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Reverse Interlinear Bibles: Key to Better Bible Study

John Fallahee, king of Logos video tutorials, just produced a new video on reverse interlinear Bibles.

The video introduces the unique features of reverse interlinear Bibles and, through an extended example, shows how these features solve five common problems that plague the person who studies the Bible in translation:

  1. You can’t trust your search results with English only searches.
  2. You can’t see the author’s original word choice.
  3. You can’t see different words functioning differentlyin the original text.
  4. Meaning can be obscured through the English translation.
  5. Strong’s numbers can’t reveal how the word is functioning.

Check it out: Better Bible Study Through Reverse Interlinear Bibles (14:21, 21.2MB)

Historical and Cultural Background of the Bible

We’ve just created a new Product Guide to help our customers find books that elucidate the historical and cultural background of the Bible. Previous Product Guides include one for Greek Bible Texts and Tools, another for Hebrew Bible Texts and Tools, and a third on Multi-Volume Commentaries. You can check out these and other product guides here.

Examining Some Ambiguities III: What’s the Quotation in James 4.5?

I’ve been blogging about James 4.5-6. In the series I blogged about examining the text using English translations. Then I blogged about the underlying Greek. There are still more questions with James 4.5-6, however. In this post we’ll consider the quotation from Scripture mentioned in James 4.5 and how it is represented in the English texts. Is it a quotation, or is it a summary of Scripture? Here’s the text:

Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?(Jas 4:5, ESV)

Instead of writing ad nauseum about this, I’ve recorded a video that that compares the quotes in English translations. Examining the way that the major English translations handle this gives us an idea of the options and might even give us help in deciding which option is preferred in this case.

Examining Some Ambiguities II: James 4:5-6 in the Greek

Earlier I blogged on using multiple English translations to see how a passage is translated differently. In passages (such as James 4.5-6) where there are ambiguities, many times comparing English translations can help in understanding the best way to deal with the ambiguity.
With James 4.5, as we saw, translations are fairly evenly split in handling this passage. Recall the issues:

  • Is it ‘spirit’ or ‘Spirit’?
  • Is [Ss]pirit the subject or direct object of its clause?

The first point is determined largely by context and how one reads the text. This means it is important to determine whether [Ss]pirit is the subject or direct object because this may assist in determining whether it is ‘spirit’ or ‘Spirit’. This post digs into the second point above by digging down into the underlying Greek. Of course, this is problematic for the same reason: ambiguity.

Continue Reading…

What Kinds of Hope? NT, Apostolic Fathers, and Syntax Searching

I am a contributor at another blog called PastoralEpistles.com. That blog is one outlet where I work specifically with my favorite section of the New Testament, the Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus).

Over on PastoralEpistles.com, I’m working on a series of posts that combines a few of my loves: The writings of the Apostolic Fathers, Koine Greek, and the Pastoral Epistles. I’m using a book published in 1904 by Oxford titled The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers (that one is actually a Community Pricing title, check it out!) that provides information on areas in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers that show affinity with areas of the New Testament. These “areas of affinity” may be outright quotes, they may be indirect citations, they may be allusions, or they may simply have topical similarity using similar language for similar topics.

I’m also able to use the shortly-to-be-released Logos Edition of the Apostolic Fathers which makes this sort of work loads easier than it was before. It’s true, after long last the work on the Apostolic Fathers is done and it should be released on time — so hurry up and get the pre-pub price while you can!.

Basically, I’m working through where writings of the Apostolic Fathers are noted to have affinity with the Pastoral Epistles. I started in the Epistle of Barnabas. Here’s an example of an entry from The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers:

This short section provides the texts in question and a short (emphasis on short) discussion. But it’s a starting point. Basically I’m reviewing the texts and considering the linkages. You can check out my discussion on the Ep.Barn. 1.3-6 || Titus 3.5-7; 1.2 affinities.

I’m not writing this post to discuss linkages between the writings of the Apostolic Fathers and the NT (as cool as that would be). Instead, I’m going to shift to syntax. In looking at the above linkages, one notices the Greek ἐλπίδι ζωῆς (hope of life) prominent in both the Barnabas and Titus passages.

This prompted me to ask a few questions. First, I wondered how prominent this “hope of life” (Titus has “life eternal”) is in the NT, and second I wondered what other sorts of “hope” there were in the NT. And these questions can be answered with syntax searches.

I made the below video that sets up the search and shows the results. If one just searches the Greek NT for ἐλπίς, 48 verses (53 instances) are located. But there are 18 instances where “hope” is qualified in some way. There are only two instances where it is qualified by “life” (ζωῆς), and both of them are in Titus (the two examples cited above in relation to Barnabas).

Why do I bring this up? Well, with the advent of the syntactically tagged databases of the Greek New Testament, I find myself asking more and more questions like this. And I’m more and more able to run a syntax query (many of which share the same basic template that this search has) to get a clearer picture of some grammatical phenomenon without having to run a blunt concordance search, and then sift through the hits. I’m able to get more relevant, more meaningful instances of what I’m interested in and sift through less chaff in the process. And this has made my study of the New Testament deeper, which can only help my understanding and application. And to my mind, that’s what it’s all about.

Now for something really cool!

As I put the finishing touches on the Ugaritic Library, I realized that this was an excellent opportunity to talk about the Logos Bible Software philosophy of data type tagging. After all, there are more than 83,000 Ugaritic data type references tagged so far as part of this project. (83,266 and counting!) Using the Ugaritic Library as a test case, I made a video showing how good data type tagging makes for powerful digital library software, and helps you get the most out of your books.

Check it out!
Flash Video – 11 MB

Note: The Ugaritic Library ships Friday – it’s not too late to take advantage of the great pre-publication sale.

Ugaritic and Old Testament Narratives

Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Michael Heiser, academic editor at Logos.

[Note: We sent a Last Chance NewsWire email on the Ugaritic Library last week, so if you're considering adding this collection to your digital library now is the time to pre-order before the price increases substantially.]

The last time I blogged about the usefulness of Ugaritic for Bible study and the new Ugaritic Library under development by Logos, I focused on how knowing the Ugaritic background of an Old Testament title for Yahweh helped our understanding of both Old and New Testament theology.

This time I want to focus on some individual Hebrew words—geographical proper names to be precise—to show how Ugaritic tools can make Old Testament stories come to life, and even take on theological meaning.

Click here for a video showing how you can access the Ugaritic tools through the Old Testament Reverse Interlinear to see the Old Testament in a way you haven’t before.

Please note: This video demonstration shows some resources not included in the Ugaritic Library. Reverse interlinear Bibles are available as part of Logos 3 base collections and HALOT is available as a separate purchase.


Flash, 6.7MB, 16:19

Getting More from Library Builder, Part 3

Arecord number of customers took advantage of the insanely great “Library Builder” Christmas special this year and added 330+ books to their library in one fell swoop, so we’re taking a look at how to maximize the value of those new books. Even if you don’t own the Library Builderproduct, this series will help you get the most from the books in your electronic library.

Part 1 introduced some tools and techniques for exploring your new books, while Part 2 focused on commentaries.

This post will review some of the other categories ofbooks that are part of Library Builder, introduce some individual titles, and show where to look for them in your digital library.

Illustrations

Pastors and teachers love illustrations…readers and listeners love them, too. They’re the raisins in the toast, the strawberries in the fruit salad.

Library Builder adds a new bookof illustrations: Illustrations for Biblical Preaching , with fresh material to help you enliven your teaching or your own study.

Your digital library knows that this is a book of illustrations so it will automatically show up in the Illustrations section of Passage Guide. When you run Passage Guide, the system figures out all the topics related to your passage, then scours your books of illustrations to find illustrations on those topics. Like magic.

Music

Library Builder adds five new books on music:

  • 101 Hymn Stories
  • 101 More Hymn Stories
  • Hymns and Scripture Selection Guide
  • Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others
  • The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts

You’re probably familiar with the 101 Hymn Stories books that give the history of various hymns and their composers, but some of the others may be new to you.

Hymn and Scripture Selection Guide is great because, while it does not contain hymn texts,each hymn is tagged with numerous Bible references. That increases the odds you’ll find a song relating tothe Bible passage you’re studying or preaching!

Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others and The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts open a window on the poetical voice of those who contributed greatly to the hymnody of the Christian church in bygone days. Sometimes one of these classic hymns, read as a poem, is just the thing to illustrate a biblical truth.

Again, Logos Bible Software knows that these are books dealing with music, so they show up in the Music section of Passage Guide. When you run Passage Guide on a passage of Scripture, the guide finds any hymns or songs that relate to the passage you’re studying.

What you see above are the Music results I get for a Passage Guide on Psalm 4:8, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (ESV)

Books on Prayer

Library Builder adds quite a number of books on prayer. It’s easy to locate them all in your library: just click My Library, arrange by subject, then type prayer.

You’ll notice a bunch of books by E.M. Bounds, one by Tom Elliff, one by P.T. Forsyth, and one by Oswald Chambers…all new with Library Builder.

Because prayer is such a vital discipline in the Christian’s life, Logos Bible Software also includes a feature right on the homepage that introduces you to books on prayer within your library. Your new books on prayer show up here automatically.

Just click any of the links in the list to open that book to its table of contents and begin exploring.

(Note: the Prayer section of the Logos Bible Software homepage can be turned off or on via the “Customize View” link at the top of the homepage. The Prayer section is only available if you have the Personal Bible Study Addin, included with Logos Bible Software base libraries or available as a separate purchase but not included with Library Builder.)

Devotionals

Devotionals, structured around daily readings and meditations, are a great way to get into the Word every day. The Devotions section on the Logos Bible Software homepage makes it easy to start every day with the devotional of your choice.

Here I’ve selected two of the devotionals that are new in Library Builder.

Take Heart is a very cool concept—it offers daily snippets from sermons by great preachers of the past such as C.H. Spurgeon, G.Campbell Morgan, and John Ker. As the editor writes in the preface, “These preached words are a part of our Christian heritage, and you will find the power of God in them still. I want to preserve them not because they are old but because they are true. It is our loss if we allow this part of our heritage to crumble to dust, forgotten, on out-of-the-way shelves.”

Drawing Near by John MacArthur reflects that teacher’s emphasis on in-depth Bible exposition study. As MacArthur states in the introduction: “As you use this book daily, you will learn how to approach Scripture on your own, developing the study skills you need to open up the Bible and discover its rich and marvelous truths for yourself. Such repeated exposure to God’s Word trains you to think Biblically, and that’s what ultimately makes a difference in your spiritual life.”

ChoosingDevotionals for Your Homepage

To choose the devotional that gets displayed on your homepage every day, click the Customize View link at the top right corner of the Logos homepage.

Then scroll down to the Devotions section and choose as many of the devotionals as you’d like to see on the homepage every day. Put a check in the boxes for those you choose, make sure there’s a check next to “Devotions,” then scroll back up to the top of the page and click Save Changes.

Note: the version of Take Heart that shipped on the Library Builder disc will not show up in the list of devotions; in order to make this devotional show up as an option, download an updated version of the book. Here’s how: close Libronix DLS, then click this link and choose to save the file to your resources folder (for most users, C:\Program Files\Libronix DLS\Resources). When prompted, overwrite the file that’s already there.

Looking Ahead…

In the next installment of this series, we’ll take a look at some of the books that don’t fall into any of the categories we’ve covered thus far. You’ll definitely want totake some steps to ensure you’reincorporating these “ordinary” books into your Bible study workflow.

46 Books Need a Nudge

A number of exciting titles on the prepub page are tantalizingly close to crossing the 100% threshold and moving into production. The five substantial collections listed below, which total 46 volumes in all,each need literally just a handful of pre-orders to push them over the line.

Just think, you could be the one toplace the final pre-order that moves one of these on to the next phase!

Gnostic & Apocryphal Studies Collection (10 Volumes)

The Gnostic & Apocryphal Studies Collection assembles titles dealing with Christian apocryphal literature, particularly those texts associated with the Gnostic tradition. Given their contemporary relevance, it is critical for the Christian to understand these ancient texts and evaluate their place within Christianity’s history.


Library of NT Studies: JSNTS on Paul (17 volumes)

Surveying a variety of aspects of Pauline Christianity, this collection canvasses topics as diverse as Paul’s political motivations, community-identity construction, the prevalence of non-Pauline interpolations in the Epistles, scalometry’s relevance to Paul’s writings, and many other fascinating issues. Written with the academic in mind, the progressive thought and timely analysis exhibited here will prove profitable to anyone wishing to study this complex apostle more deeply.


Understanding the Bible and Its World Collection (4 volumes)

The titles in this collection reveal the importance and place of the Septuagint, religious diversity in the Graeco-Roman world, ethics’ relation to the New Testament, and narrative art in the Bible. Written with the neophyte in mind, these titles nonetheless feature a level of astute scholarship that will interest even the most knowledgeable student of the Bible.


Near East Archaeology Collection (3 volumes)

The Near East Archaeology Collection presents the findings of several sites in the Near East. The three volumes examine Aegean sites, as well as sites in Jordon and in Israel. Topics include settlement patterns, pottery, iconography, cult, paleography, urbanism, and much more.


Ugaritic Library (12 volumes)

Ugaritic is the ancient language of one of Israel’s closest neighbors, the city state of Ras Shamra, located in what is now Syria. Ugaritic is from the same family of languages as Hebrew, Northwest Semitic. This means the Ugaritic texts are closely related to the Hebrew Bible, both linguistically and culturally.

The Ugaritic Library contains the complete corpus of Ugaritic texts together with aids and indices to better illuminate these ancient writings and the Hebrew Bible. These include grammatical and lexical books to help the reader learn and read Ugaritic, translations of many of the important documents (with commentary), and volumes designed to help the Bible student easily locate the places where Ugaritic can shed some light on the text of the Hebrew Bible.

Charles Simeon Around the World…Wide Web

We’ve been amazed at the response generated by the prepublication announcement of Charles Simeon’s Horae Homileticae 21-volume commentary series.

Based on the number of people who have blogged about this announcement, there’s clearly a strongfollowing for the writings of this Anglican clergyman. No doubt John Piper’s recent endorsement has also been instrumental in reviving interest in Simeon’s works.

Here’s a sampling of the buzz surrounding the Simeon prepub:

  • Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds drew attention to Simeon’s three-pronged test which he applied to every sermon: (1) Does it humble the sinner? (2) Does it exalt the Saviour? (3) Does it promote holiness?
  • Phil Johnson at TeamPyropoints out that C.H. Spurgeon read and quoted Charles Simeon. Phil also recommends pre-ordering Simeon’s commentary over spending money on Pyro swag, which is high praise, indeed.
  • In a post from 2006, Mark Lauterbach of GospelDrivenLifesuggests that a particular conversation betweenCharles Simeon (a moderate Calvinist) and John Wesley (a moderate Arminian) could teach today’s Christian bloggers a thing or two about how to conduct doctrinal discussions. This story is also recounted at the Pyromaniacs blog.
  • Adrian Warnock, blogger extraordinaire,gave us the original tipabout the eBay auction of Simeon’s commentary set and encouraged us to offer it as a prepublication. Read the post the started it all, Adrian’s further reflections on Simeon, and his reprint of the Logos NewsWire email that introduced Simeon to many Logos customers for the first time.

If you haven’t already done so…check out the description of this commentary set, sample some page scans, and place your pre-order to take advantage of the hefty prepublication discount!