Adding RefTagger to a Joomla! Site

Joomla! is one of the the most popular Content Management System software. It’s a great choice for church and ministry websites, and I’ve seen many build some sharp sites with it.

Setting up RefTagger on a Joomla! site is quite easy.

There are the simple steps to getting it up and running in no time:

  1. Log in to your admin panel (http://yoursite.com/administrator/).
  2. Hover over the “Extensions” tab and click “Template Manager.”
  3. Click on the name of the template that you are using. The default with Joomla! 1.5.2 is “rhuk_milkyway.”
  4. Click the “Edit HTML” button at the top right.
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the code and paste in the customizable RefTagger code from the RefTagger page right before the </body> tag.

That’s it! RefTagger is now working on your entire Joomla! site!

Is my investment in e-books safe?

A potential customer emailed me his concerns about investing in an electronic library:

“I have had the desire to invest in an electronic library, but I am terrified of investing all of this money into one and then losing my money’s worth because new computers will not be able to read them. How does Logos deal with this? Will my grandchildren be able to use my electronic library?”

This is a fear we hear regularly, but one that quickly goes away once we explain how Logos licenses the content, not the file-format.

It’s true that digital data can be lost if it is not constantly migrated to new storage media and kept in up-to-date or easily parsed formats. Paper books can be lost, too — just look at New Orleans and the libraries lost to flooding and mold.

The key issue is, who is ensuring your continued access? With paper it’s you — you have to keep it dry and away from fire, and you have to be willing to store and move it. (Most books are “lost” when people don’t want to move them yet again.)

I can’t make guarantees about the future; nobody can. But in Logos’ case, we’ve got a 17 year track record, we’re a strong business, and we’ve honored users licenses to the electronic books through various format, media, and operating system changes for more than a dozen years. That’s a pretty good record.

Moreover, what we sell you is the license to the book, NOT the digital file. When we change formats (which we’ve done) you don’t have to re-acquire a license. When music went from vinyl records to cassettes to CD’s, you had to re-purchase the album each time. But we aren’t selling you “today’s format” — we’re selling an electronic license. With Logos, it’s as if you’re provided the song free on cassette, CD, and then digital download, all because of your original vinyl purchase.

Can you loan the book, and can your grandchildren have it [see the clarification below]? No. But not because of the electronic format. It’s because we offer a really good price in exchange for licensing to one user. We sell our electronic books (in collections) at a huge discount from list price.

The big question is, what is your goal? To have beautiful books on your shelf that you can pass as heirlooms to your descendents, or to get convenient, useful access to a large library of content with a powerful set of tools for searching and reports?

I can “acquire a movie” in several ways: $9 at the theater, $1.99 VHS rental later, $29.95 to own the DVD, or (maybe) hundreds of dollars to acquire a film print. Each format has strengths and weaknesses. The theater experience is the best way to see it, but when it’s over, it’s over. The rental lets me rewind and pause and watch it a few times, but it’s on a small screen and later in the release cycle. The DVD is also on my home screen, costs more, and might still go obsolete years down the road. The film is physically simple — shine light through the film to project — and actually the “safest” format to ensure my descendents can watch it, but it’s more expensive, more awkward, etc.

The biggest risk with our electronic books is that we go out of business and then, some years later, computers change in a way that doesn’t let you run our software. We intend, of course, to stay in business, and (to the best of our knowledge) we’re the largest and strongest player in Bible software. But still, A) virtualization technology will probably ensure the ability to run this generation of applications for a long time and B) we have a large enough customer base that even in a bankruptcy someone would probably acquire and retain our product line and/or customer relationships.

So is your investment in e-books a safe bet? I believe so. Plus, it’s easier on the back when it’s time to move your library.

Haddon Robinson and Discourse Grammar, Part 1

Today’s guest post is from Dr. Steve Runge, a scholar-in-residence at Logos Bible Software and author of the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament and Lexham High Definition New Testament.

I have been reading through one of my seminary textbooks, the first edition of Robinson’s Biblical Preaching. The more I read, the more I was struck by how closely his approach to exegesis matched up with the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament and the High Definition New Testament. Grammar professors are usually interested in the detail, the specifics of the words. The homiletics profs focus on the ‘big idea’, i.e. how the smaller parts contribute to the whole. The hard part is synthesizing these two elements.

This synthesis is captured in Robinson’s Stage 3 of preparation, after the lexicons, dictionaries and commentaries have been consulted. He states, “As you study the passage, relate the parts to each other to determine the exegetical idea and its development” (p. 66). What is interesting is that while he lists eight different kinds of resources to help you through your study Stage 2, he does not list any for Stage 3. Apparently, you’re on your own.

The core part of Stage 3 is identifying what Robinson calls the Subject and the Complement. The Subject “accurately describes what the author is talking about” (p. 67). Complements “complete the subject and make it into an idea” (p. 67). In other words, any given passage is made up of subjects, to which complements are added. The most important part of identifying these elements, says Robinson, is understanding the structure of the passage. If the structure is understood, then the flow of thought or reasoning can be accurately discerned and communicated. This is accomplished by developing what he calls a ‘mechanical layout’, essentially a block diagram that charts the flow of the text.

Such a layout points up the relationship of the dependent clauses to the independent clauses. . . . Either a diagram or a mechanical layout brings analysis and synthesis together so that the major idea of a passage is separated from its supporting material. (68)

Here is the sample of his mechanical layout from Appendix 2 of the first edition. It is not included in the second edition.

http://www.logos.com/media/blog/robinson-layout.png

Now let’s shift gears and take a look at what is found in the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament. It provides the same kind of block outline for the entire New Testament as seen in Robinson’s layout.

http://www.logos.com/media/blog/LDGNT-eph4.11-13.png

The independent clauses can be differentiated from the dependent ones by the labels in the left column, by the indenting, and by the discourse annotations like backgrounding (e.g. Text).

http://www.logos.com/media/blog/LDGNT-eph4.16.png

Where the Greek writer uses special devices to highlight that something is part of Robinson’s Subject, the LDGNT annotates this as a frame of reference (e.g. [TP Text TP]). Some frames of reference introduce topics, others introduce information that helps you relate what follows to the preceding text. Either way, they are clearly marked to avoid confusing them with Robinson’s Complement. Greek writers also used special devices to emphasize the most important part of the Complement. This too is indicated for you using bolding.

The LDGNT was intentionally developed for preachers and teachers. It includes many other devices that help you identify where the writers highlight key themes, or highlight significant connections between ideas, and much more. We felt like this information was so important that it had to get into the hands of folks without training in Greek. This resulted in a slightly simplified version called the Lexham High Definition New Testament: ESV Edition.

http://www.logos.com/media/blog/HDNT-eph4.11-16.png

Check out the videos for the HDNT and LDGNT to learn more about each resource.

Those of you who already have the LDGNT will be excited to hear about a forthcoming resource I’ve been working on: Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament: A Practical Introduction to Discourse Features for Teaching and Exegesis. This text introduces the discourse concepts annotated in the LDGNT, starting with how standard Greek grammars like BDF, Robertson, Wallace and Porter treat them. Keep an eye out for it on the Pre-Pub page.

Understanding Radical Islam

Today’s guest blogger is Adam Navarrete, who works in the marketing department here at Logos.

I want to thank everyone that came out to our last lecture with Arnold Fruchtenbaum—it was a packed house! Can you believe that it’s time for another lecture already? I am really excited about this lecture as I have heard nothing but great things about Professor Zylstra—and the topic looks to be quite interesting: “Understanding Radical Islam.”

About the Lecture

Many people in Western democracies know little about Islam, especially the beliefs of some of its minority groups. Professor Clarence Zylstra of Whatcom Community College has taught political science and history for over thirty years. In this lecture, professor Zylstra focuses on the beginnings of Islam, its historical radicalization, and how Islamic eschatology is a driving force behind the Islamo-fascism mounting a threat to the West today.

About This Month’s Speaker

Professor Clarence Zylstra was born in Holland in 1930 and lived there through World War II and the Nazi occupation. In 1948 he immigrated to the United States. He served in the U.S. Army as a linguist from 1951 to 1952. Following his discharge he became a dairy farmer in Everson and student at Western Washington University. Upon obtaining a master’s degree in Economics, History and Political Science, he became an instructor at Whatcom Community College where he has taught for more than 30 years.

Event Details

  • Title: “Understanding Radical Islam”
  • Speaker: Professor Clarence Zylstra
  • Date: Monday, October 27
  • Time: 7:00 PM
  • Location: Mount Baker Theatre in Bellingham, Washington
  • Cost: Admission is free!

There’s just one lecture left before 2009! Check the lecture page for updated information.

Hope to see you there on Monday night!

People behind the Product

I’m a people person. Maybe it comes from my years as a college pastor, but I really love to just sit down and hear people’s stories. Finding out the little (and big) things in people’s lives makes me appreciate them at a level that is deeper than the passing, “Hey, how ya doing? Nice weather today, huh?”

So, as a new employee at Logos, I’ve enjoyed getting the chance to meet lots of new people. It got me thinking that maybe some of you would like to meet them as well. I mean, sure, knowing that the VP of marketing is a die hard Flyers fan and top-notch ping pong player or that most of the customer service department has a Nerf gun at their desk won’t help you with your Anderson-Forbes syntax resources or getting more out of your Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary but it might help you get to know some of the people who help make Logos more than just a software company.

With that in mind, we’re going to start a regular feature on the Logos blog that will introduce you to some of the people behind Logos Bible Software. From kite surfers to PhDs, you’ll get a chance to see Logos from a whole new angle. We hope you enjoy it.

For our first video I want to introduce you to Deborah. Deborah is a member of our customer service department and has been with Logos for a little over a year. Here is some footage from when I stopped by her desk the other day.

Logo, Logo’s, and Logos

If you’ve watched our company video or talked with us on the phone multiple times, you’re probably aware of the various ways we pronounce our name. Some say Lŏgŏs, others say Lōgōs, and a few say Lōgŏs.

Which is it? As Eli so aptly put it, “It doesn’t matter how you say it. It’s Lōgōs, Lŏgŏs, Lōgŏs. It’s all good.”

Take the poll and let us know how you say it.

Logos Bible Software LogoThere are two other variations of our name that I’ve come across several times lately—not in pronunciation, but in spelling: Logo’s Bible Software and Logo Bible Software. Both of these assume that the first word in our name has something to do with a logo (i.e., “a symbol or emblem that acts as a trademark or a means of identification of an institution or other entity”).

It’s easy to understand why people would think this since logo is a very common English word, and our name comes from a Greek word that may be unfamiliar to many.

If it’s still Greek to you, then now’s your chance to learn a little about the Greek word λόγος (i.e., logos)—and the meaning behind our name.

Λόγος is a noun that occurs 330 times in the Greek New Testament. It’s most basic meaning is “word,” “speech,” “utterance,” or “message.” It’s used of Jesus as the Word (i.e., Jn 1:1, 14; Rev 19:13). It’s also used to refer to the Bible or some portion of the Bible as the Word of God (e.g., Mt 15:6; Lk 5:1; 8:21; 11:28; Jn 10:35-36; Ac 6:2, 7; Heb 13:7). Commonly it has specifically in view the preeminent word or message from God, namely the gospel (e.g., 1 Thes 1:5-6, 8).

So that’s what the Logos in Logos Bible Software is all about—the Word of God.

Pastor Appreciation Month Specials!

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Pastors, since you are such an important part of our user base, we want to show our appreciation by giving you something for free and offering you discounted pricing on many of our best collections.

For the rest of the month, you can download the Sermon File Addin at no charge. No coupon codes necessary. Just visit the product page and place your order for the downloadable version.

We invite you to download it and give it a try—and spread the word to other pastors. Check out the video below to learn more about this powerful tool.


After you download it, be sure to watch the five tutorial videos at the bottom of the product page.

If you already have the Sermon File Addin, we want to show our appreciation to you as well! We’re offering discounted pricing on these 16 collections. Just use coupon code PAM2008 to see the special savings in your shopping cart.

If you’re not a pastor, why not show your pastor how much you appreciate him by buying him one of our base packages. Save 25% off with coupon code BLESSING. And then tell your pastor how he can get the Sermon File Addin for free by sending this post to him.

Update: The Sermon File Addin offer has expired.

Hands-on First Look at Bible Study Magazine

The first ten copies of Bible Study Magazine arrived in the office on Friday. We’re thrilled with the finished product—and think you will be as well.

Watch associate editor, John Barry, give a quick hands-on overview.

If you’ve already subscribed, you should be getting yours in your mailbox very soon. For the rest of you, it’s not too late to subscribe.

5 New Collections from Canon Press

We’re excited to be able to make available on Pre-Pub 41 books in five collections from our new friends at Canon Press.

Douglas Wilson Collection (17 Vols.)These collections cover a wide range of biblical, theological, and practical issues and are sure to be of help to average Christians, pastors, and scholars alike.

Canon Press is one of the literature ministries of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, which is pastored by Douglas Wilson, a theologian and prolific author—both in print and on his popular Blog and Mablog.

Wilson is also a powerful apologist in the tradition of Cornelius Van Til. I thoroughly enjoyed the six-part debate with atheist Christopher Hitchens hosted by ChristianityToday.com in June of 2007, “Is Christianity Good for the World?

Adding RefTagger to a vBulletin Site

vBulletin Forum Software from JelsoftvBulletin is perhaps the most popular forum software on the market. If you’ve been to a forum site, chances are you’ve been to a vBulletin site.

Do you administer or moderate a vBulletin site that has biblical content? Why not add RefTagger? Your site will instantly become much more useful for your readers, and the immediate access to the Bible will no doubt have positive effects on your site.

Here are several possible benefits to consider.

RefTagger . . .

  • promotes citing the Bible more carefully.
  • encourages citing the Bible more frequently.
  • makes reading the Bible easier.
  • keeps people at your site longer.

TheologyOnline is a nice example of how RefTagger can really enhance a forum site.

By following these brief steps, you can have RefTagger up and running on your site in just a couple of minutes.

  1. Log in and navigate to your admin control panel (e.g., http://www.yoursite.com/forums/admin/).
  2. Click on “Styles & Templates” in the left column to expand it, and then click on “Style Manager.”
  3. Locate your style in the list (i.e., the one with the checkbox checked), and choose “Edit Templates” from the dropdown box.
  4. Locate the “footer” template in the list on the left, click on it, and then click “Edit” under “Controls.”
  5. Scroll to the very bottom, paste in the customizable RefTagger code, and click “Save.”

That’s it. Your Bible references are now interactive and far more usable for your readers.

If you frequent a forum site that still has plain old bare Bible references, perhaps it’s about time to contact a moderator or the site administrator and let them know about RefTagger.

Get more help setting RefTagger up on your site at the tutorial section of the RefTagger page.