Archive - January, 2008

Who Cares About Participles? I Do!

[Today's Guest Post is by Dr. Steve Runge, who is a scholar-in-residence here at Logos Bible Software. Steve is working on projects to annotate discourse function in the Greek New Testament and Hebrew Bible. More importantly, he's a really smart guy with a passion for explaining the exegetical significance and importance of discourse functions in language that non-academics can understand — so that sermons and lessons can take such things into account, resulting in better preaching and teaching. Look for more posts from Steve in the future. — RB]

My name is Steve, and I wanted to give you some ideas about how you can use some technology you probably already have to enhance your Bible study. One of the great features of the Biblical Languages Addin is the Morphological Filter (click View | Visual Filters) that lets you markup Greek and Hebrew Bibles based on their morphological coding (Click for video demo; here’s a blog post with similar information). And you are probably saying, “Steve, I don’t know Greek. Why would I want such a tool?” I am glad you asked!

One of the basic tenets of Bible study is to identify the main idea of each verse, which in turn allows you to build toward understanding the big idea of a passage, and so on. Believe it or not, the New Testament writers wanted the same thing. Not every action is of equal importance, and so the writers made choices about which actions to make the main idea of a sentence. One of the ways they did this was by using different kinds of verbs for different kinds of actions in order to prioritize them.

If you were to picture a line of soldiers, there are two ways I could make some of them stand out. The first way is to have the important ones take a step forward. This is essentially what emphasis does, it brings something out front. The other way to make something stand out is to have the less-important ones take a step back. By pushing the less-important things into the background (‘backgrounding’ them), I can focus your attention on the ones that are left in their original position. This is exactly what the writers did through the use of participles. Wait, it’s okay, don’t be afraid! Grammar can be a great friend and ally! Let me show you how.

Every sentence in the New Testament required the writer to make decisions. We make them all the time without even thinking about it, whether writing or speaking. We choose wording that fits best with what we want to communicate. The same is true of the NT writers. If they wanted something to be viewed as a main action, they used a main verb form (technically ‘finite’ verbs like the indicative, subjunctive or imperative moods for fellow grammar geeks). If they wanted to describe some action to set that stage for the main action, the writers would use participles before the main action to push the less important action into the background. Here is a quick example from English.

  1. I was writing a blog post this morning. I spilled my coffee on my keyboard.
  2. While writing a blog post this morning, I spilled my coffee on my keyboard.

In the first line, both actions are described as though they were equally important, both use main verbs. The second line backgrounds the first action using a participle in order to set the stage for the main action that follows—spilling my coffee (Don’t worry, Bob. I didn’t really spill, just needed an example).

This same kind of backgrounding happens all the time in the New Testament. And even if you don’t know Greek, you can use the tools available in Logos to find these backgrounded actions. Here’s how.

If you have an ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear of the New Testament and the Morphological Filter from the Biblical Languages Addin, you have all that you need to start your study. Open up the ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear in Logos Bible Software, and then click View | Visual Filters. This opens up the Visual Filter dialogue. Then click on Morphological Filter in the left pane, then click Add.

Click image for larger version(works for all images in this post)

Then click Details. This opens up another dialog box that lets you choose the grammatical characteristics that you want to visualize. We want to check Verbs, and then Participles under Verb types. Then click Add on the lower left, and finally pick a how you want to represent it in the text using the Palettes (I chose the Gray highlighter pen). This will identify all of the participles.

Now you need to identify the main verbs. All we have to do is repeat the steps. Click Verbs, and then under the ‘Tense, Voice, Mood’ menu click Finite under ‘Verb types’, then click Add.

Now pick a visualization from the Palettes (I chose green highlighter pen), and finally click Okay. You are ready to look for backgrounded actions!

In your ESV reverse interlinear, go to Matthew 28:19, we can take a look at how Matthew uses a participle to prioritize the actions of the Great Commission. English does not use participles like Greek does, so a lot of them get translated into English as though they were main verbs. This is not incorrect translation, it is just a consequence of Greek not being English. But you can pick out the backgrounded actions from the original Greek using this Visual Filter in the Reverse Interlinear.

In English, there are two main actions of the Great Commission: Go and Make disciples. But if you look at ‘Go’, you’ll see that it is a participle. Does this mean it doesn’t matter at all? No, it does matter. Matthew used a participle to make sure that we got the main idea of the verse: MAKING DISCIPLES. Both actions need to happen, but they are not of equal importance. Using a participle backgrounds the less-important action.

This idea of backgrounding only applies to participles when they precede the main action, not when they follow it. The participles that follow the main action tend to spell out more specifically what the main action looks like. Here, ‘making disciples’ is spelled out as ‘baptizing’ and ‘teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded’.

Another good example is found in Acts 9:1-2, where Saul is seeking to arrest the believers in order to keep ‘The Way’ from spreading.

In v. 1 there are two actions described: ‘breathing’ and ‘went’. But we can tell from the Morphological Filter that both of these actions are backgrounded. That means that these actions are setting the stage for the main action, and are not the main action themselves. The main action doesn’t come until v. 2; it is Saul ASKING for the letters. ‘Going’ to the high priest was just something that had to happen before he could ‘ask’ them for the letters. Luke’s choice to use a participle reflects how he chose to prioritize the action. Understanding how he prioritized the action will help us better understand the main point of the passage. The other participles in v. 2 function as ‘verbal adjectives’, describing whom Saul is seeking (the ones ‘belonging to the Way’) and how he will bring them (‘having been bound’). The principle of backgrounding only applies to the action participles that precede the main action.

The biggest, hairiest chain of backgrounded actions that I have yet found is in Mark 5:25-27, where SEVEN backgrounded actions before we finally get to the main action. Nearly all of these are translated in the ESV as though they are main verbs. Remember, this is not bad translation, it just reflects that Greek is not English. Take a look!

Look at all of the actions that are backgrounded! The one main action that is left standing is ‘touched’, all of the rest are simply setting the stage for this action. Mark clearly indicates this by using participles instead of main verbs. He could have just as easily chosen to make ALL of the actions main ones, but then ‘touched’ would not have stood out. They would have all been equal. By backgrounding the less-important actions before the main action, the writer lets us know which action we need to focus on. There is good reason to focus on ‘touch’ in this context, because it is the key action that sets off a whole series of events that follows. Touching Jesus is what heals this woman (v. 27). Look at how Jesus’ response is described in v. 30.

Three participles are used to describe the actions that lead to Jesus’ response (‘said’), and what he says is the most important part of the verse: ‘Who touched me?’ Mark has carefully framed his message to make sure that we do not miss the main point of the story!

The gospels and Acts by far make the most use of backgrounding through the use of participles before the main action. Here are a few more examples from Matthew. In Matt 13:46 in the parable about the pearl of great price, look at which actions have been backgrounded.

There are only two main actions in this verse: ‘selling all that he had’ and ‘buying’. The ‘finding’ and ‘going’ set the stage for the main actions. Do you see how the backgrounding fits with the main idea of the passage?

Another example is found in the description of Jesus preparing to feed the 5000 in Matt 14:19.

There are three backgrounded actions leading up to one main action in the first sentence. ‘Ordering the crowds’, ‘taking’ the loaves and fish, and ‘looking up to heaven’ are all backgrounded, keeping attention on the main action: he said a blessing. In the next sentence, ‘breaking’ is backgrounded, keeping attention focused on ‘giving’ it to the disciples who in turn give it to the crowds.

By the way, you do not need to use the visual filter to find out if an action is a participle in Greek or not. If you hover over ‘ordered’ in v. 19 of the reverse interlinear and look at the display in the lower left corner of the main window, you will see some information displayed.

The G2753 is the Strong’s number; the rest is the grammatical information for the Greek word. You can get the same information as what we have visualized using the Visual Filter, but it is does not let you see the big picture, and it is not nearly as cool!

As you may have noticed, not every participle backgrounds an action. Some participles don’t even describe action, but instead function as verbal adjectives to describe a person, place or thing. The participles that follow the main action usually spell out more specifically what the main action looks like (a topic I will take up in a future post). But there is hope!

I have been working for the last year in a super-secret department (next to Rick!) on a project that identifies all of the New Testament occurrences of cool devices like backgrounded actions. There are 15 other devices that are all explained and marked up using something like the visual filter right in the text to help you better understand what the writers were trying to draw your attention to. Stay tuned for more details.

Update: Both products are now available for pre-order:

Update to Libronix DLS 3.0e

The latest version of the Libronix Digital Library System, 3.0e, is available for download. If you haven’t already updated, you should do so as soon as possible so that you have all the latest bug fixes and improved functionality.
Here are some of the new features that you will get:
Shell

  • Improved speed of opening the Search menu for the first time.

Bible Tools

  • Added missing homograph numbers to GRAMCORD™ lemma list.
  • Remote Library Search
  • Changed format of citations exported from Remote Library Search (for better interoperability with other programs).
  • Export Citations dialog in Remote Library Search remembers the last citation style that was used.

Resources

  • Added 2 Corinthians and Galatians to Lexham SGNT.
  • Added Louw-Nida numbers to Lexham SGNT.
  • Updated version of Lexham Syntactic Greek NT including Romans, 1 Corinthians, and Revelation.

Sermon File

  • Topics in Sermons and Illustrations resources are found by the Topic Study on the home page.
  • “Topics” and “Illustrations” sections in the Passage Guide list topics from the Sermons and Illustrations resources (respectively).

Syntax Tools

  • Added arrows to indicate immediate child vs. any descendant in Syntax Search results.
  • Syntax Search results highlights different terms with different colors.
  • Added “Group” and “Unordered Group” constructs to Syntax Search dialog.

Windows Vista

  • Added high-resolution application icon (for Windows Vista).

For a list of bug fixes visit http://www.logos.com/support/article/1240.
Keep in mind that all new books require 3.0e and that you’ll need 3.0e to use the updated version of many old books as well.
If you have a slow connection, you may want to order the new 3.0e media, which is available on DVD-ROM or CD-ROM.

Teachers and the Personal Book Builder

We have a really cool guest post for you below, but first a very exciting announcement regarding the Personal Book Builder.
We at Logos are passionate about God’s Word. One of our main objectives is to facilitate deeper Bible study. In an effort to better accomplish this, we are dropping the Personal Book Builder annual license renewal fee for all who use the PBB in conjunction with their teaching! This includes those who are teachers by vocation, as well as those who lead Bible studies or teach their children at home. We hope this enables you to be more effective teachers of God’s Word in whatever capacity He allows you to use your gifts.
Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Benjamin B. Phillips, Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at the Houston campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
In the 2007 fall semester, I began using the Logos Personal Book Builder (PBB) software (Standard Edition) for my systematic theology classes at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Each of my students writes a “Practical Theology Paper” where they summarize a Christian doctrine and then reflect on the practical implications of that doctrine for living the Christian life and doing Christian ministry. Each student writes on a different doctrine and I give the final versions of the files to the whole class. The result has been that each member of the class gets the equivalent of a 150-page book that they and their classmates have written.
Prior to using the PBB software, I simply collected the Microsoft Word files on CD-ROM’s and gave copies of the disk to the class at the end of the semester. Unfortunately, this meant that students wishing to use them in future research or sermon preparation would have to open and search each document one at a time. It seems unlikely that many (if any!) would undertake such a laborious process, and as a result, much of the value of the assignment was lost.
The Logos PBB software has enabled me to realize my goal of students doing theological writing to serve each other in their future ministries. By combining all the papers into one Logos electronic book, students no longer have to search through multiple files. Even more significant, however, is the fact that the Logos Libronix software allows students to incorporate their book into the Libronix Digital Library System. By making their book one of the texts that Libronix automatically searches when one studies a Bible passage or a topic, students don’t even need to remember to go look at the papers. If there is something relevant to their study, Libronix automatically includes a link to the relevant part of the book in its search results! If a student prepares a sermon or study on Numbers 23:13-30, Libronix would inform them that a verse in this text is referenced at two different places in their book of practical theology papers. Clicking on a link (here the Doctrinal Summary link) would open a window showing the relevant portion of the book. Similarly, if a student were to search their Libronix library for information on “patience” the results would include 4 occurrences of the word in 3 articles within their book of papers.
Students don’t even need to chase down the scripture passages mentioned in the papers. The PBB software automatically converts scripture references from text to hyperlinks. The result is that within the Logos book, one simply needs to scroll the cursor over the link, and the appropriate passage pops up in the student’s preferred Bible translation. Professors and instructions should note that the PBB software can accommodate a wide range of ways to cite scripture (note in the screen shot that the student used a short citation form and a long form). The functionality of the Logos book will not be lost if a student deviates in some minor way from a specific citation format.
The Logos PBB software is not difficult to use. I use Microsoft Word to combine papers into four or five files by broad topic. From there it is a simple matter of standardizing the formatting of the documents and marking the headings for the table of contents. I then save each file in HTML version. The last step involves running the PBB creator and setting the order of the files for the table of contents. The only inconvenient part has been standardizing the formatting of the papers . . . but in the future, I will have the students do that part for their own papers! With that change, the bottom line will be that I can take 20 papers and create a Logos book in under one hour.
I am incredibly grateful to Logos for their PBB software, but more importantly, so are my students! I hear often from my students about how they really like having a Logos book version of their work and how that has enhanced their appreciation for the class. From my perspective, I am impressed with the improvement in student effort on these assignments that has resulted from creating Logos books. My students know their classmates will be reading and using their papers, and so they have become far more serious and energetic about their work. I strongly encourage professors and instructors to use the PBB software to provide added value to their students.
Dr. Phillips has graciously allowed us to make the two PBB books available to you:

Put the files in C:\Program Files\Libronix DLS\Resources. To use them you must have a Libronix PBB Reading Key, which is included in all of the base packages.
Enjoy! And be sure to let us know what creative ways you come up with to use the Personal Book Builder.

“Love” in John and the ESV Reverse Interlinear NT

A user sent me a question last week, and I thought some of our blog readers might benefit from this little exercise.
Here’s what he wanted to do:

I was wondering if it would be possible to do the following: search for the occurrences of an English word and have it report the original language transliterated word for each occurrence. For example, say I’m teaching on the Gospel of John. I want to find all the occurrences of “love” and identify the part of speech and original language word. . . . Is there an easy way to do this?

There are several ways to accomplish this, but the easiest, especially for someone with minimal Greek knowledge, is to use the ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament.
Here are the steps I took:
1. In Libronix, click Search > Greek Morphological Bible Search.
2. For Bibles, select the ESV NT Rev. Int. | The ESV Greek-English Reverse Interlinear New Testament.
3. For the Range, type John.
4. Type lov* into the Search box. (The * enables you to find love, loves, loved, and loving. To exclude any potential false hits like lovely, you could type love OR loves OR loved OR loving in place of lov*. In this case, they yield identical results.)

5. Click Search. You should get 57 occurrences in 39 verses.

6. Click on the blue box next to any of the references in the search results to see that occurrence in the ESV Reverse Interlinear. You will be able to see the transliteration and part of speech for all of the words.

Make sure to turn on the appropriate interlinear levels. Click View > Interlinear and check the ones that you want to display.

Now, you could also accomplish this by searching any Greek text with morphological tagging, but for those most comfortable with the English, seeing the search results in the ESV might be the best.
Instead of searching for lov* (or love OR loves OR loved OR loving), you could also search for [φιλέω=] OR [ἀγαπάω=] OR [ἀγάπη=]. With this example, you get identical results either way.
How would you do this search?
Update: Searching for lov* is unnecessary because Logos searches on the stem of love by default. So searching for love will yield the same results as lov* or, in this case, love OR loves OR loved OR loving.

BibleTech:2008 Off to a Great Start

We’re off to a great start here in Seattle at BibleTech:2008! There are just under 100 people in attendance from all over the world, including Canada, France, the UK, Hong Kong, China, and Indonesia. The attendees range from programmers to academics to ministries to pastors to avid Bible software users.

bibletech-general-session.jpg

I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the presentations that I have been able to attend. James Tauber’s discussion of the history and future of MorphGNT.org was excellent. Andi Wu’s work with treebanks of the biblical texts was equally enjoyable. John Hudson presented his amazing work in developing the beautiful SBL Hebrew font. Nathan Smith and Christian Bradford made a strong case of Christians using web standards with a goal to accessibility.
We’re hoping to provide summaries and highlights of many of the sessions in the near future. There may even be some audio available. Stay tuned!
bibletech-sign.jpg

Updates to the Louw Nida Greek-English Lexicon

The Louw-Nida Greek Lexicon (formal title: Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains, though henceforth “LN”) is a unique and helpful lexicon. It is, however, put together differently than most Greek lexicons.
[OK, this got a little long. If you're more of an I-have-to-see-it-to-understand-it sort of person, cut to the chase and check out the video.— RB]
Instead of being ordered by the Greek alphabet (for easy headword lookup) with one article per headword, the lexicon is ordered by the concept of semantic domain. Even more confusingly, words with multiple major senses have multiple entries. For example, ανθρωπος could be “human being”, or more specifically “man”, or even more specifically, “husband”. In this case, LN has at least three definitions in three different places in the lexicon.
The lexicon has a separate index, ordered by headword, that helps one to navigate the articles and actually use the lexicon. We’ve had LN (volumes 1 & 2) available in Logos Bible Software for years; it is included in many of our packages (specifically, Original Languages, Scholar’s, Scholar’s Silver and Scholar’s Gold).
So to use LN, you’ve had to go into the index, pick the likeliest sense from the index list, then go to that entry and see if it is proper.
With the new enhancements we’ve made to LN, when you keylink in from a Greek New Testament (or a New Testament Reverse Interlinear), you’ll go directly to the article representing the sense being used in your current instance instead of the catch-all index entry. How’s that for cool? (and time-saving!)
If you still want to go to the index entry in volume 2 after having read the sense-specific article, you can still get there — check the video for the groovy keylink-on-the-lexicon-headword trick I use to do this quickly. (Note that the method is more fully documented here).
Confused? That’s OK. I made a video; you can hear me blathering on for almost nine minutes on this book, how it is ordered, how it is used and the significant enhancements we’ve made to it to support keylinking into this lexicon from the Greek New Testament (or New Testament Reverse Interlinears!) Apologies for the last minute; I sort of ramble on for a bit.

This updated version is available on our FTP site (ftp://ftp.logos.com/lbxbooks, look for LOUWNIDA.lbxlls). You also can download the latest version of LN from the book’s page on our web site if you’d like to try this yourself.

Countdown to BibleTech:2008

The first-ever BibleTech conference is only days away! It looks like there will be about 90 attendees at the conference—some of which will be flying in from as far as Hong Kong and England.

We at Logos aren’t the only ones getting pumped about the event. Several of the presenters have blogged about BibleTech:2008 and what they will be speaking on. Check them out!

There is a final session schedule now available at the BibleTech:2008 website. If you are going to be there, you can go ahead and start planning which sessions you want to attend.

We know that many of you aren’t going to be able to make it to the conference, so we’ll try to bring you some of the highlights here at the Logos blog. It looks like at least one of the attendees is planning to blog about the conference as well. I’m sure others will too. We’ll bring you the roundup of all the BibleTech:2008 goodness right here, so be sure to check back!

Refer a Friend—You Both Save!

Many people become Logos users through the encouragement of a friend. I bought my first Logos package several years ago in seminary thanks to the excitement of a fellow seminarian who had just become a Logos user. He was convinced that Logos was the best Bible software available. In just short time he had persuaded me, and I was an owner of Scholar’s Library: Silver, the top end base package at the time.
It wasn’t long before I too was spreading the word to friends of mine, several of whom also ended up buying one of the top end base packages. No doubt many of you are users today because of an enthusiastic friend, and many of you have in turn been responsible for introducing others to Logos. It’s for enthusiastic users like you that we created the Refer-a-Friend program.
Refer a Friend!
The Refer-a-Friend program a great way for both you and your friends to save money at Logos.com. When you use the Refer-a-Friend program, your friend will save 25% on any of the base packages. If he purchases one, you will receive a $25 gift certificate that you can spend at Logos.com.
If you own one of our base packages, sharing the love is an easy three-step process. Make sure you’re logged in to your account, go to www.logos.com/referafriend, and you’re ready to get started.
Step 1
Enter your friend’s email address and name (last name is optional). Your friend’s email address is safe with us. We won’t share it with anyone, and we’ll send him only two messages, which you will be able to review before they are sent. Click “Next” to go to step two.


Step 2
Review and customize the first email that your friend will receive. Here’s the default text, which automatically includes both your name and your friend’s name:
Hey Joe,
I was just surfing the Logos Bible Software website, and I saw a feature that lets me send coupons for their new Bible software to my friends. I thought you might want to check it out, because with the special coupon code you can save 25% off any one of their new base packages right now.
So keep an eye out for the fancy email from Logos Bible Software; it should be there soon.
In the meantime, watch the video demo at: http://www.logos.com/demo
In case you don’t get the fancy email from Logos, or if you are ready to buy right now, here is the coupon code to use at checkout after you add a package to your cart: XXXXXXXXXXXXX
If you have any questions, just let me know. I have been using Scholar’s Library: Gold – Logos Bible Software 3, and it is great!
-Phil Gons
P.S. If you buy a base package from the Logos website using this coupon code, I’ll get a gift certificate. So please be sure to place your order at the Logos.com website, not by phone!

After you’ve reviewed the email and made any changes, click “Next” to proceed to the final step.
Step 3
Finally, choose a collection to recommend to your friend. You can recommend the one you own, or you may want to recommend another package if you think it’ll be better suited for your friend’s needs. Before you click “Send,” feel free to preview both emails that your friend will receive. The preview will appear in a pop-up window, so make sure to disable your pop-up blocker or add www.logos.com to your list of approved sites. Once you’ve reviewed the emails, click “Send.” Your friend will have the emails in no time. Repeat this process as many times as you want.


View My Referrals
To see if any of your friends have placed an order yet, click on “View My Referrals” at the top right side of the page.

Your Gift Certificate
As soon as one of your friends orders a base package, we’ll send you an email with a gift certificate that you can use on your next Logos.com order. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered if you lose your gift certificate email. All of your gift certificate codes will be listed on your My Referrals page as well.
So keep on spreading the word to your friends about how much you love Logos Bible Software, but make sure to use the Refer-a-Friend program so you can both enjoy the savings!

Thanks for Being Great Customers!

Today’s guest blogger is Elizabeth Sanborn, a Customer Support representative at Logos.
I’ve been working here at Logos for just over three months, and before I started—I’ll be honest—I was a little scared. Everyone has heard horror stories about customer support, so I was a little nervous about the people I would encounter on the other end of the phone.
However, my experience working here at Logos has been quite the opposite. During my time here, I have met hundreds of wonderfully kind customers, who ask me how I am doing (and care about the answer!) and display the utmost patience with me, especially when I first started working here and was still learning the ropes. I’ve had a variety of great conversations while waiting for computers to reboot, downloads to finish, etc. I’ve even had a customer help me with Christmas gift ideas for my brother. It’s quite encouraging to see Christians act Christ-like, even in the little things of life like customer service. So thanks, customers, for being so fantastic and making the jobs of Logos Customer Support reps such a great experience!

Progress on the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament

Back in December, we put The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament on Pre-Pub.
Since the early reception to the Pre-Pub was good, we’ve been doing a little work on the New Testament interlinear and even have some provisional data back from the editor, Hall Harris. So I thought I’d take some time to walk you through some of the features in the hopes that even more of you will pre-order it!

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