The 40 Questions Series from Kregel Publications for Accordance Bible Software puts into digital format 8 of the useful theological series that seeks to answer questions that Bible students might have on a range of topics from Calvinism to Church Membership. The series includes 8 of the 17 books in the set, each with 40 questions about a topic included in the book. Is it a good addition to your Accordance library? We’ll take a look at the series itself and at using it in Accordance Bible Software.
For full disclosure Accordance gave me a review copy of the set. They offer a special until October 26 on the series taking $52 off to give you almost a 30% discount. Buyers can also get the individual volumes for a discount. Here’s what you get.
40 Questions about Creation and Evolution (Keathley, Rooker)
40 Questions about the Historical Jesus (Pate)
40 Questions about Heaven and Hell (Gomes)
40 Questions about Salvation (Barrett)
40 Questions about Calvinism (Wright)
40 Questions about Christians and Biblical Law (Schreiner)
40 Questions about Islam (Bennett)
40 Questions about Church Membership and Discipline (Kimble)
40 Questions Series: How the Series Answers Questions in Accordance
Since Accordance gave me a copy to review for their sale, I did not have time to read all 8 books in the series. I started with 40 Questions about Calvinism by Shawn Wright. He’s a church historian, pastor and professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.
Each book includes 40 questions that introduce and examine the topic of that book. For example, some of the questions from Wright’s book on Calvinism asks things like…
What’s the Difference between “Calvinism” and the “Reformed Tradition”?
What are the Five Points of Calvinism?
Does God Love All People?
Is the Arminian Doctrine of Prevenient Grace Biblical?
The book breaks up the 40 questions in to sections on things like general questions, questions about God’s character, about salvation, about human responsibility and more. The last section covers more practical questions.
I’m not a Calvinist nor an Arminian. You might call me a Molinist because I affirm free will and eternal security like most traditional Southern Baptists.
The book helped me understand what many Calvinists believe and how they don’t really like being put in the box of the TULIP 5 Points. The fact that those points came as a reaction to Arminian theology helps add some depth to what I was pejoratively taught about Calvinism.
In spite of learning more about what Calvinists believe, I was not convinced. However, I would recommend Wright’s book for anyone who wants clarity about Calvinism from a Calvinist.
Accordance does a very good job of creating quality digital versions of the books they sell. They’re formatted nicely for screens. The book creators do a good job producing mostly error-free copies of their books, so you can trust them.
Installing 40 Questions Series in Accordance Bible Software’s Various Platforms
If you purchase the 40 Questions Series for Accordance, you’ll want to do a few things to make them more convenient to use. You probably already know how to download new books, but if you don’t follow these steps:
Open Easy Install from the Accordance menu on macOS or from the Utilities menu on Windows.
Click on the Easy Install tab at the top of the dialog box.
Click the boxes next to the book name
Hit the Download button at the bottom of the Easy Install box.
Let it download the books and when it asks hit the Install button to shut down Accordance and Install the books.
After that the program will restart. You’ll find them in the various sections of your library. For example the following five books show up in the Theological section of your Library.
40 Questions: Calvinism
40 Questions: Christians and Biblical Law
40 Questions: Creation and Evolution
40 Questions: Heaven and Hell
40 Questions: Salvation
You’ll find the other 3 in other sections. 40 Questions: Membership and Discipleship shows up in the Practical section. You’ll find the last two on Islam and Historical Jesus in the History section.
If you don’t see the library on the left hand side of the window, open it from the Library button or the Window menu. You can also use the keyboard shortcut OPTION+COMMAND+1 on Mac or CTRL+ALT+1 on Windows.
To make the new books easier to find you may want to move the books to the top of your Theological section by dragging and dropping them using your mouse or trackpad. Or you can right-click the section name and choose Alphabetize to put them in alphabetical order. We showed you how to do this in our review of the Christi-Centered Exposition Commentary for Accordance.
To install the books on your phone or tablet, tap on the center of the app and then tap your Library icon in the bottom left corner on iPhone or iPad. Then tap on the Download button in the lower left corner and wait for the list to show your books. Hit the select all button in the upper right corner 2nd from the left. Then tap on the download button in the upper left corner.
On Android, tap on the screen to show your menu. Hit the Menu button with 3 lines in the upper left corner. Tap on Easy Install to open the Easy Install box.
If you’re not sure which section of the library holds a book, then just start typing in the search box at the top of the Library.
Reading Books in Accordance Bible Software and Apps
Reading and highlighting books in iOS and Android versions of Accordance are a pleasure. As you’ll see below, note-taking with Accordance mobile is not possible right now. I hope this changes very soon.
It’s pretty easy to simply read books in the Accordance Bible Software on your Mac or Windows computer. Just open them up and read. You’ll find them in the various sections of your Accordance Library as seen above.
If you want to add notes or highlights, you can do so easily.
To add notes hover over a section you want to annotate, a plus button will show up to the right of the paragraph. Click it and it opens a notes editor.
Unfortunately, you can’t add notes to books in the mobile apps. iOS lets you add notes to Bible verses, but not books like the 40 Questions Series. Android doesn’t even let you add notes to Bible verses. If you prefer to read on a mobile device like me, you’ll need to open another app and put notes there and then sync that note file to your comptuer and copy and paste to into the desktop versions of Accordance. It’s not ideal, but is a way to get around the limitations.
I asked Rick Mansfield of Accordance Bible Software about this and he said that the developers see the importance of notes and want to add them soon.
Adding highlights requires you to select the text you want to highlight and then choose the highlight style from the highlighter tool that pops up or you can open the the Highlight pallette box by hitting the button on the toolbar. Make sure you select the right highlight file from the dropdown box in the pallette box. After that it’s easiest to just use the little tool you will see just above your highlighted text. The previously used highlight style shows up on the left (#1 in image above) and the tool pallette box opens if you hit the other button (#2 in image above).
I use My Mobile Highlights, created by default when you install the program. This file syncs with your mobile device using either the built-in syncing feature that requires you to have the computer program open and the mobile device open.
A lot of people own convertible or 2-in-1 Windows computers these days. If you like reading books on yours, then you’ll enjoy reading in the Windows version of Accordance. It’s not as convenient on a Mac since Apple doesn’t make a handheld version of a MacBook.
Syncing Notes and Highlights Between Different Operating Systems
The built-in Wi-Fi syncing in Accordance is not very convenient. I never use it and you shouldn’t either unless you have a problem using Dropbox. The Dropbox highlighting is only a little better, but it is better than the Wi-Fi system. You have to connect your installation with Dropbox. See the video below for how to sync using Dropbox.
Accordance needs to improve it’s syncing features. That’s my biggest complaint regarding Accordance Bible Software’s platform. You have to use a third-party service to sync. They need to bring it in house and make it secure. Second, it’s not always automatic. You can set the Mac or Windows versions to automatically sync when you open and close the program, but you have to do it manually on iOS or Android. Third, they need to sync settings and library organization between all platforms too. Other Bible software platforms do.
Until they add automatic syncing, you’ll want to sync manually. Use the same steps from above on how to install the books on your iOS or Android device and chose the Sync button. Make it a happen to do this each time you open and close the app.
First, I like the 40 Questions Series and look forward to reading the remaining 7 titles after enjoying and learning a lot from Wright’s book on Calvinism. Second, Accordance does a nice job and offers them all for a great price right now of $122 for the set. Make sure you get them before the deal ends October 26.
Dr. Kevin Purcell is pastor of High Peak Baptist Church, an author and writer at Church Tech Today (www.churchtechtoday.com). He used to write for a number of other Christian and secular technology and mobile tech sites. Now he's one of the hosts of the Theotek Podcast, which you can find by checking the menu above or over at www.facebook.com/theotekpodcast.