The Gospel Coalition

 

Accordance 10 Ultimate Collection. Oaktree Software, Inc.: Altamonte Springs, FL, 2012. $1,999.99.



Accordance 10 combines powerful, intuitive biblical studies software with a substantial library of primary and secondary resources delivered in an easy-to-maneuver, attractive package. Historically, Accordance has run natively on Macs or on Windows machines using a Mac emulator, though now it also offers free apps for iPad and iPhone and has recently launched a native Windows version. This review first summarizes new features in Accordance 10 and overviews the Ultimate Collection. Second, it evaluates how pastors, scholars, and students might utilize this collection. Third, it offers some points of constructive critique of Accordance 10. Finally, it compares the Accordance 10 Ultimate Collection with other commercial Bible software offerings, particularly Logos 5 Platinum, and assesses its value for potential users.

Accordance 10 offers a number of improvements and new features from previous versions. First, Accordance 10 now offers a unified workspace with flexible layouts, meaning that users may open multiple texts or tools in parallel panels and may stack multiple search windows in tabs (as before), but may also add additional windows that appear alongside the first search and can then be adjusted according to their preferences. Second, Accordance 10 offers an enhanced library search, allowing users to search for a resource by typing a key word (e.g., Greek or Grammar or Wallace) or by clicking on the folder where that reader is located (e.g., General Tools). Third, Accordance 10 now allows users to perform either a flexible or exact search on an English text. Thus, a flex-search for law or laws yields hits for Law, law, and laws together, while a search for “laws” or =laws yields only hits that match exactly the search term.

Accordance 10 features a range of collections for new users and current users seeking to upgrade: Starter ($49.99), Bible Study ($199.99), Original Languages ($299.99), Essential ($499.99), Advanced ($999.99), and Ultimate ($1999.99). The Ultimate Collection features a substantial library of texts, dictionaries, commentaries, maps, photo collections, and other resources that would serve well the various needs of pastors, students, and scholars. This package features 27 English Bibles, including ESV, HCSB, KJV, NASB, NKJV, and NRSV with Strong’s Numbers, which users may cross-search with Greek or Hebrew parallel texts. This collection includes the BHS Hebrew, Rahlfs LXX, and NA28 texts with morphological tagging and apparatus, as well as a number of additional tagged Greek Bibles and manuscripts such as the Textus Receptus and Codex Sinaiticus. Also included are tagged original texts and English translations of the OT Pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, the Apostolic Fathers, and the Apocryphal Gospels. This collection includes BDAG and HALOT, along with other useful Greek and Hebrew lexicons. Among the many commentary modules in the Ultimate Collection, the following stand out as particularly important for Themelios readers: New American Commentary (38 vols.), Pillar New Testament Commentary (14 vols.), New International Biblical Commentary (18 vols., NT only), New International Greek Testament Commentary (13 vols.), and Tyndale Commentary (49 vols.). Notable dictionaries include twelve IVP reference volumes and the ISBE.

Having summarized some features of Accordance 10 and notable resources included within the Ultimate Collection, let us now consider how a pastor could use this software to prepare a sermon on Gen 1:26. First, the pastor could quickly set up a workspace to display several English Bibles—for example, NIV and ESV with Strong’s—alongside the morphologically tagged Hebrew Bible (BHS–W4). Moving the cursor over the Hebrew text automatically highlights the corresponding word in the parallel texts, which clearly draws attention to key translation differences, such as mankind (NIV) and man (ESV), rendering אָדָם, and rule (NIV) and dominion (ESV) for וְיִרְדּוּ. Key terms such as צֶלֶם and דְּמוּת may be studied by triple clicking on the word to open the preferred Hebrew lexicon (HALOT) in a new panel next to the text search or by right clicking on the word to reveal various search options (more on this below). The pastor could then consult various reference tools, such as “Cross References,” which yields 48 (!) parallel passages, or “ESV Cross References,” which lists twelve parallels, each of which may be instantly viewed by hovering one’s cursor over the reference. For further study on “image of God,” the pastor could consult the substantial entries by Merrill in the Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch (IVP) and Bray in the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (IVP), as well as Genesis commentaries by Matthews (NAC) and Kidner (Tyndale). The pastor could utilize the user notes module (Command+U) to keep track of notes for particular verses and could copy and paste relevant quotations and verses into a word processor or presentation slideshow.

How might a scholar or graduate student studying Mark 1:1 employ the Accordance 10 Ultimate Collection? One interested in text-critical matters could begin with the NA28 Greek text and apparatus in parallel columns and then add Codex Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and Washingtonensis underneath the NA28 as interlinear texts. This view clearly shows that Sinaiticus and Vaticanus lack the superscription εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μᾶρκον and the disputed reading υἱοῦ θεοῦ at the end of verse 1, both of which are included in Washingtonensis. The scholar could create a custom group of favorite reference works and then perform a single search within that group for the reference Mark 1:1. This simple search effectively takes a dozen or more books off the shelf and automatically turns to the relevant page in major commentaries by France (NIGTC), Brooks (NAC), Hurtado (NIBC), and Edwards (Pillar) and highlights 43 references to Mark 1:1 in the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (IVP). The user could then amplify the Synopsis of the Four Gospels to instantly compare the four gospel prologues in any Greek or English version. Additionally, college and seminary instructors could utilize Accordance 10 in the classroom, quickly looking up, displaying, and interacting with texts, grammars, and lexicons, while modeling for students the process of biblical exegesis.

There are several minor ways Accordance could improve in future updates. First, Hebrew word searches are somewhat challenging because of the large number of conjoined prefixes and suffixes. For example, the user who right clicks on בְּצַלְמֵנוּ in Gen 1:26 and selects lemma search will return only two hits (instances of בְּ with צֶלֶם and a pronominal suffix), though the noun צֶלֶם occurs 15 times in the Hebrew Bible. To search for all occurrences of צֶלֶם, one should highlight only the relevant portion of the word and then perform a lemma search. Alternatively, one may open up a new search window and type in the lexical form (which requires familiarity with the Accordance Hebrew keyboard), or the user may correct the initial search by deleting unwanted components. It would be helpful to have the option to right click on a compound word and search for one particular lexeme. Second, while generally reliable, the instant details feature for parsings, glosses, and cross-references includes some idiosyncrasies. For example, the NA28 Cross References suggests an allusion to Ezek 37:5 in Rev 11:11, but users are taken unexpectedly to Ezra 10:5 rather than Ezek 37:5. Third, while page numbers have been incorporated into many dictionaries and other reference works in recent updates, some resources such as the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology and Dictionary of New Testament Background still do not include page numbers. This means academic users must consult print editions for these works to correctly cite references for publication. Similarly, section headings for English Bibles are not included.

In terms of price, Accordance 10 Ultimate Collection is roughly comparable to the Logos 5 Platinum package ($2,149.95). While the latter includes more total volumes in its massive library, it does not include some very important biblical studies resources such as HALOT, NIGTC, Pillar, Tyndale Commentaries, and the IVP reference dictionaries that are featured in the Accordance 10 Ultimate Collection. Logos 5 is organized around a user’s library, whereas Accordance 10 is organized around a powerful text search engine like BibleWorks 9, which is itself developing a native Mac version. Further, Accordance 10 opens and runs very quickly. In comparable operating conditions on the same MacBook Pro, Accordance 10 opened in 6–8 seconds, while Logos 5 opened in 28–47 seconds. It took 14 seconds to open Accordance, find BDAG in the library, and look up a word; the same process took over a minute using Logos 5. This speed difference may be particularly important for instructors utilizing Bible software in classroom settings.

The Ultimate Collection is particularly well-suited for seminary-trained pastors, NT scholars, and seminary or graduate students able to make the initial financial investment. Those specializing in OT or Hebrew studies would likely need to supplement this collection with additional texts (including BHQ and Dead Sea Scrolls) and reference works (including the grammars by Waltke and O’Connor and by Joüon and Muraoka). Alternatively, those focusing in OT or Hebrew may prefer to combine the Hebrew Master set ($2,199.99) with the Original Languages, Essential, or Advanced Collection.

I have used Accordance for ten years and have found it invaluable for personal Bible study, sermon preparation, academic writing and research, and classroom instruction. There are currently a number of excellent Bible software options available for Mac, PC, and tablet users. However, Accordance 10 remains an outstanding option because of its ease of use, enhanced searches and flexibility, and elegant design.


Brian Tabb
Bethlehem College and Seminary
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA



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