapao. I can then click the Details button to see a Graph of where agapao is used most frequently, or get an Analysis of all the different ways agapao is translated.

In addition to option-clicking the Search button on the palette, you can access these search options by control- or right-clicking a word to pull up a contextual menu. The Search For submenu of that contextual menu will offer you the option to search by inflected form (in a tagged Greek or Hebrew text) or Key Number (in a Key numbered text).

Monday, April 09, 2007  

Accordance Training in Atlanta

On Wednesday, I'll be driving north to Atlanta to offer two free training seminars there. If you're in the area you don't want to miss it.

Here are the details of the two seminars scheduled:

  • Emory University
    Thursday April 12, 2007

    9 am to 5 pm
    Church School Building 404
    Candler School of Theology
    1660 N Decatur Rd.
    Atlanta, GA 30322
  • Grace Fellowship Church
    Saturday April 14, 2007

    9 am to 5 pm
    1440 Dogwood Rd., Snellville, GA 30044
    (770) 979 7000

If you'd like to attend one of the seminars, please e-mail helen[at]accordancebible[dot]com.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007  

Gory Bible Stories

As I've mentioned several times on this blog, my family and I have been reading through the Bible chronologically this year. Last night, we read about Ehud stabbing Eglon, the obese king of Moab, and about Jael killing Sisera by driving a tent-peg through his temple. After all the blood and guts, my son Caleb quipped, "Gee, I really like reading the Bible! It's got all this cool action!"

I'm not sure I want my son's love of the Bible to be driven by his enjoyment of murder and mayhem, but I guess it's a start!

I've written before how Accordance has helped me deal with difficult passages. Tonight's passages were easy and, in a macabre sort of way, entertaining. But Accordance still came in handy, since these stories contained a lot of geographical and historical details which were just begging to be explained.

The first thing I did was to open a map and overlay the "War of Ehud" route layer on it. This animated route shows the unfolding of Ehud's defeat of Moab, from his assassination of Eglon at Jericho to his marshalling of troops from Ephraim to his capture of the fords of the Jordan in order to cut off the Moabites' escape. By seeing it unfold on the map, I was able to understand the military strategy behind the events described in Judges 3.

By switching to the "War of Deborah" route layer, I was then able to show the events of that battle unfolding. Next I opened up the Bible Lands PhotoGuide to show the kids photos of Mount Tabor rising above the Jezreel valley.

We talked about why the Israelites might have mustered on Mount Tabor and how controlling the high ground might have nullified the advantages of Sisera's 900 chariots. Finally, I used the Bible Art module to show them a couple of mildly gory pictures of Jael showing the body of Sisera to Barak.

So if you ever feel the need to bring gory Bible stories to life for your kids, Accordance has the tools to get the job done. ;-)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007  

Finding all the Davidic Psalms

Whenever I demonstrate how to define a search range in Accordance, I usually mention that you can include non-contiguous ranges and that you can go down to the chapter and verse level. "For example," I say, "You could define a range for all the Davidic psalms." Yesterday, it occurred to me that I had never actually defined a range for the Davidic Psalms.

Being the inherently lazy person I am, I wanted to find a quick and easy way to find all the psalms ascribed to David. I did it by using a search command which I suspect many of you may not even know about: the Field command.

The Field command is a stand-alone command which is used in conjunction with the WITHIN command. Basically, you can tell Accordance to find something within so many words of either the beginning or end of your search "field."

What is the search "field"? It's whatever you have set in the "Search within every" pop-up menu in the More Options section of the Search window. By default, this is set to verse, but you can change it to search by clause, sentence, paragraph, chapter, etc.

If I want to find all the Psalms attributed to David, I need to find all the Psalms which mention David in the superscription, which is, of course, the first verse of the psalm. So I typed "David" (without the quotes), then selected the WITHIN command from the Enter command menu of the submenu (actually I used the keyboard shortcut shift-command-w) and entered a proximity of 20 words. Next I entered the FIELD command (using the keyboard shortcut shift-command-f). In the dialog box that appeared, "Begin" was already selected, so I just clicked OK to dismiss the dialog.

In the More Options section of the Search window, I selected Psalms as my search range and "Chapter" as my search field. My search argument now looked like this:

This search will find every psalm which has the name David within 20 words of the beginning of the chapter. In the HCSB, this search turned up eight verses, all of which were either verse 0 (zero) or 1. Since I know the zero verses in Psalms are the superscriptions, those are the hits I want. Psalm 132:1, which begins, "LORD, remember David," is a false hit because in that case David is just mentioned in the body of the Psalm.

Now, does it strike any of you as odd that this search returned only seven legitimate Davidic psalms? Surely David wrote more than that! The reason for this is that the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) I was using happens to translate most of the ascriptions to David with the word "Davidic." When I went back and put an asterisk (*) wildcard after the word "David" in my search argument, I got seventy-four verses, which seemed a little more like it.

Now I needed a way to remove all of the verse 1 references to David, so that I would just be left with the verse zero superscriptions. I used command-A to select all the verses, then bookmarked all the verses by choosing Mark Selection from the Selection menu. I then skimmed through the results and found that the only verse 1 hit was Psalm 132:1. I removed the bookmark from this verse by option-clicking the verse, then went back up to the Selection menu and chose to Add Marked Verses to a new Reference List window.

A Reference List window is basically just a container window for collecting related verses. I just used it as a temporary way to get all the Davidic psalm superscriptions together in one place. I used command-A to select all the verses in this window, then chose Copy As References from the Edit menu. This gives me a nicely formatted list of verse references that looks like this:

Psa 3:0; 4:0; 5:0; 6:0; 7:0; 8:0; 9:0; 11:0; 12:0; 13:0; 14:0; 15:0; 16:0; 17:0; 18:0; 19:0; 20:0; 21:0; 22:0; 23:0; 24:0; 25:0; 26:0; 27:0; 28:0; 29:0; 30:0; 31:0; 32:0; 34:0; 35:0; 36:0; 37:0; 38:0; 39:0; 40:0; 41:0; 51:0; 52:0; 53:0; 54:0; 55:0; 56:0; 57:0; 58:0; 59:0; 60:0; 61:0; 62:0; 63:0; 64:0; 65:0; 68:0; 69:0; 70:0; 86:0; 101:0; 103:0; 108:0; 109:0; 110:0; 122:0; 124:0; 131:0; 133:0; 138:0; 139:0; 140:0; 141:0; 142:0; 143:0; 144:0; 145:0

As you can see, this list gives me a nice basis for defining a "Davidic Psalms" range, but I don't just want my range to include the superscriptions of these psalms, I want to search all these psalms in their entirety. So I just pasted this list of verses into TextEdit and used the Find and Replace to remove every ":0".

Now all I had to do was copy the list of psalms from TextEdit, go back to Accordance, open the Define Ranges dialog box, create a new range, name it "Davidic Psalms," and then paste my list of psalms into the box labeled "definition."

By the way, once I had all this set up, I then decided to define ranges for the psalms attributed to Asaph and the sons of Korah.

I've detailed a lot of steps here, including the use of the FIELD command, how bookmarks and Reference Lists can be used to exclude unwanted verses from a search result, how the Copy As References command can get you a nicely formatted list of verse references, and how that list of references can be modified and used to define a very specific search range. It all took me just a couple of minutes to do, and it sure beats searching for every reference to David in the psalms, trying to sort out which of those hits are in the superscription, and then typing all those references out myself! As I said, I'm lazy. That's why I love using Accordance.


Update: Oops! It looks like I may have given you an example which doesn't work with the current version of Accordance! Currently, range definitions have a limit of 255 characters, and the Davidic psalm range as I gave it to you exceeds that limit. To fix that, you need to remove the spaces after each semicolon before pasting this into your range definition. In TextEdit, simply replace every semicolon-space with just a semicolon, and you'll be okay. Sorry for any confusion I may have caused. The next update to Accordance features an increased limit to the range definition, and since I'm using an early alpha of that version, I didn't catch the fact that my range definition exceeded current limits!

Monday, April 02, 2007  

Customer Appreciation Sale

In case you haven't heard yet, the following sale was announced Sunday, April 1 (No, it's not an April Fool's joke!). This sale has something for everyone. Don't miss the opportunity to upgrade your Library level for 10% off, or the chance to get four Bibles at 30% off! And if you've been putting off getting the Atlas or Timeline, be sure to check out the Graphics Bundle. We really do appreciate your loyalty and evangelism of Accordance, and just wanted to say thanks.

Customer Appreciation Sale

In recent years, the Macintosh Bible Software market has become much more competitive. New Macintosh Bible programs, along with the option to run Windows Bible software using Boot Camp or Parallels, have meant more direct competition with Accordance. Yet in spite of all this added competition, sales of Accordance continue to increase.

To what do we owe these record sales? The word-of-mouth recommendations of you, our users. Now we want to say thanks by offering you a month of discounts on some of our most popular items:

This sale ends on April 30th, so be sure to take advantage of our customer appreciation sale, and don't forget to tell your friends that now is the best time to get started with Accordance Bible Software!

Note: These prices may be combined with our educational or ministry discounts.