Andreas Köstenberger on Studying Primary Sources

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This week’s Logos Pro post is by Andreas Köstenberger. Dr. Köstenberger is Senior Research Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He’s also a long-time user of Logos Bible Software.

In most areas of scholarship—and biblical research is no exception—engaging the primary sources is exceedingly important. There is no substitute for interacting directly with the text of the Bible and contemporaneous literature in the original languages. I have found that Logos Bible Software is an excellent tool for doing careful original-language work.

I recently finished teaching a PhD seminar on biblical theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. We spent our semester analyzing the New Testament use of the Old Testament. Over the course of 14 weeks, we worked through the entire New Testament, studying the most significant Old Testament quotations and allusions from Matthew to Revelation. Using Logos made this task much easier.

In the past, one of the works I would have used is Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament by Gleason Archer and G.S. Chirichigno. This work helpfully lists in four parallel columns the Hebrew text of each quote, followed by the Septuagint, the Greek New Testament text, and brief commentary.

Logos accomplishes this same purpose with ease. The BHS, NA28, LXX, and English translations can be conveniently arranged and linked together so they are all visible on a split screen and scroll together. What is more, not only is a short snippet of the passage visible but the entire context. This makes studying the New Testament use of the Old Testament much easier.

Logos even handles differences in versification between these texts. When you navigate in an English Bible to a passage regularly cited in the New Testament, such as Psalm 110:1, Logos appropriately moves the LXX to Psalm 109:1.

Consult extrabiblical literature

Logos provides access not only to excellent biblical primary sources but to extrabiblical literature as well. Later this summer I will be teaching an intensive PhD seminar on ancient Jewish and Greco-Roman literature. Logos will once again be a valuable tool. In addition to displaying the BHS, LXX, and NA28 on the screen, other first-rate resources such as Martínez and Tigchelaar’s Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, the works of Philo and Josephus, in both English and Greek, or the 2 volumes of Charlesworth’s Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. What in the past would have taken up significant amount of desk space and constant shuffling is now laid out on my laptop screen and moves seamlessly from office to classroom.

In addition to saving space and making organization easier, the ability to run a plethora of textual searches is invaluable for students and scholars alike. Whether I am looking for a phrase, a specific word, or even a particular morphological form of a word, Logos allows me to find results in the Old and New Testaments and other morphologically tagged works quickly and easily.

The vast library of secondary sources available in Logos is impressive and useful, but it is the access to original language texts that makes Logos utterly indispensable. Logos Bible Software is an excellent tool for studying primary resources for the scholar, pastor, and serious student.

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Like Dr. Köstenberger said, Logos is perfect for digging into ancient literature and primary sources. In this video, I show you how to use the Ancient Literature tool to uncover the cultural, historical, and literary context of Scripture.

To get the most out of the Ancient Literature tool, I recommend Logos 6 Diamond or above. And if you want to fill your Logos library with even more resources to power your study of primary sources, be sure to check out the Ancient Literature Feature Collection—a hand-curated selection of resources that will help you get the most out of the Ancient Literature tool.