It’s ironic. In my last post here I wrote about not finding something in twelve different Bible commentaries. It’s not usually the case that Bible software reveals its greatness by what you don’t find in it. (Which isn’t really the case, as you’ll see below.)
I have two different high-end Bible software packages on my Mac, Accordance and Logos, both of them supplied by their developers in exchange for my honest review. Most recently Accordance supplied me an upgrade to version 12 with the Triple Discoverer collection.
Accordance grew out of the Mac world, which is where I’ve come to know it, but with version 12 the Windows version “enjoys almost complete parity with the latest Mac version,” according to the developers — good news for Windows users indeed!
But I am and shall always be a Mac friend, and it’s been Accordance’s Mac-friendliness in return that has drawn me to it in preference to Logos. (It’s also less persistent about trying to sell me more stuff; though I’m sure I could turn some of that off in Logos.)
Easy Access to Resources
Finding things is a breeze. With the Instant Details pane shown at the bottom of the screen shot here) all it takes is mousing over a word, and the original language source appears instantly.
The screenshot (click for a larger view) also shows two open commentary panes along with thumbnails for other commentaries that can be accessed with a click. That’s how I found so quickly what twelve different sources didn’t say.
Of course I must admit I overdid the “irony” thing in my opening paragraph. Accordance reveals its usefulness by the resources available in it. If those resources don’t mention how surprising Jesus’ words in Matt. 5:17 must have been (as I wrote in my last post), it’s the resources that are responsible, not the delivery system.
In-Depth Study with Accordance
I use Accordance for occasional research of that sort, and for more in-depth study besides. The Lord kept me glued to 2 Corinthians 4 and 5 for several weeks this past winter, digging through what it meant to minister in Jesus’ name during times of personal and societal struggles. The User Notes feature allowed me to record ten pages of personal reflections, well-informed through ready access to the published reflections of all the commentators.
For example, looking just at one session’s work 0n 2 Cor. 5:4 you’ll find I made reference to five commentaries and a word study. I’ve quoted that session here in almost exactly the form in which I wrote it as I was studying — run-on sentences and all!
Interesting mix of commentators views on “not that we would be unclothed.” New Bible Commentary goes where I expected, though I wondered if I was right: a denial of a future disembodied existence. The Holman Bible Commentary takes it that way, too, as does the Tyndale. Barnes, on the other hand, points to the greater desire to be clothed, and says our desire is not so much to escape the cares and pain of this world as it is to enter into the glory of the future. IVP NT Background Commentary seems to agree.
I suspect it’s possible that either views could be right, or both, although the latter interpretation seems more in line with the immediate context, and if I had to choose I’d go with that one, leaving the question of disembodied resurrection to other passages, most obviously 1 Cor. 15, which not incidentally, the same audience would have had on hand to read — leading to me to further confidence in the second set of interpretations, for if Paul had really wanted to add to that teaching, it seems he would have really added to it.
Either way we will be “further clothed,” which Paul clarifies under the idea that “what is mortal may be swallowed up by what is life.” That verb “swallowed up,” katapino, occurs only one other time in Paul’s writings, the thematically very similar 1 Cor. 15:54, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” ( It also appears in Rev. 12:16, “the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth.”) For the parallel to be exact, “death” and “what is mortal” would have to be equated, which cannot be Paul’s intention. There must be something further that is intended. From 2 Cor 5:4 it could also be thought that swallowing has to do with ingesting and transforming something into a new and improved form, but again this is ruled out as an ordinary or normative understanding of “swallow” by the language in 1 Cor. 15:54. So this leaves us with the less precise, yet therefore more expansive conclusion that it’s about the mortal being fully overcome by the immortal, done away with. The prior and lesser thing is eliminated and replaced by the final and greater thing.
So from this short verse we have the encouragement of the greater, final thing doing away with the lesser, temporary thing: the life we now experience, our current pains and losses and griefs. This is reason for great thankfulness and joy and hope!
Accordance 12 offers a host of helpful new features I’ve enjoyed — and an iOS version which by itself alone is reason to choose Accordance over Logos — but this is enough for now. I’ll save the rest for a future blog post — including what I learned studying the very difficult Psalm 137 you see in the screenshot above.