- The Washington Times - Monday, October 20, 2008

If you’re a Mac user with a hankering for good Bible study software, Accordance 8 from OakTree Software might well be your cup of tea. Starting at $59 for a basic starter configuration and going up to $299 for a version with many more reference works, you can find a lot of good study resources to help unlock the Bible’s meaning and message.

The cause of “Bible engagement” as some call it is getting some attention nowadays: Many Americans identify themselves as believers, and while a growing number say they’re “evangelical” or “born-again” Christians, for example, those same groups are reporting diminishing rates of interaction with their faith´s chief text. The purpose of Accordance, which was built from the ground up for the Mac and which also has a dedicated corps of fans in religious and scholarly circles, is to help you get into both the Bible text and supporting reference works.

This is important to serious students: Anyone can flip open a Bible and read, and there are tons of online Bible versions accessible via the Internet. But if you want to not only read the text in the Authorized, or King James, Version and a few others, and open up some reference works on the side, a computer program is quite handy.

And handy is what Accordance 8 is. The program opens up a “workspace” in which you can first view a Scripture version of your choice. If that text is associated with Strong´s Hebrew and Chaldee dictionary, for example, or another reference work, just click on a single word in a verse to get a definition and pronunciation in Hebrew or Greek. The click replaces opening two books and flipping a lot of pages.

The layout of the workspace makes sense, in that you can flip from one reference to another by clicking a tab at the top of the window. The text in a given display tab can be resized to an extraordinarily large type size - good for those of us who need the magnification - or just made a little larger for easier reading.

I had no trouble copying and pasting text from the Accordance application into a word-processing file. That´s OK for personal use, of course, but for publication you need to make sure you´re observing copyright law.

So what´s not to like about Accordance 8? Not much, I suppose. If you are into both the Macintosh as a computing platform and the Bible as a study text, this program provides a good way to get your research done. The only question, and for some it may be a deal-breaking one, is whether a given reference work is available for Accordance.

The way such electronic references work, a publisher will either license a product to a variety of software publishers - or not. If a reference you need and rely upon daily is not available for Accordance, then the program´s value might be diminished.

That´s not to say there isn´t a lot of material available for use on this platform; there is, including for those wishing Jewish- or Catholic-oriented resources.

Overall, Accordance 8 is a very good program and a worthy competitor in a growing field of Mac Bible resources. Details are online at www.accordancebible.com.

E-mail Mark Kellner at mkellner@washingtontimes.com.

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