Talking about What I Am Talking About

Today’s guest post is from Dr. Steve Runge, a scholar-in-residence at Logos Bible Software, whose work focuses on the discourse grammar of Hebrew and Greek.

We do not often take much time to think about how and why we say things the way we do. We tend to just do ‘what seems right’ in the context. Studying how and why we use language has helped me not only be a better English speaker, but has opened doors into studying the Bible in ways that I never thought possible. Two of the latest Pre-Pubs, the Lexham High Definition New Testament and the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament, allow you to have access to these insights that have so changed how I read and study Scripture. I want to introduce another concept that is included in both resources, and let you see the practical difference it can make in your Bible study.

If you have read many blogs, you may have noticed that sometimes the comments about the blog ending up shifting to comments about the comments. This has come to be known as a ‘meta-comment’. We use meta-comments all the time in our speech, too. Each time we stop saying what we want to say, and start talking about what we are going to say, we are making meta-comments. Take a look at the following examples and see what a difference the added meta-comments make.

  1. Your opinion is very important to me.

    versus

  2. I really want you to know that your opinion is very important to me.

    or
  3. Don’t you know that your opinion is very important to me?

    or
  4. I am going to speak slowly and use small words: your opinion is very important to me.

    or
  5. Now you listen here, your opinion is very important to me.

    or
  6. I want you to get it though your thick skull that your opinion is very important to me.

    or
  7. You may never have guessed this, but your opinion is very important to me.

    or
  8. I cannot emphasize enough that your opinion is very important to me.

Do any of the meta-comments added in options 2-8 ring a bell for you? Think about the contexts that you might hear them in. When we stop saying what we want to say and start talking about what we are going to say, it is because what follows is either surprising or important. But English is not the only language that uses meta-comments. Even ancient Greek and Hebrew show the use of meta-comments, and they are found in very similar contexts as in our spoken English. There are literally hundreds of instances of meta-comments in the New Testament, but few commentators draw our attention to them and what they are doing. The primary purpose of the Lexham High Definition New Testament and the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament is to help you find important devices like meta-comments that the NT writers used to draw our attention to something that they felt was important. Here are just a few examples.

One of the most common meta-comments used by Jesus in Matthew’s gospel is ‘I say to you’. Not every instance is a meta-comment, only the ones where Jesus has stopped saying what he is saying and is talking about what he is about to say. Here are the instances from the Sermon on the Mount:

“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished." —Matt 5:18

“For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." —Matt 5:20

“Truly I say to you, you shall not come out of there, until you have paid up the last cent." —Matt 5:26

“But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also." —Matt 5:39

“When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full." —Matt 6:2

“And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full." —Matt 6:5

“And whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance in order to be seen fasting by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full." —Matt 6:16

“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?" —Matt 6:25

“Yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these." —Matt 6:29

If you look at the ideas and statements that immediately follow the meta-comments, you will see that these are Jesus’ key principles or conclusions. They communicate the point that he is trying to make in that section of his teaching. In 5:18, he has just stated that he did not come to abolish the law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them. Verse 18 reinforces this by the declaration that not even the smallest jot or tittle of the law will pass away until it is all accomplished. Notice also that some of the examples include ‘truly’, which functions as another attention-getting device to draw the reader’s attention to something important that follows.

In 5:26, Jesus is drawing his conclusion about the need to be reconciled with your neighbor or opponent. In 5:29, he focuses on the need not to seek revenge, giving the surprising command not to resist him who is evil but to turn to him the other cheek. In both cases, Jesus includes a meta-comment for the same kinds of reasons we do in English today: to draw people’s attention to something surprising or important that follows.

Meta-comments represent the writer’s or speaker’s choice to add an optional device to help direct the reader’s attention to something surprising or important. Jesus could have just as easily made the same statements without the meta-comment, just as I did in option 1 above.

“For until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter . . . ” —Matt 5:18

“For unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees . . . ” —Matt 5:20

“You shall not come out of there, until you have paid up the last cent.” —Matt 5:26

“Do not resist him who is evil . . . ” —Matt 5:39

“They have their reward in full.” —Matt 6:2, 5, 16

“Do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat . . .” —Matt 6:25

“Even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.” —Matt 6:29

Now before you go out and try this at home, you need to know that not every instance of ‘I say to you’ plays the role of a meta-comment. If you were to do a speed search for ‘I say to you’, you would have found three other occurrences in the Sermon that I did not include in my list which are not meta-comments: Matt 5:22, 28, and 34. In these verses ‘I say to you’ is required, and does not function as an optional attention-getting device. The phrase is required to indicate that Jesus is switching from what the ancients said to what he says. A meta-comment, by definition, is where someone stops saying what they are saying, and starts talking about what they are going to say. Don’t worry, all of the meta-comments in the entire New Testament are identified for you using symbols in the text, like this in Matt 5:26.

Lexham High Definition New Testament

Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament

The symbol that looks like a speech balloon denotes the beginning and ending of meta-comments, while the explanation point identifies attention-getting devices.

If you are interested in learning more about other devices that are included in these new Lexham resources, read the previous blog posts listed below.

If you haven’t yet placed your order, don’t miss out while it’s still available at the discounted Pre-Pub pricing.

Libronix for Lutherans

We strive to provide a broad spectrum of digital Christian resources and not just books that will be of interest to a certain group of people. Average Christians, pastors, and scholars from a wide range of denominations will all find a large number of relevant and useful titles.

There are certainly categories where we can improve, so we’re always glad to hear from our users and find out what you’d like to see more of. When it’s clear that there is sufficient interest and publishers are willing to work with us, we do our best to make those titles available. Send your emails to suggest@logos.com, and let us know what we’re missing. We’re listening.

Works of Martin Luther

One particular group that we have a very nice collection of resources for is Lutherans. For starters there’s the massive 55 volume Luther’s Works on CD-ROM, an essential for not only Lutherans but for everyone who wants to study the history and theology of the Reformation. If 55 volumes is too overwhelming, you could begin with Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, his Commentary on Galatians, and Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings (which is part of the Augsburg Fortress Collection (18 titles))—and, if you know German, the Luther Bibel (1545) and the Luther Bibel (1912).

Concordia Electronic Theological Library

Another tremendous resource is the Concordia Electronic Theological Library—Complete Collection (also available in nine individual collections), which is packed with important literature like Melanchthon’s Loci Communes, Martin Chemnitz’ Examination of the Council of Trent, Pieper’s Christian Dogmatics, and many others. It also contains the Tappert edition of the Book of Concord, but the new edition of the Book of Concord, which is edited by Robert Kolb and Timothy Wengert, is also available as a separate product.

Northwestern Publishing House Electronic Library

There’s also a great new collection of resources from Northwestern Publishing House. The Northwestern Publishing House Electronic Library (CD-ROM) contains the 41 volumes of the popular The People’s Bible series; the Bente edition of the Lutheran confessions with the complete Latin, German, and English texts and their historical introductions; 40 volumes of Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly (1950-89); 11 volumes of sermon studies; and the Franzmann Bible History Commentary on the Old and New Testaments.

Lenski’s Commentary on the New Testament

And last but not least is Lenski’s Commentary on the New Testament (12 volumes), which is now on Pre-Pub. Users of a variety of denominational backgrounds have been asking for Lenski for years. It’s great to finally make it available. Interest in Lenski was clear by how quickly it reached 100% of the pre-orders needed to send it into production. It’s been up for only a few days, and it’s already hit the mark!

If we are weak in an area of particular interest to you, keep sending in those suggestions and show your support for the kinds of resources you’d like to see more of by helping them make it through the Pre-Pub process.

The Works of Jonathan Edwards on Pre-Pub!

Jonathan Edwards’ (1703–1758) massive importance as a theologian, pastor, and philosopher is hard to overstate. More than 250 years after his death (he died of smallpox on March 22, 1758) he is still the subject of an enormous amount of theological literature. The bibliography of resources below speaks volumes about his ongoing—and even growing—influence.

Soon you will be able to have access to Edwards’ most important writings in your Libronix Digital Library System. The Logos edition is based on the standard 1834 edition that was reprinted by Banner of Truth and Hendrickson, both of which are still in print.

When we put Edwards up on Pre-Pub a few days ago, someone in our newsgroups asked if we’d be including Henry Rogers’ "Essay on the Genius and Writings of Jonathan Edwards," which was added to the beginning of the Hendrickson edition to set it apart from the Banner of Truth edition.

I’ve been waiting for this one for a while too! Just a few days ago I was lamenting the fact Logos hasn’t offered it yet, so this is a pleasant surprise!

. . .

One thing I’d like to point out, I have the Hendrickson edition and there’s an essay called "Essay on the Genius and Writings of Jonathan Edwards" that takes up about 60 pages that doesn’t seem to be included in the forthcoming Logos edition. Will that be included?

Regardless, thanks for finally offering this one!!!

—Greg

Since we always like to provide you with the biggest and best editions possible, adding this essay was an easy decision. So make sure to thank Greg for suggesting it and helping us hunt down a copy of the essay. And remember, it pays to give us suggestions like these.

Head over to the product page to put in your pre-order for The Works of Jonathan Edwards (2 volumes).

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Waiting for the Next Shoe to Drop, Part 2

Today’s guest post is from Dr. Steve Runge, a scholar-in-residence at Logos Bible Software, whose work focuses on the discourse grammar of Hebrew and Greek.

Logos has just posted a Pre-Pub for a whole new kind of Bible study tool—the Lexham High Definition New Testament and the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament. Over the last few weeks I have described a few of the concepts that are included in these resources:

This post is a follow up to tell you about another strategy that the New Testament writers used to create point-counterpoint sets. This device allows the writer to highlight important connections that they did not want us to miss. In the first post, I talked about how words like ‘while’ can be used to create anticipation that ‘another shoe’ is going to drop. Here is the example again, just to refresh your memory. Notice the difference that adding the italicized word makes regarding your expectations about what might follow:

  1. “I have really appreciated your work over the last few months . . .”

    versus . . .

  2. While I have really appreciated your work over the last few months . . .”

    or . . .

  3. “I have appreciated most of your work over the last few months . . .”

In this post, I am going to tell you how negative statements can be used to create the same kind of effect that something more is coming, ‘another shoe’ so to speak. When I was growing up, I remember being told not just what I was supposed to do, but also what I was not supposed to do. Think about the following sentences.

  1. Get up and help.
  2. Don’t sit there. Get up and help.
  3. Don’t just sit there; instead, get up and help.

When I read these words, I hear my mom’s voice in my head. I could tell how frustrated she was by which option she used. Option 1 communicates what she wanted me to do, but without much force. Option 2 has a bit more oomph (read ‘frustration’), a bit more zing. Telling me what not to do does two things. First, it makes me wonder what I am supposed to do, if I am not supposed to ‘sit there’. Second, the negative statement provides a backdrop against which to contrast the positive statement. Option 2 sounds sharper because the contrast between the negative and the positive is sharper. Finally there is option 3, which adds some extra words (‘just’ and ‘instead’) that really forces me to link these two statements together in ways that option 2 just implied.

We make decisions like this all the time when we are speaking, but not by stopping and thinking “Hmm, should I create a counterpoint?” We just do what ‘fits best’ in the context, based on whatever it is that we want to communicate. My mom made decisions about whether to use option 1, 2, or 3, depending upon how much force she wanted to use (Believe me, I made option 3 look pretty attractive far too often).

The negative statement is called a ‘counterpoint’ ‹›, and serves as a contrast and a set-up for the ‘point’ ‹› that follows. In most cases, the ‘point is the more important of the two. In the Lexham High Definition New Testament and the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament, every point-counterpoint set that is explicitly signaled in the New Testament is marked right in the text, making sure you don’t miss any important connections in your Bible study or sermon preparation. It will look something like this:

‘Don’t just stand there ›,‹ DO something’.

The pairing of negative and positive statements is used all over the New Testament to create special connections called ‘counter points and points’. Let’s take a look at some NT examples.

In Matthew 4, Jesus is being tempted by Satan after having fasted for 40 days. Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones into bread to relieve his hunger. Jesus responds in v. 4:

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Γέγραπται ‹ Οὐκ ἐπ ̓ ἄρτῳ μόνῳ ζήσεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος › ἀλλ ̓ ‹ ἐπὶ παντὶ ῥήματι ἐκπορευομένῳ διὰ στόματος θεοῦ But he answered, • “It is written, ‹ “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, › but ‹ by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

This is a quote from Deuteronomy 8:3. Notice that is says what you shall not live on before telling you what you shall live on. Stating ‘what not to do’ is a powerful way of both creating an expectation that more is coming, as well as setting up a contrast with what follows. Not every negative statement creates a counterpoint, but the Lexham High Definition New Testament and the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament shows you where they do. Going back to Matt 4:4, Jesus not only rejects what Satan had tempted him to live upon, but he also sets the stage for what he (and we) should live upon—the Word of God.

In Romans 1:32, Paul creates a powerful point-counterpoint set using a ‘not only . . . but also’ framework.

οἵτινες τὸ δικαίωμα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπιγνόντες ὅτι οἱ τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντες ἄξιοι θανάτου εἰσίν, ‹ οὐ μόνον αὐτὰ ποιοῦσιν › ἀλλὰ ‹ καὶ συνευδοκοῦσιν τοῖς πράσσουσιν. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, ‹ they not only do them › but ‹• give approval to those who practice them.

It is bad enough that those who know God’s decrees are not obeying them, but it is actually far worse. Not only do they do them, but they also/even give approval to others who do them. The bullet (•) at the beginning of the ‘point’ in English is the ‘also/even’ that I added in my translation. This Greek word makes the contrast even sharper than just the negative/positive order. It would have been much easier for Paul to just state that ‘they give approval to those who . . . .’ Providing the negative first followed by the positive really adds some zing to the force of the statement, which is strengthened even more by the ‘not only . . . but also’ structure. The ESV did not maintain the ‘also’ connection that is there in Greek. The use of ‘also/even’ to strengthen connections of one of the special devices that is annotated in the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament (called ‘thematic addition’), but is not included in the HDNT.

There is a whole series of point-counterpoint sets in Ephesians 5:15-18 that create the same kind of contrasting connections as in the other examples we have looked at.

Βλέπετε οὖν ἀκριβῶς πῶς περιπατεῖτε ‹ μὴ ὡς ἄσοφοι › ἀλλʼ ‹ ὡς σοφοί, 16 ἐξαγοραζόμενοι τὸν καιρόν, ὅτι αἱ ἡμέραι πονηραί εἰσιν. 17 διὰ τοῦτο ‹ μὴ γίνεσθε ἄφρονες, › ἀλλὰ ‹ συνίετε τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ κυρίου. 18 καὶ ‹ μὴ μεθύσκεσθε οἴνῳ, ἐν ᾧ ἐστιν ἀσωτία, › ἀλλὰ ‹ πληροῦσθε ἐν πνεύματι, Look carefully then how you walk, ‹ not as unwise › but ‹ as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore ‹ do not be foolish, › but ‹ understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And ‹ do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, › but ‹ be filled with the Spirit,

Paul gives us a series of commands, and uses the counterpoints to sharpen the contrast between what we are not supposed to do and what we are supposed to do. Sharpening the contrast also helps to tighten the connection between these commands. Remember, he could have just as easily said, “walk wisely . . . understand the will of the Lord . . . be filled with the Spirit.” Leaving out the counterpoints would have been easier, but would also have removed much of the zing and punch that these commands have in their current form.

Point-counterpoint sets are just one of more than 15 different devices included in the HDNT, and of more than 35 that are found in the LDGNT. Every place a point-counterpoint set is clearly marked in Greek, it is annotated in the resources using the ‹ counterpoint › ‹point › symbols. If you are interested in learning about other devices that are included in these resources, check out my previous blog posts.

If you haven’t yet placed your order, don’t miss out while it’s still available at the discounted Pre-Pub pricing.

It Pays to Pre-Order Early—Literally

Everyone loves to get a good deal. And two Logos users just recently got an amazing deal: $17.95 for the entire Sheffield/T & T Clark Bible Guides Collection (44 volumes). That’s just over $.40 per volume and almost 99% off the retail price! We posted this Pre-Pub last week with the wrong price. A $17.95 price tag is about what one of these individual volumes would have. Oops! We quickly corrected it to $279.95, but in that short time that it was up at the wrong price—only a few minutes—two people jumped on it and locked in the ridiculously low $17.95.

Most online sellers wouldn’t honor a price mistake like this. I’ve purchased what I thought were really good deals from Amazon and Dell only to be notified that my order had been canceled because the item had been improperly priced. But in this situation we’ve decided to honor the price and reward these two individuals for placing their Pre-Pub orders early.

It’s not often that we post something at the wrong price, but this situation gives me a perfect opportunity to emphasize an important point about our Pre-Pub program: it pays to pre-order early—literally.

The initial Pre-Pub price is almost* always the lowest Pre-Pub price you’ll see. Sometimes that price stays the same until it ships, at which time it jumps up to our normal sale price. But often the Pre-Pub price will increase for a number of reasons, and those who order earliest get the best deal.

Sometimes we run a special promotion to offer you an extra discounted price like we’re doing with the Works of John Owen (17 volumes). For another week and a half, the Pre-Pub price is only $174.95. Then it will jump up to $224.95.

Another reason to place your pre-order early is that we may add additional material to a set after we’ve already put it up on Pre-Pub, as was the case with Lange’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures (63 volumes). A user pointed out that our set didn’t include the hard-to-obtain volume on the Apocrypha. We tracked it down and added it to the set, increasing our production cost. The Pre-Pub price eventually went up, but everyone who had already pre-ordered it essentially got the additional volume for free.

It’s also possible that our publisher relations department could negotiate permission to do a newer, more expensive edition after a collection is already on Pre-Pub. This is exactly what happened with Barth’s Church Dogmatics. We had initially obtained permission to publish the current edition of CD, but we ended up getting permission to do the new, forthcoming edition that won’t be available in print for several more months.

The bottom line is that it is in your best interest to place your pre-order sooner rather than later. The most efficient way to do that is to subscribe to our Pre-Pub RSS feed.

* In the rare event that a Pre-Pub price goes down, we notify the customers so they can order it at the lower price. No one is ever punished for pre-ordering early.

Barth’s Church Dogmatics Coming Soon!

On 03/15/06 we put Karl Barth’s magnum opus, the 14-volume Church Dogmatics, on Pre-Pub. As we expected, it quickly reached 100% of the pre-orders needed to move it into production, but you may have noticed that its status never changed to “Under Development.” This appeared on the product page for nearly a year and a half:

Note: This title has gathered 100% of pre-orders needed; it will move into production pending final approval from the publisher.”

We are happy to inform you that we have received the final approval from the publisher. Production is almost complete, and we are on track to begin shipping very soon. But that’s not all. Behind this delay is some very exciting news! The issue that was holding up production was whether we’d be producing the current edition or the forthcoming new edition. We are thrilled to let you know that the Logos edition will be the new edition!

What’s new with the new edition? It offers the classic translation of T. F. Torrance, G. Bromiley and others, prepared by a team of leading experts from the Center for Barth Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary. The text is presented in a new, user friendly format. Greek and Latin passages are now given in English translation alongside the original to make the work more accessible for students without a working knowledge of the ancient languages. Simply hover over or click the asterisk after any untranslated text to see its translation.

The publisher has set the retail price of the new edition at $840 for the entire set. Individual volumes are going for $90 or more and aren’t scheduled to be available until this September. If you were to buy all 14 volumes in print, you’d be spending between $840 and $1,300 and waiting months to get them! For just another week or so you can get this new edition for only $499.99—an incredible savings!

The Logos edition of Barth’s CD will be seamlessly integrated with the rest of your Libronix resources giving you access to all the great features you have come to love, like (1) instant lookups of words or phrases, (2) jumping to other resources in your Libronix library like Calvin’s Institutes, which Barth references scores of times, (3) Scripture references and footnotes as pop-ups, (4) the ability to mark up the text and take notes, and (5) our advanced searching, which enables you to find all the places that Barth mentions any word, phrase, Scripture reference, and more. Barth has never been so convenient to read and study!

Visit the Church Dogmatics product page to place your order!

About Barth

“Undoubtedly is one of the giants in the history of theology.” —Christianity Today

“He may well have been the most influential Protestant theologian of the twentieth century.” —Millard J. Erickson

“The great Church father of Protestant Christendom, the one genuine Doctor of the Protestant Church the modern era has known.” —Thomas F. Torrance

“One of the most important Protestant theologians of the 20th century.” —Eberhard Busch

“The most significant theologian of the twentieth century.” —T. A. Noble

“One of the leading thinkers of 20th-century Protestantism.” —The Columbia Encyclopedia

“One of the most influential Protestant leaders of the twentieth century.” —H. Jacobsen

“Perhaps the most influential German-speaking theologian of his century.” —R. V. Schnucker

“There never was a full missions theology until Karl Barth wrote one, and no one should undertake to prepare a better one (or conceive that he might prepare a better one) until he has mastered Barth.” —Hendrik Kraemer

“Even his severest critics have had to establish their positions with respect to his.” —David L. Mueller

The most important theologian since Thomas Aquinas. —Pope Pius XII

About Barth’s Church Dogmatics

“One of the most notable theological publications of our time.” —Expository Times

“It is in the Church Dogmatics above all that we must look for the grandeur of this humble servant of Jesus Christ, for the work he was given to accomplish in it will endure to bless the world for many centuries to come.” —Thomas F. Torrance

“Only Athanasius, Augustine, Aquinas and Calvin have performed comparable service in the past, in the search for a unified and comprehensive basis for all theology in the grace of God.” —Thomas F. Torrance

“Among Barth’s many books, sermons and essays, the multivolume Church Dogmatics—a closely reasoned, eloquently stated argument in nearly ten thousand pages—stands out as the crown of his achievement.” —Clifford Blake Anderson

“His multi-volume Church Dogmatics (CD) constitutes the weightiest contribution to Protestant theology since Schleiermacher.” —T. A. Noble

“Barth’s Church Dogmatics is by far the most detailed Protestant exposition of Christian doctrine to have appeared since the Reformation.” —The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church

To learn more about Karl Barth in your Libronix library, see the following articles and books:

For even more, check out these journal articles:

If you like Karl Barth, you might also be interested in our Studies in Karl Barth Collection (2 volumes).

New Video on the Lexham HDNT

Reuben Evans, from our ministry relations team, put together a PowerPoint Keynote presentation to show the new Lexham HDNT at a recent pastors conference. He got really good feedback on it, so we wanted to share it with you as a video.


Flash, 59.7 MB, with sound, 15:22

To learn more about the HDNT, visit the product page and check out Steve’s blog posts:

Waiting for the Next Shoe to Drop, Part 1

Today’s guest post is from Dr. Steve Runge, a scholar-in-residence at Logos Bible Software, whose work focuses on the discourse grammar of Hebrew and Greek.

Over the last few years, I have learned the importance of expectations. Expectations play a huge role in our lives, even in how we use language. Read the following statements, and compare the difference that adding a single word to the sentence can make in changing our expectations about what follows.

1. “I have really appreciated your work over the last few months . . .”

versus . . .

2. “While I have really appreciated your work over the last few months . . .”

or . . .

3. “I have appreciated most of your work over the last few months . . .”

Notice the difference in expectations that was created in the last two sentences compared to the first sentence? What changed? Figuratively speaking, adding ‘while’ or ‘most’ in this context has the effect of signaling that the ‘first shoe’ has dropped. It creates the expectation that something more is coming, and it probably won’t be good. Another way of looking at this is to say that the last two sentences create a ‘counter point’, signaling that a more important ‘point’ is about to come that connects back to the counter point.

We make decisions like this all the time when we are speaking, but not by stopping and thinking, “Should I create a counter point so that Rick will expect that more is coming, or should I connect these thoughts using another device?” No. We just do what ‘fits best’ in the context, based on whatever it is that we want to communicate. Creating the expectation that a second shoe will drop using a counter point is a powerful way to connect two things together, things that otherwise might not have been connected. It is not just English that can create this kind of expectation. Most languages have some means of doing this, including Greek. You guessed it, we are headed into the New Testament to introduce another device that is included in the Lexham High Definition New Testament, which is now on Pre-Pub along with the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament. Today’s topic is point-counter point sets, using a words like ‘while’ or ‘in as much as’ to create a ‘counterpoint’ to connect and draw extra attention to a ‘point’ that follows. The point is the ‘second shoe’.

In the same way that we can use words like ‘while’ to create an expectation of something more (a counter point), Greek has a tiny three letter word μέν (men, Strong’s number G3303) that accomplishes the same thing. Its primary purpose is to produce a counter point, creating the expectation that some related point is about to follow. The point is typically more important than the counter point. Using a counter point has the effect of attracting attention to the point that it would not have received otherwise.

There is just one problem: Greek is not English. Since Greek has such an easy way of creating counter points, it is often difficult to capture what is going on in Greek in a smooth English translation. Words like ‘on the one hand’ would be too clunky in most cases. As a result of this mismatch between the languages, well over half of the counter points signaled by μέν are lost in translation. They show up in your reverse interlinears as a bullet (). The great thing about the Lexham High Definition New Testamentis that it helps you find all the places where things like counter points are signaled, and even shows you the ‘point’ that it is connected to.

Take a look at Jesus’ statement about the fields being plentiful for harvest (Matt 9:37). The bullet () after ‘harvest’ stands in the place of a Greek word that does not have an English equivalent in the translation. It stands in the place of our counter point marker μέν. I will use symbols to help you find the ‹ counter point › and the ‹ point ›. The brackets ‹ and › let you know where the point or counter point begin and end.

τότε λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ ‹μὲν θερισμὸς πολύς › ‹ οἱ δὲ ἐργάται ὀλίγοι Then he said to his disciples, ‹ “The harvest is plentiful, › ‹ but the laborers are few; › (ESV)

Without the use of μέν, the positive statement about the harvest might sound like it is the last word on the matter, rather than a counterpoint to highlight the great need for more harvesters. The use of ‘but’ captures the contrast, but does not convey the anticipation. Jesus’ hearers were expecting something important would follow when they heard μέν, just like we would if we were to hear, “While the harvest is plentiful . . .” The call for more laborers is much more powerful when you realize it is a set-up to attract our attention to the point that follows, but the counterpoint is obscured in the translation to English.

Take a look at the counter point in Matthew 26:24.

μὲν υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὑπάγει καθὼς γέγραπται περὶ αὐτοῦ › ‹ οὐαὶ δὲ τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ ἐκείνῳ διʼ οὗ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοται › καλὸν ἦν αὐτῷ εἰ οὐκ ἐγεννήθη ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, › ‹ but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! › It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” (ESV)

While it was necessary for the Son of Man to be betrayed in order to fulfill prophecy, the betrayer has no excuse for his actions, he will be held fully accountable. What a frightening warning, one which is made all the more powerful through the use of a counter point to attract extra attention to the point that follows.

Another counter point example used to create a connection is found in Acts 2:41-42. Here again, the particle μέν is untranslated.

οἱ μὲν οὖν ἀποδεξάμενοι τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ ἐβαπτίσθησαν καὶ προσετέθησαν ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ ψυχαὶ ὡσεὶ τρισχίλιαι. › 42 ‹ ῏Ησαν δὲ προσκαρτεροῦντες τῇ διδαχῇ τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ, τῇ κλάσει τοῦ ἄρτου καὶ ταῖς προσευχαῖς. • So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added • that day about three thousand souls. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. › (ESV)

You are probably thinking, “Why in the world would these two verses be connected?” Great question. The answer is that the writer wanted to make sure that we connected these verses. He could have left out the μέν, but his choice to include it reflects his intent that we make a connection that might otherwise be missed.

There are actually two Greek conjunctions at the beginning of v. 41. The conjunction οὖν (translated here as ‘so’) tells us how to relate v. 41 to what precedes, summarizing the people’s response to Peter’s sermon. The μέν creates a counter point, raising the expectation that another shoe is going to drop. The 3000 being added and baptized is not the final word. As significant as this response is, the writer wanted to connect the response of the 3000 to the events that follow. Verse 42 describes how the people devoted themselves to the teaching, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Creating a counter point here suggests that while 3000 ‘getting saved’ and baptized is significant, it is only the beginning and not an end in itself. The Great Commission calls us to make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded us. This is exactly what we see being highlighted here by making the connection between vv. 41 and 42. The apostles are obediently fulfilling their commission. We see a picture of the new believers moving on to obey all that was commanded. The writer’s choice to create a counter point connection helps drive this point home. However, this connection is impossible to find in English.

Point-counter point sets are only one of roughly 15 other devices that are included in the Lexham High Definition New Testament. This resource not only provides an introduction to these devices, it marks every place they occur right in the English text. Using the symbols keeps you in the Bible instead of in study notes or a commentary. It also lets you see ‘at a glance’ the devices that the writer is using in the passage you are studying, allowing you to quickly and easily identify the key ideas, to understand the flow of the passage.

See Steve’s previous posts about the Lexham High Definition New Testament:

See also the recent announcement of Steve’s two products now on Pre-Pub:

The Works of John Owen on Pre-Pub!

John Owen (1616–1683) is one of the most important Protestant theologians of all time. As both a pastor and a theologian, John Owen brings together some of the best in rigorous theological analysis and warm and vibrant spirituality making his writings food for both the mind and the heart.

Owen scholar Carl Trueman considers Owen “not only the greatest theologian of the English Puritan movement but also one of the greatest European Reformed theologians of his day, and quite possibly possessed the finest theological mind that England ever produced” (Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, 494). According to I. Breward, it was Owen who was “the great systematic thinker in the Puritan theological tradition” (New Dictionary of Theology, 552).

Our users have requested Owen for years, and we’re excited to finally make his works available. We’ve been in contact with several Owen scholars, and it quickly became clear that we needed to release the original Goold edition, which contains not only all the contents from the Banner of Truth reprint edition, but also Owen’s original Latin works (i.e., part of volume 16 and all of volume 17).

The introductory Pre-Pub price is only $174.95. That’s an enormous savings compared to the print edition—without even factoring in the value of the added Latin material. But this price will last only until April 4, 2008, at which time it will jump up to $224.95. Place your order now to lock in this incredibly low price, and help us spread the word to others!

If there is enough interest in Owen’s works, we’ll eventually put his 7-volume Hebrews commentary up on Pre-Pub as well. So put in your order, and tell your friends.

To learn more about John Owen in your Libronix library, see the following articles:

Study the NT Like Never Before!

Logos is pleased to announce another first in the study of the Bible: a visually marked-up discourse analysis of the entire New Testament in both English and Greek!

Dr. Steve Runge has spent countless hours studying the devices that speakers and writers of all languages use to communicate and tagging those devices in every book of the New Testament. Most of us use many of these devices in our everyday communication, but figuring out what they are, what they signify, and how to identify them in the Bible is something that the vast majority of people are not equipped to do.

The Lexham High Definition New Testament

For the English-only reader, we’ve created the Lexham High Definition New Testament (LHDNT), which comes with three Libronix resource files:

  • Lexham High Definition New Testament: ESV Edition
  • Lexham High Definition New Testament: Glossary
  • Lexham High Definition New Testament: Introduction

The text of the NT is marked up with visual representations for the 15 different devices. Hovering over any of the devices gives you a pop-up window with a concise definition, allowing you to stay right in the text. Right clicking on the device gives you the option to jump to the glossary for a definition, explanation, illustrations, and questions to ask yourself to understand why the author used that specific device. Since all of these devices are tagged, you can even search for the various devices across the entire NT or in specific corpuses of Scripture. And for those who want to go even further in their study, the introduction to discourse grammar will give you an excellent starting point.

The Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament

Those with even a little knowledge of Greek (or plans to learn some Greek in the future) will want to purchase the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament (LDGNT) instead. The LDGNT is the Greek counterpart to the LHDNT, and it has several advantages over the English version.

  1. The analysis is more detailed. Instead of 15, more than 30 devices are annotated in the Greek text, allowing for even greater precision. The glossary and introduction are larger and more detailed as well.
  2. The Greek version has a more powerful search interface making more advanced queries possible.
  3. Finally, the LDGNT includes all three resources from the LHDNT, enabling you to view the Greek and the English side by side—the perfect setup for those who are still learning Greek and for those whose Greek is a bit rusty.

Find out more and place your order at the two product pages:

For even more information, read Dr. Runge’s three blog posts: