Parallel Passages – Verses Like These Verses

If you’ve spent time around Logos Bible Software, you probably already know that Bibles such as the ESV, NKJV, and NASB* include cross-reference linksright there in the text. They’re indicated by the “little letters and numbers” sprinkled throughout most passages.

Just hover the mouse over an indicator and the cross-references pop up in what we call a “tool tip” window. Click the indicator (rather than hovering) and the tool tip will remain in place when you move your mouse away, allowing you to interact with the links inside the tool tip itself. This is a great way to see the cross-references—verses related to these verses—when reading through a passage.

But did you know that Logos also includes a more powerfultool specifically built for working with parallel passages, Gospel synopses/harmonies, and tables of quotations and allusions?

So you could spend thirty bucks to buy a printed “harmonized Gospel” which would give you a harmony in oneversion (NIV, for example)…or use the tool within Logos and viewthe harmonyin any Bible version you own, in any language!

Parallel Passages & Harmonies

The Parallel Passages & Harmonies tool is included in allthe Logos 3base packages—withincreasingly larger data sets available as you move up the product line. If you have a base package you should have at least four parallel passage data sets and maybe more!

To access the tool using Logos 3, click Tools | Bible Comparison | Parallel Passages and Harmonies. Click the Source button to choose a source—”Synopsis of Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Jackson),” for example. Then select a Bible version in the Bible version chooser box to the right.

You will see a table of contents that looks like the image above; click a title to open the report to that section. Here’s what it looks like when I clicked “The Calling of Disciples.”

Mark, Luke and Matthew contain an account of this event so they all show up here in an easy-to-read columnar alignment…in the Bible version I chose.

Notice the commentin the right-most column, which is supplied by Jeffrey Jackson, the editor of this data. To learn more about the source of each data set, click the first item in the table of contents, whichis a description. For this data set, the description explains the approach Jacksonused to create this synopsis and the meaning of special formatting used, such as blueor bolded text.

To get back to the table of contents at any time, just click the title of the data set (in this case “Synopsis of Matthew, Mark, etc.”).

Navigate to the next or previous section of the synopsis by clicking the down or up arrow (circled in red above). Clicking the hooked up-arrow moves you up one level—that is, it will load the entire chapter into the display.

The left and right arrows work just like the back and forward buttons in your web browser—jumping you back to the previous view or ahead (when applicable).

More is Better

The cool thing about having multiple, overlappingdata sets is that each editor follows a slightly different approach when assembling something like a Gospel harmony. All told, Logos packages include no less than six “parallel passages” data sets for the Gospels:

  • Synopsis of the Four Gospels (Aland)
  • A Harmony of the Gospels (Robertson)
  • A Harmony of the Synoptic Gospels (Burton, Goodspeed)
  • Synopsis of Matthew, Mark, and Luke
  • Eusebian Canons (Eusebius)
  • Records of the Life of Jesus (Sharman)

A quick glance at the Burton & Goodspeed harmony description shows that any project like this entails certain editorial choices that others may make differently:

“Our study of the Synoptic Problem, extending now through many years, has led us to certain very definite conclusions respecting the relation of the Synoptic Gospels to one another, and their literary sources. The purpose of this book, however, is not to demonstrate this theory; nor is its construction determined by that theory. It aims rather, as largely as possible in independence of all theories, to set the text of the several gospels in such parallelism as will make the facts themselves tell their own story with the utmost possible fullness and clearness.”

Because each data set is compiled by a different editor, each offers a unique perspective on the text. We offer as many as we can license, in hopes that your Bible study will be enriched!

* For the Logos editions of Bibles, we use the cross-reference data supplied by the publisher, which was generated by the publisher’s translation/editorial team. For some versions (e.g., NIV, NRSV) this data was not supplied by the publisher and so is not present in the electronic edition.


  1. The parallel passages tool isn’t just for the Gospels of course. There are numerous parallels between Old Testament books, between the Old and New Testaments, between Jude and 2 Peter, etc. Logos provides many versions of these data sets as well.
    Many of the laws in the Penteteuch are repeated in Deuteronomy. Instructions for the tabernacle are paralleled line-by-line (almost) in the account of their being carried out. The parallel passages tool is great for lining these up for study.
    Most of the books of Chronicles are paralleled elsewhere, especially in the books of Samuel and Kings. In my version of the Old Testament parallels, the full text of Chronicles and Kings is included, even if not paralleled, to make it easy to browse the full (complicated) history of the divided kingdoms. Also, there are chronological charts, notes, and parallel citations of Ancient Near Eastern Texts.
    Logos includes data sets for Old Testament quotations and allusions in the New Testament. On my web site, you can download another one that also overrides the translations being displayed so that you can see the English, Greek, and Hebrew/Aramaic of each parallel all at the same time. You’ll probably need to manually edit the XML file to get it to use the exact Greek and Hebrew/Aramaic text you have (temporarily rename to add “.txt” to the filename in order to edit it with a text editor). Feel free to email me for help if you have any trouble.
    Creating your own parallel passage set is fairly easy. You can use one of mine downloaded from my web site as a template. Be sure to change the guid to a different value (randomly replace a few hex digits should be good enough). If you’re familiar with XML, or even just HTML, then the use of the tags should be fairly obvious once you’re editing the file. Place the file in your My Documents/Libronix DLS/ParallelPassages folder. The advantages of creating your own are the ability to record notes with each parallel (the normal notes facility only allows a note to be attached to a single passage) and the fact that they will be searched by Passage Guide.

  2. Steve R. says

    Good info. Thx. I’d also like to highly recommend people check out “Jesus Christ: The Greatest Life,” also from Logos. It does an amazing job, (at least in my opinion), of combining the four Gospel accounts into one cohesive, insightful story that really “flows” nicely, while staying true to the Biblical record. It’s extensive passage references, footnotes and questions for study and/or discussion are a welcome added bonus.

  3. On the topic of parallel passages, is it possible to cite a paragraph of Context of Scripture in a element?

  4. Great hint, I am digging the OT quotations and Allusions in the NT by “Jones”, just a great tool, thanks again for pointing it out.