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How to Turn a Bible Passage into an Accordance Link Using Alfred Workflows & Markdown

The Objective

I use a lot of programs that utilize Markdown including NotionObsidian, iAWriter, and Ulysses. And since most of my writing has to do with the Bible, I find myself wanting to be able to jump from my notes into my preferred Bible software, Accordance Bible Software. Thankfully, Accordance provides the ability to link directly to Bible passages from external apps by using app links like the following:

accord://read/ESVS?#John_3:16

What I want to do is when I write a link to a Bible passage, I want a way to quickly turn it into a link that opens in Accordance to that passage. And I want to do it using Markdown.

This is the result we’re looking for

Thankfully, this is very easy if you use app launcher program Alfred. All you need to do is create a simple workflow.

If you’re interesting, I also wrote an article on how to use Alfred to paste the content of any Bible passage into any app with just a few keystrokes.

Accordance Bible Software Alfred Workflow

Step 1: Create a New Workflow with a Hotkey Trigger

  • Open up Alfred and go to Workflows.
  • Now, create a new workflow by clicking the “+” at the bottom.
  • Next, create a new hotkey trigger by right-clicking in the workflow area.
Accordance Bible Software Alfred Workflow
  • Then, double-click your new hotkey trigger and under “Argument” choose “Selection in macOS.
  • And add your Accordance app link prefix. More on the prefix below.
Accordance Bible Software Alfred Workflow

Accordance’s app links follow this format:

accord://read/ESVS?#

The “ESVS” after the ‘’/’’ and before the “?” tell’s it what module to open in.

It works for other languages as well. For example, here’s the prefix for the Nestle-Aland 28 Greek text:

accord://read/NA28-T?#

You can find what the prefix of your preferred Bible text is by going to the Library in Accordance, and clicking the “i” next to the name.

How to find the module name in Accordance Bible Software
if I wanted to use the NASB 95, I would use NAS95S in my prefix.

Step 2: Format the Passage for the Link

Now we need to make sure the Bible passage portion of the link, or the suffix, is properly formatted. This is taken from the Bible passage that you’ve highlighted. We just need to replace the space with an underscore.

  • Add a “Replace” utility to your workflow.
Alfred workflow Replace utility
  • Double-click the maginifying class you just added and tell it to replace spaces with underscores.
Alfred replace utility

Step 3: Set the Output

Finally, we need to tell Alfred to copy the result to clipboard and paste it in whatever app you have open.

  • So add an output for “Copy to Clipboard” and double-click to open it up.
Alfred Workflow Copy to Clipboard Output
  • Make sure you tick the box that says “Automatically paste to front most app” if you want to do that. Otherwise, it will only copy to your clipboard.

Now, if you save it as is. It will just turn any Bible passage you highlight into a link that can open in Accordance. Some of you may want to stop here and leave the query alone. For example, if I were using Microsoft Word, I would leave it this way and go back and change the Hotkey argument to “macOS Clipboard Contents” so that it would turn any copied Bible passage into a pasteable link. Then in Word all I would need to do is copy the verse text to my clipboard, then click Insert > Hyperlink and paste the link in the Address field.

But since I’m wanting the output to be formatted as a markdown link I’ll modify the query to follow Markdown link formatting of (link title)[link url]. See image below.

Modifying Alfred copy to clipboard output for Markdown
Or if you wanted the output to be in HTML for a blog or website, you could format it this way: <a href=”{query}>{clipboard}</a>

Click save. And that’s it!

Now, whenever you want to transform a Bible reference into an Accordance app link in a Markdown document, simply highlight it and hit your assigned hotkey.

Turning Bible passage into Accordance link with Alfred

Beautiful.

Conclusion

If you’re creative, you can come up with a lot of ways to modify this to suit different needs. I’m sure you could modify the prefix or the query to suit Logos’ format or even a popular Bible website. The sky is the limit.

What about you? Do you have any techniques or tools you use to make Bible study or writing more productive?

Slave of Jesus Christ, husband, father, and Director of Digital Platforms at Grace to You. I also blog for The Master's Seminary.

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2 comments
  • Thank you for the time you took to make this, page with Alfred Hotkey link. I was so jazzed about it, I paid $40 for Alfred and the pack. But now I can’t get it work at all. ;-( I am trying this in NOTION, and since you mention it in your article, it seems it would work. Am I understanding that when you click on John 3:16 it opens that passage in your Accordance? Am I supposed to: a) highlight my bible verse in notion b) then select Link c) then hit my alfred hotkey (which puts clipboard content in the link space.) If you have a minute to give me clear explanation, I will be most grateful. Thanks. In Christ.

    • Hi Byard!

      Once you have everything setup you should just be able to highlight the verse with your curser (like you would if you were going to copy it to your clipboard), then hit the hotkey you created. Alfred should then transform the verse reference into a hyperlinked reference. When you click on that link it should then open to the right verse in Accordance.

      I did notice a weird issue in Notion, however, and maybe this is what you’re running into. I’m not sure why, but Notion makes you format the links slightly different for them to work. If you just use the accord:// prefix like I said in the article the links don’t actually do anything when you click them.

      So for the prefix part in Step 1 instead of using: accord://read/ESVS?# use https://www.accordancebible.com/link/read/ESVS?# and see if that helps.

      Let me know if you have any luck!

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