I’ve been using Accordance for iOS for quite a while, and love the convenience of taking my own personalized, annotated study Bible, along with a supporting library, with me wherever I go. Right from your iPhone or iPad, with Accordance for iOS you can buy and download a handful of your favorite study Bibles – the ESV Study Bible (video), NIV Study Bible, Life Application Study Bible (video), the Archaeological Study Bible (video), and the NET Bible and its textual notes (video), for example – and switch between them and your own notes, displayed in parallel with the biblical translation of your choice. (Video links are to episodes of the Lighting the Lamp podcast that discuss the features of each study Bible.)
If you have an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, download Accordance for iOS free from the App Store. Getting the basic Accordance app at no charge is a no brainer. The basic iOS Accordance app features the English Standard Version (ESV), courtesy of Crossway Bibles. You can add virtually any translation in any language and as many reference tools as you wish. Additional modules are available after registering at the Accordance website (many free, such as Nave’s Topical Bible and Matthew Henry’s commentary; cf. list of free modules).
Accordance is far more than a simple Bible e-reader. A great way to get a feel for what Accordance can do on iOS is to watch Lighting the Lamp podcast episode #56, “Accordance for iOS,” available online or at (highly recommended).
Accordance offers (1) tagged texts, (2) powerful searching, (3) synching of user notes, and (4) integration of your library modules:
1. Tagged texts: The free ESV text is tagged with Strong’s numbers to link the English words to the underlying Greek and Hebrew. Many other tagged texts are available in English, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and other languages. Tags contain information that appears in “instant detail” boxes, as shown below (press and hold a word and its instant details will appear):
Watch this video: Advantages of Tagged Texts.
2. Powerful searching: Accordance for iOS supports many of the powerful search capabilities found in Accordance for Mac, which means that you can perform searches on your iPhone or iPad that surpass the capabilities of most Bible programs for desktops (using the following operators: or, and, not, within, preceded by, followed by, count, fuzzy, and more). For example, it’s a cinch to search a book or chapter or entire Biblical text for all the hapax legomena (words that occur only once; set the range of text to be searched and then the “Count” parameter to “1”). And searching a tagged text is even more powerful: one could find, for example, all hapax legomena used as verbs.
The Lighting the Lamp podcast episode #57 explains basic searching on iOS (highly recommended; access at or online).
3. User notes synch: While powerful searching is Accordance’s most renowned feature, to me user notes synch is more important for iOS devices on a practical, day-by-day basis. My favorite feature of Accordance for iOS in daily use is the easy synching, between my Mac and iOS devices, of notes I make on particular verses. User notes merge regardless of the device on which I have entered the notes: Notes for particular verses that were added on my iOS device will be transferred to the same notes file on my Mac, and notes for other verses added while using my Mac will be added to the same notes file on my iOS device. I can even synch multiple User Notes files (I prefer to keep distinct User Notes files for devotional notes, academic notes, more in-depth studies, and quotes from various writers). User notes files automatically sync even if I’ve made changes on both the Mac and the iOS device, so long as the changes were not made to the same verse, in which case I’ll be asked to choose which note to keep on a verse-by-verse basis. Very nice – I wish I could just press some magic button and have all the “user notes” in the margins of my various physical Bibles suddenly merge together so that I could have them with me wherever I go!
Note: In the screenshot above, the red dot signals the presence of a User Note for that verse. By clicking the “+” button on the lower button bar, you can open a parallel pane to display user notes. To create or edit a user note, click and hold down on the verse reference in the top text pane.
The Lighting the Lamp podcast episode #55 explains Accordance synching (highly recommended; access at or online).
4. Integration of library modules: You don’t need Accordance for Mac to use Accordance for iOS. Yet if you like Accordance for iOS, it will only become more powerful and versatile if you also use Accordance on the Mac and build up a library of resources or modules. I pack a couple gigabytes of my Accordance library along with me on my iPhone, but Accordance is not merely an e-reader for various modules, whether they’re texts, sources, or reference tools. Rather, because you can search all your modules easily from the biblical text, and display them in parallel, Accordance for Mac integrates your modules into an intertextual study environment centered around the biblical text. On iOS this extensive degree of integration is not fully feasible, of course, but you can set a given biblical text in parallel with another text, translation, reference source, or user notes file. Texts set in parallel scroll together – just slide the divider to vary the size of the panes. The text in either pane can be switched in and out with others at will.
Questions? Check out the Accordance for iOS help.
I’ve written about Accordance for Mac on this blog before, as it’s one of the handful of computer programs I enjoy most. See my previous Accordance posts, especially this general guide for getting started with Accordance for OS X. In brief, perhaps the best way to get started with Accordance is to follow the delightful Lighting the Lamp podcast produced by Timothy Jenney and the always practical Accordance blog by David Lang.
Update: Check out more Accordance iOS videos at youTube, including:
- Amplify: how to use the amplify feature to perform word studies.
- Reading View: how to quickly scan through your Accordance iOS search results and then switch to a reading view once you find a verse you would like to read in context.
- Bible Study with iOS 1.6: flex search, auto words/verses switching, bookmarks, Remember My Place, and syncing User Content between iDevices.