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.

[Read more...]

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.

Examining Some Ambiguities I: James 4:5-6 in English Translations

In the home group Bible study that I’m in, we’re studying the epistle of James. We’re currently in James 4. While preparing for this week’s study, I noticed some interesting things going on in James 4:5-6. There are some ambiguities in James 4.5. This seemed like a good text to examine a bit further using some of the resources and reports found in Logos Bible Software (things that are in some collections, and some things that are supplemental).

First, the text of the ESV:

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”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”(Jas 4:5-6, ESV)

Seems pretty straightforward, huh? It actually isn’t. When reading the Greek in preparation for the study, I noticed a few things that are ambiguous. And these things are pretty noticeable when you compare English translations. So I made a video that shows how to do this.

The basic issues discussed in the video, as a result of examining English translations, set the stage for the balance of posts in this series. At present I hope for two more posts plus a summary/conclusion post, though that may change (likely be extended) as I write further posts.

So what are the issues we’ll look at?

  • Is it ‘spirit’ or ‘Spirit’ in James 4.5? That is, is it the Holy Spirit, or is it more along the lines of Genesis 2.7, the life breathed within us?
  • What is the subject of the quotation in verse 5? Is it:
    • God (also ‘He’)
    • Spirit (that is, the Holy Spirit)
    • spirit (that is, the human spirit, that of Ge 2.7)
  • Where does the quotation in v. 5 come from? (I’ve not discussed this yet, but it will come up in later posts).

Further posts will focus on using syntactic annotations, morphology, critical commentaries and syntax searching to look at this verse further.

All in all, I hope to show that there are features and resources that those who aren’t comfy with the original languages can use to think about these things and that there are other features and resources that those comfy with the original languages can use to examine these sorts of issues more fully.

Bible Speed Search Tips

A feature of Logos 3 that still draws the most oohs and aahs when I demo the software for people is also one of the simplest: Bible Speed Search. I think that’s because of how quick it is (it finds as you type) and how easy it is to figure out. In fact, many people use it much like they use Google: type one or two words and voila! there’s the thing you’re looking for.

Type the word “heaven,” for example, and Bible Speed Search instantly returns 701 hits in 661 verses in the English Standard Version Bible.


But just like Google’s advanced search features, much more is possible using Bible Speed Search. This post will cover a few of the most commonly used search refinements. A more detailed tutorial is available in the training article Exploring Libronix Searching or in the Help file on advanced searching within the software.

You’ll notice in the screenshot above that the first result is not heaven but heavens. What’s going on here? Bible Speed Search automatically looks for variations of the word you type: plural, -ed, -ing, and so on. Usually, that’s fine…but sometimes you really do want to find just the form of the word you typed. In other words, you want to turn off “stemming.”

In this case, use the “nostem” modifier to turn off stemming and find only the form you typed. In Logos, term modifiers like “nostem” are used with parentheses surrounding the search term, like this: nostem(heaven).


Now we see that heaven singular is used 491 times in the ESV. But what if I want to isolate instances of Heaven, singular and capitalized? The “exact” modifier comes to the rescue and Bible Speed Search returns only 7 hits. Using exact tells Logos to only return exact matches, no fooling around.

As you can see, only twice—once in Genesis and once in Daniel—is the word heaven capitalized in the ESV when it’s not at the beginning of a sentence. Significant? Perhaps not. But it would be interesting to know why translators gave those two instances alone the capital treatment.

What if I told you that Logos could very easily find every statement Jesus made about heaven? In a sense, it can.

When Logos data geeks (I mean, book designers) create an electronic edition of a book, they rarely throw anything away. In fact, they even save the red letters that indicate the words of Christ in many Bible versions. Cooler yet, they encode these red letters as invisible “fields” that can be specified in a search.

Field searches use a colon instead of parentheses to separate the two components of the search. The Words of Christ field is WordsOfChrist or WOC for short. So a speed search to find out what Jesus says about heaven looks like: woc:heaven. Pretty simple, huh?

(For a list of fields available within any given book, open the book and click Help | About This Resource. See the training article Exploring Logos Searching for more details.)


As I look through the search results showing all the verses where Jesus uses the word heaven, I notice that the phrase “kingdom of heaven” appears rather frequently. I’ll go ahead and type kingdom of heaven in the search box.


OK, clearly this is not what I want. When I type more than one word in the search box, Logos looks for verses that contain all the words I typed. It’s as if I said, “Find verses that contain kingdom and of and heaven…in any order.”

This is called “natural language syntax” and mimics the behavior of the web search engines we use everyday. Again, much like a web search engine, if you want to search for a phrase use quotes.

Here’s what a search for “kingdom of heaven” returns:


As it turns out, the phrase “kingdom of heaven” appears only in Matthew, appears 32 times, and appears twice in one verse: Matthew 5:19.

We’ve really only touched the tip of the iceberg. To find out more about advanced searching, including lists of available modifiers and operators, see the Advanced Searching section of the Libronix DLS help file.

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.

Seeing Double? Eliminate Duplicate Books in Your Library

A recent commenter here on the blog expressed frustration at having duplicate books that clutter up My Library and hog space on his hard drive. Jonathan Pratt wrote,

One problem is that every series that I install comes with its own set of reference materials – typically a few versions of the Bible and a single volume commentary or two, perhaps some other stuff. Well I have lots of copies of (say) the authorized version of the Bible. Because each has a slightly different name [e.g "Authorized version", or "Bible - AV"] they are all installed (copied to my hard drive) and show up all over the place in My Library.

Last time I checked the Libronix repository was nearly 6GB in size – I know because I tried to back it up but I can’t fit it all on a single (single layer) DVD. I don’t know for sure, but maybe I could if I could somehow choose to delete/expunge books that I know are duplicates. Libronix itself doesn’t seem to be able to do that…

Let’s address these in order. First, you can rest easy knowing that it’s extremely unlikely that you have multiple copies of the same book.

Say you buy two products that both contain the KJV Bible. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean two copies of the KJV book file will end up on your drive. During installation, Libronix DLS compares the files on your hard drive with what’s on the disc you’re installing. If a file on disc is newer, it will overwrite what’s on your hard drive. If not, Libronix skips it and moves on.

Acouple of caveats are worthy of mention, however, and one of them is to blame for making Jonathan think there are duplicate files all over his hard drive.

Eliminate Duplicate Titles in My Library

When you open My Library, you may notice that many books are listed multiple times.

Titles 2, 3, 4 and 6 in this screenshot are all the same book. Why this duplication? Many books include multiple titles to allow for different ways of finding the book (e.g., AV, authorized, king james, kjv, etc).

Admittedly, with all these duplicate and sometimes triplicate titles it can be hard to find what you are looking for…and confusing to know when items with similar titles really are different books.The Cambridge Paragraph Bible of the Authorized English Version really is a different version of the KJV…not the same file at all!

To help reduce this confusion, we give you the option to display only the primary title of each book in My Library. Here’s how to set your preference:

  1. Go to Tools | Options | General
  2. On the left side of the Options window, click the Interface tab.
  3. Check the option “Use Only Primary Resource Titles in My Library” and click OK.

Now go back to My Library and you will only see one title for each book.

Ahhh…much better. Truth is, this is one of the first preferences I set when I install Logos on a new machine. And there’s really no downside…I can still type KJV in the find box and the King James Version will appear in the list.

Eliminate Duplicate Files from Your Hard Drive(s)

Most users copy all their Libronix book files to the default location on their hard drive and so never accumulate duplicate files. But the intrepid user among us may have set up multiple book caches, perhaps on more than one hard drive, and maybe even a network drive. As a result, this user—let’s call him a “Power User”—may have built up some duplicate book files on his hard drives.

If you fall into this category and feel the need to identify and eliminate those pesky dupes, you’ll want to install the free Power Tools Addin and use the Remove Duplicate Resources report therein.

After installing the addin, read through the help filejust to make sure you understand how the tool works and what it’s doing.The process is mostly automated anddeleted book files end up in your Recycle Bin, so the damage can be undone at any rate.

Wrapping It Up

To wrap things up in a neat little bundle…Libronix is probably not junking up your hard drive with duplicate book files. But you can always run the Remove Duplicate Resources report just to be sure. And by telling My Library to show only primary book titles, you can eliminate any remaining feelings of clutter that may still disturb your tranquility.

If you shared some of Jonathan’s questions and concerns at the beginning of this post, you should now sleep a little better tonight.

Active Bible Reference Visual Filter

In a post awhile back, I mentioned something called the Active Bible Reference visual filter.
This is one of those things best seen. So I made a video to show how it works. Check it out.

Same Note in Different Books

As you may already know, the Morris Proctor Tips & Tricks Blogoffers two new tips every week for getting the most out of Logos Bible Software (learn more).

User David Bergquist posed the following question on a recent post at the Tips blog:

Is there a way to have one note show up in two places, for instance at a Bible verse and also in another book? I know one could make two copies of the same note, but is there a way to avoid making duplicate notes to have it show up in different books?

Here’s my response, with the addition of a couple of illustrative screenshots:

David, you can create a system-wide note that’s attached to a Bible verse. Then your note will show up in any book organized by Bible verse (e.g., Bibles and commentaries)!

To do this, right-click in a Bible or commentary and choose Add a Note | [desired note file] | Add a Note to [verse].

Voila! Now when you’re reading any Bible version, commentary, or other book organized by verse (e.g., The New Manners and Customs of the Bible)you can just click the yellow note icon to open and edit the note. Or hover the mouse over the note icon to preview your note right where you are.

Getting You from Point A to Point B

Guest bloggers Johnny Cisneros and Steve Runge pull back the curtain on a new addin coming soon from the Logos “skunk works.”

Many of us know that we have the resources within Logos to do good exegesis. However, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the process. You may not know where to start or where to end a study. How can you make sure that you’ve made the most of the resources available to you within your digital library? A new feature will assist users, veteran and new alike, with just that.

The Study Tools addin will guide you through the process of Bible study from exegesis to application. This helpful addin ties together many of the powerful tools in Logos into one convenient template. Such a template provides an organized structure to guide you through each step of exegesis. It saves you time by creating links to a variety of Bible tools pertaining to each one of the steps. It conveniently provides you with the ability to make your own notes as you go. The template is especially useful for sermon preparation. Outlines can be prepared under the ‘Application’ section of the template.


Screenshot of a study document (beta version, subject to change)

The Study Tools addin offers something for everyone. Existing users will find a new way to utilize the powerful resources within Logos in their study and sermon preparation. New users will find a way to become familiar with the many resources available in Logos.

Update 2/13 – If you can’t wait to try out the addin, you can download a beta version that unlocks the Study Tools addin for a limited time. Once you have it installed, create a new study document via the File | New menu. Please route your feedback on the addin to the beta newsgroup.