Big News in Mac Bible Software

Two more reasons for Mac users to feel blessed

by David Lang (Posted: 2/20/04)


Blessed are the Mac!

Let's face it, while we Mac users tend to view our computers more like faithful friends than mere "tools" (the typical parlance employed by Windows users), being a Mac user is not always an easy choice. If you've ever walked into a computer store or Christian bookstore and seen shelf after shelf of cool-looking software that only runs on Windows, you know the frustration of having chosen the narrow way. While the Mac user gets to feast on the likes of Panther, Exposé, Rendezvous, iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto, iDVD, and GarageBand, we are sometimes forced to deny ourselves the latest games, children's software, vertical market applications, and Bible study resources.

Every so often, however, we Mac users find our patience and self-denial rewarded, and we are once again reassured that "blessed" are those who Mac. For those interested in Bible Study Software, this is just such a time, thanks to two new developments: the release of an OS X version of iLumina, and a major new upgrade to Accordance.

iLumina for Mac

iLumina is a unique product with an even more unique name. Billed as "the world's first digitally animated Bible and Encyclopedia suite," it promises to enable you to "live the Bible." iLumina accomplishes this through an integrated collection of educational videos; 3D animations of Biblical events; QuickTime VR models of the Hebrew Tabernacle, First-Century Jerusalem, and other important Biblical locations; photographs; maps; a timeline; dictionary and encyclopedia articles; Life Application commentaries; and, of course, the text of the Bible itself.

Computer animation of the angel announcing Jesus' birth to the shepherds.
Virtual Tour (QuickTime VR) of First Century Jerusalem
Guided Tour (educational video) of carpenter's shop in Nazareth

iLumina has been available for Windows since 2002, and in that time it has become immensely popular and garnered numerous accolades. Yet until now, we Mac users have been on the outside looking in. Fortunately, the developers of iLumina have always intended to create a Mac version of the software, and thankfully, they didn't get offended by the e-mails they received from frustrated Mac users during their first year of business!

For a complete review of iLumina, along with a behind-the-scenes look at the developers' production studio, see the companion article entitled Live the Bible with iLumina Gold.

Accordance Turns 6

Accordance Bible Software has long been the most feature-rich and expandable Bible program available for the Mac, but it has consistently been criticized on three major fronts. First, Windows users complain that it is Mac-only--but hey, where Mac users are concerned, that's usually viewed as a plus! Second, in its more recent versions it has been panned as having a cluttered and unintuitive interface--a sin which Mac users find much less forgivable. And finally, some have criticized Accordance for being too expensive.

Now, with the release of version 6, the developers of Accordance (of whom I am one) have worked hard to address these latter two complaints. The program's interface has been completely overhauled, with sleek new icons designed by the folks at the IconFactory, reorganized menus, simplified palettes, a tabbed "workspace" window designed to reduce window clutter, and a much more OS X-like appearance. Additional new features include two new search commands and the ability to import HTML documents into Accordance User Tools, enabling you to greatly expand your library of Accordance modules with resources found on the web.

Previous version of Accordance Streamlined and Aqua look of Accordance 6

With respect to price, the new Library 6 CD-ROM now offers much greater value than previous incarnations, including more than twenty new modules, as well as your choice of up to three modern English translations (such as NIV, ESV, The Message, and the Amplified Bible). Upgrades to the latest version of Accordance are also more affordable than ever before.

For more detail on the changes to Accordance Bible Software, including a closer look at the redesigned interface, see the article entitled Accordance Makeover. Also see Robert Velarde's recent review of the new Accordance-compatible Essential IVP Reference Library CD-ROM.

Two Steps Forward

For those interested in Bible Study software, these two developments represent a significant step forward for the Mac platform. iLumina presents the Biblical world in one of the most innovative, stimulating, and entertaining ways imaginable, and it would have been a terrible shame if Mac users were unable to experience it. With its streamlined interface, added content, and improved pricing, Accordance has increased its potential to act as a "killer app" which can draw users to the Mac. Together, these two developments mean that Mac users interested in the Bible now have it as good as--or better than--their Windows-using counterparts.

Other Articles:
Christian Mac User Launches Bible Software Review Site: An interview with the Founder of Bible Software Review.
The Way, the Truth, and the iLife? A Closer Look at Apple's Suite of Digital Lifestyle Applications.
Live the Bible with iLumina Gold: A Look at the Latest Bible Software for Mac OS X. (2/20/04)

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