Syntax Resources and Topical Sermons 2

Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Michael Heiser, our Academic Editor.

In a previous posting, I shared some thoughts on what syntax databases mean for the English-only reader, stressing that the new syntax databases in several Libronix 3.0 collections are hardly the exclusive domain of scholars. I want to offer a short illustration of the kinds of observations that can be made by the “non-scholar” who utilizes the syntactical information produced by the Bible Word Study report. With a simple right click, the user can get on the path of “doing biblical theology” and make amazing discoveries.

Click here to see a Topical Sermon Using Syntax (Flash, 10:02).


  1. Mark Smith says

    I could find the reference to Psalm 78:40 just by following the cross reference in my NASB95 text of Isaiah 63:10. I don’t need a syntactical search to find it. Can you give another example of something significant I would probably only find using syntax?

  2. Vincent Setterholm says

    Thanks for the comment, Mark. The point of the illustration was two-fold: 1) syntax databases allow you to ask new, specific questions about the Biblical text and 2) you can benefit from syntax databases using the automated tools in Libronix, even if you don’t know a lot about syntax. Cross-references are great, but you can’t ask them very specific questions. All they can tell you is what connections between words, phrases or verses that the editors of the cross-reference list have identified or deemed significant. In Michael’s example, he was able to ask a very specific question and get a useful answer remarkably quickly. The point isn’t to replace cross-references (especially since cross-references might contain links to thematically related material that no simple syntactical, lexical or morphological search would find), but to provide a new, more flexible tool to supplement all the wonderful tools already out there. At the risk of sounding cheeky: using syntax databases might find connections not listed in a cross-reference table, but using cross-reference tables never will.
    Sure, even without a cross-reference list you could just search for every instance of the Hebrew word for ‘grieve’ and then manually sort through all the hits looking for relevant examples. And that type of word study is still useful, but again, the syntax databases made it easy to make the connection, and the Bible Word Study was able to help you find it without ever having to enter a query yourself.
    But this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of things you can do with the syntax databases if you take the time to learn how to search them. The example from today’s blog post works because the Bible Word Study report anticipates common questions someone might want to know about any given word. (e.g. “What objects does this verb take, if any?”) But learning to search the databases yourself will let you ask even more kinds of questions. I’ll post an example tomorrow of a search that is relatively easy to do with syntax databases (once you’ve learned a bit about what makes them tick), but rather hard to do efficiently with any traditional tools.

  3. I would love a free video CD or DVD that contains videos of all of the new features in version 3, including all of the videos posted here on the blog, the ones at, in addition to videos on syntax, homograph indicators, & apparatuses.
    I have dial up, so a CD or DVD would be most helpful.

  4. David Cortes says

    I wish to know if there is any way that I can download the flash videos of these blogs. I wish to keep them in my hard drive and access them when I am not connected to the internet.

  5. Vincent Setterholm says

    Nate, we are hoping to assemble a disk of videos. Not sure what the time-frame on that is, but it is one of our goals.

  6. Sorry, it should have registered as Nathan Parker, instead of anonymous. I’m the one who posted the anonymous post.
    Thanks for the CD idea!