A Simple Tip for Keeping Your Greek & Hebrew Skills Sharp

Even professors who teach biblical languages typically teach just one of those languages. They must put forth some effort to maintain their skills in the language they don’t teach. Pastors, too, must take practical steps to retain their knowledge of and facility with Greek and Hebrew. One practical thing I have done for 15 years now is to keep my Greek and Hebrew Bibles (including the LXX) open every time I look at the Scripture text. Doing so has helped me keep my Greek and Hebrew from growing rusty.

There’s a simple way to make sure the original languages are always visible to you in your Bible study: creating a virtual Greek/Hebrew Bible in Logos. Let me show you how and why you should do it.

Why you should make a Hebrew-Greek Bible in Logos

Let’s start with the why. You should do this for at least one big reason: the recently revamped Text Comparison tool should be a standard tool in your study workflow, and it works best if you put your original language Bibles in a series.

I’ve got my Text Comparison window totally loaded up with English translations, but I want the original languages up at the top of the list. In order to avoid having to switch between prepared OT and NT layouts, I have one single layout that includes my special Hebrew-Greek Bible.

So when I call up a New Testament passage I get all the info I want, and when I call up an Old Testament passage I get all the info I want—without having to switch layouts because I asked the GNT to give me an Old Testament passage it naturally does not contain.

How to make a Hebrew-Greek Bible in Logos

The how may actually help you make sense of the why. You “stitch” resources (any resources) together in Logos by putting them in a “Series.” You can put any books you want into a series, and some are already in them, like commentary sets (New American Commentary, New International Commentary on the New Testament, etc.).

The way to put a Hebrew Bible and a Greek New Testament together is to open up your library, find each resource that you want to stitch together into your series, and open up its information. I suggest you put the Lexham Hebrew Bible and the SBLGNT together, and call the series “LHB and SBLGNT.”

You could also, of course, put together a Septuagint and a Greek New Testament. Call the series “Greek Bible,” perhaps.

Now the original languages will be right in front of you, no matter what passage you’re studying. You’ll still have to do the hard work of referring to them, but you’ve set up your study environment to promote one of your lifelong study goals.

Mark L. Ward, Jr. received his PhD from Bob Jones University in 2012; he now serves the church as a Logos Pro. He is the author of multiple high school Bible textbooks, including Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption.

Learn the Secrets of Mastering Logos

30-day_header-image_1920x514

In our free 30-day course, we’ll walk you through essential skills that will maximize the power of Logos in your Bible study. Plus, you’ll learn a proven method for understanding the biblical writers’ original meaning—and how to bridge the gap from ancient context to everyday life. Put essential Bible study skills into practice as you work step-by-step through a guided study on the book of Jonah.

Sign up for the free 30-Day Bible Study Challenge.

Comments

  1. I have Bibleworks set up to do this. I am in a bit of a quandary now. I just replaced my venerable 6.5-yr old laptop with a new one, with significantly more RAM. To my surprise, Logos actually runs smoothly now. It shouldn’t be a surprise, but it is. I only bought Bibleworks a few years ago because Logos froze so frequently. With my new super laptop, Logos functions flawlessly, and I may not even need Bibleworks anymore. I’m at a bit of a crossroads. Logos clearly does so much more, but I’m already comfy with Bibleworks for languages. Decisions, decisions . . .

    • I’m not giving away my copy of BibleWorks =), but I have indeed found that Logos has taken over pretty much everything I used to do with it. Text Comparison was kind of the last major thing.

  2. A video clip would be really helpful here. It’s not obvious, for example, how to create a series, nor is it clear (to me, at least) how this works out on the Logos screen. I’ve managed to create a series, but I’m not getting the option of (1) typing in a Bible reference and (2) seeing it right away in the resources I’ve put in my series.

    Thanks.

  3. Pat Brown says:

    On a totally different subject, I would like help on search operators that logos uses. You miss out on so much when you don’t understand them. I have written Logos about this but I don’t think this is a project they are going to do. I feel, for some reason, that this doesn’t quite fit the things you talk about, although your blog is about how to get the most from the Logos software. There are several Logos employees that have blogs but the only one I read is Dr. Runge’s. You may know that one of the others would be a more appropriate person to write about this subject. Or, if you have any suggestions on learning about this, please let me know.

    I always read your blog when you have one listed on the Home Page of Logos. They are so helpful and explained well. Thanks for the ideas you’ve given me in the past.

    • This topic definitely fits the things I talk about, and I’ve written a number of times about searching.

      However, I’d point you to the search “cookbook” that comes up when you open a new Search window. Look over the examples with some care and you’ll learn as much or more than I can teach you.

  4. Robert Luff says:

    Thanks Mark, this is very helpful. Is it possible to make the two series you mentioned (the Hebrew-Greek Bible and the Greek LXX + NT) using the same common resource (the SBLGNT), or would my two series need to use different Greek NTs for that?

  5. Feeling silly. I can’t find where to make this “series” you’re referring to. I’m probably just missing something. I have Logos 5 with Logos 7 core engine. Do I not have this capability?

  6. Excellent. I shall try it when I get home. I have to check and see what Greek lexicons I have in Logos, and see if this “series” method can effectively duplicate what I do in Bibleworks. I might be able to set Bibleworks aside, if it works. I’m not sure if I have BDAG or other good Greek lexicons in Logos, however (e.g. Louw-Nida, Friberg, Danker, Gingrich, Moulton & Milligan, etc.) That may be the sticking point. Appreciate your help!

  7. Thanks for the tools. I typically use BibleWorks for Greek and Hebrew, and Logos for my Library. Not sure I want to go through the learning curve to use a new system for Greek, but it would probably be helpful in the long run…
    Does Logos have flash cards for Greek and Hebrew?

    • Logos does have flashcards, yes.

      And speaking from my experience: the tasks I perform most commonly in Greek are reading, comparing, looking up words, and doing usage surveys. Without saying anything negative about any other software, because we’re all on the same side here (the side of helping the church grow in light of Scripture), I now use Logos for all those tasks and especially prefer it for that last task. The “Bible Word Study” at first seemed a little gimmicky to me: why do I need a colorful ring graph? But I came to see a number of years ago that beauty and utility, form and function are inextricably tied together, even in exegesis. I love the way the BWS organizes the information I used to get from simple lists. It also provides insight into the MT and LXX—and links me to grammars.

      I’d encourage you to take a look at the Logos Pro page and the free training videos we have there. I do believe using Logos will be helpful in the long run. It is what I personally do, and not just because I work for the company.

  8. To make the most of this, I need to add this new series to Text Comparison, correct? How do I do that, and can it appear in Text Comparison if I have Text Comparison set to “Top Bibles”? Thanks!

    • Yes, this does work, though…

      1) You have to move the LHBSBLGNT to second place on the list (working on why this is):

      2) I’m not sure why you’d want to use only your Top Bibles in the Text Comparison tool. Why only five if the point is to check multiple translations? Just a thought.

      Note: you could also save a favorite set (even if it is just your Top Bibles) with the LHBSBLGNT in the proper order. It will persist when you close and open the tool.

      • Thanks for the info! I probably need to get a better workflow down with Text Comparison. Sometimes I need to briefly compare a handful of English translations (hence why I turn to Top Bibles), sometimes I need to compare various Greek New Testaments (generally NA28, TR, and SBL), then at times I need to compare a wealth of English translations or biblical language texts. I probably need a better workflow to more easily switch between those.