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The Companion to Accordance, BibleWorks, & Logos You’ve Been Missing

Categories Old Testament

9780310521303Cutting-edge Bible software has opened up Scripture like never before. Yet academic institutions have responded in one of two ways: either relying on traditional language learning strategies or equating learning Bible software with learning the languages.

Michael Williams hopes his new book Biblical Hebrew Companion for Bible Software Users will serve as a middle ground between the two extremes.

This resource enables anyone using biblical Hebrew language software to delve more deeply into the riches of the biblical text. (8)

While not a grammar book, this invaluable resource explains and demonstrates major terms. For each grammatical term popular Bible study programs present, this book provides three critical pieces of information: how the grammatical feature looks, what the grammatical feature does, and an exegetical example of the grammatical feature.

This is the resource to help lay learners, pastors, and seminary students productively use software to study the Bible. The benefits and examples below explain why it is the crucial companion to Accordance, BibleWorks, and Logos you’ve been missing.

4 Benefits of a Companion to Bible Study Software

Before we explore an example illustrating how this guide functions, let’s step back and ask a basic question: Why do modern Bible software programs need a companion in the first place? Here’s are four reasons:

  1. Permits technologically-advanced study. Williams argues, “It is unjustifiable to ignore [Bible software] technological advances or to refuse to utilize them in approaching the biblical text.” (5) Much like ignoring iPhone in favor of a rotary telephone! This book gives you permission to progress technologically while emphasizing the Hebrew language’s paradigms, vocabulary, grammar, and syntax.
  2. Removes the mystery of the Hebrew language. Programs are great for revealing that a verb is an apocopated Hiphil Imperfect with a Waw Consecutive. Yet “it is of absolutely no help to that person if they don’t know what ‘apocopated,’ ‘Hiphil,’ ‘Imperfect,’ and ‘Waw Consecutive’ look like, what they mean, or why anyone should care.” (5) This book explains it all.
  3. Holds the extremes in tension. Williams’ resource “occupies the vast and currently vacant middle ground between the traditional, full-blown academic study of biblical Hebrew on the one hand and complete ignorance of biblical Hebrew on the other.” (6)
  4. Enhances Bible software productivity. The primary goal is to explain and demonstrate the terms that Bible software presents, enhancing user productivity. “In this way, this resource explains the ‘so what’ aspect for the analytical grammatical terms encountered in the three leading Bible software programs.” (6)

An Example Illustrating What You’ve Been Missing

Let's take Williams's previous observation about an apocopated verb. Here’s how such a verb looks, in this case בנה, “to build”:

For those like me who need a refresher, “An apocopated verb looks like an Imperfect verb that has been shortened…The only kind of verb that is susceptible to this shortening is one whose third root consonant is a ה .”

He goes on to remind us why apocopation occurs, resulting in the verb’s last root being loped off:

  1. when a Waw Consecutive is attached to the front of the verb
  2. when the verb is a Jussive.

Here’s the problem: When I roll my cursor over a verb that’s been apocopated in my Bible study software of choice—יְהִ֣י in Gen 1:3, for instance—all I get is raw data: imperfect 3 masc sing jussive, “to be”.

“Great! But what does this mean and why should I care?!” That’s where William’s handy companion comes into play.

First, he explains what it does:

The apocopated, or shortened, form simply lets you know that you have encountered either an Imperfect with a Waw Consecutive or a Jussive of a three-consonant verb whose third consonant is a ה .

More importantly, he tells you why it matters by highlighting an exegetical insight. In this case he draws our attention to the instance in Genesis 1:3 when God said יְהִ֣י: “Let there be…” As he explains, “If one didn’t recognize that this verb form is apocopated, one would translate this verb with its normal Imperfect sense.” (17) Which would make God out to be a passive observer (And God said, "There will be light."), rather than an active Maker.

That's why this matters. Knowing the verb has been apocopated without a Waw Consecutive attached, it must be a Jussive—a command. God is an active actor commanding Light to come into existence. This simple Hebrew construct has revealed God to be “the maker of heaven and earth.”

Williams is right: “Even apocopated forms can bring glory to God!” (17)

***

“There are amazing discoveries waiting to be unearthed in the Hebrew Bible.” And Williams's companion gives you all the tools you need to access them.

Biblical Hebrew Companion for Bible Software Users will enable you to delve more deeply into the riches of the biblical text using your preferred biblical languages study program.

So buy his guide today. And, as he says, “Happy digging!”

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