Today’s guest blogger is Annie O’Connor, from the Logos Bible Software Design and Editorial team.
Have you ever heard a pastor mention that reading the letters in the New Testament is somewhat like listening to half of a phone conversation? You don’t know what the person on the other end is saying, you only know how the person on your end responded. Of course, we can’t reconstruct the exact details surrounding each letter in the New Testament, but we aren’t completely in the dark either. Many resources (like the ones in your Logos library!) discuss this information and provide a solid context to help us understand what was happening on the other end of the conversation.
Take for example the book of 1 Peter. What is the major theme of this letter? Here’s an excerpt from one resource:
“Peter elaborated upon the subject of suffering throughout the entire epistle. He offered words of hope to his readers as they faced suffering (1:4–5; 5:4). He pictured suffering as purposeful (3:14; 4:14)” (Holman Bible Handbook).
The theme of suffering is significant when you consider the apostle Peter as author of the letter. His acceptance of unjust suffering is remarkable given his previous abhorrence of it. In the gospels, Peter adamantly rejects the notion that Christ should suffer (Mark 8:31-33), and even denies his personal affiliation with Jesus in order to avoid suffering himself (Mark 14:66-72). What a difference, then, that Peter should say “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly” (1 Peter 2:19, ESV).
Fortunately, each of our base packages offers an array of resources that provide such information on each book of the Bible. The information is in your library, but it isn’t completely organized the way our other Guides are. In order to find this information, you need to open each commentary, Bible dictionary, or handbook individually and navigate to the desired information. We thought, surely, there must be a better way. We decided to take the first step.
In Logos 4.0 we introduced a new tool called Reading Lists (Tools>Reading Lists). This tool allows you to capture locations in resources and organize those locations as hyperlinks under a chosen topic. Using this format, we have created a Reading List for all 66 books of the Bible. This means that you no longer have to manually locate information on these books; the Reading Lists streamline the process. If you want to learn about the book of 1 Peter, the Bible book reading list will link you to articles in your library that address 1 Peter. You can quickly link to various articles discussing the Date, Historical Context and Recipients (what sort of suffering were the letter’s recipients experiencing?) or Authorship, Message, and Purpose (how is Peter’s affiliation with this letter significant?). These categories, though, are only the start. The Reading Lists have 30 categories pertaining to each book.
To jump start the reading lists, we have linked ten resources that provide maximum coverage of resources in our base packages. The next resources in our queue for linking are Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary, The Summarized Bible, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, ISBE, and the New American Commentary Series. The Reading Lists are not limited to these resources, though. Since the Reading Lists are user editable, anyone can add links to any resource they want. That means you! If you don’t see your favorite resource among those already linked, or in our queue, you can add it.
How does that work? Open the Reading List to the book page you want to edit, click “Edit” in the upper right hand corner of the pane. This will open the correct reading list on topics.logos.com. Click “Edit” on that page and you will be able to add links. How do you add links? Open to the introduction for the correct Bible book in your favorite resource, copy the Reading List link, and pasted it in the editing window on topics.logos.com. Divide any headings into the appropriate categories, click “Save” and, presto, your links for your resource are available in the Logos 4.0 Reading Lists.
There are more detailed instructions on our FAQ page.
So, in Logos 4.0, go to Tools>Reading Lists, find the Reading List for the book you want to study and quickly find many articles discussing that book. If you want more resources, just click “Edit” and add them. Happy reading and happy linking!