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Dean Deppe Talks Exegesis with Logos Talk: Part I

The Bible can be a difficult book to interpret. Churches split over the interpretation of controversial texts, and many Bible readers feel bewildered about tough passages of Scripture.

To help clarify and outline various methods of exegesis and interpretation, Dean Deppe, Professor of New Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary, has written All Roads Lead to the Text: Eight Methods of Inquiry into the Bible, currently on Pre-Pub.

In a way, this is a book designed for Logos users. Deppe an avid Logos user himself (he used Logos Bible Software as he wrote the book), and All Roads contains numerous examples of how to use Logos for exegesis and interpretation. So not only is this book vitally important for general readers, but it is especially beneficial for Logos users who are serious about understanding the text.

We were excited when Dr. Deppe took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about All Roads Lead to the Text: Eight Methods of Inquiry into the Bible. What follows is the first half of a 2-part discussion.

Logos: Why did you write All Roads Lead to the Text?

Deppe: Interpreting the Bible can be frustratingly difficult for the average person. The eight chapters in this book equip the average reader with the methods scholars employ to interpret this historic book. The goal is that the reader will conclude at the end, “I too can read the Bible.”

Logos: How do you equip the reader to interpret the Bible?

Deppe: The book All Roads Lead to the Text functions as a template for model exegesis through an examination of:

  • grammar,
  • literary devices,
  • structure,
  • context,
  • historical and cultural background,
  • the history of interpretation, and
  • the exegete’s presuppositions for interpretation.

So really it is a book about exegetical methodology or hermeneutics.

What sets this volume apart from all others is the continuous use of biblical examples rather than an explanation of exegetical methods. Furthermore, I employ Logos Bible Software as I explore these biblical examples, so that students can perform their research more quickly and do not have to be close to a theological library.

All Roads Lead to the Text

Logos: You describe the book as a template for exegesis. How do you teach the process of exegesis?

Deppe: The best teaching methods employ memorable pictures. This volume compares the exegetical process to the use of various types of camera lenses so the reader perceives in a new way the importance of grammar, context, literary genre, historical background, structural analysis, and the history of interpretation.

Logos: Describe for us the flow of the book and the exegetical methods you employ.

Deppe: To fully understand the biblical text, we must place more than one lens on our exegetical camera.

The literary analysis of chapter one involves the employment of an infra-red lens to investigate what cannot always be seen in natural light. I demonstrate how the identification of unspecified genre and literary devices affect the final interpretation of a passage.

For grammatical exegesis in chapter two we employ an exegetical microscope which scrutinizes the details of a passage from words, to phrases, to clauses until we arrive at various translations of the text.

In chapter three we take a skeleton snapshot of the text so that we can envision the structure of the passage through developing a clausal outline.

Then, in chapter four, we avail ourselves of a wide-angled lens to probe the context before and after a particular pericope in chapter four.

In chapter five we utilize a telescopic lens and explore the world behind the text by inspecting the cultural and historical background.

Then, in chapter six, we roll out the motion picture exegetical camera in chapter seven to study the various periods of church history and to investigate how an examination of the major commentaries benefits our exegesis.

Next to last, chapter seven develops the finished photo through a theological analysis of the text and an exploration of the canonical meaning.

Finally, in chapter eight, we do not want to forget to explore the world in front of the text by an investigation of the reader’s presuppositions. We need to take an x-ray picture of ourselves so that we don’t subconsciously deceive ourselves and read our unexamined presuppositions into the text. Here I describe seven spiritual exercises and disciplines that enable us to apply the text to contemporary life.

These exegetical camera shots form a sample album of proofs that offer snapshots of the text from various angles. We discover that all roads lead to the text as the title of the book says.

Logos: What makes this book different from other books that interpret the Bible?

Deppe: What sets this volume apart from all others is the continuous use of biblical examples rather than an explanation of exegetical methods. Students and preachers want immediate application of theoretical methods. They want to know how a study of the grammar or structure of the text will make a difference. So in each chapter I include ten to twenty concrete examples of how the context or history of interpretation makes a difference in how you understand the Bible. Each description of a text consists of a couple of pages so the information is easily accessible yet sufficient in length to stimulate a good discussion.

Logos: Rarely does a volume include both scholarly exegesis along with a section on spiritual disciplines that will affect the reader in interpreting the text. What made you want to tackle these two together?

Deppe: The addition of a chapter on “Spiritual Exegesis” attempts to propose seven strategies in addition to the historical-critical method that affect interpretation and application. These spiritual disciplines include

  1. a practicing faith perspective,
  2. personalizing the text,
  3. praying Scripture,
  4. picturing concepts through meditation,
  5. listening prophetically,
  6. paradigm-building through mirroring, and
  7. imaginative application.

This x-ray of our personality, presuppositions, and spiritual makeup certifies that this whole process is not just an intellectual exercise completely separated from our life experience. Historical-critical exegesis stands at a crossroads where it must recognize and incorporate other methods into its field of vision. Our methods of interpretation must not only supply information but also personally form the reader, supply practical application, and connect the reader directly to God in deeper and more meaningful ways. That’s what I try to do in the last chapter.

Come back tomorrow for Part II of our discussion with Dean Deppe! And make sure to check out All Roads Lead to the Text: Eight Methods of Inquiry into the Bible for an opportunity to get it while it is still available at a great Pre-Pub discount.

Do you have favorite exegetical tips? Share them with us!

Weekly Roundup: August 20

The Weekly Roundup is a regular feature alerting you to significant things happening at Logos this week. Take a few moments to check out these newsworthy items for the week of August 20, 2011.

Logos Talk

Interesting Discussions

Logos Forum

Logos Facebook Page

Products

Key Item

You do not want to miss out on the free Perseus Collections!

New Pre-Pubs

Last Chance Pre-Pubs

These are Pre-Pubs shipping next week. Don’t miss your last chance to get these at their amazing Pre-Pub prices!

Vyrso

Carol Kent is very excited about her book, A New Kind of Normal coming soon to the Vyrso bookstore! We are looking forward to many great books from authors like Carol Kent, Sheila Walsh, and Jan Silvious.

Job Postings

Logos is hiring! Here are just a few of the newer posting on our Careers page:

IT Department

Marketing Department

Was there anything else from Logos you found interesting this week? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Get WBC, Preacher’s Commentary, and More—On Sale for 7 More Days!

Word Biblical Commentary Series . . . and More!

The 59-volume Word Biblical Commentary is one of the leading commentaries on the Bible. It’s one of the most-recommended, most-read, and most-used commentary sets written in a generation. It contains volumes by Gordon J. Wenham, David J. A. Clines, Peter C. Craigie, John E. Goldingay, Donald A. Hagner, John Nolland, James D. G. Dunn, and dozens of others. No wonder it’s one of our bestselling commentaries.

Lots of Logos users have already added WBC to their library.

If you’re one of the users who hasn’t, then here’s a reason to think about getting it: The entire Word Biblical Commentary series on sale for just $3 per volume as part of the Nelson Bible Reference Bundle.

What’s more, WBC is just one series on a long list of top-notch commentaries, reference books, sermon helps, Bible study aids, and other resources in this collection.

But you need to act now, because this sale price lasts for only 7 more days.

What Is the Nelson Bible Reference Bundle?

With the Nelson Bible Reference Bundle, we’ve packed 200 volumes of top commentaries, reference books, Bible studies, and more into a comprehensive collection. Here’s a quick snapshot of what’s included:

  • 59 volumes of the Word Biblical Commentary Series (worth around $3,000.00!)
  • 35 volumes of The Preacher’s Commentary Series (worth $700.00!)
  • 12 volumes of A Treasury of Great Preaching (worth $300.00!)
  • 8 volumes of Nelson’s Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook (worth $240.00!)
  • 86 additional books and commentaries (worth $1,760.00)

The Word Biblical Commentary—and Lots More!

If you were to buy only the Word Biblical Commentary all by itself, you would pay $699.95. With this collection, you get not only the Word Biblical Commentary, but you also get the 35-volume Preacher’s Commentary Series, plus the 12-volume Treasury of Great Preaching, plus the Nelson Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook, and on top of that almost one hundred additional books—all for $599.95. That’s 200 books—including the WBC—for $100 less than what you would pay for just the WBC by itself.

As you can see, if you’ve been thinking of getting the WBC, it makes more sense to get the 200-volume Nelson Bible Reference Bundle instead. Not only will you get the WBC, but you’ll get tons of other books, all for less than what you would pay for the WBC if you had gotten the WBC by itself.

You won’t see the discount on the product page, though. The only way to get the special price is to enter coupon code 7DAYS at checkout.

The Clock is Ticking

It’s hard to overstate just how good of a deal this really is: $6,000.00 worth of books for only $599.95. That’s 200 books at under $3 a book. No matter how you put it, it’s a phenomenal deal.

The main thing to remember is that this sale is over in 7 days. Don’t miss out on your chance to add 200 books to your library at just $3 per book! And if you’d like to spread out your payment over the next few months, select a payment plan at checkout. If you’re a pastor, this is the perfect way to use your monthly book budget to get WBC and still get in on this deal before it expires.

Remember, the only way to get this deal is to enter coupon code 7DAYS at checkout. What are you waiting for? Download it now!

Have you held off getting WBC? Is this the dealbreaker? Let us know what you think!

Another Reason Logos Is the Coolest Place to Work

No doubt you’re familiar with Logos Bible Software—a cutting edge Bible study library and array of powerful tools.  But behind “Logos the product” is an equally cutting edge “Logos the company”—a bona fide incredible place to work.

Right along with the outstanding health benefits, a culture that encourages personal growth (e.g., an annual “Read for Cash” program), and various annual cook-offs (see pics), one of the coolest things about working at Logos is the Outdoor Recreation Center.

Outdoor Center

So that I could give you a better idea what the Outdoor Center really is, I recently sat down with the guy behind the idea: IT director Jim Straatman.

Stephen: First off, what exactly is the Outdoor Center?

Jim: Well, when you walk into the Outdoor Center, the first thing you see is a bike shop with professional grade tools and tuning equipment. There’s also equipment for tuning skis and snowboards, as well as an inventory of outdoor equipment for employees to checkout and use whenever they want.

Stephen: What’s the background story? How did it start?

Jim: I regularly send hardware acquisition requests for developers and IT to Bob. One time, only half seriously, I sent in a request for a bike shop. To its core, Logos is all about being the best place on the planet to work, and part of that vision includes encouraging employees to pursue outdoor hobbies. In fact, that’s the whole reason why we moved to Bellingham in the first place—for quality of life. A bike shop seemed to fit really well with that vision.

Bob looked the request and said, “Make it happen.” And things have just developed from there.

Stephen: What’s Logos ultimate goal for the outdoor center? An emphasis on certain niche sports or something more broad and comprehensive?

Jim: Some of both, really. Since it exists to supports employees’ lifestyles and interests, we want it to be whatever Logos employees make of it. Whether that means it caters to a few sports or many activities is really up to Logos employees. In fact, if people got into water polo we’d help them with that, too!

It’s similar to our free beverages (editor’s note: this includes espresso machines, sodas and juice of all types, milk, etc.), and believe it or not, the Outdoor Center costs way less than free drinks but the benefits are obviously huge!

Stephen: What kind of equipment does the Outdoor Center have?

Jim: So far there’s a racing canoe, tents, sleeping pads, snowshoes, a full bike mechanic tool set, bike tubes and valve stems, ski waxing equipment, and ground floor bike parking. But there’s a lot more in the works.

Stephen: Do people tend to use the equipment on their own, or has the outdoor center helped Logos employees build better relationships with one another outside of work?

Jim: The latter. For instance, many people have started riding together. And several employees have lost substantial amounts of weight—some as much as 40 pounds!

Aerial view

Needless to say, the Outdoor Center is a pretty sweet perk for working at Logos Bible Software. And really, it’s just one of many. In fact, the Logos Music Center is in the works as you read this.

If Logos sounds like the kind of place you’d like to work, you’re in luck! We’re hiring. Why not take a look at the positions we have available. Then hit the Tweet and Like buttons above to tell your friends. The key to even better software is more great employees, so help us spread the word!

Weekly Roundup: August 13

The Weekly Roundup is a regular feature alerting you to significant things from Logos this week. Take a few moments to check out these newsworthy items for the week of August 13, 2011.

Logos Talk

Interesting Discussions

Logos Forum

Logos Facebook Page

Products

New Pre-Pubs

Last Chance Pre-Pubs

These are Pre-Pubs shipping next week. Don’t miss your last chance to get these at their amazing Pre-Pub prices!

Was there anything else from Logos you found interesting this week? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Weekly Roundup: August 6

The Weekly Roundup is a regular feature alerting you to significant things from Logos this week. Take a few moments to check out these newsworthy items for the week of August 6, 2011.

Logos Talk

Interesting Discussions

Logos Forum

  • Forum MVP Dave Hooton reached the 8,000 post milestone. Thanks, Dave, for your incredible gift of service to thousands of others Logos users!
  • Did you notice that a collection of 171 puritan sermons just left Community Pricing at a mere 18¢ per sermon? Like usual, one forum user alerted everyone to the savings. . . . and a bunch of people locked in the price before it was too late.

Logos Facebook Page

  • Over 100 Facebook fans told us which of the following four books they would want most in their library. Did you know we have these books in Logos 4? Which would you choose?

Vyrso Facebook Page

Leaks

Dan Pritchett’s Twitter Feed

Products

New Pre-Pubs

Last Chance Pre-Pubs

These are Pre-Pubs shipping next week. Don’t miss your last chance to get these at their amazing Pre-Pub prices!

Community Pricing

Bidding closes for these items Friday, August 12. Don’t miss out on these savings!

Vyrso

In celebration of the Vyrso Android App (beta) available in the Android Market, we’re giving away an Android tablet! If you winyou’ll get your choice of a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Motorola XOOM, HTC Flyer, or Asus Eee Pad Transformer!

Press

Hey Mark Driscoll, thanks for the tweet this week!

Was there anything else from Logos you found interesting this week? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Why Christian History Matters

I’m a historian and a Christian. In fact, it was my study of history that led to my conversion. I realize this is an unusual progression, and perhaps it is a bias that leads me to believe that the common neglect of history among Christians is lamentable. But bias or no, the neglect is real, and I think I understand it: if our destiny is in eternity, and if Christ is immediate to each of us, of what ultimate significance is the past? Isn’t our relentless quest for the early church or the original manuscripts an implicit repudiation of history?

The value of historical knowledge, then, seems to be simply a matter of being articulate, of being well-read, or of being capable of apologetics. Or else, it has value as an antiquarian hobby—some find history interesting in the same sort of way that others find stamps interesting. If this is the case, surely history is at best ancillary to our Christianity.

But, I think this line of reasoning is mistaken. Rather, I would argue that the connection between history and Christianity is essential. Because the Incarnation was nothing less than the entry of God Himself into the stream of human history, it affirms the reality and value of the lived human experience. The Second Person of the Trinity affects our salvation not as an abstraction, but as a human life. In becoming a son, a friend, a teacher, in speaking our language and mourning our dead, God affirmed the temporal and social reality of our being. In entering our history at a specific time, in continuity with a meaningful past, and proclaiming a future of consummation, Christ repudiated the classical understanding of cyclical and ultimately meaningless history and codified the Jewish understanding of history as the story of God and His people, a story with a beginning and an end. Christianity has temporality in its essence.

With this in mind, the Christian ought to read all history as salvation history, and understand Christianity itself as having duration. It seems to me that a description of Christ that does not include his birth and childhood, while not necessarily wrong, is certainly incomplete; and, likewise, an understanding of Christianity that does not include its history.

And so, we must study history. From the Apostolic Fathers to the Reformation, from the ancient world, through the medieval, and into modernity, with Logos you can make a serious study of church history. We have large, comprehensive collections, such as the Calvin and the History of Calvinism Collection or the Philip Schaff Collection that allow you to dig deep into a historical topic, and we also have shorter histories written by prominent historians that will allow you to brush up on your historical knowledge, such as Church History in Plain Language or our Studies in the Reformation.

History is most profoundly understood, though, through the study of primary sources, such as those found in the A New Eusebius: Documents Illustrating the History of the Church to AD 337, or the Works of the Venerable Bede, and Logos has a massive library of such texts. Whether you want to study the ancient Jews  or the church as it enters the post-modern age, Logos has the resources. If you are unsure where to begin, try browsing Logos products by history products and see what piques your interest.

What are your favorite texts for studying Christian history? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Weekly Roundup: July 30

The Weekly Roundup is a regular feature alerting you to significant things from Logos this week. Take a few moments to check out these newsworthy items for the week of July 30, 2011.

Logos Talk

Interesting Discussions

Logos Forum

Vyrso Facebook Page

Products

New Pre-Pubs

Last Chance Pre-Pubs

These are Pre-Pubs shipping next week. Don’t miss your last chance to get these at their amazing Pre-Pub prices!

Community Pricing

These resources are nearing the 100% mark. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these bargains!

Vyrso

Many have downloaded the Vyrso Android App (Beta) from Android Market this week, please take a few moments and rate the app! Then go Vyrso.com and see our selection of Christian e-books.

Press

Was there anything else from Logos you found interesting this week? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Flavius Josephus

Titus Flavius Josephus is a tough figure to classify. Was he a cultural aristocrat? A theologically minded Pharisee? A politician? An author? A historian? In Josephus we find all of these things—and more.

Josephus was born into the Jewish priestly order of Jehoiarib, the first of twenty-four priestly divisions organized by King David (1 Chronicles 24:7). Growing up, Josephus surpassed his peers in his study of Jewish law. After studying under the Pharisees, Essenes, and the Sadducees—the three major religious factions in first-century Jerusalem—he affiliated himself with the Pharisees.

Jerusalem was a powder keg. With a constant disdain for Jewish ideals, Rome inflamed their already tense relationship with the Jews. Between liberal use of Roman soldiers against Jewish citizens and Messianic Jewish factions who taught that the world would be ending soon, a number of factors were coming together to create the perfect climate for conflict. By the time Jospehus had returned from a trip to Rome to negotiate with Nero for the release of imprisoned priests, his nation was in revolt.

Despite skepticism about an uprising, Josephus took the post as military leader in the region of Galilee. Not all of Galilee was supportive of revolution, and insurgents hoped to use Josephus’ birthright and successful negotiations with Rome as inspiration to the hesitant Galileans. Josephus found himself fighting a defensive war against an overwhelming force while simultaneously trying to quell conflict within Jerusalem.

Josephus Supports Rome?

This is where Josephus’ story takes a strange turn and why many consider Josephus an opportunist and a traitor.

The Galilean city of  Jotapata had fallen, and Josephus had found himself trapped in a cave with forty other Jewish supporters. Fearing the worst, and not wanting to fall into Roman hands, a suicide pact was decided upon. They all agreed, standing in a circle  each second man would kill the third. Josephus considered it the providence of God that he and one other man were the last living. He convinced his fellow soldier they should give themselves over to the Romans.

Many modern scholars accuse Josephus of orchestrating this outcome. (In fact, the Josephus Problem has become a mathematical problem where a person must decide where to stand in this circle in order to be the last one living.)

Josephus began to work for the Romans giving them information on the insurgence. Rome also put him to use trying to convince the rebels to surrender. Jerusalem would not heed the warnings of this traitor however, and an agreement was never reached.

In 70 A.D., Josephus was eyewitness to the siege of Jerusalem. Rome destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem was sacked. According to Josephus, over 1,000,000 people were killed during the siege, with another 97,000 taken hostage. The death toll was high and the loss of the Temple dealt a destructive blow to both Jewish identity and their ability to rally. The revolution was brought to a swift end.

Josephus Writes His Histories

After becoming a Roman citizen, Josephus was commissioned by Caesar Vespasian to write an account of the Jewish revolt against Rome. Josephus finished The War of the Jews in 78 A.D. By the year 93, Josephus had finished his second major work The Antiquities of the Jews (a landmark history of the Jews from Creation through the occupation of Palestine). In the latter part of his life he wrote Against Apion and his autobiography The Life of Flavius Josephus. 

Flavius Josephus remains one of our best sources of first century history as well as an essential resource for Old Testament textual criticism.

Josephus Resources from Logos

Not only can you get the complete Works of Josephusas well as Josephus in Greek: Niese Critical Edition with Apparatusfrom Logos, but there are many more great references to help you get a grasp on his life and works.

Brill Academic has published many works on Josephus’ writings. The Brill Josephus and the Bible Collection (currently on Pre-Pub) contains four volumes full of enlightening research:

  • Studies in Josephus’ Rewritten Bible
  • Josephus, Judaism and Christianity
  • Josephus, the Bible and History
  • Passover in the Work of Josephus

If you are interested in what Josephus can bring to your Bible study and understanding of first century history, the Brill Josephus and the Bible Collection is a good selection to pick up while it is on Pre-Pub at over 50% off!

Other Great Resources

If you are still looking for some books on Josephus check out:

Leave us a comment and tell us how exposure to Josephus as improved your understanding of the New Testament context.

Honoring Stephen H. Levinsohn

Discourse Studies and Biblical Interpretation: A Festschrift in Honor of Stephen H. LevinsohnThis past week, Steven Runge has been at the SBL international meeting in London. Among the scholars he’s been interacting with is Stephen H. Levinsohn, a linguist affiliated with the Summer Institute of Linguistics who has done important work to advance scholarship on the Greek New Testament. Steve’s work in discourse studies has been directly influenced and enriched by Levinsohn, so he was delighted to be able to interact in person with Levinsohn at SBL in London.

At the session on Levinsohn’s work, Steve surprised Levinsohn with a book written in his honor, Discourse Studies and Biblical Interpretation: A Festschrift in Honor of Stephen H. Levinsohn.

This Festschrift has been in the works for awhile. We’ve been keeping it a secret for over a year, so we’re thrilled not only to present it to Levinsohn for the first time, but to also make it available to all Logos users.

In addition to Steve’s introduction, the Festschrift contains contributions from Iver Larsen, Stanley E. Porter, Robert A. Dooley, Regina Blass, R. J. Sim, Constantine R. Campbell, Buist Fanning, Steven E. Runge, Margaret G. Sim, Lindsay J. Whaley, Rick Brannan, Nicholas A. Bailey, Randall Buth, and Jenny Read-Heimerdinger.

Why are all these scholars honoring Levinsohn? Each of these scholars has had their work challenged or influenced by Levinsohn’s work, including Steve Runge’s own Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament and Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament. Levinsohn has done more than perhaps anyone else to apply the principles of discourse grammar to New Testament scholarship. He’s meticulously examined how languages operate and the rules they follow—and the implications for reading, studying, and translating the text of the New Testament.

Right now you can pre-order Discourse Studies and Biblical Interpretation at a discount for a limited time. Get it now!

Want to share how your study of the Greek New Testament been affected by Levinsohn’s work? Want to thank Levinsohn yourself? Leave a note in the comments!