Accordance Bible Software 25 Day Switch Part Two – Accordance Mobile
If you read the first post about why I’m testing out Accordance for 25 days, then you’ll know I vowed not to open my primary Bible software until it’s over. That means I’ll use the Accordance Mobile apps instead of the Logos Bible app. My previous entry covered using the Notes feature in Accordance.
Awhile ago I wrote a review of Accordance Mobile for ChurchTechToda.com and gave it a high rating. That review happened while I was also using my other Bible apps. This is the the first time I’ve used no other Bible app. Accordance Mobile alone! If you want a full review, go to the ChurchTechToday article. Instead this will serve as a comparison. See this as my strengths versus weaknesses of Accordance Mobile.
Accordance Mobile looks so simple it will surprise you how many features they pack into the mobile app. It deceptively looks like a simple Bible reader app that also happens to let you open other books. Yet, I recently wrote a sermon primarily using Accordance Mobile to read follow my sermon prep steps which include:
Reading the text in multiple translations.
Studying the passage inductively by recording observations in my app’s notes.
Asking key interpretive questions about the text and finding answers in references books, other than commentaries.
Checking commentaries to make sure my interpretive decisions up to this point are not way out in left field.
Copying the passage and other supporting verses to my chosen word processor.
Writing the sermon in my word processor.
While I probably won’t choose a mobile app for 100% of my sermon prep, I enjoyed using Accordance Mobile on my iPad. It works great. Let’s start with the ways it excels.
Strengths of Accordance Mobile
All of my books reside on the iPad which makes the app fast. I navigate to a text to study it and the apps jumps to the new spot in my Bible instantly. I keep two window panes open with my favorite commentary in the right side and the Bible in the left. Both books jump to the new passage faster than I can tap the book, chapter and then verse in the navigation tool.
Doing word studies happens with a long press on a word. Above you’ll notice I selected the word discouraged in Numbers 21:4 in the CSB. You’ll see a popup box with the word study info from your top books. There’s also a menu above the word. This menu doesn’t help with word studies, but you’ll see that you can do other things like “Define” the word in English.
You can also open a Hebrew or Greek text and do the same with Hebrew and Greek words. On those words, tap the Amplify button to see more details. Here you can study the Lexeme, Inflected word or the Root. The first pop up box also lets you choose to search for the word. It will search the English term in hour English text. If you have a Greek or Hebrew text open it will let you search by Lexeme, Inflected form, Root or the Tag.
The will let you share verses. Tap and hold on a verse number to do this. The top of the pop up menu let you add verses to the beginning or end of the chosen verse. That way you can copy a range of verses.
Finally, the Accordance system publishes an excellent collection of digital Bible study tools from every Bible text you probably want to a more commentaries than you can use. They have excellent reference tools and every tool I want to use works in my Accordance Mobile app.
People who want to also make a switch can jump from their chosen Bible software to Accordance by taking advantage of some crossgrade discounts. a crossgrade is like an upgrade, but instead it’s buying a book you own in another company’s library for a discounted price for use in Accordance. I saved hundreds of dollars over the years by taking advantage of this. I purchased the New American Commentary, Bible Speaks Today and more.
Compared to the Logos Mobile app, Accordance feels simpler and yet has some of the same powerful features. It’s also not as cluttered. That said, I suggest the developers consider a few improvements.
Accordance Mobile Bible App Problems
As we noted in the post on Notes, you can’t open your User Notes in the right hand window pane and edit it within the pane. Accordance has a real problem with this. You also can’t do this on their desktop app.
At least on the desktop app you can open open it, click at an insertion point and start typing and the note’s editor window pops up. On the mobile app you have to long press on the verse number and choose User Notes from the menu. Then you have to tap on the name of your User Notes document and it will open a pop up window that covers most of the window.
UPDATE: Please see the user comments below where Rick Mansfield from Accordance tells how to see your text. This makes what I wrote next less of an issue.
The Accordance Mobile notes user interface is a terrible design choice because I can’t see the text of my Bible or a commentary while I’m typing in the note. It’s the least usable notes user interface of any advanced Bible study app out there.
Since writing my last post on Accordance Notes, I’ve decided to stop using the notes function built into Bible software. Instead, I’ve started using Scrivener to record my sermon notes. I’m following a system that my friend a member of the Theotek Podcast team Wes Allen uses. See the video above for how he does that.
Accordance Mobile lacks one feature that I miss from Logos. On the Logos mobile app you can open their Text Comparison tool and read your passage in multiple translations seeing them all on screen at the same time. The desktop version has the new Text Browser tool. Select a verse and choose Text Browser from the Amplify drop down menu to open it.
Accordance added the Text Browser to appeal to Bibleworks users after that company announced they’d stop selling the program.
Logos offers a few other features that we don’t find in Accordance.
New tabbed user interface which lets you open more than two books at one time.
Guides to help you study a passage or topic more quickly.
User edited reading plans for Bibles and books.
I don’t mind losing these features, but I mention it in case Logos users would feel limited in their study without them.
Olive Tree Bible searches your entire library and presents them in a easily accessible way thanks to the Resource Guide. We don’t get anything like that in Accordance Mobile.
The desktop Accordance program goes toe-to-toe with the other Bible programs quite nicely. The Accordance Mobile app still lags behind a little. In spite of that, you can study the Bible using nothing but their iPad app. I wouldn’t try doing it all on an iPhone or Android phone due to screen size, but I enjoyed doing my sermon prep last week with nothing but the Accordance Mobile app on my iPad.
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.