A New Kind of Biblical Scholar

Let Go and Let God? A Survey and Analysis of Keswick TheologyLast week we put a new book on Pre-Pub entitled Let Go and Let God? by Andy Naselli. From one perspective, it’s just another quality Christian book that we’re offering at a discount to everyone who pre-orders it. You, the community, get to vote on whether or not you want us to publish it, just like you do with most Pre-Pubs. (In this case, you’ve clearly voted yes.)

From another perspective, there is something worth highlighting. There’s a neat story that illustrates a changing tide.

Naselli relied heavily on Logos as he worked on his MA in Bible, PhD in Theology, and PhD in New Testament Exegesis and Theology. He’s so convinced of the benefits of having a digital library in Logos that he’s been aggressively building it and avidly promoting Logos to his professors, colleagues, and students through his reviews, research, blog posts, and word of mouth. He still purchases, owns, and uses print books, but in most cases it’s just because they aren’t yet available for Logos. So Andy’s first book is in large part the fruit of his research with Logos Bible Software.

But what’s special about Let Go and Let God? is not just that it was written by someone who does the vast majority of his research using Logos, but that its author decided that instead of publishing his first solo book in print, he’d rather publish it digitally with Logos Bible Software. He’s convinced of the value of Logos Bible Software, not just for his own research, but as a platform for helping others do research. He wanted his book’s readers to experience the same benefits he experienced while he was writing it.

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Introducing the High Definition Commentary

In a previous post about which commentary is best, I introduced an important point: studying and faithfully communicating a passage is about more than knowing the details. Though details are important, they must be synthesized into a whole, and then clearly communicated to an audience (be it a congregation or a small group). A commentary needs to be faithful to the text, but understandable and applicable. This can be a challenging balance to strike.

After that post, Bob Pritchett, president and CEO of Logos, challenged me to find new ways to make cutting-edge exegetical tools more accessible. He proposed a new kind of commentary, one that organically married sound exegesis with great artwork to communicate it. Working from the English-based Lexham High Definition New Testament (HDNT) (a companion to the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament), I began the High Definition Commentary series.

The High Definition Commentary synthesizes exegetical insights from the Greek text into an expository commentary. But it’s a lot more than a commentary. I was teamed up with Shiloh Hubbard, one of our visual designers, to create teaching slides for each passage. So not only will you get cutting-edge insights from discourse analysis, there will be cool, fully-exportable graphics to sharpen your communication and save you time scrambling around for artwork.

Each section of the High Definition Commentary traces the linguistic and literary clues that identify the big ideas of the passage. Jargon-free exposition walks you through its flow and development. It is informed by the Greek, but written for those without any original language training. Personal illustrations and stories help you understand what the concept looks like in practice. The custom artwork brings it all together, enhancing your clarity and simplifying your preparation.

This resource is perfect for pastors and teachers who have a passion for really understanding how a passage hangs together. Lots of commentaries talk about the pieces of the passage, but few focus on synthesis, putting it all together.

Logos is committed to making the very best Bible study resources accessible, and the High Definition Commentary exemplifies this. If there is sufficient interest in this project, we’ll turn it into a series and begin releasing other NT volumes.

You Are Smarter Than a Lexicon

Today’s guest post is by Dr. Michael S. Heiser, Academic Editor at Logos Bible Software.

Lexicons are commonly used for studying biblical languages. It may shock you, then, that I’m an advocate for discouraging their use by beginning Hebrew and Greek students. I’m not kidding. I’d be happy if beginning students never used them.

I don’t diminish lexicons because they are so frequently abused. It also isn’t because I want people to spend hundreds of hours memorizing Hebrew and Greek vocabulary. For those newly initiated to Hebrew and Greek, lexicons just don’t give you any useful information—and yet professors seem bent on convincing their students that they are indispensable for biblical interpretation.

What’s a Lexicon Anyway?

To be fair, there was a time when lexicons approached that level of importance. Think about what a lexicon is: a book that lists each word in a given body of literature of a foreign language, while assigning an English equivalent to each foreign word. The better lexicons went beyond that service to listing several English equivalents and cataloguing specific instances in the foreign literature where that word occurred. This informed the user that the given foreign word could be used on many contexts and provided examples. All of that collecting and collating had to be done by hand, and very few people were so expertly trained that they could manage the task. But if we’re honest, all of that work only enabled translation and reading—not interpretation.

Why Not Just Use an English Thesaurus?

In other words, the only thing lexicons really did for the user was put data in front of them and suggest a one-to-one correspondence of each word with an English word. If you think about it, that’s basically what an English thesaurus does for English. You start with one word and then are given a list of other words that you might want to swap in for the word you started with. To be blunt, we use a thesaurus the way beginning students use lexicons. If I wanted to know what the word “beginning” might really mean in that last sentence, I could go to a thesaurus and discover that “beginning” might “mean” the following: birth, commencement, onset, opening, inception, source, emergence, rising, dawning, simplest, initiatory, or introductory. You could argue for a couple of those as to what Dr. Heiser intended, and then you’d pick one. Never mind that each of those synonyms has its own range of nuances. Never mind that this method makes the user the point of origin for “meaning”—as opposed to context. The latter requires time spent reading through the spectrum of a word’s usages and then—most importantly—thinking carefully about how the context allows or rules out certain meanings. In the latter you’re tracing the thought of the text and its author in an effort to describe what his point is in as many words as it takes. In the former you’re looking for one word substitutes. That’s what standard lexicons do for you—provide lists of English substitutes. That isn’t word study.

Reading is not Exegesis

Why do we think that the enterprise of looking up a Greek or Hebrew word to get an English equivalent is a useful thing to do? Professors would answer: “So you can do translation.” We now have hundreds of English translations, so why would we need to do our own? The truth is that knowing thousands of English word equivalents for Hebrew and Greek never made anyone a more careful interpreter. Being able to sight read Greek or Hebrew doesn’t guarantee exegetical accuracy any more than being able to read your English Bible does. Reading and exegesis are two very different things. My eight-year-old daughter can read me any passage in the Bible, but I’m not using her in place of a commentary. Reading is not exegesis.

Illustrating the Problem

You might think I’m exaggerating a bit. Let me demonstrate. Below is the entry from The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament for the Hebrew word baraʾ, the word translated “create” in Genesis 1:1.

Bara Strongs

So what did we learn? That the Hebrew word baraʾ means “create” in many instances, and that God is its subject. We’d already know the former if we were using an interlinear. The fact that God is the only subject of that verb is interesting, but it tells us nothing about what baraʾ means. Are you more able to interpret the passage? Did your congregation learn anything when you told them that behind the English word “create” was a Hebrew word that meant “create”? What kind of creating are we talking about? Does the word ever refer to creation using materials? Does it always mean creation from nothing? Does it have synonyms that describe the use of materials? How do I find them? What are the verb’s objects, the things created? Why would an author use this verb and not another one? Does an author ever use this verb along with another one in parallel? The lexicon doesn’t tell us. More importantly, the lexicon never suggests that we should even ask those questions. It just gives us an English equivalent and becomes mute.

Maybe the problem is that I used The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament. Perhaps if I used a scholarly lexicon the floodgates of insight would open. Nope. The entry below is from the leading scholarly lexicon for biblical Hebrew, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (HALOT):

Bara Halot

What did we learn this time? That baraʾ means “create”—just like our English translation tells us. We learned that some other Semitic languages have a verb for “create” as well (really, does any language not have such a word?). The rest of the HALOT entry divides the occurrences of the Hebrew verb baraʾ into something in Hebrew grammar known as stems. Depending on the verb, that can be very important, since translation of a word can depend on the stem. But beginners aren’t going to know about stems, and in the case of baraʾ, even if they did it wouldn’t be useful. The Hebrew verb baraʾ occurs in two stems. In the “Qal” stem the verb means “to create”; in the “Niphal” stem, which is passive, the verb means “be created.” Wow. That’ll preach.

An Antidote

So how can you do better in word study if you’re not a specialist in Hebrew or Greek? There are three truly indispensable things you need for developing skill in handling the Word of God.

First, you need a means to get at all the data of the text. Logos Bible Software is the premier tool for that. Through reverse interlinears, you can begin with English and mine the Bible for all occurrences of a Greek or Hebrew word. Logos 4 then takes that data and renders it in a variety of visual displays and reports so you can begin to look at the material and think about it from different angles—such as the Bible Word Study report, where you see how your word relates grammatically to other words in the sentence. Second, you need someone who is experienced in interpretation to guide you in how to process the data in front of you. You need training in what questions to ask and why you’d ask them. There is simply no substitute in word study for thinking about the occurrences of a word on your own. Lexicons will give you lists of English choices, but cherry-picking a list isn’t the same thing as asking critical, reflective, interpretive questions about the word in its context. Third, you need practice, practice, and more practice.

Logos Bible Software has been helping you do the first of these steps for years. Moving your Bible study beyond perusing a list of English words is precisely why Logos has made a commitment to the second item—by producing nearly twenty hours of guided advice in our Learn to Use Biblical Greek and Hebrew video tools. These video tools are our first step toward helping you understand how to think about words and grammatical concepts so you can begin to discern the interpretive nuances Greek and Hebrew can provide. It’s time to learn how to handle the biblical text, not just read English words in a lexicon. You’re smarter than that.

What About the Early Church?

Church Origins Collection (10 Vols.)
One of the areas of study that I’m most interested in, personally, is how the early church developed. That is, from the time of the apostles through around 300 AD, what happened? Who did what? And how did it affect the growth and development of the church? How did the Gospel disseminate?
There are a lot of books that fit into this space—it’s a popular place to be. But a useful collection you might not be aware of is the Church Origins Collection (10 Vols.) This is a set of 10 books that fit into the area of “Church Origins”. These books include:

  • Alexander J.M. Wedderburn, A History of the First Christians
  • Alan Kreider, ed., The Origins of Christendom in the West
  • Judith Lieu, Neither Jew Nor Greek? Constructing Early Christianity
  • Judith Lieu, Image and Reality: The Jews in the World of the Christians in the Second Century
  • Gerd Lüdemann, Primitive Christianity: A Survey of Recent Studies and Some New Proposals
  • Robert Murray, Symbols of Church and Kingdom: A Study in Early Syriac Tradition
  • Michael Brown, The Lord’s Prayer through North African Eyes: A Window into Early Christianity
  • Alastair Campbell, The Elders: Seniority within Earliest Christianity
  • Todd Penner, In Praise of Christian Origins: Stephen and the Hellenists in Lukan Apologetic Historiography
  • Thomas G. Weinandy and Daniel A. Keating, eds., The Theology of St. Cyril of Alexandria: A Critical Appreciation

I am deeply familiar with one of the books in this collection, Alastair Campbell’s The Elders: Seniority within Earliest Christianity. I picked this one up at the national SBL meeting one year and devoured it quickly. It is an excellent study of the concept of “Elder” as a title of honor, which morphed into an office in the early church. It surveys the Hebrew Bible, the LXX, the New Testament, and the letters of Ignatius to trace history and development of “Elders”. You might not agree with Campbell (I certainly don’t in all places) but it is an excellent look at this topic, across history. While you can purchase this book individually, it is spendy at $90, which is fully half of the collection price.
The other books I’ve not read in depth, but I am familiar with many of the authors. For example, Judith Lieu is responsible for two of the books in the Church Origins Collection: Neither Jew nor Greek?: Constructing Early Christianity and Image and Reality: The Jews in the World of the Christians in the Second Century. Lieu is well-known and well-regarded in the realm of study of earliest Christianity, particularly the not-so-clear area between Christianity and Judaism. Her work in this area is, from all I’ve understood, top-notch.
There are other familiar names, some you may know (Todd Penner, Alexander Wedderburn, Alan Kreider), some you may not (Michael Brown, Robert Murray) and some you may be predipsosed against (e.g. Gerd Lüdemann). Whatever your predisposition (now you know mine), each of these books provides a stimulating examination of their topic, and one’s understanding of the origin and development of the early church will likely be sharper for having read them.
If any of these sound interesting, chances are you’ll like most of the books in the collection. Check it out!

The Gnomon of the New Testament on Pre-Pub . . . Again!?

John Albrecht Bengel’s Gnomon of the New Testament is a great example of a Pre-Pub featured on Logos.com that has already had a pre-pub run in its lifetime!

While we were preparing Bengel’s Gnomon of the New Testament, we discovered documents that laid out a pre-publication proposal for the Gnomon from 1855.(screenshot a,screenshot b).

The five-volume, 1855 translation of Bengel’s work—originally published in 1742—could not begin production until 1500 subscribers had pledged 28 shillings a piece, making up about half the total production costs. For the publication costs to be fully covered, it would require twice that amount! This is pretty incredible when one considers that one shilling in 1850 had the purchasing power of over £3 ($4 USD) today.

One interesting portion of the proposal suggested that “wealthy laity” might consider pre-purchasing numerous copies to give out to friends in ministry or to students of theology.

Once again, Logos is proud to offer this important collection on Pre-Pub. The Gnomon is a result of twenty years’ work and it was Bengel’s desire that the content of his books would reawaken a desire to study the Word of God. Messrs Clark’s publication proposal called the Gnomon invaluable to all students of the New Testament, and that is just as true in the 21st century as it was in the 17th century.

“It is a work which manifests the most intimate and profoundest knowledge of Scripture, and which, if we examine it with care, will often be found to condense more matter into a line than can be extracted from many pages of other writers.” —Archdeacon Hare

Don’t miss out on getting the Gnomon of the New Testament at its low Pre-Pub price!

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church

Oxford Dictionary of the Christian ChurchOne of the great benefits of the Logos 4 libraries is serendipity. Here specifically I’m thinking of finding books in your library that you didn’t really know you had, but once you find them you’re so glad you’ve got ‘em you don’t know how you studied without them.
For me, one of these wow-I’m-glad-I-found-it books is the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (ODCC). It comes in the Scholar’s LE, Silver LE, Gold LE, Platinum LE and Portfolio LE libraries for Logos Bible Software.
And the ODCC is a gem. Clearly written. Top-notch scholarship. Recent. Relevant. Almost 2000 pages of excellent reference material that covers a wide array of topics and ideas. The ODCC is simply stunning.
One of my newfound roles here at Logos is that of columnist, where I’m responsible for the Thoughts from the Church Fathers column for Bible Study Magazine. As I work on each new column, the patristic entries in ODCC have been very helpful. They provide a great introductory sketch both of familiar figures (e.g. Augustine) and figures you might never have heard of (e.g. Cyril of Jerusalem). They lay out the contour and timeline while highlighting major issues, typically with links to entries describing these issues or debates. It’s like a one-stop shopping trip, and it is awesome.
But the patristic entries (while my favorite) are only one aspect of the ODCC. There is all sorts of stuff in it: Theology, Patristic scholarship, Churches and denominations, Church calendar and organization, Biographical entries, and more.
If you’ve got ODCC (just fire up Logos 4 and type ‘ODCC’ in the command box or in the Library to see if you have it already), then you owe it to yourself to check it out and look at some articles the next time you’re working on something (especially if you see any reference to particular church fathers).
If you don’t have ODCC, then you should check it out and, if the time is right, add it to your library. Or compare the cost of buying ODCC outright ($150 retail) with the cost to upgrade to at least Scholar’s LE. If your upgrade cost is close to (or under) $150, and you don’t have ODCC, then you could really end up getting a great deal on the upgrade — ODCC plus whatever else is in Scholar’s LE that you don’t already have.
Update: In the comments, it is noted that the 3rd edition of ODCC (from 1997) has been republished in paperback by another publisher. The edition in Logos Bible Software is the 2005 revision of the 3rd edition, which has some significant differences from the third edition. Below is an excerpt from the Note on the Revision of the Third Edition in the front matter of the 2005 edition:

The revision of the third edition was planned as a modest exercise, designed to incorporate changes which would not fit into successive reprintings and to include some updating wanted for a projected online version. The original pagination was to be preserved, and a limited number of short new articles were to come at the end. Until after production had been put in hand, I expected the pagination to be generally retained and I worked within this constraint. Nevertheless, the scope of the revision widened and I made a large number of small changes to reflect events and shifts in scholarly opinion over the last eight years or so, juggling with the text to fit in the new material. In some cases I commissioned completely new articles, impressing on their authors that they must be of the same length as the material they replaced. Inevitably, however, the main changes are in the bibliographies.

F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev.; Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), ix.

An Interview with John Bolt about Herman Bavinck

John Bolt

The electronic edition of Reformed Dogmatics, by Herman Bavinck is nearing completion on the Pre-Pub page, so I thought I thought I’d take this opportunity to share an email exchange I recently had with Dr. John Bolt, the editor of the new English translation. Dr. Bolt is Professor of Systematic Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary and has served as a pastor for several years. He is a member of the Dutch Translation Society, which produced the new translation. Part one is below, and part two will appear on the blog next week.

Remember, you still have a little more time to get Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics, so head on over to the Pre-Pub page to place your order!

Who was Herman Bavinck?

Herman Bavinck was the son of Jan Bavinck, a preacher in the Dutch Reformed Succession Churches, a fellowship characterized by deep piety, practical Christianity, and traditional orthodox Reformed theology.

He was an extraordinarily gifted student who scandalized his own church by attending the very modern theological faculty at the University of Leiden where he earned a doctorate, writing a dissertation on the ethics of Swiss Reformer Ulrich Zwingli. As a student he became familiar with the work of Abraham Kuyper, the church reformer, journalist, statesman, who dominated Dutch life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Both men taught theology—Kuyper at the Free University of Amsterdam, and Bavinck at the Kampen theological school of the Secession church and from 1902 on as Kuyper’s successor at the Free University. While Bavinck did public service in the First Chamber (Senate) of the Dutch Parliament, he was the “theologian’s theologian” for the Dutch neo-Calvinist movement. His major work, Reformed Dogmatics, is remarkable for its solid biblical base, its incorporation of the church’s long history of biblical interpretation and dogma formation, and its constant address to modern questions in the natural sciences and in the new field of psychology.

What is the mission and role of the Dutch Translation Society in translating the works of Bavinck and other theologians?

Truthfully, Bavinck was the only one of sufficient importance to warrant translating his entire 4-volume magnum opus. One cannot understand the developments in Dutch Reformed theology of the twentieth century (Berkouwer, Van Ruler, Hendrikus Berkhof, and others) apart from a first hand acquaintance with Bavinck.

He is still fresh and relevant because he takes seriously the intellectual and social challenges of modernity. Many of the questions of his day in Europe still haunt us today and he provides a sure guide.

Our translation society is a truly ecumenical venture that draws support from at least five different churches in the Reformed tradition. Bavinck is one of the few figures to which all of those traditions turn for guidance.

Reformed Dogmatics

The translation project took a decade to complete. Can you describe the process? What was your role in the translation and editorial process?

When we started the project, we had enough money to do a segment of Reformed Dogmatics. Though we were all enthusiastic about the translation, we really did not know if the work would sell. So we started modestly. We began with the eschatology section in volume 4 because of its size and the currency of its subject matter. The result: The Last Things: Hope for this World and the Next, first published by Baker in 1996.

The volume was well-received. We had generous benefactors, and next produced the creation section of Volume 2: In the Beginning: Foundations of Creation Theology, which Baker published in 1999.

At that point support was growing sufficiently for us to commit to doing the entire four volumes. The last one was published in 2008. John Vriend was the translator of the text. I received the typed manuscripts as he completed his work, and I went to work editing.

My editorial work consisted of bringing the scholarly apparatus up to speed to twenty-first century standards. This meant getting the full bibliographic information, checking versions and editions, and—where possible—substituting the English text (eg. Schleiermacher’s Christian Faith) where Bavinck had cited the Dutch or German.

I am deeply indebted to the list of Calvin Seminary students whose names are listed at the beginning of the bibliographies in each volume. They checked editions, found obscure periodicals, and more. My final editorial work was to provide sub-headings internal to each chapter, where they were completely absent in the original, and to prepare a précis for each chapter to help readers navigate lengthy arguments.

You write in the introduction to Bavinck’s Prolegomena in volume 1 that “the Gereformeerd Dogmatiek represents the concluding high point of some four centuries of remarkably productive Dutch Reformed theological reflection,” including “Voetius, De Moor, Vitringa, van Mastricht, Witsius, and Walaeus.” How does Bavinck both reflect and develop the theological system of his predecessors?

All you have to do is look at the footnotes in the Reformed Dogmatics to see how well Bavinck knew that tradition and used it. Nonetheless, he excels them in his desire to reach out to the universal religious impulse in all people in order to connect it with the specific Christian gospel. If you look at any of the loci you will see how he often begins with, let’s say, “sacrifice” as a general human religious reality, and moves from there to Christian revelation. It is that move which marks him as a truly modern theologian, interested in and addressing modern questions.

The remainder of the interview will appear on the blog next week. Remember, you still have a little more time to get Reformed Dogmatics while it’s on Pre-Pub. The print set normally retails for $179.95, but right now you can pre-order it for $99.95. We plan on shipping this set very soon, so you still have a little more time left to get this deal when you pre-order. Lock in your order now!

Of Catechisms and Confessions of Faith

Reformed Heritage

Q. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.

Catechisms and confessions of faith, in one form or another, are almost as old as the Christian faith. Primarily used in the religious instruction of children and converts to Christianity, they have helped provide a skeletal structure for doctrinal understanding throughout the centuries. These confessions are not an attempt to replace the need for biblical knowledge and understanding, but to provide a plumb line to measure it against. Creeds, confessions, and catechisms have been centrally important to the life of the Church.

The Christian Focus Reformed Heritage Collection (14 Vols.) includes a wonderful primer on the study of confessions with The Westminster Confession of Faith Study Book: A Study Guide for Churches by Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., pastor and President of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

There are fourteen volumes that total over 1,400 pages in The Christian Focus Reformed Heritage Collection. These volumes include a comprehensive look at John Calvin’s views on the Sabbath, the atonement, biblical languages and his teaching on the book of Job. This collection also includes an analysis of Jonathan Edwards’ theology of Hell in response to a growing interest in annihilationism, collected writings of theologian Roger Nicole, and over 50 profiles of important figures in the Puritan movement.

The Westminster Confession of Faith Study Book: A Study Guide for Churches is an amazing addition to this collection. Not only do you get a 26-lesson study of the Westminster Confession of Faith, you get a section for each lesson specifically designed for those teaching the confession.

But that’s not all!

This study guide also includes:

  • The complete Westminster Confession of Faith
  • The Belgic Confession
  • The Heidelberg Catechism
  • The Canons of Dordt

These incredibly important confessions and statements of faith are all in one place and completely tied together with the incredible searchability of Logos 4!

If you are looking for more powerful Reformed theology check out Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics (4 Vols.). It is still on Pre-Pub which promises our lowest price on the collection that J. I. Packer called, “the supreme achievement of its kind.” Reformed Dogmatics (4 Vols.) is under development so that Pre-Pub price won’t be available much longer!

Digging for Commentary the New-Fashioned Way

How it used to be done

When I first began my seminary training in 1992, things were a little different. Doing research meant going to the library and digging through a literal card catalog (yeah, the kind with 3 x 5 cards). I learned about the “usual places” to look for exegetical help: commentaries, journals, Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias and so on. For instance, I wanted to find some discussion about why Jethro is called “Moses’ father-in-law” so many times in Exodus 18 (18x compared to “Jethro” 7x). You see, I had an inquiring mind, but the kinds of questions I came up with were not often discussed in “the usual places.” So now what?

About that time, Sheffield Academic Press began producing a host of wonderful resources–both Old and New Testament–that provided focused discussion of specific passages, themes or issues in a book, ones that did not really fit in with the normal template of a commentary. They also published collections of essays that were thematically related, sometimes focused on a single book of the Bible, other times tracking one theme through a whole testament. There was “gold in them thar hills” as the saying goes, but boy, was it ever some mighty hard digging to find it. It took a lot of work to find a nugget, but wow, was it ever worth it when you found what you were looking for!

At about the same time I began to realize that commentaries are selective. Although commentators are expected to cover certain topics for each passage, sometimes writers will stop and rant about something they are passionate about, oftentimes relegated to a footnote. But these “extended dance versions” comments are hit and miss. They may not even be about the book they are commenting on, but on some other book that is quoted or alluded to! Oh how the times have changed; the search resources available today are astounding in comparison.

The tide turns . . .

So how have things changed? Well to begin with, having an electronic version of the resource opens the door for full-text searches, which is a great thing. But Logos resources go about four or five steps further down the road than your average search engine like Google Books. Every book or resource has been painstakingly analyzed by our Electronic Text Development department. This means that no matter how obscure an abbreviation scheme is used for biblical book (e.g. Ezekiel, Ezek, Ez), no matter what punctuation scheme (e.g. 1:1, 1.1, 11), you’re going to find it, thanks to the festive folks in ETD . Try that using a Kindle or with Google books!

But wait, there’s more! Logos 4 has streamlined the search process by allowing rule-based collections to be built. Collections allow you to do more focused searches or reports. I have all of my commentaries in one collection, all of my grammars in another. Why not separate them by Old/New Testament or by Greek/Hebrew? Because of the rants I mentioned above. Some great nuggets about Acts 2 can be found in commentaries on Joel because of Peter’s quotation in Acts 2:17-21, for example.

Getting the most out of your resources

But it gets even better! Remember the Sheffield resources I mentioned earlier, the ones that have great discussions about passages, but that were terribly hard to find (and that cost you two children and a small aardvark to purchase!)? Adding collections of JSOT, JSNT, or Sheffield Readers into your commentary collections will significantly expand the volume of extended discussions about key passages. The same is true of journal collections like:

There are a number of great Old Testament collections from Sheffield that are currently on Pre-Pub:

If your current focus is the New Testament, there are plenty of great collections available as well:

There is no better platform for “mining” resources like these than Logos 4, period. Whether you are looking for technical discussions for research papers, or for homiletical or devotional material for teaching, you will only find what you have. If you are looking for new resources that will expand your exegetical pool for searching, then take a serious look at these collections. There are great nuggets in them thar hills, and no better tool for finding them than Logos 4!

Why the Logos Top 10 Lists Matter To You

Logos Top 10 Lists

If you don’t already have one of our Logos 4 base packages and you’re looking for a recommendation on which collection to get, or if you’re ready to add commentary sets, collections from authors, or individual titles, then start with suggestions from what Logos users have elevated into our Logos Top 10 Lists. The Logos Top 10 Lists allow you to quickly identify important works as determined by our large user base, those who, like yourself, are interested in rightly dividing the Word of truth.

Our lists are filtered into three general categories:

  • Logos Base Packages
  • Essentials
  • Authors

While recently updating the Top 10 lists, what stood out as interesting was that of all the products in the Essentials and Authors categories are currently collections or bundles of some sort. Since the list is based on user purchases, this got me thinking. Why isn’t even one single-volume title on the list? The only reason I came up with was this: You get the best per-volume price on Logos resources when you add collections of books rather than individual titles.

Our top 10 lists attest to this fact.

Take the #1 title from the Essentials category: Tyndale Commentaries CD-ROM (49 Vols.)

At 49-volumes, this collection might at first appear to be more than you need if you are studying smaller books of the Bible like 1 & 2 Peter or even Hosea. But think long term. Do you plan on teaching or preaching through the Bible? Do you have an OT or NT survey course this coming semester? With Logos, every word is essentially a link, so every word you add to your library makes Logos 4 even more powerful. That gives you instant access to technical linguistic data, along with the tools for accurate exegesis and interpretation. So adding 49-volumes rather than one or two greatly increases your ability to study the Word. But the most convincing argument for adding multiple volume collections to you library remains pricing. With the current sale price of $224.95 for 49 volumes, you are getting the combined Tyndale Old Testament Commentary and the Tyndale New Testament Commentary at just under $4.60 per volume!

And that is an example from just #1 in the Essentials list. We could work our way down each list and find the same thing.

Since the lists are based on user purchases, it’s likely you have at least one of the products listed. If you do, leave a comment indicating which item(s) you have and how it has been useful for you. You may help another reader decide which item to choose. Then, check the Logos Top 10 Lists for new titles to add to your library.