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.

Continue Reading…

Seminary Scholarship Winner

Rebecca.jpgCongratulations to Rebecca S., the recipient of our most recent $1,000.00 Seminary Scholarship. Rebecca is currently a part time student at Luther Seminary, enrolled in their distance education program. This coming fall, she’ll be moving to St. Paul, MN, to attend Luther Seminary full time.
As the winner of the scholarship, Rebecca received a $1,000.00 tuition scholarship and a copy of Logos Scholar’s Library.
We are currently taking new application for our next scholarship, which will be awarded on August 10th, 2010. If you are a seminary student, please head over and apply today.
What about Bible College students?
If you’re currently working on your undergraduate degree at a Christian or Bible College, then you should apply for our Bible College Scholarship. Like our seminary scholarship, three times a year we give one student a $1,000.00 tuition scholarship plus a copy of the Logos Scholar’s Library. To learn more, and apply, visit www.BibleCollegeScholarship.com.
Increase your odds of wining the scholarship!
Unlike most scholarship where you don’t want a lot of people to apply because it decreases your chances of winning, the opposite is true with our Seminary and Bible College Scholarships. After you have applied, tell all your friends to apply and to enter your name in the “How’d you hear about this scholarship” section of the application. If the scholarship winner has entered your name, you BOTH win the scholarship! So, the more people who apply and enter your name as the one who referred them, the more chances you have to win $1,000.00 for tuition and a copy of the Logos Scholar’s Library.
Seminary students, apply here:

Bible College students, apply here:

Biblical Languages and Bible Software

Today’s guest post is from Johnny Cisneros, Product Manager for Systematic Theology, and co-instructor of Learn to Use Greek and Hebrew with Logos Bible Software.

Moving from Digital Crutch to Digital Tool

Greek

When I was taking Greek and Hebrew, professors and teaching assistants continually warned us, “Don’t rely on Bible software to help you because it will become a crutch.”

They said that with good reason. The whole point of the language course was to be able to read the Greek New Testament or Hebrew Bible at sight (i.e. with little or no help from a parsing guide or lexicon).

In order to reach that goal, we spent the first year memorizing paradigms, vocabulary, grammatical terms and constructions, and doing basic translation. Weekly assignments could take anywhere from three to nine hours to complete. This went on for about twenty weeks.

I still have fond memories of sitting at a local coffee shop, filling out a custom made spreadsheet for Greek verb paradigms. I even bought a whiteboard for home so I could write out Hebrew verb paradigms first thing in the morning (crazy, I know). Each paradigm memorized was like another trophy earned.

But I learned that not every student felt the way I did. Not every student wanted to get involved in scholarship. Not every student made their own paradigm spreadsheets. At some point during the first year, they lost heart—unable to see the payoff. Faculty encouraged students to persevere with the promise that in the second year they would see that value of what they had learned.

But in first year, when the goal is identify everything word, form, and construction by sight, is software a crutch?

Yes.

So how can we call our software a tool?

Simple. We changed the goal.

Our goal in Learn to Use Greek and Hebrew with Logos Bible Software is not for you to sight read the Greek NT or the Hebrew Bible without the helps. Instead, it’s to understand how to use the helps for interpreting the Bible. Do we still require you to be able to accurately identify the form of a particular word? Absolutely! But we don’t make you memorize a chart; we use our Visual Filter technology. After all, the inability to recognize liquid aorist verb at sight is not what makes a preacher “dangerous” with the biblical languages; it is being uninformed as to how the aorist tense works.

In Learn to Use Greek and Hebrew with Logos Bible Software we introduce you to the grammatical concepts of a second year course, bypassing the paradigm chart and vocabulary that are supposed to be memorized in the first year. We show you how those concepts connect to English Bible translations, comparing their interpretations of the Greek and Hebrew. We open up commentaries that make use of the original languages so that you can get more value out of your library. And we demonstrate how you can apply those concepts to our original language tools and databases, the majority of which are unique to Logos Bible Software. Finally, we include principles for interpretation so that you can avoid some of the common mistakes.

Not only are these objectives more relevant for a teaching ministry, but the approach is sustainable in ministry.

So whether you are a student, pastor, or professor, there is something here for everyone. Order your copy of Learn to Use Greek and Hebrew with Logos Bible Software today and move from digital crutch to digital tool.

Releasing the Potential of Logos 4

LogosEngine

The word potential comes from the Latin potentia meaning power. Potential literally means “that which is possible” and is used to represent the untapped power and resources available in almost anything.

There are appropriate times to get excited about potential. When you send your child off to college, are researching a new business endeavor, or buying an engine for your new muscle car you are thinking of all the power that you hope to see released. There comes a time, however, when you would like to see that potential realized, in many instances, power that is left untapped represents lost opportunity.

Logos Bible Software is a powder keg of potential for your Bible study and we want to make sure that you release as much of that power as you possibly can. We do not want the potential for dynamic study to remain dormant and unused.

There are so many venues available to help you release the power within your Logos 4 resources!

  • Support articles: If you encounter a question or problem, there is a wealth of great information here. There are FAQs, training articles, and answers for known issues.
  • Training Videos: Here you will find literally hours of great instructional videos created in-house, by Camp Logos Instructor Morris Proctor, as well as many user-created videos!
  • Logos Bible Software Forums: There is so much great advice and information on our user forums. With the forums search feature, you can access the thousands of threads already available to help answer important questions or give you ideas on how to get the most out of a feature. But don’t stop there, you can easily sign up to ask specific questions, start your own discussions, or help others get the most out of their study.
  • Logos 4 Bible Software Training Manual Volume 1 and Volume 2: Written and compiled by certified and authorized trainer Morris Proctor, these manuals provide clear, easy to follow instructions to help you master Logos 4!

One tool that should be highlighted is found right inside Logos 4 itself. The question mark in the upper right hand corner of the tool bar or using the keyboard shortcut Alt+P opens up the drop-down Help menu. The Help menu allows you to access audio tutorials explaining the screen you have open, as well as the Logos Bible Software Help section offering hundreds of tips to get the most out of Logos 4′s many tools and features!

As you can see, the pieces are all there for you to use Logos 4 as a Bible study powerhouse. We are continually striving to provide you the most innovative and powerful Bible software in the world and it is up to you to release the potential of vigorous Bible study into your life.

Logos 4: Read Your Own Highlights

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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.

Normally when I read a print book, I read with a highlighter in handto mark those things I deem important. After finishing the book, I skim back through it, reading only the highlights to reinforce them in my mind. Did you realize you can do the same thing with Logos Bible Software 4? Here’s how:

  • Open and read a Logos book
  • From the Tools menu use the Highlighting feature to mark up the resource

Now read back through just the highlights:

  • Choose the resources Panel menu
  • Select Show locator bar (keboard shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+L)
  • Click the small triangle next to the word Article on the right side of the Locator bar
  • From the drop down list select Highlight

Now use the Up (Previous) and Down (Next) arrows on the right side of the Locator bar to jump to the Previous or Next highlight! It’s like reading your own CliffsNotes!

Learn to Use Biblical Greek and Hebrew with Logos

During the past few months, we’ve been hard at work on Learn to Use Biblical Greek and Hebrew with Logos Bible Software, a complete video introduction to using Logos Bible Software for learning and studying the Bible in the original languages. We’re almost finished with the series, and we plan to ship in just a few days.

A few days ago, Mike and Johnny—the two instructors in the videos—sat down to talk about the project. You can view their conversation below.

If you’ve got a little more time, be sure to check out some of the additional footage and sample videos posted on the product page.

Remember, Learn to Use Biblical Greek and Hebrew with Logos Bible Software ships in just a few days. The price will jump to $499.95 next week, so make sure you pre-order it today for $159.95 while you still can.

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.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game: Logos Lexicons

If you’ve ever visited the Pacific Northwest it is quite possible you’ve heard the saying, "If it’s not raining, just wait 10 minutes." As such, living here makes it hard not to want to be outside the moment you see a sun beam or a sliver of blue sky peeking through the clouds.

Wanting to take advantage of extended summer daylight hours and of interim good weather, John Barry, Editor of Bible Study Magazine, and Johnny Cisneros, Product Manager for Systematic Theology and co-instructor of Learn to Use Greek and Hebrew with Logos Bible Software, have taken up co-managing the Logos Lexicons, Logos’ first ever co-ed softball team.

The Logos Lexicons’ unofficial team motto is: From Software to Softball, We’re Redefining the Game

Games are played every Friday and Sunday evening at the Frank Geri Fields in the Civic Fields Athletic Complex, so if you live in the area or are visiting Bellingham this summer and want to catch a Lexicons game, come join us, we’d love to meet you! Those who are planning on attending the free Greek Discourse Workshop, National Camp Logos, or Camp Logos: Alaskan Cruise 2010, come out and join us Friday evening, June 11th. Game time is at 7:20 PM on Field #1.

Here’s what you can expect to see:

Photos courtesy of Sarah Knepper in our graphic design and marketing department.

If softball is not your thing, then consider showing your support for what John and Johnny are doing off the field. Pre-order John Barry’s first book, The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah, or Johnny’s Learn to Use Greek and Hebrew with Logos Bible Software.

And to support both of them at once, consider subscribing or re-subscribing to Bible Study Magazine. Then, give them a "good game coach," or a quasi-high-five by leaving a comment below.

Logos 4: Display Bible Text in List Form

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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.

You’ve probably noticed that most Bibles are printed in paragraph form. This is great for reading, but when you’re studying the Bible verse-by-verse, those little verse numbers are sometimes hard to find. No worries. Logos allows us to display a Bible in list form with each verse starting on a separate line.

  • Open a Bible to a desired location
  • Click the Visual Filters icon (three circles) on the Bible’s toolbar
  • Select Bible Text Only

Instantly the Bible transitions to list form! This makes verse by verse study much easier.

Please take note, though, that in Bible Text Only mode, the cross references also disappear. In Bible Text Only mode, the emphasis is on verses only!