3 Ways Linguistic Criticism Can Aid Bible Study

lexham-methods-series (1)We learn our first language with relative ease. It’s only when we study a second or third language that we can begin to appreciate language’s complexity. Even if we master the vocabulary, grammar, and syntax of another language, we will still stumble on idioms, metaphors, and other cultural references. The best way to navigate a different language is to have a native speaker as your guide.

But who’s here to help us with biblical Hebrew and New Testament Greek? With no living first-language experts to guide us, these are “dead languages.” Countless interpreters have wished they could ask Moses, Isaiah, or Paul exactly what they meant by certain uses of Hebrew or Greek.

To effectively study a book written in “dead languages,” we must look to other language systems for help. This field of study is called linguistic criticism, and a new book by Logos Bible Software introduces you to the concepts, terminology, and methodology of the discipline. The third volume in the Lexham Methods Series, Linguistic Criticism, will improve your Bible study in three ways:

  1. Appreciate the complexity of language study. We can read the Bible in English today only because scholars labored through the difficulties of language-learning. As they continue to study living languages, they’re able to translate and interpret the Bible’s dead languages more accurately. [Read more...]

Augustine vs. Luther: Sexuality and Marriage

Augustine Versus Luther on Sin Sexuality and Salvation

Augustine and Luther agreed on many things, but the different ways they understood the first sin, its consequences, and its remedy continue to shape Protestant beliefs about sexuality and marriage.

Augustine and Luther’s diverging beliefs

For Augustine, in the late 300s and early 400s, the original sin of pride produced lust, which could be defeated through chastity. From him, the church inherited a sexuality shrouded in shame.

Luther saw original sin as unbelief, which led to pride—epitomized, in his view, by the Roman Catholic Church of the 1500s. For Luther, marriage was the remedy for self-righteous pride, and from him the church inherited an exaltation of marriage and sexuality.

Augustine fought personal issues stemming from his promiscuous pre-conversion lifestyle. His youthful lust drove him to find a lifetime of salvation in his relationship with Christ. He also battled two heretical groups and walked a tightrope of rhetoric. Forced to maintain the precarious balance between them, he didn’t pursue his theology far enough to reach an esteem for marriage and sexuality. [Read more...]

4 Ways Textual Criticism Can Aid Bible Study

Have you ever wondered why various versions of the Bible read differently? For example, why does Romans 8:1 in the King James Version include a phrase that’s not in the New American Standard Bible or the New International Version? Did it get added to one or left out of the others? You may look to the footnotes of your Bible to learn a little about these differences, but what you find is not enough to answer your real questions: Why are there differences? How do we know which choice is best?

A new book by Logos Bible Software answers these questions and helps you learn the basics of textual criticism, the process of analyzing and evaluating differences in the text of the Bible. Textual Criticism is the first volume in the Lexham Method Series, and there are four ways it can help your Bible study. You will:

  1. Make sense of the textual footnotes in your Bibles. Many English Bibles include footnotes that say things like, “Some manuscripts do not include . . .” or “Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Masoretic Text ‘And it shall be.’” Textual Criticism will teach you how to decode and understand the significance of these notes.
  2. Understand the difficulty of producing a Bible translation. A new English translation of the Bible seems to come out every few years, and you might wonder how there can be so many translations of the same book. Textual Criticism will help you understand the decisions made by translation teams, and how these decisions affect the final product.
  3. Interact more intelligently with commentaries when they discuss textual issues. When you use commentaries in your Bible study, you encounter discussions about ways a particular text can be translated and why one reading is better than another. Commentators talk about Codex Vaticanus, the Peshitta, and the Dead Sea Scrolls—more language that needs decoding. Textual Criticism will teach you to understand the differences between the various manuscripts and decide when to trust one source over another.
  4. Learn to use your Logos software to do basic textual criticism on your own. In chapters 3 and 4 of Textual Criticism, you’ll work step by step through several passages in the Old and New Testaments that have textual issues. The examples will walk you through the process of textual criticism and show you how to use your Logos software to understand the significance of the Hebrew and Greek Bibles.

The Bible we have today has come to us through a long process that is unfamiliar to most Bible students. Textual Criticism helps you understand the basics of that process and navigate difficulties in the text. If you’re a serious student of the Bible, you need these tools to make the most of your study. The Lexham Methods Series is on currently on Pre-Pub. Pre-order now to receive a $50 discount from the regular price.