How did that verse go?

Yesterday on Blogos, Sean Boisen wrote about the difficulty he had finding the verse containing the phrase “you will know them by their words”. He was looking for Matthew 7:16 and 20, and tried using “know” and “words” as search terms in Bible software.

Of course the verse says fruits, not words, and in some versions it says recognize, not know.
This is exactly what we created the Fuzzy Search for: finding things that you don’t remember exactly, or remember from a different translation.

Fuzzy Search was a feature in Logos Bible Software v1.0, back in December, 1991. It got lost along the way, disappearing from updates to the LLS and Libronix DLS, but was restored as part of the Power Tools Addin a few years ago. It lives on the Tools > Power Tools menu, but moves to the Search menu in the upcoming v3.0.

I wanted to see if Fuzzy Search could meet this real world test case. In Logos Bible Software I opened a few Bibles and chose Fuzzy Search from the Search menu. I copied the phrase “you will know them by their words” into the Search box and chose “All Open Resources” from the search target dropdown. A click on the green Go button brought back Matthew 7:20 in the NRSV as a 90% confidence hit, followed by Matthew 7:16, with 87% confidence.

Pretty cool!


(I should also point out that it found “Ye shall know them by their fruits” in the KJV, 74%, and “you will recognize them by their fruits” in the ESV, 72%.)

Giving local businesses Room2Think

Identify the normal way of doing things, then do them one better. That’s part of the Logos way and sometimes it leads us down unexpected paths.

In this case, it led us to launch Room2Think, a creative meeting space that Bellingham-area business and non-profits will use for off-site retreats.

When we moved into our new space last November, we vacated about 2,500 square feet of office space that had been used to house the text development department.

That space—which has a very cool loft-like vibe with beautiful hardwood floors and exposed brick walls—has now been converted into a comfortable, fully-furnished, brightly decorated, creative meeting space.

The name ‘Room2Think,’ inspired by the high ceilings and airy feel of the space, suggests its intended purpose: provide groups with a place to get away from the daily grind and drab office, open up to new ideas, build teamwork, get creative, and dream for the future.

Room2Think shares this purpose with a growing list of similar “creative meeting spaces” around the country. In fact, we were inspired by this article in Inc. magazine which mentioned places like Sparkspace (Chicago) and Inspiration Point (Pittsburgh).

We thought it was such a great idea (and a step up from the usual, boring, hotel conference room) that we went ahead and created a space like this for Bellingham!

We didn’t take the “kindergarten classroom” motif quite as far as the places described in the Inc. article, but Room2Think is definitely a hipper and more fun place than my house.

Here’s why: wall-sized projection screen, Dolby 5.1 surround sound system, automated espresso maker (not quite as cool as our famous machine but it makes a good cup), wall-sized whiteboard, comfortable seating for up to 20 people, ping pong, air hockey, and all the office supplies needed to dream and plan.

Check out the photos! And see what the local paper had to say about Room2Think.

We’re excited to play a role in promoting creative thinking and planning among local businesses. And Logos will be using the space now and again, too…so I guess it’s fair to expect even more new and creative features from your Bible software.

Block Diagramming (Blocking) with the Sentence Diagrammer

One of the new features that is implemented in the now-release-candidate Logos Bible Software 3.0 involves a significant enhancement to our sentence diagrammer.

I discussed this back in December 2005 and illustrated the new functionality with a short video. Check it out.

I bring it up again because first of all, blocking is cool. Secondly because I used the feature in preparation for the Sunday sermon and thought I’d share it. The pastor at the church I attend has been working through Mark’s Gospel. I like to work ahead so I’m prepared for what he might say. This weekend, before the service, I did a quick block of Mark 4.1-9 so I had a decent grasp of the text before the sermon.

Now, a few disclaimers: I have no formal training in blocking, just my own reading, thinking and practice. My blocking style (as with most folks) is a bit haphazard. I don’t have a systematic method for representing things. Indentions may be for grammatical/syntactic reasons (subordinate clauses, prepositional phrases, etc.) or because I think content is logically dependent on what precedes it. Or because I think I need to but am not quite sure why. It’s just me thinking through the text; the process is more valuable than the output. When you block Mark 4.1-9 (go ahead, try it!) you will likely come out with something completely different. My point is that thinking through the passage at this level is the important part; the output only serves to remind you of your thoughts.

Also, I used the new Logos Bible Software 3.0 Highlighting features to highlight repeated words and phrases that I noticed. So when you see the highlights, that’s where they came from. Yep, you can highlight more than books & Bibles! And I saved a PDF version of the diagram using the new PDF button on the diagrammer toolbar.

Larger Image | PDF

If you find this sort of thing helpful, then you’ll really like the Lexham Clausal Outlines of the Greek New Testament. So check those out as well!

Power Law Redux

In response to last week’s Power Law post, Jim Darlack commented:

Interesting idea. Now, apply it to citations of the Old Testament found in a book of the New Testament. This would allow someone to judge the density of quotes from a particular part of the Old Testament. This could be helpful for judging where allusions or even echoes may be found in the New Testament text.

Jim is suggesting that the same Power Law relationship that exists between a corpus of “biblical studies literature” and Bible passages could also be observed between the New Testament and the Old Testament.

In response to Jim’s response (don’t you love the blogosphere?), the folks over at the ESV Bible Blog crunched the data to explore this in detail.

They found that, “in absolute terms, the New Testament writers cited Psalms and Isaiah most often.” When controlling for book length (since longer books tend to get cited more often than short books), Malachi and Habakkuk get the prize for being most often cited by NT writers.

Head over to the ESV Bible Blog and check out their charts showing citation density and a table showing how many times each NT book cites each OT book.

Two quick thoughts…

First, the next step might be to plot density in a more granular fashion. Which chapters or pericopes in the OT are most often cited? And which chapters or pericopes in the NT do the most citing?
This could make for a cool report in Logos Bible Software, plotting parallel passages data (OT quotes in the NT) against chapter or pericope data from a version of choice.

Second, I don’t know what data the ESV team is using to generate their chart, but I would guess data produced by an editor. In other words, a really smart person (or team of smart people) analyzed the New Testament and figured out all the places the NT author was quoting the OT.

Another way to get at that information—a way that is better for some purposes, less suited for others—would be for the software to analyze and plot out similarities between the OT and NT, based on vocabulary plus syntax. This would put the Bible software user in the editor’s seat, or at least provide a way to view the data and perhaps discover additional textual similarities (in this case, between the Septuagint and Greek NT). We’re not there yet in terms of the data, but it never hurts to dream!

All this talk makes me eager to tell the world about all the new, useful ways we’re already combining and displaying data in Logos Bible Software 3 (now in Release Candidate 1). We’ve been spilling the beans about Logos 3 here on the blog; if you’re a new reader, here’s a place to start.

It’s also exciting to realize that the new reports and tools in Logos 3 are just the tip of the iceberg. With all the new data we now have, and are still producing, there’s plenty more to dream and plenty more to realize.

Update: 3/20/2006 – 3:00pm PST

Today’s post on the ESV Bible Blog provides additional charts that go beyond OT-in-NT quotations to show Power Law patterns based on some 80,000 cross references spread across the Bible. One chart plots cross references between books; another plots them between chapters. The raw data is also provided in an Excel spreadsheet so you can produce your own charts. Cool!

See also: Jim Darlack’s blog post proposing a way to chart quotation density information along 2 or 3 axes.

Logos in the Jungle

Logos business trips can be a little out of the ordinary.

Guillermo Powell, international director for Spanish products, was in Perú recently to establish agreements with national distributors. Two major distributors there will now carry and promote the Spanish and Bilingual libraries from Logos Bible Software.

Perú joins Argentina, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Spain as Spanish-speaking countries where Logos Bible Software is now available through national distributors. A number of other countries will follow.

In addition to the business side of the trip, Guillermo visited the city of Iquitos in the Amazon jungle, to preach and teach the Word among some of the poorest churches in the country.


This Bora Indian chief didn’t purchase a Logos library, but it was striking to compare lifestyles. Guillermo said, “This chief is a Christian, along with his family that greeted us along the Amazon river.” Common ground in a seemingly unlikely place.

Meet the Staff: Dave Jones

As an academic sales manager for Logos, Dave works to get Logos Bible Software into the hands of college and seminary students around the world.

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“Power Law” and Bible Reference Citations

I honestly didn’t mean to immediately write another post that refers to another blog, but this one is just too cool.

Stephen C. Carlson of the blog Hypotyposeis posts about Power Law in Biblical Citations. Here is the gist; please see his entry for specific counts that he gathered via Google.

It has been long noticed that links are not uniformly distributed in many networks, and in many cases the distribution of links follows a power law in which only a few of web pages (or bloggers) get a lion share of the links (see, e.g, Clay Shirky, “Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality” [Feb. 8, 2003]).

Can the same phenomenon be observed in Biblical citations? Clearly, some verses are much more popular (e.g. John 3:16) than others, but can the power law still be seen?

This is an interesting question to ask, though the specific findings may well depend on the corpus of texts being searched. Oddly enough, some time ago we explored a feature that answers this kind of question using the resources inside Logos Bible Software. We even wrote a prototype report that does it using a “brute force” approach just to see what happened. We haven’t made it a priority to refine and speed up the report, though we may return to the concept in the future.

Stephen’s post reminded me of the prototype, so I asked Bob and he pointed me to it. Our implementation is a little different; we take three variables and then run the report. First we take a collection of resources; then we take a range of references; then we specify a pericope set.

The report searches the collection of resources for Bible references within a specified range, then “maps” the results onto pericopes. This provides results that correspond to meaningful textual units.

For the below example, I used a collection that consisted of the New Testament volumes of the International Critical Commentary (ICC). I specified a range of “Galatians” and also specified the ESV Pericope Set.

Here’s what the report comes up with. This is sorted by hit count. So, at least in the ICC NT, these are the popular citations of Galatians, grouped by pericope:

  • Galatians 1:11-24: Paul Called by God (264 hits in 199 articles)
  • Galatians 2:1-10: Paul Accepted by the Apostles (241 hits in 174 articles)
  • Galatians 3:15-29: The Law and the Promise (186 hits in 142 articles)
  • Galatians 5:1-15: Christ Has Set Us Free (168 hits in 131 articles)
  • Galatians 2:15-21: Justified by Faith (150 hits in 125 articles)
  • Galatians 5:16-26: Walk by the Spirit (146 hits in 108 articles)
  • Galatians 4:8-20: Paul’s Concern for the Galatians (144 hits in 111 articles)
  • Galatians 6:1-10: Bear One Another’s Burdens (126 hits in 98 articles)
  • Galatians 1:1-5: Greeting (113 hits in 82 articles)
  • Galatians 4:1-7: Sons and Heirs (112 hits in 84 articles)
  • Galatians 6:11-18: Final Warning and Benediction (112 hits in 88 articles)
  • Galatians 1:6-10: No Other Gospel (104 hits in 78 articles)
  • Galatians 3:1-9: By Faith, or by Works of the Law? (94 hits in 64 articles)
  • Galatians 2:11-14: Paul Opposes Peter (73 hits in 63 articles)
  • Galatians 3:10-14: The Righteous Shall Live by Faith (68 hits in 51 articles)
  • Galatians 4:21-31: Example of Hagar and Sarah (67 hits in 56 articles)

So, when looking across the 30 volumes of ICC that cover the New Testament, and restricting our focus to Galatians, we see that the most frequently-cited portion of Galatians is 1:11-24…with 2:1-10 a pretty close second. After that, the hit count drops off pretty fast.

It’s worth noting a couple of differences between what we’re doing and what Stephen did.
Stephen’s search (using Google) pulled from a corpus that consists primarily of web pages, with some Word docs and PDFs included. The web corpus will tend to reflect a broader usage pattern than that found in Logos Bible Software, which is primarily copyrighted, published material produced by professional scholars and authors. For these purposes, one is not superior to the other…but different samples could be expected to produce different results.

Another difference comes to light in the comments section of Stephen’s post. As Stephen readily acknowledges, searching Google for “Gal 2:1″ is a pretty blunt instrument. It fails to consider verse ranges, alternate notation schemes, or even occurrences where the author bothers to spell out all of G-a-l-a-t-i-a-n-s.

Bible references inside Logos books, on the other hand, have been encoded in such a way that Gal 2:1, Gal 2:1-10, Galatians 2.1 and even “verse 1″ (given proper context) all count as hits for Galatians 2:1.

Corpus studies have their own literature and science. Perhaps someday we’ll introduce features that allow you to run comparisons between various corpora to see how they differ. With 5,000+ books digitized, tagged and available for Logos Bible Software, this kind of thing starts to be a real possibility. But for the moment, it’s a nice diversion.

Clauses, Paragraphs, and OpenText.org

Over the weekend, I wrote an entry on my personal blog that folks who read the Logos Bible Software blog might be interested in.

I’m responding to another blog that discusses paragraph breaks in Ephesians 5. My post doesn’t dispute anything in that article, it just points out other resources to consult when looking at that sort of thing. Things like:

  • The paragraph formatting of the underlying Greek edition and the formatting of other editions.
  • Clause boundaries and structure.
  • Further general importance of looking beyond the word level when studying.

Check it out!

Teach yourself Greek, too!

In response to last week’s blog post about the First Hebrew Primer, astute reader ‘Jeff’ inquired:

…will Logos try something similar with Greek? I would definitely be interested in that as well, just as I would if it was latin :)

In fact, we offer just such a product for Greek—Kairos: A Beginning Greek Grammar & Workbook by Dr. Fred Long who teaches NT Greek at Bethel College in Indiana.

It introduces the student (self-taught or in a class) to biblical Greek, starting with the very basics such as how to write Greek characters.


The accompanying workbook reinforces learning and lets you use the principles and vocab taught in the grammar. Exercises include crossword puzzles, readings, fill-in-the-blank, and sentences to translate.

While Greek pronunciation is not part of the Kairos package, Logos offers an inexpensive and cleverly-implemented Addin that is great for learning to pronounce Greek. With the Greek Pronunciation Addin installed you can right-click on a Greek word in any morphologically tagged resource and hear a pronunciation of that word’s dictionary form. The Addin has two pronunciation styles—Erasmian and Modern—and also includes pronunciations for the Greek alphabet (again, in both styles).

The Greek words in Kairos are not morph-tagged but Greek Bibles such as Nestle-Aland 27th Edition Greek New Testament are. That means you can effectively drill yourself on how to pronounce the dictionary form of every word in the Greek New Testament!

So it looks like 2006 is the year you can learn both Hebrew and Greek! What are you waiting for?

Meet the Staff: Tracy Geleynse

Tracy Geleynse, a book designer in our text processing department, talks about what goes into writing a book specification and how we create electronic Bibles.

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