RevInt I: Reverse Interlinear Resources

Some of my favorite new Logos Bible Software 3 (LBS3) resources are the new reverse interlinear Bibles (after Hebrew Syntax, of course) — and not just because I worked on them.

A reverse interlinear in LBS3 is many things: It’s a Bible version that shows the original language words behind the translation; it’s a Bible with stronger-than-Strong’s tagging; but most importantly, it’s a bridge from here to there, from a translation back to the original language text that lies beneath. Furthermore, it’s a bridge that anyone can cross.

Reverse interlinears first and foremost are resources. They work like any other interlinear resource within the Libronix DLS platform. You open them from My Library, and you navigate them just like you would any other Bible. The LBS3 Scholar’s, Silver, Gold and Original Langugages products all ship with a complete reverse interlinear Bible based on the English Standard Version. (I’ll wait while you visit the 3.0 upgrade page. Back? Good.)

The ESV reverse interlinear comes as two resources: The ESV English-Hebrew Reverse Interlinear Old Testament, and The ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament.

They’re just books, which means you already know how to use them. You can simply read through a passage and see, in real time, the translation and the original language “behind” the translation.

A reverse interlinear is “reverse” precisely because the translation is the top line, and it is the original language text that follows along with it. I wrote about this briefly in a previous post, but a picture is worth a thousand words (or thereabouts):

Now, don’t misunderstand: If I extol the virtues of reverse interlinears, that is not to say that I am denigrating traditional interlinears. Each resource has its own special purpose, its own pros and cons.

Traditional Interlinear Reverse Interlinear
FOCUS: original language translation language
TRANSLATION: more literal, less readable less literal, more readable
EXPOSES: words and grammar of the original relationship of the translation to the original

As a result, traditional interlinears are a little bit more “technical” than reverse interlinears. The intent of a traditional interlinear is to expose the language and syntax of the original text to the non-Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic reader, whereas the intent of a reverse interlinear is to expose the “words behind” a particular translation.

How do they do that? That’s in the next installment: RevInt II: Reverse Interlinear Lines.


  1. Jerry Smith says

    How is it that I link the OT and NT so that they’ll flip back and forth when linked to a Bible or Commentary?

  2. Michael Hollinger says

    Big old question about the reverse interlinears (about which I too am excited.)
    How much of the work involved in preparing an is algorithm and how much is data tagging?
    In other words, imagine you wanted, say an NRSV reverse interlinear or a KJV reverse interlinear. What would be involved in producing one? Would a person actually have to sit down and hand tag each entry (did someone do that for ESV?) or do you have code that somehow matches each phrase with its lemma? Or is it somewhere in between?
    I remember that the NASB:95 always had ‘special features’ it book reading, and am seeing that the ESV will get this treatment in v3. Still, b/c I use lots of translations it would be wonderful to ‘extend the suite’ so to speak.
    As a developer myself, I could imagine some sort of automagic involving lemma lookups (i.e. a word study report looking for a best match) making this possible, but that seems like it would be incredibly complicated. (And in fact, I think I’d have to fly out to Bellingham and offer to pay for a very long dinner while you explained it!) Of course, I fear I could end up like teh man who paid thousands of dollars to learn the secret behind Star Trek doors – only to discover the secret was somebody opening and closing them behind the scenes.
    Still, if this logic existed, man o’day would it be cool! I can imagine a Living Bible reverse interlinear and the wide gaps it would produce. (Like you said, different types of tools are used to reveal different things). Such an analysis helps me discover ‘gaps’ in what I think I’m reading (talking about facilitating serendipitous discovery!) Just curious.
    I really, really appreciate what you guys do. Too bad you’re not in the RV :)
    Michael Hollinger

  3. Dudley Rose says

    I was under the impression that the reverse interlinears were also included in the Bible Study and Leaders collections.

  4. I have purchased the 3.0 upgrade to the Scholar’s Edition but cannot find the ESV Reverse Interlinear Bible in My Library. What am I missing? Thanks.