The Aramaic Bible: Get the Targums in English and More

targumThe Aramaic Bible is coming to Logos. This is a series I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time, so the sales team asked me to answer some basic questions, like “What’s a Targum and why should I care?” and “What’s so special about this particular edition?”

What are the Targums?

The Targums are early translations of the Hebrew Bible into Aramaic. They cover the entire Hebrew Bible except Ezra–Nehemiah (probably originally one book) and Daniel, portions of which are already in Aramaic; some of the books of the Bible have several different Targums. Some follow the Hebrew text very closely, while others contain significant additions and explanations. They’re useful for textual criticism or for resolving difficult passages in the Hebrew Bible (particularly those Targums that are older or stay closer to the source material), as well as for learning the diverse ways that the ancient Jews understood their Scriptures. Quite often, when I read someone commenting on places where a New Testament author “must” have been using the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures), looking at the Targums will demonstrate that the tradition being followed may have been alive and well in synagogues without the need to reference the Greek text at all. The Targums also demonstrate the diversity of ancient Judaism, sometimes disagreeing with each other, sometimes differing in interpretation from material found in the Mishnah or the Talmuds. Some of the Targums, particularly Onqelos on the Torah and Jonathan on the Prophets, are still used extensively in Orthodox Judaism today. [Read more...]

Save 15% on Base Packages through May 20

Spring Sale

Save on tools for better Bible study

For a limited time, you can save 15% during our Spring Sale! Just use coupon code SPRINGSALE through May 20.

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  • Bible Word Study—Understand the Bible’s original nuance. Choose any word in the Bible and find its Greek or Hebrew meaning. See where a word appears in your Bible, how often it’s used, and in what context it appears.
  • Bible Facts—Connect the dots between biblical people, places, things, and events. Bible Facts sets you up to learn more about people, relationships, locations, and artifacts.
  • Timeline—Explore over 8,000 events in biblical, church, and world history. Search by keyword or time period as you study specific passages.
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Through May 20, save 15% on Logos 5—just use coupon code SPRINGSALE at checkout! 

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An Interview with Tony Reinke on John Newton’s Legacy

Get The Works of John Newton, vol. 1 as April’s free book of the month. But hurry—tomorrow’s the last day!

Today’s guest post is from Tony Reinke, author of Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books. Tony, a researcher, writer, and content strategist for Desiring God, lives with his wife and three children in Minneapolis.

What compelled you to begin researching John Newton?

For several years, I helped serve the pastors of a small denomination in the United States, and Newton was one of the historical men I chose to study as a way of becoming familiar with the questions and pressures of pastoral ministry. I found him very readable and relevant to the contemporary needs and challenges faced by pastors.

Newton was not theologically educated (formally), but he leveraged his biblical insight and his street smarts about the world and his own heart to all of Christian life and to his rich pastoral counsel. He is a unique voice in church history for that reason. And so I really got to know Newton over those years, and the deeper I dove into Newton’s letters, the more I loved reading his works. The more I read, the more I became impressed with the cohesion I saw in the fragments of his pastoral care. The more I began studying Newton, the more secondary sources I began to read, and the more secondary resources I read, the more clear it became how difficult of a time others have had in trying to fit Newton’s pastoral counsel together. The challenge of fitting his works together drew me in even further to his writings. [Read more...]

Logos 5: Open Multiple Copies of a Hebrew or Greek Dictionary

Today’s post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris, who has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos seminars, provides many training materials.

As you very well know, the Bible was originally written not in English, but in Hebrew and Greek. Consequently, sometimes when we read the same English word in different places in the Bible, we’re actually reading the translations of different Hebrew or Greek words. Thus, the same English word is translating Hebrew or Greek synonyms.

For example, both James 5:14 and 15 refer to the sick, but two different Greek words appear in the original text. If you ever want to examine both words in your favorite Greek dictionary at the same time, try this Logos feature:

  • Open an English Bible containing the reverse interlinear option, such as the ESV, NASB, or LEB
  • Navigate to locations containing Hebrew or Greek synonyms being translated by the same English word, such as sick in James 5:14 and 15 (A)
  • Right-click on the first occurrence of the English word, such as sick in James 5:14 (B)
  • Select Lemma “your word” from the right-click menu (C)
  • Select Look up from the right-click menu (D), which opens your highest-prioritized Hebrew or Greek dictionary containing an article about your word (E)

[Read more...]

Get 20% Off Tools for Exegesis

What’s the “right way” to interpret Scripture?

Since the emergence of biblical criticism, scholars have argued over how to interpret the Bible. Some think that the text’s meaning can be understood only when we place ourselves in the shoes of the people who wrote it (in this case, Jews living 2,000–3,000 years ago). Others think that the text’s meaning can be reached only through the divine mediation of the Holy Spirit, or some other source of direct divine authority.

From this latter camp, we often hear arguments that history simply “doesn’t matter”—that the text “speaks for itself,” and that further study about the texts’ language and context is useless at best and damaging to faith at worst. On the other hand, from those advocating “higher criticism,” we hear that the text “has no meaning” outside of its historical context—that in order to come to a consensus about the text’s truth (if such a truth even exists), we must see exactly as the writers saw.

And so the student of Scripture is torn: which of these seemingly irreconcilable approaches is right[Read more...]

Free Update! Tim Keller Sermon Archive

Yesterday we issued a free update to the Tim Keller Sermon Archive. If you own this product, you received new sermons without having to lift a finger. Simply restart your software, and the new content should download automatically.

One of the benefits of Logos is that you always have the latest updates to all your resources. Sometimes the updates are small and under the hood. We’re guessing you don’t notice when we add links to new data types or fix a rogue typo. But the cumulative effect of these small updates is that your experience using Logos is always getting faster and better.

But other times, like this, the updates are big and substantial, and we’re delivering you piles of new content.

With Logos, you’ll always have the latest and greatest version, and your books will always be up to date.

If you don’t yet own the Tim Keller Sermon Archive, now is the perfect time to get it. You’ll get all the sermons already available today, plus free updates in the coming months as we continue to transcribe and digitize additional Keller sermons. Get it now!

New Eastern Orthodox Resources at Logos

Those who are familiar with Logos know that we are committed to building the best digital library of Christian resources in the world. As part of that commitment, I am excited to introduce myself as the new product manager for Eastern Orthodox content here at Logos. My goal is to ensure that Logos has not only the widest selection but also the highest quality of Eastern Orthodox products in the digital marketplace.

The Eastern Orthodox Church has over 300 million adherents, with the majority of its faithful living in Northern Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Russia. Since the 1800s, there has been a significant increase in the number of Orthodox Christians living throughout the Western hemisphere, thanks in large part to both the missionary efforts of Russian Christians to Alaska, Canada, and the United States, and the immigration of Orthodox Christians into both North and South America from predominantly Orthodox nations.
[Read more...]

8 Pre-Pubs You’re About to Miss Out On

There are 72 Pre-Pubs shipping in the next few weeks. We know this is a lot to keep track of, so we’ve highlighted a few of the bestselling Pre-Pubs to make sure you don’t miss out on the best prices.

The prices for all these products will be going up soon—some in just a few days. This is your last chance to pre-order these books at the best prices.

  1. Institutes of the Christian Religion
    This is the authoritative translation of Calvin’s Institutes. Not only is it the academic standard, but it’s also the most readable and accessible. It’s $69.95 after it ships, but you can pre-order it for $49.95 right now.
  2. Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: Old Testament
    This is the New International Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, under a new publisher and a new name. Contributors include John Goldingay, Tremper Longman, Elizabeth Achtemeier, and other prominent scholars. The New Testament counterpart has been one of our bestselling commentary sets; don’t miss your chance to get the Old Testament volumes at a nice discount. The regular price is $239.95 for the set, but you can pre-order it for a little while longer for only $179.95.
  3. [Read more...]

Save Now on the Augsburg Fortress Ethics Collection

The need to apply biblical principles to the significant social and cultural issues of the day is one reason good scriptural interpretation is important. With the nine-volume Augsburg Fortress Ethics Collection, you’ll see how a diverse collection of noted scholars tackle serious issues like sexual ethics, war and nonviolence, global concerns, racism, and more.

Books in this informative collection include:

Moral Issues and Christian Responses

[Read more...]

An Interview with Dr. Craig Blomberg

I recently had an opportunity to talk with Dr. Craig Blomberg, distinguished professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary. Bloomberg is the author, coauthor, or coeditor of 14 books and more than 80 articles in journals or multiauthor works. Many of his writings examine the historical reliability of the Scriptures, and he has also covered such diverse issues as wealth and poverty, hermeneutics, and women in ministry.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Dr. Blomberg. Can you briefly share a little about where you were educated and where you currently teach?

You are most welcome. Thanks for the invitation. I grew up in Rock Island, Illinois, part of the Quad Cities, right on the Mississippi River across from Davenport, Iowa. I went to a Division III Lutheran liberal arts college in my hometown, Augustana College. After teaching a year of high-school math on Chicago’s North Shore, I attended Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, where I met my wife, Fran. We were married in the summer of 1979, and we left shortly after that for my PhD studies in Scotland at the University of Aberdeen, which is where I became a Baptist.

My first job teaching New Testament studies and Greek was at Palm Beach Atlantic College (now University) in West Palm Beach, Florida, for three years. Then we had an opportunity to live and work in Cambridge, England, for a year, thanks to an invitation and a grant from the British wing of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship. There I researched and wrote my first book, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, and finished (radically) revising my dissertation, which turned into my second book, Interpreting the Parables. We moved to the Denver area in the fall of 1986, where I have taught at Denver Seminary ever since.

The first edition of Jesus and the Gospels was published in 1997. With this second edition, what were some of areas you felt needed to be updated? Also, has your overall understanding of Jesus and the Gospels remained the same since you first published the book over 10 years ago?

The areas that were most updated explain a number of the critical methods that some use for studying the Gospels, especially literary and postmodern criticism, developments in the “quest for the historical Jesus,” claims and counterclaims about the significance of the Gnostic Gospels, and research on the historical reliability of John. Thanks to some devoted research assistants, especially Jonathan Waits (who is now a Baptist pastor in Virginia, and who sifted through a ton of secondary literature for me and identified the studies to which I needed to pay the most attention), the footnotes and bibliographies were very thoroughly revised and updated in every chapter.

I certainly didn’t have any “sea change” in my understanding of any significant topic, but I frequently found better ways of saying things, better support for my positions, and new research that enabled me to nuance my views here and there a little better. If anything, I learned how scholarship as a whole is recognizing more and more material, even in the Gospel of John, that can be accepted as historical, even without presupposing Christian faith. Unfortunately, this is not the scholarship to which the media pays nearly as much attention as it does to the novel and the eccentric.

Gospel scholars like Richard Burridge have argued that the Gospels are best understood as resembling Greco-Roman biography. Would you agree with Burridge—classifying the Gospels as biography—or do you find a better genre to place them in?

They very much are biographies, but some Greco-Roman biographies play somewhat fast and loose with history. So I would prefer to be more precise and call them historical biographies. Of course, we can’t think of either history or biography with contemporary expectations about comprehensiveness, complete chronological ordering, verbatim quotation, or dispassionate chronicle. But by the standards of the world in which they were written—which recounted episodes from people’s lives very selectively, sometimes ordering their material topically, paraphrasing others’ words in a world that had yet to invent quotation marks or feel any need for them, and assuming that the only parts of history that were worth retelling were those from which you could learn lessons—the Gospels would have been viewed as highly accurate.

In part one, you discuss the historical background for studying the Gospels. How does understanding Jesus’ historical context give us a better understanding of the message and theology of the Gospels?

The only way to avoid misunderstanding any writer from any time period is to understand the historical and cultural context in which that writer wrote. To understand fully what Jesus meant by “go the extra mile,” we need to know that Roman soldiers occupied Israel during the first century and could legally commandeer any civilian they came across to carry their equipment for them for up to a mile. But they couldn’t force them to carry it any further. Jesus tells his followers and would-be followers, however, to do so voluntarily, and the expression has made its way into English as proverbial for going “above and beyond the call of duty.” When Jesus is asked if he is the Messiah, one has to understand that Jews were looking for a military and/or political deliverer who would help them rid the land of the Romans. When Jesus seems reluctant to come straight out and say he is their Messiah, or when he tells people not to tell others that he is, it’s because he believes that spiritual liberation is more needed than physical liberation. He realizes that a straightforward identification with the kind of Messiah most of his kinfolk were looking for would lead to serious misunderstandings about his ministry. Countless additional examples could be given.

Since the publication of The Quest for the Historical Jesus, there has been tremendous speculation on the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. How does your work help inform the layperson about the quest(s) for the Historical Jesus?

I devote about two-thirds of one chapter to quickly and simply surveying the three main quests (or three phases of the quest), the strengths and weaknesses of each, and where we are today. I highlight the main portraits of Jesus popular in today’s scholarly literature, talk a little about why there is such a diversity of portraits, and outline what criteria various scholars use to determine what they will accept as historical. Then, in the section of the book that proceeds sequentially through the life of Christ, I include a short section near the end of each main topic on the principal historical reasons we can consider this collection of teachings or activities something that Jesus really did say or do.

Besides Jesus and the Gospels, what other resources would you recommend to someone who wants to study Jesus and the Gospels more?

That’s an almost unanswerable question. I would have to know first what specific areas they were most interested in, and then how much background they already have. Are we talking about a high-school student from a non-Christian background, a young adult raised in a church that emphasized teaching the Bible and especially the life of Jesus in their Sunday School curriculum, a Christian-college graduate who majored in biblical studies, or a pastor with a doctorate? Because people have such diverse backgrounds, each of my chapters closes with recommendations for further study divided into introductory, intermediate, and advanced resources, and I would refer the interested reader to those highly selective bibliographies.

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The second edition of Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey is 30% off right now. Get yours before it leaves Pre-Pub and the price goes up!