Accordance as a Comprehensive Reading Tool

I want to demonstrate a workspace in Accordance that I am enjoying as a comprehensive reading companion. I’ve posted before about a similar 3-column workspace, but I’ve tweaked things in ways I consider significant. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been happier with this setup than any other I’ve used.

In the screenshots, Accordance is running on a 13” MacBook Air. I usually read with a print text in my hand and turn to Accordance as questions arise.

The Setup

3-Column Setup for Reading
3-Column Setup for Reading

I called this setup a “comprehensive reading companion” because with a single-click I can do any of the following things:

  • Look up a word in all my lexicons
  • See every occurrence of a word in the text I’m reading and all the other texts I have of the same language
  • Check a word’s morphology
  • See a verse in all the other main ancient Bible versions
  • Get a basic gloss for a word
  • See how a translation handles a word/phrase

That takes care of about 95% of the questions I might ask while reading, and any of those things can be done with a single-click or hover of the cursor.

Single-Click a Word

Information provided by single-clicking a word
Information provided by single-clicking a word

Let’s take a look at what you can see with one click of θίγῃ in Hebrews 12:20.

  • In the middle zone, all my lexicons are open to the θιγγάνω entry, with my preferred lexicon at the top. I can hit command + the down arrow if I want to jump to the next lexicon.
  • In the right zone, I can see the other two occurrences of the word in the New Testament and the single occurrence in the Septuagint. This is very helpful if I know that I’ve seen this word recently, but I don’t remember exactly where. The LXX occurrence here is helpful, too. It shows me an OT connection that is relevant to the author’s argument.
  • At the bottom of the screen, in the instant details box, I can see a quick gloss and the word’s parsing information.
  • Because my cursor is over θίγῃ, the NIV cross-highlighting shows me how they translate the word. This is particularly helpful with the NIV because the NIV has been hand tagged to match each Greek word with the English words used to translate it. Even if there are 5 English words used to translate a Greek word and those English words are not all side-by-side, when you hover over the Greek word, all the English words will be highlighted. Check out the picture below. You can see that by hovering over λαλοῦντι in the Greek text, four words are highlighted in the NIV.
Phrase matching between Greek and NIV
Phrase matching between Greek and NIV

Single-Click a Reference

Ancient Versions of a Verse with a single-click
Ancient Versions of a Verse with a single-click

In the top-left zone, you can see that I have four texts open because this setup works seamlessly with any ancient Bible you want to read in Accordance. Let’s take a look at a feature most relevant for the Hebrew Bible.

When reading, occassionally one wonders how another ancient version might have rendered a word or phrase. By single-clicking a verse reference, the middle zone shows me all the ancient versions of that verse. Hovering over a word in this middle pane highlights the relevant word in several of the other versions.

Cross-highlighting among the ancient versions
Cross-highlighting among the ancient versions

Other Questions

That takes care of most questions that arise when reading, but what about grammars and Bible dictionaries, study bibles, and atlases? For this, I will sometimes open another, pre-saved workspace that has the following:

  • A research tab open for grammars
  • A tab for commentaries
  • One study bible tab
  • The Anchor Bible Dictionary
  • Sacred Bridge
Saved Workspace for answering other less-frequent questions
Saved Workspace for answering other less-frequent questions

When I’m finished with this workspace, I’ll close it and the main 3-column workspace is there waiting for me as I return to reading.

Info Pane for Much More

(This section was added 4/25/21)

One really easy way to have quick access to other resources is to simply make your translation font one click smaller and add an info pane beside it.

Adding the Info pane for commentary access
Adding the Info pane for commentary access

If you set your book covers to be small enough, you can have instant access to five or ten commentaries. To take a quick look at a commentary’s notes on a passage, I usually just hover and long hold on one of the book covers.

Viewing a commentary's notes via the info pane
Viewing a commentary's notes via the info pane

The info pane has a lot of other things there ready to go as well: all your grammars, apparatuses, study Bibles, manuscript images, cross-references, and more. Adding this little window puts a ton more information at your finger-tips. It auto-updates as you scroll so even all these resources are still only one click away.

Other info available in the info pane
Other info available in the info pane

Conclusion

I hope this helps you envision how you can use Accordance as a reading companion. I think this 3-column setup is very functional but at the same-time it isn’t crowded and the text is easy to read. There are some complexities to getting things setup. For example, I have live-click setup to work with different custom resource groups. For help with these things, the Accordance forums are great. Their documentation is rather thorough as well.

If you are looking at Accordance for the first time, the entry-level Greek and Hebrew collections are a fantastic place to start. If you are farther along in building your digital library, take a look at the Pro (Greek/Hebrew) and Expert (Greek/Hebrew) collections.

Accordance Aramaic Bible Greek Hebrew Latin