Eliminating Bible Study Obstacles

Tools like the Passage Guide, Exegetical Guide, and Bible Word Study Guide search a huge digital library and return neatly organized reports that kick-start your Bible study. From nothing more than a verse, or the name of a Bible story, or a single word, these reports generate both visual and textual overviews that link deeply into your Bible reference library.

These reports eliminate obstacles to Bible study because they are more than just simple search tools. They not only save time, they answer the question “Where do I start?” Each report is designed to facilitate a specific step in Bible study, and it has embedded in it specialized knowledge about the process and books involved.

Logos Bible Software also features specialized tools like a Bible Reading Scheduler and a Prayer List manager. Like the automated reports, these tools are time savers that eliminate paper handling and help users get into the Word.

The sheer bulk and weight of paper Bible reference books is another paper handling obstacle. It can keep people from following a cross reference, checking a source, or digging a little deeper on a topic.

I have visited many pastors and professors in their offices, and the one thing found in every office is a lot of books. It is fascinating to see the breadth and depth of many of these collections, often neatly organized and cataloged. But it is also interesting to see that within nearly all of these large collections there is a much smaller collection: “books I use all the time”. This handful of books can usually be found on the shelf directly behind the chair, just below sitting eye-height. (If those books aren’t already strewn across the desk.)

Because no matter the breadth or depth of interest or scholarship, very few people have the time to regularly find and consult even the hand-picked books in their personal library. And even less time to visit a bookstore or physical library for the obscure titles they find referenced in every footnote and bibliography they encounter during their study, no matter how useful they might be.

Electronic resources are easier to use. And when resources are easier to use, they get used more often. We want to free our users to consult their whole library regularly – not just the books they can reach from their chair.

We also want to make available as much source material as possible. Everyone may not want to check textual readings in the papyri, consult Josephus in the Greek, or search for parallels in the Ugaritic literature. But having access to the early sources (in the original languages and scripts, as well as in transliteration and translation) is necessary in order to do so. Ready access to these sources is useful for less scholarly users as well. It allows them to check citations, to read and explore on their own, and to gain confidence in the integrity of our historical understanding.

Logos Bible Software offers a massive digital library. But we aren’t adding titles to win some book count competition. We simply want to make the books in your library easier to use. We want to make it easier for everyone to consult source material. And in doing so, we eliminate even more obstacles to better, deeper Bible study.

What is Logos Bible Software?

I recently returned from the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature. Once again I had a great time meeting and talking with so many of our users as well as many students, pastors, scholars (and pastor-scholars!) who are looking for new resources.

It was interesting to see how different people have different impressions of Logos Bible Software. Some only know it as the software they use to access a single electronic book, like the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary. Some see it as a specialized Bible search engine, particularly if they only discovered it in the context of our new Hebrew and Greek syntax databases. Others see Logos as nothing more than a huge bucket-o-books, an overstuffed electronic library with a search feature.

The Libronix Digital Library System, the technology underneath Logos Bible Software, is not a single piece of software. It is more like a box of software parts that can be assembled in various ways – like digital Lego bricks, if you will. It can function as a search-and-display tool for a single book or as host for multiple document editors and specialized search engines. This modularity lets us deliver exactly the right tool for many different users. It is the right tool for the devotional user who wants just a Bible and commentary. And it is the right tool for the scholar who only wants to run complex queries on ancient language texts.

The modular architecture is a great asset. But it can make it hard to see the big picture of what Logos Bible Software really is.

Logos Bible Software is an obstacle eliminator for Bible study. It is a combination of technology and resources designed to eliminate every bit of time-consuming paper handling that could get in the way of Bible study.

The Bible is the Word of God. We believe that it should be at the center of every Christian’s walk, and that it speaks powerfully to the hearts and minds of unbelievers. But we can’t make people study it. We can take away excuses for not studying it, though. We can make Bible study easier to begin. We can remove every impediment of page turning and paper handling. We can make digging deeper irresistibly easy.

Back in 1991, the very first Logos t-shirt design consisted of our logo and the phrase “Get into the Word!” in large, red type. Fifteen years later we are still building tools to help you do just that.

What’s with all the crock-pot photos?

Crock Pot

There is a hidden message in all the photos of crock-pots you see on the Logos Blog.

Everyone understands why we post about product features and special sales and Greek syntax, and even the design of a Ugaritic font. But maybe the pictures of cook-offs and frisbees and coffee and decorations are too subtle.

There is a reason we post all that Fun Stuff:
It’s fun.

Okay, there’s another reason, too: We want everyone to see what a great place Logos is to work. We know that before an interview every (smart) job candidate pokes around our web site and blog. We want them to discover that we’re a place they really want to work.

We also want you, our regular blog reader, to (when you’re not thinking about Greek syntax searching) take a moment to think, “Those folks at Logos must be having a blast! And they eat well! I need to take a look at www.logos.com/jobs and forward the link to the smartest people I know.”

Finding and attracting great people continues to be the key to our success. If “we” are going to keep building great Bible software for you, “we” needs to get bigger and better. Maybe you should think about joining us? Maybe you have a gifted friend or relative who is looking for something new? Maybe they just need to know about a fun, growing company where a bunch of great people are working together to build tools to help you study the Word?

Let them know about www.logos.com/jobs. (Especially if they can cook.)

Hebrew Regular Expression Searching

Logos Bible Software supports many advanced search features, like Regular Expression pattern matching and field searching. I’ve just finished a new tutorial on the website that shows some real-world examples of how you can use these advanced search features with your morphologically tagged Hebrew Bibles. Enjoy!

Syntax Searching and Epistolary Form Criticism: Joy Expression

Read the first four posts in this series: Intro | 1 | 2 | 3.
Php 4.10 offers an example of the Joy Expression.


Joy Expression in Php 4.10

Description of Form
As with the Request/Petition form, Mullins has questioned if such a thing as the “Joy Expression” exists as a form in the New Testament. White describes the form as follows:

Five formal items may appear in joy expressions: (i) either the verb χαίρω (“I rejoice”) in the aorist tense (cf. Phil 4:10 and P.Giss. 21 in type 3), or the noun χάρις (“joy”) in the accusative case as the object of the verb ἔχω (cf. Philemon 7 in type 3); (ii) an adverb denoting magnitude (πολλήν, μεγάλως, λίαν in the examples diagrammed on p. 94); (iii) either a statement regarding the arrival of a letter or a statement concerning something which was heard; (iv) the object which was heard, introduced by ὅτι; and (v) the vocative.[1]

Mullins rightly takes issue with this based on White’s own examples. Mullins writes:

For the joy expression, [White] indicates five elements without saying which are essential and which are optional; he says they “may appear” in the form. Now, if a form is to be a form, there must be something about it which is basic. Presumably in the joy expression two elements are basic: first “either the verb χαίρω (“I rejoice”) in the aorist tense (cf. Phil 4:10 and P.Giss. 21 in type 3), or the noun χάρις (“joy”) in the accusative case as the object of the verb ἔχω (cf. Philemon 7 in type 3)” and, second, “the object which was heard, introduced by ὅτι”.[2]

To isolate instances of this potential form,[3] the two items Mullins understands as basic are used as search criteria.

The Form in OpenText.org SAGNT
Because Mullins’ first basic item has two relatively different options, two queries are necessary.

First Query[4]


Joy Expression, First Query

  • A primary clause with a first person aorist instance of χαίρω as the predicator.
  • A secondary clause with the conjunction ὅτι.

Second Query


Joy Expression, Second Query

  • A primary clause with a first-person instance of ἔχω as predicator and χάρις (or χαρά) as complement. The order may be predicator-complement or complement-predicator.

No comprehensive list of instances of the joy expression are given by either White or Mullins. Their own examples list Php 4.10 (exemplary of first query) and Phm 7 (exemplary of second query) among the NT instances. The following are located with the queries:

  • Instances located by the First Query: 2Co 7.13; Php 4.10; 2Jn 4
  • Instances located by the Second Query: 1Ti 1.11-12; 2Ti 1.3; Phm 7; Heb 12.28; 3Jn 4.

Bibliography

Mullins, T.Y., “Formulas in the New Testament Epistles”, JBL 91 (1972), pp. 380-390.
White, J.L., “Introductory Formulae in the Body of the Pauline Letter”, JBL 90 (1971), pp. 91-97.

Notes
[1] White, pp. 95-96.
[2] Mullins, p. 384.
[3] For the very reasons Mullins states, existence of this structure as a literary form are doubtful. At the very least, the definition needs to be worked over and supplemented with non-canonical examples from the papyri.
[4] Instead of two queries, the form could be located with a single query that uses OR to join the two separate queries. They are presented separately to isolate the differences in each portion of the overall query.

Christmas Specials!

If you’ve been to Logos.com recently you’ve seen that we’re offering Free Shipping on web orders through the end of December. But we’ve also created a special edition, Christmas 2006-only collection of books called Library Builder: Volumes 1-3.

Together, the three discs will get you more than 330 books, worth some $4,500.00 in print editions, at 90% off list prices for the equivalent print editions. So essentially it’s the “base collection discount” on books that are (largely) not in the base collections. As you might guess from the ribbons and bows…this is our Christmas present to you!

In fact, the 19-volume College Press NIV Commentary Series: New Testament (current sale price: $349.95), the 18-volume IVP New Testament Commentary Series (current sale price: $269.95), plus 16 volumes of Warren Wiersbe’s Old Testament “Be” Series of commentary—all of which are included in the 3-disc Library Builder set—alone make the Library Builder an incredible bargain!

Big Discount on Theological Journals Bundle!
I also want to draw attention to the new Complete Theological Journal Library Bundle.

This bundle represents the best discount ever offered on the Theological Journal Library products from Galaxie. With more than 450 years’ worth of journals that would cost something like $15,000 in print, you could think of it as a scholarly booster pack for your digital library.

Merry Christmas from your friends at Logos!

The Dangers of Dabbling in Greek

Some say you must learn Greek and Hebrew before you can truly read the Bible as it was intended to be read. Others warn that a little knowledge can be dangerous…better to trust the opinions of others than dabble in the languages oneself.

Here at Logos, we’ve always been pretty open about our intentions to help regular, everyday Christians study the Bible at a deeper level. And that meansletting even “untrained” folksget their hands on Greek and Hebrew resources.

We’ve built tools like the Bible Word Study report, Exegetical Guide, and Reverse Interlinear Bibles that make Greek and Hebrew more accessible to the layperson. We include high-end, seminary level texts and tools in our most popular packages, which helps move such resources and knowledge beyond the seminary walls and directly into the pulpit and pew.

Are we guilty of helping spread to the masses those resources once reserved for the elite few?

Let’s just say Logos once had t-shirts printed up with the famous quote from Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of movable type: “Religious truth is captive in a small number of little manuscripts which guard the common treasures, instead of expanding them.Let us break the seal which binds these holy things…”

In Defense of Dabbling

In the preface to the print edition of the ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear, editor John Schwandt includes an insightful discussion that covers the purpose and benefits of a reverse interlinear but also has a section entitled “Overcoming the Objection of the Dangers of Dabbling in Greek.”

John seriously and thoughtfully addresses the dangers of dabbling in the languages, particularly when it comes to wrong or ill considered motives such as an attempt to unlock the “true meaning of the text” that has been lost in English translations.

He also enumerates some of the very practical and real benefits to be gained by the student who is willing to work at learning the languages. Even dabblers canlearn to observe”structural patterns and word play,” and repetitions in tense, voice, or mood, he says.

John’s essay is well worth the read, and I hope it encourages you to ignore the cynics and go right on dabbling. Who knows, you might evenget a taste for Greek or Hebrew and go on to proficiency!

Related Links:

Syntax Searching and Epistolary Form Criticism: Request/Petition Form

Read the first three posts in this series: 1 | 2 | 3.

1Co 1.10 offers an example of the Request/Petition form.


Request/Petition Form in 1Co 1.10

Description of Form
There is much debate between White and Mullins on this form. Smith, as the latest writer to review the debate, gets the last word. He sides with Mullins, thus Mullins’ formulation (as described by Smith) will be evaluated here. Smith writes:

According to Mullins, the petition form has three basic elements: the background, the petition verb, and the desired action and optionally the address (i.e. to whom the petition is directed) and the courtesy phrase (i.e. a form of ἔαν σοι δόξη, ‘if it seems good to you’). The background includes the recital of information which the petitioner deems necessary for the official to know so that the official will decide in the petitioner’s favour. The petition verb, which is always in the first person and the present tense, reflects the petitioner’s concern that the official act on his behalf. the typical verbs used are ἀξιοῦν, δεῖσθαι, ἐρωτᾶν and παρακαλεῖν. The desired action outlines the request of the petitioner, that is, what he wants the official to do on his behalf. [1]

No specific structural information is given regarding the “background” section, so this cannot be included in a structural search. The other “basic elements”, the petition verb and the desired action, can be structurally quantified.

The Form in OpenText.org SAGNT
The request/petition form involves consecutive clauses, each with different characteristics.

First Query


Structure of First Query

  • A primary clause that has either ἀξιοῦν, δεῖσθαι, ἐρωτᾶν or παρακαλεῖν as its predicator in the first person and present tense. The verb is a first-person present indicative. This clause has a complement (or perhaps an adjunct) with an embedded clause. The predicator of the embedded clause is an infinitive verb. An example is found in Lu 9.38.

Second Query


Structure of Second Query

  • A primary clause that has either ἀξιοῦν, δεῖσθαι, ἐρωτᾶν or παρακαλεῖν as its predicator in the first person and present tense. The verb is to be a first-person present active indicative.
  • A primary or secondary clause follows. This primary clause has an second person verb in the indicative, imperative or subjunctive mood as its predicator. An example is found in Ac 21.39.

Third Query


Structure of Third Query

  • A primary clause that has either ἀξιοῦν, δεῖσθαι, ἐρωτᾶν or παρακαλεῖν as its predicator in the first person and present tense. The verb is to be a first-person present active indicative.
  • A secondary clause follows. This clause contains a subordinate clause indicated by the conjunctions ἵνα, γὰρ or ὅπως.[2] An example is found in 2Th 3.12. Note that other secondary clauses may intervene between the primary clause and the subordinate clause (e.g. Phm 10).

Mullins reports the following instances of the Petition Form: Lu 8.28; 9.38; 14.18-19; 16.27; Ac 8.34; 21.39; 26.3; 28.22; Ro 12.1; 16.17; 1Co 1.10; 16.15; 2Co 2.8; 6.1; 10.1, 2; Ga 4.12; Eph 4.1; Php 4.2, 3; 1Th 4.1, 10; 5.12; 2Th 2.1; 3.12; 1Ti 2.1; Phm 9, 10; Heb 13.19; 22; 1Pe 2.11; 5.1.[3]

  • Instances from Mullins located by the First Query: Lu 9.38; Ac 26.3; 28.22; Ro 12.1; 16.17; 2Co 2.8; 6.1; 10.2; Eph 4.1-3; Php .4.2; 1Th 4.10-11; 5.12-13; 2Th 2.1; 1Ti 2.1-2; 1Pe 2.11-12.
  • Extras located in First Query: Ac 24.4; 27.34; Ro 15.30.
  • Instances from Mullins located by the Second Query:[4] Lu 8.28; Lu 14.18-19; Lu 16.27; Ac 21.39; Ro 12.1-2; 16.17; 1Co 1.10; 16.15; 2Co 5.20; Ga 4.12; Php 4.3; 1Th 4.1; 5.12-13, 14; Heb 13.22
  • Extras located in Second Query: Jn 17.15
  • Instances from Mullins located by the Third Query: Lu 16.27; 1Co 1.10; 1Th 4.1, 10-12; 2Th 3.12; 1Ti 2.1-2; Phm 10-13; Heb 13.19; 1Pe 2.11-12.
  • Extras located in Third Query: Jn 17.15; Ro 15.30-32; 2Jn 5
  • Instances missed by all three queries: Ac 8.34; 1Pe 5.1.

In the instances missed by the queries, the syntax is not as easily ascertained as in the others. In Ac 8.34, the substance of the desired action is not stated at all; it is implied by asking a question—a question that is formally three short clauses. The petition, then, is to answer the question; it is not explicitly stated at all. In 1Pe 5.1, a complex verbless clause consisting of a subject with embedded participles intervenes between the petition verb and the desired action (stated in a primary clause with an imperative verb).

Alternate Query


Structure of Alternate Query

An alternate method would be to simply find where a present tense, singular form of the petition verb occurs as the predicator of a primary clause. These would logically have a high probability of being examples of the petition form.

This method, completed in a single search, locates all of the instances supplied by Mullins. The query additionally locates the following false positives: Jn 17.9, 15, 20; Ac 24.4; Ro 15.30; 1Co 4.13, 16; 1Th 5.14.

Bibliography

Mullins, T.Y., “Formulas in the New Testament Epistles”, JBL 91 (1972), pp. 380-390.
———, “Petition as a Literary Form”, NovT 5 (1962), pp. 46-52.
Smith, C.A., Timothy’s Task, Paul’s Prospect: A New Reading of 2 Timothy (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2006). pp. 10,
White, J.L., “Introductory Formulae in the Body of the Pauline Letter”, JBL 90 (1971), pp. 91-97.
———, The Form and Structure of the Official Petition (Missoula, MT: Society of Biblical Literature, 1972).

Notes
[1] Smith, 47.
[2] White 1971, p. 93.
[3] Mullins 1962, p. 54. Note that Mullins has two typos. “2 Corinthians XX 2” should be “2 Corinthians X 2” and “2 Corinthians V 20; V 1” should be “2 Corinthians V 20; VI 1”.
[4] These instances include overlapping matches between all three queries; this is not a unique list.

Reaching a Critical Mass

Today’s guest blogger is Dale Pritchett, vice president of sales and marketing for Logos Bible Software.
User Mark Alison wrote in the Logos Newsgroup, “I don’t think Logos or anyone else will ever have rights to every publisher’s works.”

While this is certainly a true statement, at Logos we continue to pursue rights to as many books as we can in the field of biblical studies. It is our fond hope that one day we might include works from Zondervan, and the denominational publishers now unavailable to us.

We are running as fast as we can. We have two full-time publisher Reps, plus support staff, licensing new books every day. We have thousands of contracts to be maintained and reviewed, royalties to calculate, technology licenses to execute and data processing projects to specify, key, tag and proof.

We process millions of pages of data annually and yet feel the pain when a simple typo is reported. We work in both modern and ancient languages. We employ approximately forty people in-house who are on digital book design and production. All of these efforts are directed toward the single goal of creating digital books to reach a “critical mass” for biblical studies.

It is not about building a monopoly. It is not about favoring a particular theological school or doctrinal position. It is not about favoring one publisher over another or refusing to work with other publishers. It is not about greed or competition or pride of accomplishment. It is about “critical mass.”

There is no such thing as a digital library alternative for biblical education until and unless there is a digital library for biblical studies sufficiently extensive to enable meaningful work in the field. This is the key. It is like saying there can be no alternative to the railroad until there are sufficient airline seats to carry the passengers. It is like saying television will never be as popular as radio until everybody who owns a radio can afford a television.

Logos is about realizing the dream of a portable digital library that makes biblical publications accessible and practical at any point on the planet. This is our passion, our dream and our daily work.

It will not be accomplished until there is a “critical mass” of books in the digital library. Look at
how many digital library initiatives have failed because they had wide breadth but insufficient depth to do real work.

We publish more digital books than all the others in our field combined. This is a simple statement of fact. Among the reasons we have been able to accomplish this are a clear focus on the task and a clear understanding of the special technical challenges involved in dealing with biblical reference works.

The task required us to define a new digital publishing standard in which we could display, search and link all kinds of books, with all styles of organization in all languages from all publishers. To accomplish this, we set a hard course for ourselves that involved doing things the “hard way” demanding attention to detail that could only pay off in the long run with a very large, cross-linked library — critical mass. It has taken a long time to reach the point where the critical mass shows off the benefits of those years of detailed effort. This whole end result usually translates into a simple user comment like, “I would really prefer to own the book in Libronix format.” Thank you. We share your thoughts.

If we are ever to have additional titles from Zondervan, Eerdmans and others it will be because of simple statements like this, “I would really prefer to own the book in Libronix format.” Believe it or not, publishers hear you. They really do care.

Postscript: What is Critical Mass?

While there may be many answers to this question, we basically think in terms of book replacement. Critical mass is a sufficient volume of titles to represent the equivalent number of volumes in a corresponding paper-based library. On this basis, critical mass may be different for a pastor’s library and a Bible college or seminary library. In time we hope to have sufficient digital resources to equal a large seminary library. When that time comes we will be able to think in terms of “brick and mortar” replacement or real estate savings.

How-To: Make a Vocabulary Guide with Word Frequencies

A recent post on Morris Proctor’s Tips & Tricks Blog prompted the following comment from user Aaron Cantrell:

…What I would like to do is choose a book of the bible, or a section of a book (for example Gen 12-22), and have the program give me a complete list of all the words in that book, or section, and show me where they are found in that section. It would be extremely helpful if it could be limited to words that occur a specific number of times. For example, “Show me all the words that occur in Genesis 12-22, occuring 50 times or less.” Then a list comes up which shows all these words and where they are found.

That would be a very helpful concordance feature.

In the print world, this kind of thing is often called a “vocabulary guide” or “lexical aid”and a number of excellent tools are available in this category.

What our users may not know is that all Logos Bible Software 3 “language” collections* include a feature that can create a frequency-sorted vocabulary list from lemmatized Bibles inGreek, Hebrew, Syriac, or Aramaic. What’s great about doing this digitally rather than in printis that you can break down your lists by pericope, chapter, book, or however you like; you can add, subtract, or edit individual words; and you don’t have to spenda dime onanother book because the capability is built into Logos Bible Software!

Vocabulary Lists

Vocabulary lists are helpful when learning a biblical language, because you can start learning the most common words and work your way down to the least common. Or filter out the most common words you probably already know and focus on the less common words. Flash cards are great for drilling the language (through my thick skull, I could add).

TheVocabulary List feature in Logos 3 makes it easy to produce a list of words within a passage or biblical book—with word frequencies—and sort the list either by frequency or alphabetically. At that point, printing flash cards is just a few clicks away.

Due to the highly flexible nature of this tool, you could do all sorts of cool things… You could build vocabulary lists by author, combining, say, all Johannine material into one list. Or you could build a vocabulary list for a parallel passage in both the Septuagint and Greek NT. Go wild.

Vincent recently created a training article that walks you through the steps of creating a vocabulary list manually or by importing words from a passage. His article also includes links to free, pre-built vocabulary lists that go along with the most popular Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic grammars. Be sure to check it out.

DIY Vocab List

Here are the steps for making a vocabulary list for Genesis 12-22, asMr. Cantrellrequests.

  1. Click the black triangle next to the New File icon on the toolbar and choose Vocabulary List.
  2. In the Properties dialog that opens, select Hebrew for the language.
  3. Click the Add button on the Vocabulary List toolbar and select Add Bible Passage…
  4. Select the BHS Bible and enter Gen 12-22 for the reference. Click OK.

Voila! Like magic,you have a vocabulary list. (Think for a moment about what we just did and how little effort it took…and I think you’ll see why I call it magic.)

We’re close to the desired goal…now we just need to re-sort the list by frequency. Right-click on the section header and select Sort by Frequency (Descending).

Now the list is sorted by frequency and we can delete the words with a frequency over 50, if desired. Click once on the top row, then hold down Shift and click on the last row with a 50+ frequency, and hit the Delete key.

Everything highlighted in gray abovegets cutand you’re left with a list of words used 50 times or fewer in Genesis 12-22…with glosses included!

By the way, you can edit anything you see here, including the Hebrew words, frequencies (maybe you want to use that column for something idosyncratic like difficulty level, then sort by difficulty!), and glosses. And, as mentioned previously, you can print these words as flash cards and use them to master the vocabulary in this passage.

All this with just a few clicks, and available from the software you already own…no need to go out and buy a separate vocabulary guide!

* How come I don’t have the Vocabulary Lists feature? Vocabulary Lists are part of the Original Languages Addin, included in the following Logos 3 collections: Original Languages Library, Scholar’s Library, Scholar’s Library: Silver, and Scholar’s Library: Gold. If you own the Original Languages Addin as part of an older collection but have not updated to Libronix DLS v3.0 or greater, you can get Vocabulary Lists for free: open Libronix DLS and click Tools | Libronix Update. If you own a collection like Bible Study Library or don’t own a base collection, you can get the Original Languages Addin by upgrading to a Logos 3 collection that includes the addin or purchasing it individually.