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Breaking Down Complexity with HDOT & HDNT

Although the Scriptures’ overall message is simple enough for even children to understand, there are spots in both testaments where the original-language grammar gets pretty complex. Complex enough that English translations often simplify it for readability. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it does make it harder to get back to the detail of the original. This is where the Lexham Discourse Bible and High Definition projects can fill a void, especially if you’ve never studied Greek or Hebrew.

Here’s what I’m talking about. In Deuteronomy 12:29–30, there are two commands, with a whole bunch of context given before them. Because of the complexity, most versions break up the one complex statement into a series of shorter ones. This is an appropriate translation strategy, but it can have the unintended consequence of obscuring the main points. The main points are the commands not to become ensnared with and not to inquire about the foreign gods in the land God is giving to Israel. But there’s some preamble to set the stage for these commands. Here’s what it looks like in the Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible.

The blue “complex” statement on the left of verse 29 indicates that the main clause will, because of all the extra detail that precedes it, be indented one level. Verse 29 establishes the context in which the “big idea” commands apply (i.e., when they enter the land and dispossess the nations), but this is not the big idea. Verse 30 is indented one level, indicating this is where the main clause is found.

But wait, there’s more! The command “take care” in v. 30 is also not the big idea, creating another “complex” situation. This command is what’s called a metacomment, an attention-getting device that draws attention to something surprising or important that follows. In this case, the main points are actually in the commands beginning with “that”: not being ensnared to follow foreign gods and not inquiring about them. All that precedes is setting the stage for these important comments. Here is what the same passage looks like in the Lexham High Definition Old Testament.

This kind of detail is very hard to find in translation, but it can be easily found using the Lexham Discourse resources propositional outline.

We find the same kind of thing in the New Testament in Ephesians 2:1–5. Just as in Deut. 12:29–30, we find a complex construction that leads into yet another complex construction. You wouldn’t be able to find this kind of detail in most translations, due to their simplifying the complex sentence into several simpler ones. So what’s the big idea? That we have been made alive together with Christ. All the rest is (very important) scene-setting detail.

There are two parts to the scene-setting: the believer’s situation and God’s situation. Paul reminds us of the specific context in which God acted on our behalf, making us alive in Christ.

The Lexham Discourse resources offer you unparalleled access to detail like this, which you won’t find in most commentaries. They annotate all instances of 20-plus important exegetical devices, all displayed on a propositional outline. The Lexham High Definition New Testament: ESV Edition and the Lexham High Definition Old Testament: ESV Edition come with glossaries and introductions to help you learn how to get the most out of the resources. If you are interested in more of the original language detail, the Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible and the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament are what you’d want; they come bundled with the HDOT and HDNT, respectively.

The New Testament resources are available for download, along with other supporting resources. The Old Testament resources will be shipping soon, and they’re available at a substantial discount.

For more information about the Lexham Hebrew Discourse Bible and the Lexham High Definition Old Testament, check out these posts:

Lead Your Church through the Life of Abraham

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)

Do the words of the psalmist describe your church community? How about the way your church studies Scripture? Logos has developed a new curriculum to help your community “live together” when studying the Bible: Abraham: Following God’s Promise: Complete Church Curriculum.

Designed for pastors, small-group leaders, or anyone else involved in corporate or individual study,  Abraham: Following God’s Promise walks your entire church through the life of the first patriarch. The heart of the resource is an eight-chapter commentary that combines critical interpretation with insightful application. Balancing depth and accessibility, the curriculum helps readers at all levels discover better Bible study. It makes for perfect reading during the week, whether as personal study or in preparation for your small-group or Sunday-morning worship.

To serve the needs of small-group leaders, the complete church curriculum expands the commentary into an eight-week Bible-study series. With eight lesson plans, introduction videos, and teaching slideshows, the curriculum gives you the means to usher your groups through a rich study of Abraham’s life. The lesson plans include speaker notes, reflection questions, vibrant graphics, and discussion-question handouts. You’ll be equipped to guide your faith community deeper into Abraham’s journey of faith.

For pastors, the complete church curriculum molds the commentary into an eight-week sermon series. With eight sermon outlines and teaching slideshows, Abraham gives you insightful, challenging, dynamic resources for the pulpit. Used on Sunday morning, these tools will bring to life the journey your community has been reading about during the week. With vibrant visual illustrations and sermon-outline handouts, congregations will enter into the biblical narrative together as they learn how Abraham continues to model a faithful response to God’s call.

Whether used in individual study, in small groups, or on Sunday morning, Abraham: Following God’s Promise: Complete Church Curriculum serves the church at all levels and in all teaching contexts.Known for connecting digital resources and biblical study, Logos multiplies that power by  interconnecting all levels of the church in the mission to better understand—and more readily participate in—God’s continuing story of redemption.

Join us: get the single volume or the complete church curriculum today.

Birthday Sale: Save 50% on the Oswald Chambers Collection

Oswald Chambers, the Scottish minister best known for his beloved devotional My Utmost for His Highest, was born 138 years ago today. Celebrate his birthday by picking up the 24-volume Oswald Chambers Collection for only $95.88 with coupon code OC529—that’s 50% off the retail price!

Quotable and thought provoking, Chambers’ works are still cherished by Christians worldwide. Whether you’re new to Christianity or you’ve been studying the Scriptures for decades, you’ll find treasures liberally sprinkled throughout Chambers’ volumes:

“The diabolical nature of sin is that it hates God, it is not at enmity against God; it is enmity. When you get the nature of sin revealed by the Holy Spirit, you know that this phrase is not too strong—red-handed anarchy against God.”—from God’s Workmanship

“There are people to-day who are going through an onslaught of destruction that paralyses all our platitudes and preaching; the only thing that will bring relief is the consolations of Christ. It is a good thing to feel our own powerlessness in the face of destruction, it makes us know how much we depend upon God.”—from Baffled to Fight Better

“The aspect of the cross in discipleship is lost altogether in the present-day view of following Jesus. The cross is looked upon as something beautiful and simple instead of a stern heroism. Our Lord never said it was easy to be a Christian; He warned men that they would have to face a variety of hardships, which He termed bearing the cross.”—from Approved unto God

“In the New Testament everything centres in the Cross. The Cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it.”—from Bringing Sons into Glory

Until you have stopped trying to be good and being pleased with the evidences of holiness in yourself, you will never open the wicket gate that leads to the more excellent way. The life ‘hid with Christ in God’—that is the more excellent way.”—from If Thou Wilt Be Perfect

“The questions that matter in life are remarkably few, and they are all answered by these words ‘Come unto Me.’ Not—‘Do this’ and ‘Don’t do that,’ but ‘Come.’”—from Our Brilliant Heritage

“One great characteristic in the life of a man whose life is hid with Christ in God is that he has received the gift Jesus Christ gives. What gift does Jesus Christ give to those who are identified with him? The gift His Father gave him, The Father gave Him the Cross, and He gives us our cross.”—from Christian Disciplines

Learn more about Oswald Chambers—then save 50% on his works. To get the discount, pick up the Oswald Chambers Collection by the end of the day Saturday, July 28, with coupon code OC529!

How Old Testament Writers Built Suspense

Think about the last suspenseful movie you watched. Remember the music that played just before something (typically bad) was about to happen? Imagine what the movie Jaws would have been like if there wasn’t that deep two-note dah-dum, dah-dum. Half the fun of those movies is knowing something is just about to happen. It’s the anticipation that often puts us on the edge of your seat.

We do something similar when we tell or write stories. Here’s what I mean. What if I were to say something like: “I heard a sound in the attic, so I walked upstairs. And as I was walking up the stairs . . .” What would you expect to come next? Instinctively you’d expect something surprising to happen right after this repeated sentence. The suspense is created by a linguistic device called Tail-Head Linkage. Tail-Head Linkage involves the restatement of an action from one sentence (the tail) at the beginning of the next one (the head). Repeating the information slows down the story and builds suspense because something surprising or important is about to happen.

The biblical writers use Tail-Head Linkage in the same way. In the Lexham Hebrew Discourse Bible and the Lexham High Definition Old Testament the  symbol is used to mark each place  in the Old Testament Tail-Head Linkage appears. Let’s look at an example.

Genesis 39 recounts the story of Joseph’s refusal of Potiphar’s wife’s advances. After resisting her day after day, the scene comes to a climax in v.12. Potiphar’s wife grabs Joseph’s garment, attempting to entice him again, but Joseph drops his garment and runs away.

Although we expect to immediately read of her reaction to Joseph’s blatant rejection, Tail-Head Linkage slows down the action. Notice that all the content of the second half of v.12 is repeated in the first half of v.13. This slowing down of the story builds suspense and tells us something important is about to happen. In this case, we find out that, rather than letting the incident go as she had done before, she concocts a story blaming Joseph for attempting to force himself on her. This false accusation leads to Joseph’s imprisonment, setting the scene for his eventual rise to second-most-powerful ruler in Egypt.

The Lexham High Definition Old Testament and Lexham Hebrew Discourse Bible locates each instance of Tail-Head Linkage in the Hebrew Bible It allows you to get the benefit of seeing how these devices work without knowing the original language. Locating these devices and understanding how they work help you more vividly and accurately communicate Scripture to others in your preaching and teaching.

For those who have studied Hebrew or are comfortable working with an interlinear, the Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible includes the Lexham High Definition Old Testament. Having both resources enables you to see the detail of the Hebrew and then what that looks like overlaid on the ESV translation. These two resources come bundled together with an introduction and glossary written to help you understand the function of each device.

For more information about the Lexham Hebrew Discourse Bible and the Lexham High Definition Old Testament, check out these posts:

Millard J. Erickson: Solid Evangelical Scholarship

Looking for some solid evangelical, scholarly insight into biblical topics like Christology, the trinity, eschatology, and postmodernism? Check out the Millard J. Erickson Collection. Erickson, one of today’s most respected evangelical theologians, takes a balanced approach to these subjects.

Consider A Basic Guide to Eschatology: Making Sense of the Millennium for instance. This volume presents an overview and history of various end times views. Erickson presents basic arguments for postmillennial, amillennial, and premillennial views, treating the strengths and weaknesses of each position. He then goes on to discuss differing tribulational views.

A Basic Guide to Eschatology has received many positive reviews:

“Erickson is certainly one of the most prolific writers among contemporary Baptists. But this comment about quantity shouldn’t eclipse the high quality of Erickson’s writing. He does a superb job at explaining topics that can be difficult to understand—in this case, eschatology. In a concise, to-the-point fashion, Erickson examines strengths and weaknesses of each of the major schools of thought.”—Minister’s Packet

“Puts forth clearly and responsibly historically held post-, a-, and premillennial views. . . . A balanced and fair book.”—Reformed Review

“Erickson is to be commended for the fair, balanced, and careful treatment he has given to each position.”—Eternity

This Pre-Pub also includes The Word Became Flesh: A Contemporary Incarnational Christologya colossal contemporary understanding of Christology.

 “A massive compendium of information that will be valuable to anyone interested in contemporary theological trends. The review of contemporary Christologies in Part 2, for instance, provides excellent summaries of numerous recent studies. Erickson is a master of identifying the central arguments and key representatives of theological movements. Readers will find here a lucid, readable summary of conservative Christology. Erickson’s study will certainly become a standard textbook and resource in the field of Christology.”—Critical Review of Books in Religion

“Here is a well-informed, workmanlike overview of Christological discussion, ancient and modern, by an evangelical veteran.”—J. I. Packer

Erickson has taught at numerous schools, including Bethel University, Southwestern Baptist Seminary, and Baylor University. There’s no question that he’s used to making complex ideas accessible to students. If you’re looking for a theological collection that’s thoughtful and exacting while still approachable and uncomplicated, you can’t do much better than Millard J. Erickson Collection. Get yours while it’s still on Pre-Pub.

Now on Pre-Pub: The J. I. Packer Collection

You’d be hard pressed to come up with a list of influential North American theologians that excludes J. I. Packer. Packer is one of those rare scholars whose works are beloved by both academics and laypeople.

As testimony to this fact, it didn’t take long for the four-volume J. I. Packer Collection to go from “Gathering Interest” to “Under Development” when it first showed up on Pre-Pub. But it isn’t too late to pre-order this collection at the low price of $44.95.

The collection includes:

God’s Will: Finding Guidance for Everyday Decisions

In this biblical and practical exploration of divine guidance, you’ll find solid foundations for understanding how and why God guides his people. Discover the role of Scripture, discernment, wisdom, the counsel of others, and the Holy Spirit in helping you determine God’s will.

Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way

“On his 80th birthday, Packer said that the greatest challenge for the twenty-first-century church was to re-catechize and disciple believers. These contributions from two of our best Christian thinkers help us to do precisely what Packer said is needed. It will help you to see how to make not just converts but, as Jesus tells us, disciples.”—Chuck Colson

Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God, rev. ed.

In this new edition of his classic Keep in Step with the Spirit, J. I. Packer seeks to help Christians reaffirm both the biblical call to holiness and the Spirit’s role in keeping our covenant with God. Packer discusses the merits and shortcomings of the current charismatic movement, as well as how Christ must always be at the center of true Spirit-led ministry.

J. I. Packer and the Evangelical Future: The Impact of His Life and Thought

“Students of J. I. Packer’s beloved Puritans may hear echoes of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress throughout this volume. Turning the pages feels like walking through the Interpreter’s House, with each essay introducing a series of poignant lessons from the Anglican theologian. . . . When historians examine the life of Packer, this volume will serve as a useful starting point.”—Chris Castaldo, Christianity Today 

Don’t miss this opportunity to get four works by one of the most influential evangelicals alive. Pre-order the J. I. Packer Collection now before it ships!

Get Portfolio at Its Lowest Monthly Price!

Our Portfolio base package is a mammoth resource library. It isn’t just the most comprehensive collection we’ve ever offered—it’s the best way to get the largest collection of quality content at the lowest possible price. We’re talking about more than 1,600 resources, worth more than $30,000 in print (the equivalent of a brand new, fully loaded Honda Accord!), for a fraction of the cost.

We’re Making Portfolio the Most Affordable It’s Ever Been!

We are launching a special extended payment plan option to put Portfolio within your budget. When you call or email to purchase our largest base package (or upgrade from your existing one), we’ll extend our interest-free payment plan to 18 months—that’s savings of $65–$100 a month!

But I Already Own Platinum

Scholar’s Library: Platinum is a robust package that includes more than 1,200 resources worth almost $18,000 in print. So what do you get by upgrading from Platinum to Portfolio?

Here’s a sample of some of the amazing content added to your library with an upgrade from Platinum to Portfolio:

As you can see, with Portfolio, you have the tools you need for academic-level study and research. If you’ve been mulling over purchasing or upgrading to Portfolio, now’s your chance. There’s never been a better time to invest in the largest library we’ve ever offered.

Our extended Portfolio payment plan for is only available through our sales team—call us 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (PDT) at 1-800-875-6467, or email us at sales@logos.com. Order now!

Save Big on Robert Webber Collections!

The Robert Webber Collection (2 vols.) is new to Pre-Pub. To celebrate this offering, we’re having a huge sale on the four-volume Robert Webber Ancient-Future Collection. Through July 29, use the coupon code WEBBERSALE and get the Ancient-Future Collection for only $44.95—that’s an extra $15 off!

When Webber began to focus on liturgical worship and early-church practices in the ’70s and ’80s, he found himself out of step with many of his evangelical peers. Decades later, he’s proved himself ahead of his time. Many of today’s evangelical churches are looking to translate church history into the modern worship experience.

Robert Webber gives you a look at the history and practice of passionate spiritual formation with The Divine Embrace. And he brings his incredible insight to bear on how the next generation’s leaders are bringing sweeping change and renewal to the twenty-first-century church in The Younger Evangelicals: Facing the Challenges of the New World. These two volumes are on Pre-Pub for only $19.95.

Save on the Ancient-Future Collection

For a limited time, you can also add the Robert Webber Ancient-Future Collection (4 vols.) to your library for only $44.95. This collection includes:

Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World

“Here is a faith for our time that finds in the ancient traditions the power to speak to the postmodern world. This book amounts to an introduction to Christianity from the theme of Christus Victor. It draws from Webber’s own experience of growth as a hearer of God’s Word and is backed up with an impressive set of endnotes, charts, and bibliography.”—Clark H. Pinnock, professor of theology, McMaster Divinity College

Ancient-Future Evangelism: Making Your Church a Faith-Forming Community

“A simplistic and reductionist understanding of salvation has led to an obsession with conversion to the detriment of discipleship. Dr. Robert Webber provides a helpful framework to all who desire a deeper perspective on this significant subject. Every Christian disturbed by the lack of depth in the church should read Ancient-Future Evangelism.”—Dr. Appianda Arthur, president, Global Leaders Initiative, Colorado Springs

Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World

“The rhythm of Christian-year spirituality is part of the heritage of liturgical wisdom that Robert Webber has long been relaying to evangelicals enthusiastically and with flair. The layout of it here is the spiritual equivalent of a combined course of antibiotics and vitamins; both pastors and people who take the course will benefit greatly.”—J. I. Packer, professor of theology, Regent College

Ancient-Future Worship: Proclaiming and Enacting God’s Narrative

“[Robert Webber has] introduced so many of us to the early church as a period of unique theological insight, spiritual vitality, and prophetic correction. [He does so] in a way that energizes practicing pastors and lay Christians. It was said of Princeton’s Peter Brown, ‘He rescued the past from the tyranny of stereotypes.’ That is also true for Robert Webber, especially when it comes to worship.”—John D. Witvliet, director, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship; professor of worship, Calvin Theological Seminary

Something dramatic happens when we allow the early church to inform our ideas about worship, ministry, and community life. Robert Webber’s legacy encourages us to embrace an ancient–future faith.

Get the Robert Webber Collection (2 vols.) on Pre-Pub for only $19.95. Then use the coupon code WEBBERSALE before 11:59 p.m. (PDT) on Sunday, July 29, and pick up the Robert Webber Ancient-Future Collection (4 vols.) for only $44.95!

Ridderbos: One of the 20th Century’s Most Influential New Testament Scholars

Between Logos and Vyrso, we currently offer more than 26,000 resources. Some titles flit across my radar, while others encourage me to look more closely. Occasionally, though, I come across a resource that I get really excited about. The nine-volume Herman Ridderbos Collection falls into the latter category.

I spent a couple of years preaching through the gospel of John, and Ridderbos’ The Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary became one of my favorite resources for preparation. I loved it so much that I purchased and consumed Paul: An Outline of His TheologySoon I was scouring used bookstores and shopping online for more of Ridderbos’ works.

Here’s a few Ridderbos gems:

“The ransom that Christ had to pay for the ‘many’ was nothing less than his being delivered up to God’s judgment in the place of ‘the many.’ In this sacrifice Jesus suffered in anticipation, as it were, all that those who are his would have had to endure according to the law on account of their sins. But in it he also gave them the guarantee of their perfect redemption. He opened the gates of paradise (Luke 23:43), gave them assurance of the kingdom (Luke 22:29, 30); in short, he laid the judicial foundation of the entire preaching of the gospel.”

“The dominant clue for all interpretation of Scripture is thus Christ, not man; it is man sub specie Christi and not the reverse.”

“Without the New Testament the Old is but a torso; and the New Testament dangles in mid-air, as it were, if one does not see its foundations in the Old. Nevertheless, it is in the New Testament that what is symbolically contained in the Old achieves its full explication and fulfillment.”

“In Jesus’ apocalyptic preaching the human being is not only referred to the future for salvation, but also to the presence of the grace of God, to the freedom and the calling to live out of this new beginning as a child of God.”

“John the Baptist’s preaching was so ominous and alarming because he said that the ‘axe was laid unto the root of the trees,’ and that he who was coming held ‘the fan in his hand.’ Now it appears that with Jesus’ coming, on the one hand, the fulfillment has become a fact, but, on the other, that the time of grace has also been extended. This extension is important, but the preaching of grace is no less important. The gospel itself now operates with an entirely new force, and an intensified content; it is the preaching of the fulfillment; it is the message of the grace of God revealed in Christ which now starts its course in this world.”

One of my favorite features of  Ridderbos’ theology is his emphasis on heilsgeschichte, or God’s hand in the Old Testament narrative, a story of salvation culminating in Christ—the center point of redemption. My exposure to Ridderbos has encouraged me to pay closer attention to the salvific thread running through the Scriptures.

If you’re looking for solid material from a modern theologian, look no farther than the Herman Ridderbos Collection. This assortment is on Pre-Pub, but it’s currently under development. Pick it up before it ships and these nine volumes will be yours for only $99.95!

What’s in a Name?

Have you ever noticed that some Old Testament figures are given one name when they’re introduced and then referred to by a different name or expression as the story unfolds? Think of the various names and expressions used for God throughout the Old Testament. We know they’re used to highlight a particular aspect of God’s character, but did you know that the same thing happens with other biblical figures too?

Believe it or not, the biblical writers did this for the same kinds of reasons we do it! Here’s what I mean. As I returned home from work a few weeks ago, Bri greeted me with the following statement: “your daughter put the TV remote into the dishwasher and it got washed.” Notice she didn’t say, “Estelle put the TV remote . . .” or even “Our daughter put the TV remote . . .” She purposely phrased it this way. Why? Calling Estelle “your daughter” in this context conveyed a specific meaning: my wife’s innocence in Estelle’s action and my (genetic) culpability. The subtle but deliberate mode of reference was very meaningful. We see the same sort of thing happening in the Old Testament.

In 1 Samuel 9, we meet Saul, Israel’s first king. In all but a few places, he is referred to by his given name. Several times, however, the writer changes from Saul to king. Why? Changed reference devices most often highlight a particular quality of the person referred to. The highlighted feature forces us to change how we view that character in the particular context. This change results in a unique and specific meaning.

The Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible and the Lexham High Definition Old Testament each use the  symbol to mark each changed reference. Let’s take a closer look at how it’s used in 1 Samuel.

In 1 Samuel 20, David and Jonathan hatch a plan to find out just how intent Saul is on killing David. The plan involves Jonathan lying to Saul, informing him that David has chosen to go to Bethlehem rather than attend the feast of the new moon, where Saul expected David to be. If Saul becomes angry at the news of David’s absence, then David and Jonathan will know for sure that David’s life is in danger.

In the climactic scene recounted in 1 Sam 20:24, we read: “When the new moon came, the king was seated at the feast” (LEB). As Saul learns of the reason for David’s absence, he flies into a murderous rage vowing to put an end to David’s life. He’s so out of control that he even throws a spear at Jonathan, attempting to murder his own son!

Is this how a king is expected to act? No! Each time that Saul is referred to as king, we find him acting very, well, unkingly.

The use of king rather than Saul highlights Saul’s role as king just as the climactic scene begins. This forces us to view him in light of the character traits one expects God’s anointed king to have. But Saul’s behavior in this scene is anything but that of a righteous king. Referring to Saul as king in the context of unkingly behavior conveys a specific meaning: Saul’s unworthiness to serve as God’s anointed king.

When we look at each place in 1 Samuel that king is substituted for Saul, we find that this occurs only in parts of the story where Saul’s actions appear less than kingly! As you can see, these changed references are exegetically significant, but they’re easily overlooked or misunderstood.

The Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible and Lexham High Definition Old Testament help you to get the most out of your Bible study by annotating each changed reference, as well as 29 other exegetically significant discourse devices. We’ve included an introduction and glossary to help you understand the function of each device. The Lexham High Definition Old Testament is a terrific resource for those who haven’t studied Hebrew. It includes nearly  all of the devices marked in the LDHB.

The Lexham Hebrew Discourse Bible comes bundled with the Lexham High Definition Old Testament, along with an introduction and glossary for each database. These resources will be shipping soon. The initial release will provide an analysis of Genesis–Isaiah, with the entire Hebrew Bible/Old Testament scheduled for completion by the end of 2013.