Archive - September, 2007

Logos Lecture Series Video

In the famous words of Mick Jagger, “You can’t always get what you want.” At Logos we take every chance we can get to disprove the wrinkly rocker. That’s why we have heeded your requests to make available the most recent installment in the Logos Lecture Series.

Click here to watch Dr. Michael Heiser’s presentation, “The Concept of a Godhead in the Old Testament.”Podcast (24.4 MB)Audio Only (29.7 MB MP3)

For those of you in the Pacific Northwest, be sure to check the Lecture Series web page regularly for updates on future lectures.

Newer Greek Stuff You Might’ve Missed

Keeping up with the new books we release can be a chore. There are a few ways to make sure you’re in the loop, though.

  • NewsWire:The first is to make sure you’re subscribed to NewsWire. NewsWire is delivered via email three or four times a month and is one of the main methods we use to notify y’all of new products and special prices. If you’re not subscribed already, you can subscribe here.
  • RSS Feeds:RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, provides a way for you to receive regularly updated information on your computer, from a variety of sources such as newspapers, religion websites, blogs, or shopping websites. Read more about it here. Logos uses RSS to “push” feeds detailing new pre-pub and community pricing opportunities. Check the pre-pub RSS feed and community pricing RSS feed, and subscribe to ‘em to get the best deals.

Now, with that over, here’s the reason for the post. I thought some folks might’ve missed notice of these cool and relatively new Greek resources. So here you go.

  • Moulton & Milligan’s Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament.This is not a vocabulary list, it is a Greek lexicon. And it isn’t just any Greek lexicon, but the definitions cite and point toward how important words in the New Testament were used in papyri and ostraca. So, how the words were used in everyday speech. This lexicon is frequently referred to in BDAG; if you’ve ever seen the abbreviation M-M; you’ve seen the lexicon indicate you should check out the Moulton & Milligan article.
  • Stanley Porter’s Idioms of the Greek New Testament, Second Edition.This is an intermediate handbook that fits between a first-year grammar/coursebook and a full-fledged reference grammar. As such, it is very helpful. It can be used as an instructive handbook, as an intermediate level textbook, and as a basic reference work. Substantial discussions are provided on Greek verb structure, the case system, the use of prepositions, particles, and various types of clauses
  • Blass, Debrunner, and Funk’s A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature.This is the standard reference grammar for New Testament Greek. If you’ve seen references to BDF, then you’ve seen this referenced. It is commonly referenced in technical commentaries (e.g. ICC and NIGTC) exegetical commentaries focusing on Greek (e.g. WBC). Why not allow yourself to look up the discussions that these commentaries refer to?
  • A.T. Robertson’s Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research.Robertson’s grammar is a reference grammar, and it is impressive. Nearly 1500 pages, chock-full of examples which are indexed by scripture reference, so they’ll show up in your Exegetical Guide Grammars section. This one is hard to use in print because of its size and organization; but searching by reference pinpoints you to the discussions that are relevant for the passage you’re working through. This is very useful.

Of course, that’s not everything (for example, check the Introduction to Biblical Greek Collection, with Swetnam and Zerwick’s Biblical Greek! Zounds!) but it is a significant chunk.
If you’re looking to round out your Greek lexical and grammar resources, then these are good places to start. And look to our Greek Resources Product Guide for even more information on even more Greek stuff!

Sign up now for BibleTech 2008!

Now is the time! Registration is live for BibleTech 2008, January 25-26, 2008, in Seattle!
We’ve got a variety of speakers addressing all kinds of topics at the intersection of the Bible and technology. We’ll be looking at digital Bible maps, online education, open source projects, web-based language tools, and Bible-reference micro-formats for marking up HTML.
Pastor, programmer, or professor, there’s something for you at BibleTech!
More importantly, we’ve got a great group of people showing up. As interesting as many of the sessions sound, I am even more excited about spending two days meeting and talking with people who share my interest in the Bible and technology. I hope you’ll come and be part of it.
We have tried to make BibleTech 2008 as easy to attend as possible. We’re holding it literally across the street from the SeaTac airport, so you don’t need a car or taxi; you can walk. We’re also pricing the tickets at a “covers costs” level. (Your ticket includes three conference meals, coffee breaks, etc.)
Tickets for BibleTech 2008 are being sold through the Logos Pre-Pub system, so that we can get a head-count in advance. You can pre-order your ticket now without being charged until December.
And please don’t forget to blog about BibleTech 2008. Sadly, not everyone reads the Logos Blog, and we need your help to get the word out!
(Note to bloggers: If youblog about the BibleTech conference, consider using the “bibletech08″ tag so that posts about the conference are easy to find in Technorati and others. Thanks!)

The Concept of the Godhead in the Old Testament

Tonight’s edition of the Logos Lecture Series features Dr. Michael Hesier, academic editor at Logos. Dr. Heiser will discuss “The Concept of the Godhead in the Old Testament” at 7:00 PM at Mount Baker Theatre in Bellingham, WA.

Dr. Heiser provided this summary of his lecture:

As both extrabiblical historical sources and the New Testament book of Acts informs us, Christianity arose from Judaism. Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew. The apostles and first followers of Jesus were Jews. How is it then, that on one hand, God-fearing Jews, whose holy Scriptures affirmed that there was only one God, could worship both the God of the Bible and Jesus as God? How could any Jew reconcile worship of Jesus with monotheism? And how is it that Jewish Christians were simultaneously willing to suffer death at the hands of the Roman Empire rather than deny monotheism? Rather than consider first century Jews as religiously confused or closet polytheists, as many scholars today would contend, the answers to these questions are found in the Old Testament, which reveals the ancient faith of Israel contained the idea of a godhead long before its expression in the New Testament.

This same topic was the subject of Dr. Heiser’s Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He will approach the subject with an advanced understanding of the original languages of the Bible, which will help uncover some fascinating intricacies in the Old Testament.

Mountain Climbing: The Challenge of Learning Original Languages

In this blog post Dale Pritchett will extend the metaphor begun in his earlier blog entry and respond to some of the issues raised.

One summer my wife talked me into climbing a mountain. She explained in glowing terms all the benefits to body mind and spirit. She even extolled the value of the pain we could anticipate. The mountain had well marked trails and many had gone before. She didn’t tell me about the bodies.

Less than one hour into the hike we began to see a series of small monuments along the trail. These were dedicated to the memory of individuals who had died at that exact spot in a snow storm or a rock slide or suffered a heart attack, stroke, or whatever. I kept thinking, “I just want to see the view from the top. I don’t want to become a statistic.” The next time, I visited the mountain; I took a tram to the top. The view was the same. I observe that a lot more people want to enjoy the view than want to climb the mountain. I noticed also that enjoying the view killed a lot less people than climbing the mountain.

I understand that the person who climbs to the top has a different level of knowledge of the mountain, but it is also possible to climb the mountain the hard way and still miss the view. Each person has differing skills, abilities and gifts. The point is to capture as much perspective as you can and share the view with others, not the pain.

Original language study needs to be a reasonable amount of work for a skill you will use all your life.

I am not in any way attempting to minimize the value of traditional study in biblical languages. I am merely pointing out that the benefits accrue to only a few while the need exists for the many.

I am also not attempting to suggest that an ESV Reverse Interlinear in Logos Bible software is fully equivalent to the study of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts. It is not. It is a major advancement over previous tools like Strong’s numbers.

I am pointing out the reality is precious few people master biblical languages in comparison to those who make the attempt or those who never make the attempt. I am expressing my opinion that the church is better served by people who make the effort to examine the original language text.

I am saying that exegetical fallacies are equally fallacious in any language. We need to be taught how to be responsible with whatever knowledge we hold. Software is not a substitute for instruction. For the English Bible student quality instruction in original language grammar and syntax was not possible with the limited resources in Strong’s numbers, the main link between English Bibles and original languages. Now with the expanded data available in a reverse interlinear, it is possible to expand the range of instruction significantly. It will take good instruction.

I am saying we need great instruction from great teachers which will develop the students to their potential regardless of whether it is based on a reverse interlinear or an biblical language text. I am saying that the reverse interlinear is a significant tool that can take an English Bible student further than ever possible before. And let’s face it; the reverse interlinear also serves a remedial function for those who have forgotten everything they ever learned in a traditional language course. The student is interacting with the text in a more intimate fashion sure to improve general exegesis. I am saying this is good!

My final analogy. Many people would love to be singers. Only a few become professionals. Do we forbid everybody else to sing? Do we cut out the tongues of those who don’t sing well to insure that we will not suffer from their impure tones? I am suggesting that it is very easy to fall into the trap of not developing the abilities we have, whatever they may be. We need to be reminded that we can teach students how to be responsible and stay within the boundaries of their range or ability.

Original Language Study: A Boutique Specialty

Today’s Guest Blogger is Dale Pritchett, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Logos. Also be sure to read Dale’s follow-up article Mountain Climbing: The Challenge of Learning Original Languages.


Greek and Hebrew professors are fast becoming an endangered species. Some contemporary people in “ministry” refer to Greek and Hebrew instructors as “traditionalists” when they are being kind, and “relics” when they are being critical. Language study has been labeled as elitist, impractical and unnecessary.

As VP of sales and marketing at Logos I enjoy a unique vantage point over churches, denominations and educational institutions. Because we deal with virtually every segment of Christendom, it is easy to spot common trends.

One of the easiest-to-spot trends over the past two decades has been the spiraling decline in original language requirements in seminaries and Bible schools. With two decades of momentum, this trend is now so well established it has migrated from the classroom to the pulpit. We now have pastors all over the world who lack the ability to consult or teach from original language texts common to prior generations. An unintended consequence of less rigorous study is the general lack of encouragement and emphasis on Bible study and Bible study methods courses for lay people. If a pastor does not demonstrate original language skills, there is little motivation for lay people to explore beyond the reach of their teacher.

As a result, it is now easier to find an original language Bible study methods course outside the church than inside the church.

Today we have prospective Bible college and seminary students who have grown up in churches totally devoid of original language informed teaching. These prospective students now evaluate the relevance of a seminary program on the basis of their own exposure to preaching and Bible teaching. It should come as no surprise that the most attractive seminary programs are marketed with compelling phrases like, “does not require study of the biblical languages for graduation.”

It is easy to fault the spirit of anti-intellectualism in the church today. It is easy to say there is little immediate payoff for all the hard work, and perhaps easiest of all to say, “Original language study is a lot of work for something I will never use.” Unfortunately, the preceding statement may be proven quite true in the reality of today’s church.

Original language study needs to be a reasonable amount of work for a skill you will use all your life. I believe this can be accomplished with automated tools.

I know seminaries would like to see more students take an interest in original languages but they are faced with a trend they don’t expect to see reversed any time soon. While they lament the state of Bible literacy, their first priority is student enrolment. Schools are competing for tuition dollars and they often find they must deliver the programs demanded by the market as opposed to programs designed by the institution. I believe this can be changed. This is where the cycle can be broken.

If a seminary really wants its students to work with original languages it needs to adopt methods which can make this happen. Original language study needs to become a pleasant and profitable experience for all students, not just the linguistically gifted or the doggedly determined. Let me make a couple of analogies. If you want to get a lot of people to a mountain top, you can hang a climbing rope, mark a trail, install a tram, build a road or install an elevator. Each successive technology will empower more people to get to the top. If we want everybody to get across the river we can offer swimming lessons, put a rope and pulley across the river, build a raft, operate a ferry or build a bridge. Each successive technology will empower more people to get to cross the river. If we want every student to learn to use original languages we need to build a bridge that gets everybody to the destination. This is the purpose of the Reverse Interlinear texts in Logos Bible Software.

I will say it again. Original language study needs to become a pleasant and profitable experience for all students. There needs to be a formal course of instruction to achieve this end. An English language Bible student can go a long way in Greek and Hebrew with the aid of our reverse interlinears but the benefits are best realized with first class, formal instruction in grammar and hermeneutics. If the very best Greek, Hebrew and Hermeneutics professors adopted the best computer based reverse interlinear technology, the following benefits would be realized.

  1. All students would be able to study original language concepts.

  2. Original language exegesis would take place earlier in the educational process.
  3. There would be a larger potential pool of students motivated to go on in original language studies.
  4. Language skill retention would improve dramatically because. . .
  5. Students would have a permanent and familiar tool for ongoing ministry.

The gifted students will still be gifted students. There will only be more of them because the original language student pool will be larger. The gifted students will move on to traditional courses and become future faculty. The average students will be functional but always dependent on the tools. But this is the key point! All students will use original languages the rest of their lives. The tide of biblical literacy will rise and the entire church will benefit.

And finally, Greek and Hebrew faculty would have secure, full, long term employment. They are the people who can generate the most value from the new tools. Powerful tools are best used by powerful teachers.

Using Exegetical Guide When Reading Greek NT or Hebrew Bible

I was hanging out with some Logos users at Camp Logos II, held here in Bellingham on August 27-28, when my friend and colleague Johnny asked me about ways to emulate a “Reader’s Greek New Testament” inside of Logos. Johnny is always working on his Greek (and Hebrew) skills as he’s pursuing a Masters degree up at Regent College. He wanted to read the Greek NT but only have glosses available for words (lemmas) that occur less than, say, 20 times in the Greek NT.
There is a way to do this, but you might not think of it. It involves paring down your Exegetical Guide preferences and also using the chain link to link your Exegetical Guide with the Greek New Testament.
Don’t worry, I recorded a video to explain how you can do this too. Check it out.