How to Quickly Diagram a Biblical Passage

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This post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris, who has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos seminars, provides many training materials.

In an ideal world you and I would fluently read Hebrew and Greek, the original languages of Scripture. If we did, we’d be able to quickly see original language details found in words and grammar. If, however, we primarily rely just on our English Bibles, we may miss some details which are lost in translation.

Numerous features in Logos Bible Software are designed to help English students discover some of those details without being language scholars.

One such tool is called Propositional Outlines which “diagrams” a passage based on Hebrew or Greek.

Let’s take a look at a practical example to see how it works:

  • Open an English Bible containing the interlinear option such as the ESV, NASB, NKJV, or LEB (A)
  • Navigate to Philippians 1:27-28 (B)

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  • Carefully read these two verses paying close attention to verbs such as:
    • let your manner of life be
    • standing firm
    • striving side by side
    • not frightened

If you’re like I am, you’re asking questions like:

  • How many commands are in this passage?
  • How do these verbs relate to one another?

Answering such questions will be tough if we just rely on the English text. Fortunately we can see a lay of the land with Propositional Outlines.

  • Click the Visual Filters icon on the Bible’s toolbar (C)
  • Expand the Resource section (D)
  • Select the Resource box (E)
  • Select the Propositional outlines box (F)
  • Click outside the menu to close it (G)
  • Enlarge the Bible’s panel so you can see the passage clearly

2

You’ll see that Logos has now diagrammed the passage based on the Greek text, not the English! Two features are at work here helping us to understand the relationships between the clauses:

  • Labels, when the cursor rests on them, in the left-hand column explain syntactical functions
  • Indentations point out subordinate relationships between clauses

Here are a few observations about these two verses:

  • Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ is indented to the far left (H) and is labeled a Command. (I) Rest your cursor on the word manner (J) and you’ll see in the morph popup at the bottom this is an imperative verb. (K) This statement is the primary clause in the passage and Paul’s main point.

4_1

  • Notice that indented to the right is the phrase standing firm in one spirit (L) and is labeled Restatement. (M) This phrase is subordinate to the verb letter your manner of life be and it basically answers the question, How do we live in a manner worthy of the gospel?

 

5

  • Underneath this phrase you’ll see two additional phrases both indented further to the right and both labeled Expansion: (N) striving side by side (O) and not frightened.(P) These two participles expand or amplify what it means to stand firm.

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The syntactical summary of the passage is: we as Christians are to live our lives worthy of the gospel by standing firm in one spirit as we strive side by side and refrain from being frightened by our opponents.

This one sentence summary gleaned from Propositional Outlines will be invaluable as we seek to apply the text or build sermons and Bible lessons.

Of course we need to dig deeper to discover what all of these Greek verbs mean. I encourage you to use this feature as you read the text during the observation phase of Bible study which will propel you into the interpretation phase of your study.

***

Propositional Outlines for the Old Testament is available in a Logos Now subscription. For additional Logos training consider attending a Camp Logos in 2016.

Comments

  1. Tim Lewis says:

    Is there any chance that there are plans to bring this to the Android app?

    • Tyler Smith says:

      Hi, Tim.

      I’m looking into it and will let you know as soon as I learn anything.

      Best,

      Tyler

  2. May I suggest that you state up front that Propositional Outlines are only available under Logos Now. I have Logos base package, and I was searching how to do this. It wasn’t until I read your very last paragraph that I found out it wasn’t availalbe unless you have a Logos Now subscription.

    Thanks.

  3. Actually, it is available in base packages for the NT. You missed the key phrase in his last sentence about Logos Now: "for the Old Testament." I can't use propositional outlines for the OT, but I can in the NT. As for what I have: I had upgraded last year from Logos 5 platinum to Logos 6 crossgrade.–Joshua

  4. Jan Majewski says:

    Wow! This looks like it would be great if it were to work on my Logos! Does not show this at all!
    Does not show “propositional outlines” at all!

  5. Curtis Smitz says:

    The one thing I found lacking in this instruction was how to get back to the original Bible layout or view I was using before I used this feature. So, after calling Logos, it is as simple as [1] expanding the “Recourses” menu item and [2] then unchecking the “Propositional Outlines” item on that drop down menu.

  6. Where is this package located in Logos?

    • It appears that the Propositional Outlines tool is only available in Logos 6 Silver and up.

      If you have one of these packages you can turn on Propositional Outlines from the Visual Filters menu.

  7. agree with Daniel, can you show us where is this package located in Logos?

  8. warren HOffman says:

    agree with Daniel, where is this package located!

    • It appears that the Propositional Outlines tool is only available in Logos 6 Silver and up.

      If you have one of these packages you can turn on Propositional Outlines from the Visual Filters menu.

  9. This is a great tool and I'd like to use it. Problem is, when I follow the steps listed above and open visual filters, I don't have the same tab's listed under resources. I recently updated my drive engine to free LOGOS 6 engine (had LOGOS 5). Does that mean I would have to buy one of the Logos 6 Packages in order to use this feature?

    • It appears that the Propositional Outlines tool is only available in Logos 6 Silver and up.

  10. Looks like the lowest base package to offer the New Testament Propositional Bible Outlines Dataset is in the Logos 6 Silver. However, there are other denominational packages that contain the dataset. Another option is to purchase the dataset outright for around $20. Just type "propositional outline" in the search on logos to see the price and which packages contain this dataset. Both the OT and NT is for sale separately. –Joshua

  11. Janelle Harris-Franklin Thanks Joshua. That's helpful. I did not know you could buy datasets. Interesting. Thanks again for the info.

    Jim

  12. Bruce Buckman says:

    Thanks for the excellent information. I am amazed by the power of the tools that are available in Logos. I have Logos 6 and I am able to create the propositional outlines. This is a great feature to help in sermon development. Thanks again for the excellent post.

  13. Matthew Douglas says:

    I would REALLY love to do this, but I am stuck at point F. It does not exist! there is no such option and my screen list of options does not look like yours. How can I get this working for me?

  14. I searched, and found, the dataset mentioned below by Janelle Harris-Franklin but I could not figure out how to purchase it.