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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!

Logos 4: Phrase Searching

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Today’s post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos training seminars.

Years ago I owned a print book called The Phrase Concordance of the Bible which contained the locations of numerous phrases in the Bible. I really liked this book, but quite often was frustrated with it. Inevitably the phrase I wanted to lookup was not in the book. Obviously there’s no practical way to make an exhaustive concordance of every phrase in the Bible. Logos 4 allows us, however, to locate any phrase in any Bible, regardless of how obscure the phrase may be. Here’s one way to access your exhaustive phrase concordance:

  • Open any Bible to any passage
  • Select (highlight) any phrase
  • Right click on the selection
  • Update: From the right side of the pop-up menu click Selection your phrase
    • Example: Selection praise the Lord.
    • Reference, Greek Strong’s or another item may already be selected so be sure to click Selection.
  • Update: Then, from the left side of the menu click Search this resource

Your results appear almost instantly!

Please note this potential problem: If you select a phrase containing a footnote, the search will yield no hits.

Here’s one way to avoid the problem:

  • On the Bible click the Visual filters icon (three circles icon)
  • Select Bible text only

Now the Bible is displayed in list form with no footnotes or cross references. Phrase searching is now much easier.

Enjoy locating praise the Lord, and grace to you, and will of God, and

Zerwick’s Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament

Many who use A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament in print affectionately refer to it as “Max & Mary” after the author and translator/reviser, Max Zerwick and Mary Grosvenor. The affection is for good reason, “Max & Mary” offer a helpful and informed analysis of the grammar of the Greek New Testament. And they do it in a commentary format, so the Logos Bible Software version (which you already have if you have the Portfolio LE edition of Logos) scrolls synchronously with your text — English (reverse interlinear? yes!), Greek, or whatever other New Testament edition you have.
I’ll be honest: I haven’t used this book much; it seems I have so many other tools available! But I’ve learned that I’m the one who has been missing out. Why? First, some minor points:

  1. There is a great little “Glossary of Grammatical Terms” included in the front matter.
  2. There are links throughout, by section number, to Zerwick’s Biblical Greek, Illustrated by Examples (included in the Introduction to Biblical Greek Collection)

I’ll use 1Ti 2.3-7 as an example of the kind of stuff that “Max & Mary” offer, listing the Greek text (NA27) with the Lexham English Bible translation interspersed. I’ve also highlighted in bold all of the terms that are mentioned. The analysis will follow for each verse, broken out with one item per line.

3 τοῦτο καλὸν καὶ ἀπόδεκτον ἐνώπιον τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν θεοῦ,
3 This is good and acceptable before God our Savior,

3 ἀπόδεκτος (< ἀποδέχομαι welcome) welcome, pleasing.
σωτήρ 1:1

4 ὃς πάντας ἀνθρώπους θέλει σωθῆναι καὶ εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας ἐλθεῖν.
4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

4 σωθῆναι aor. inf. pass. σῴζω.
ἐπί-γνωσις knowledge.
ἐλθεῖν aor2 inf. ἔρχομαι.

5 Εἷς γὰρ θεός, εἷς καὶ μεσίτης θεοῦ καὶ ἀνθρώπων, ἄνθρωπος Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς,
5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and human beings, the man Christ Jesus,

5 εἷς…θεός there is one God.
μεσίτης mediator.

6 δοὺς ἑαυτὸν ἀντίλυτρον ὑπὲρ πάντων, τὸ μαρτύριον καιροῖς ἰδίοις.
6 who gave himself a ransom for all, the testimony at the proper time,

6 δούς aor2 ptc δίδωμι.
ἀντί-λυτρον ransom.
μαρτύριον evidence, testimony, i.e. to what has just been stated (v.4).
καιροῖς ἰδίοις at the proper time (time ordained by God).

7 εἰς ὃ ἐτέθην ἐγὼ κῆρυξ καὶ ἀπόστολος, ἀλήθειαν λέγω οὐ ψεύδομαι, διδάσκαλος ἐθνῶν ἐν πίστει καὶ ἀληθείᾳ.
7 for which I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am speaking the truth, I am not lyinga teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

7 εἰς ὅ to/for which.
ἐ-τέθην I was made, aor. pass. τίθημι appoint.
κῆρυξ -υκος ὁ herald, preacher.
ψεύδομαι lie, tell an untruth.
διδάσκαλος teacher.

Max Zerwick and Mary Grosvenor, A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1974-), 629.

The analysis is rather compact and brief, but it gives helpful information, including potentially difficult bits of parsing/declension and glosses. These can help when reading or when thinking through a passage. Also helpful is the separation of prefix (typically prepositional) and root; this can help one recognize a word that might otherwise be unfamiliar. Lastly, they give some help for irregular forms (e.g. κῆρυξ -υκος ὁ in v. 7).
Max & Mary don’t just do this for a book of the NT, or a particular author; they do it for the whole Greek New Testament. That means that anywhere you go in the New Testament—any passage you’re studying—you can get some help from Max & Mary.
While I am impressed with the helpful analysis, I think I’m most impressed by a few paragraphs in the preface (quoted below in their entirety) that discuss the reason the work exists, and the people it is intended to help:

But most important of all is the purpose to be served. It is hoped that this English revised edition in its turn will mean that the Greek text of the New Testament will not remain exclusively a tool on the desks of a decreasing number of specialists but will become a living power in the hands of theologians, of preachers of the Word, of directors of Bible discussion-circles, and finally in the hands of those who pray in private from the Word of God. This is the purpose to be served. May God bless everyone helping it.

The student who has little knowledge of Greek should bear in mind while using this book that it is by no means necessary to understand immediately everything explained in it. The principle of one thing at a time will serve him well. Many of the linguistic subtleties go beyond the needs of the beginner and are intended for the more advanced student, interested perhaps in the characteristics of Hellenistic Greek as contrasted with classical Greek.

A helpful feature of this work (and a justification of its size) is the fact that a student can begin using it at whatever point he likes, each chapter being self-sufficient and not presupposing explanations given in the previous chapters.

Max Zerwick and Mary Grosvenor, A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1974-), iii–iv.

Logos 4: Search While Typing

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Today’s post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos training seminars.

If you were a Libronix 3 user before moving up to Logos 4 you may have enjoyed a feature called Bible Speed Speech which automatically listed occurrences of your word or phrase even as you were typing. The good news is that the feature is in Logos 4; the name has just been changed to Search (while typing) Here’s how to use it:

  • Open the Search panel
  • Select Bible as the search type
  • Above the Find box click the drop down list called Search
  • Select Search (while typing) from the list
  • Select your desired passage range and Bible(s) from the other drop down lists
  • Type a word or phrase in the Find box
  • Notice the results are automatically displayed without clicking the Search arrow

Enjoy this automatic and instant concordance for any Bible in your Library!

Video Tutorial: Bible Reading Plan

Video Tutorial

Making sure that you provide yourself with regular time to read the Scriptures—or better yet, to let the Scriptures read you—is an important part of your daily walk. One of Logos’ goals is to ensure that you have the tools needed so your Bible reading doesn’t happen haphazardly. The Bible Reading Plan in Logos 4 is an important part of that toolbox.

Today’s video tutorial walks you through setting up your customizable reading plan. Once your reading plan is in place, it syncs across multiple platforms from your desktop, to your laptop, to your iPhone, even to Library.Logos.com. Staying on task in your Bible reading is within reach with the Bible Reading Plan.

Logos 4: Place Menu Features on the Shortcuts Bar

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Today’s post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos training seminars.

Do you find yourself going to same menu to open the same feature over and over again? If so, then you may want to take advantage of the Shortcuts bar, the empty section just to the right of the Command bar. There you can place icons to quickly open your favorite Logos features. Here’s all you do:

  • Choose one of the menus
  • Drag and drop a feature from the menu to the Shortcuts bar
  • Logos will automatically place an icon on the Shortcuts bar

Now just click the icon to open that feature!

Video Tutorial: The Home Page Passage Box

Video Tutorial

For years, Logos Bible Software has been providing Bible Software that makes studying the Bible as easy as entering a passage and clicking “Go!” Whether you are looking for insights into a verse, a biblical character, or a topic Bible study in Logos 4 is just that simple.

In today’s tutorial video, Morris Proctor shows you just how easy it is to find what you are looking for with the Home Page Passage Box.

Remember that you can access and watch tutorial videos anytime. You will be surprised at just how much more productive your Bible study can be by just investing time in these training tidbits.

Taking Advantage of Your Logos Account

signin

Your Logos.com account many great features in Logos. You already know that your account enables you to purchase and download packages and resources for Logos 4, as well as sync your Logos 4 settings and preferences across different machines and platforms, but that is only the beginning!

Your Logos account and mobile Bible study

When you use your Logos.com account with our free iPad/iPhone app you get access to 31 additional resources beyond the myriad of free Bibles from Bible.Logos.com which you get for simply turning on the app. Your Logos account allows you to access many of your resources from your Logos 4 package with the iPad/iPhone,* as well as sync your reading plans and bookmarks from your desktop or laptop.

If you have another phone or mobile browser your account works at library.Logos.com in much the same way as it does on the iPad, providing you access to 31 free resources, letting you use many of your Logos 4 resources* on the go, and syncing your reading plans and bookmarks.

Your Logos account and forum community

The Logos Forums are a great place to meet other users, get many of your questions answered by a community of knowledgeable and helpful users, and contribute your own ideas, tricks, and suggestions. While anyone can read the forums, signing in to your account allows you to do more than spectate—you get to be a part of the discussion.

When you click on the My Account button in the top right corner of Logos.com (screenshot) you are brought to your account’s control panel. The profile tab (screenshot) allows you to add information and links that others can see in your profile on the forum page. In fact, you can add or change the avatar associated with your account as well. (screenshot) My friend Thomas Black graciously allowed me to link to his profile as an example of what you see when you check out someone’s profile on the blog.

Your Logos account control panel

The account control panel doesn’t just let you change your profile information, it offers you a host of other great features as well. For instance, you can check out your previous purchases from the order history. (screenshot) Clicking on the Order # brings up your receipt for any of your purchases.

You can also follow the tabs to see your Pre-Pub orders (screenshot), your community pricing bids (screenshot), and manage your subscription to Bible Study Magazine.

Lastly, you can click the Mailing List tab and tailor your email updates to suit your interests. You can chose one or all of a number of categories to keep informed on the latest promotions, discounts, and information. Are you a Greek language enthusiast? Check the Greek Interest Group box and stay up-to-date on the latest information for Greek aficionados. Waiting anxiously for the official Logos Bible Software 4 release for the Mac? Choose the Mac Interest group and get updates right in your in-box. The Freebies, Contests, Giveways group lets you hear about new contests, giveaways, promotions, products and special discounts.With eight specific categories to choose from, you can make sure to hear the latest about the things that interest you most.

To access all of these great features you are signed in to make the most of your Logos experience. If you don’t have a Logos.com account yet, you can easily create one for free!

*Currently there are over 3,500 Logos Bible Software titles that will work on the iPad and the iPhone. More titles are being added regularly as we secure rights and convert titles.

Logos 4: Open Multiple Copies of the Same Resource

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Today’s post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos training seminars.

One of the advantages of Logos 4 e-books over their print counterparts is that you can open multiple copies of the same e-book. Here’s one way to open additional copies of a resource:

  • Open the desired book from the Library
  • Right-click on the tab of the open resource
  • From the right click menu select Open a copy in a new tab

With the new copy open you can now navigate to a different location in the resource or set it as your Cross Reference Lookup Bible!

Making Morphology Work for You

Alright, I’ll admit that I am a word nerd, especially when it comes to Greek conjunctions. These are the function words like “therefore” and “because” that tell you how to connect one statement with the one that follows. If you look at Dan Wallace’s description in Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, you’ll quickly see that there are a number of places where the Greek conjunctions don’t match up very well with a single English counterpart. This is where drilling down on the word can really pay some dividends.

I was asked recently about the different uses of γάρ, so I’ll illustrate with this. In the Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament, I claim that γάρ introduces something that strengthens or supports what precedes. Most of the memory verses we learn begin with “for” like John 3:16, Romans 3:23, Ephesians 2:8-9, the list could go on for a long time. If you run a Bible Word Study, the “Translation” portion of the report will quickly show you that γάρ is nearly always translated as “for”.

Clicking on any of the other words will pull up a list of those instances where γάρ was translated with something else. I clicked on “indeed” (screenshot), resulting in the list of the six instances where the ESV translated it this way. If I wanted to find out what other Greek words are translated as “for”, I just need to hover over the blue part of the ring labeled “for”.

Doing so give me all this information in a convenient pop-up. Another way to get the same information is to run a Bible Word Study report on “for”, it will give you the same information as the preview (screenshot). Another helpful way of getting at the same kind of information is to do a Morphology Search. All you need to do is click the “Search” tab, select “Morph” in the upper right corner, then select the text you want to search from the pull-down menu. I am using the Nestle-Aland 27th (NA27) with Logos morphology. This search will show me every occurrence of γάρ in the Greek NT. (screenshot)

In the upper right hand corner of the results window in one of my favorite Logos 4 features, a tool that has had a huge impact on how efficiently I can find what I am looking for—the “Analysis” tab. What this does is allow me to organize all of the results (1041 of them!) based on all of the different kinds of information that can be known about that word. Take a look. (screenshot)

All I need to do to reorganize the results by something other than the canonical order in which they occur is to grab one of the column headers and drag it to the space where the gray text indicates. I can organize by follows by dragging the “Next Context”, Louw-Nida sense, part of speech, or any other kind of information which is annotated to this word in this text. I want to show off a cool aspect of the Logos Morphology, so I’ll drag that over. The Logos Morph subdivides conjunctions based on the function that they perform in the text. The function in the context is one of the biggest determiners of how the word will be translated. (screenshot)

One last thing that really makes this report useful—the ability to hide results. This lets me see at a glance just how many times γάρ functions in one role versus another. All I need to do is click the arrow next to “adverbial causal” or any other heading to hide the detail. Here’s what I get:

I can learn from this that the primary function of γάρ is as an adverbial conjunction indicating cause, whereas the other major use is as an logical conjunction with an explanatory sense. If I do not know what exactly these terms mean, I can unhide the verses and take a look at the difference in one passage versus another. I was curious about when γάρ is considered a “particle” so I unhide them to see if I could find a pattern. (screenshot)

Everyone one of the occurs in a question introduced by τί or μή. This made me wonder if there were instances where these question words preceded γάρ where it was not considered a particle but a conjunction. All I need to do is drag the “Conjunction Sub-type” and “Part of Speech” off the header, and replace it with “Previous context.” Then I hide the results that I am not interested in to narrow down what I am looking at. (screenshot)

It turns out that there are quite a few I would have missed in the other view. Now I will grant you that I am a huge word nerd, but try fooling around with the “Analysis” view next time you do a search. If you are doing a Bible Word Study, try jumping off a cliff by copying and pasting the lemma into the Morph search, and analyzing the results. Who knows, you might find some of the wonderful benefits of being a word nerd!

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