3 Steps for Interpreting Old Testament Pairings

You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to get into the original languages. Each issue of Bible Study Magazine features articles to help you get into the Scripture’s original Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew. Here’s one adapted from the column “Hebrew Word Study without Hebrew.”

The article—originally entitled A World without God (Bible Study Magazine, Nov–Dec 2011)— is written by Douglas Mangum. Douglas has an MA in Hebrew Bible from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a contributing editor at Logos Bible Software.

A World without God

“The earth was without form (תהו, tohu) and void (בהו, bohu), and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Gen 1:2). The word pairing of the synonyms tohu and bohu doesn’t make this passage any clearer. What does it mean that the earth was formless and void? Did it already exist and God just shaped it? And did God create the matter and then shape it for a purpose?

But with a few interpretive steps, nearly any questions we have about an Old Testament pairing can be answered.

  1. Identify the Original Words and Search for the Phrase

    After finding the original Hebrew phrase behind the English “without form and void”—using the ESV English–Hebrew Reverse Interlinear—we can search for the phrase using Logos 4.In doing so, we learn that Isaiah and Jeremiah reworked this creation imagery to assert God’s authority and warn of Israel’s impending judgment. Jeremiah warned of Judah’s coming destruction by describing a future land where God’s creative energy had been reversed in punishment to unmake all things: “I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form (tohu) and void (bohu); and to the heavens, and they had no light” (Jer 4:23).

    The prophet Isaiah also used tohu and bohuto describe God’s judgment as an end to civilization and the return of the land to untamed wilderness (Isa 34:11). Both tohu and bohu can refer to an empty, lifeless wasteland. The use of these words together is so rare that we can surmise that Jeremiah and Isaiah probably had Genesis 1 in mind. The prophets made powerful connections to the image of Israel’s greatest fear—a return to primordial chaos. A world without God seemed like no world at all.

  2. Examine Passages with Similar Themes

    The Old Testament was written over hundreds of years, which means that later writers were sometimes subtly responding to other biblical passages. They often played off familiar themes to make an unexpected point. One of their favorite themes to tie in and repurpose was God’s role as creator and sustainer of life.

    We can find these connections by looking up key words, like tohu, in a lexicon. Using The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament(HALOT), we find other passages that expound on creation.In Isaiah 45:18, the prophet stresses that God’s primary objective was to provide purpose and order: “For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens [He is God!], who formed the earth and made it [He established it; He did not create it empty [tohu], He formed it to be inhabited!]:  ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other.’ ”

    Isaiah is responding directly to the idea that God created an empty wasteland first, arguing, “No, He didn’t create a formless world. That was just one minor step in the process. He intended an inhabited life-giving world.”Isaiah focuses on God and His uniqueness, not the pre-existent state of creation. God brought form, function and order to His creation. His blessing is symbolized by order; His judgment by chaos.

  3. State What It Tells Us about God

    When reading the Bible, we must ask: how is the ultimate author of our text, God, depicted? From the opening lines of Genesis 1, God is depicted as the one who gives life, order and purpose to all things. A thriving creation is under His blessing; the wastelands are outside of His care—awaiting His creative hand.

Adapted from an article in Bible Study Magazine, published by Logos Bible Software. Each issue of Bible Study Magazine provides tools and methods for Bible study as well as insights from people like John Piper, Beth Moore, Mark Driscoll, Randy Alcorn, Priscilla Shirer, and more. Originally published in print: Copyright Bible Study Magazine (Nov–Dec 2011): pg. 44–45.

Subscribe to Bible Study Magazine today for only $14.95 and enjoy powerful tips and insights for your Bible study.

Camp Logos 2 Live: Don’t Miss This Pre-Pub!

Using Logos 4 is as easy as entering a passage and clicking “Go.” This means that anyone can benefit from Logos Bible Software, but did you know that most users use less than 10% of Logos’ full potential? Morris Proctor wants to help you tap into the other 90%.

Now you can learn to use Logos 4 like never before with Camp Logos 2 Live. While Camp Logos 2 Live can be used independently, it picks up right where Camp Logos Live left off—with over nine new hours of training!

As your resources grow in Logos 4, managing your library becomes an important part of profitable Bible study. In Part One of Camp Logos 2 Live, Morris will teach you to identify and organize every book in your library! With your library tagged and organized, there is so much you can do to cater your study to your tastes and needs. As Morris says in the video above, “I believe applying this tagging system is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to enhance the use of your ebooks.”

The second part of the series walks you through some of the important features in Logos 4 which didn’t quite make it into the first Camp Logos Live. You will look at:

  • Louw-Nida numbers
  • Syntax
  • Visual Filters
  • and much more

You don’t have to be a seminary student or well-versed in Hebrew and Greek to get something out of Camp Logos 2 Live. These training sessions are aimed at helping the average user get the most out of their Logos 4 software. Allow Morris to help take your Bible study to a whole new level by bringing our popular Camp Logos training sessions right into your home. With Camp Logos on your personal computer, you can stop when you need to, return to areas of training repeatedly, and work at your own pace.

Pick up your copy of Camp Logos 2 Live while it is on Pre-Pub and get it at 20% off!

Have you attended a Camp Logos, or own a copy of Camp Logos Live? Leave us a comment and tell us how it has been helpful to you.

Recommended Commentaries: Matthew

Logos Talk’s Recommended Commentary Series highlights some favorite commentaries by Logos academics and the user community.

We Want to Hear from You!

Each week we will post a forum thread asking which commentaries, available from Logos, are your favorites for a specific book in the Bible. This is a great opportunity to let other Logos users know which commentaries you have found valuable in your studies.

Matthew Commentaries

We asked Logos Scholar-in-Residence Steven Runge to give us his favorite commentaries on Matthew. Here are a few of his choices in no particular order:

Logos Community Favorites

Here are a few commentaries suggested by Logos users:

This is only a small list of the suggested commentaries for Matthew! For a larger selection of suggested commentaries, visit the forum post.

Do you have a favorite Logos resource on Matthew which isn’t listed here? Leave us a comment. Then jump over to the forum and share your favorite commentaries on Mark!

Don’t Miss These Recommended Commentaries!

Weekly Roundup: October 15

The Weekly Roundup is a regular feature alerting you to significant things happening at Logos this week. Take a few moments to check out these newsworthy items for the week of October 15, 2011.

Important Information!

To celebrate the value of pastoral ministry, Logos has created Pastor Appreciation Month Specials.

For every week of October we’ve selected a theme: leadership, worship, pastoral care, and preaching. We’ve chosen five resources (books, collections, or other goodies) for each of these themes which we think will benefit your pastoral Get The Pastor in Prayer for Free!ministry. Check back every day to see what new deals we’ve released—you never know what discounts or freebies may await you!

Introduce your pastor to Logos! Get 15% off of a base package today when you use the coupon code BLESSING at checkout—your pastor will thank you!

Pick Up Your Free Copy of Spurgeon’s The Pastor in Prayer!

As part of our Pastor Appreciation Month specials, we are offering Charles Spurgeon’s The Pastor in Prayer to you—absolutely free!

This offer—like the rest of our Pastor Appreciation Month deals—is good through the end of October!

Logos Talk

Interesting Discussions

Facebook

Products

New Pre-Pubs

Last Chance Pre-Pubs

These are Pre-Pubs shipping next week. Don’t miss your last chance to pick these up at their amazing Pre-Pub prices!

Community Pricing

New to Community Pricing

These Community Pricing products are getting close to meeting their production costs. Don’t miss out on these savings!

Job Postings

Logos is hiring! Here are just a few of the newer postings on our Careers page:

Design & Editorial

Marketing Department

Publications

Software Development

Was there anything else from Logos you found interesting this week? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Get Spurgeon’s The Pastor in Prayer for Free!

Charles Spurgeon has been called the “Prince of Preachers.” Both an influential pastor and a prolific writer, Spurgeon was a dominant Christian figure in the latter nineteenth century. Over a hundred years have passed, but Spurgeon’s influence has scarcely waned.

Now you can add Spurgeon’s The Pastor in Prayer to your library—absolutely free!

This 175-page book contains a collection of Spurgeon’s prayers and includes the Scriptures which inspired them.

You may already be familiar with Spurgeon’s works, but it is particularly inspiring to read the prayers which invigorated this man whom Mark Driscoll has called, “the greatest Bible preacher outside of Scripture.”

In The Pastor in Prayer you see Spurgeon’s pastoral heart on every page:

“We do pray for all who are out of the way; for such in this congregation as remain unsaved. Lord, let them not die in their sins. Have mercy upon some that have had a godly training, but remain ungodly. Oh condemn them not, we pray Thee, with such a mass of guilt upon them; but save them yet. Lord, have great mercy upon such as are ignorant of Christ, and therefore sin, but know not what they do. Let them become trophies of Thy wondrous love. Gather them in; oh, gather them in to-day.”

“Our Father, for that is the sweetest title by which we can address Thee, we pray Thee save us entirely from sin. There are many in Thy presence who are resting in the peace which comes of justification by faith. We know that we are righteous through the righteousness of another, even Jesus Christ; but we pant and pine for personal likeness to Thyself. If Thou be our Father, then upon every child of Thine should be the Father’s image impressed: so let it be.”

Share This Deal!

Excited about free books? Then tell your friends and alert your followers! Share this post on Facebook and then tweet it to all of your followers! Tell every Logos user you know how they can get their free copy of The Pastor in Prayer.

Check Out Our Other Pastor Appreciation Month Specials

The Pastor in Prayer is just one of the specials we are running for Pastor Appreciation Month.

For every week of October we’ve selected a theme: leadership, worship, pastoral care, and preaching. We’ve chosen five resources (books, collections, or other goodies) for each of these themes which we think will benefit your pastoral ministry. Check back every day to see what new deals we’ve released—you never know what discounts or freebies may await you!

So pick up your copy of The Pastor in Prayer through the end of October, and then make sure to check back to see our new deals for Pastor Appreciation Month.

The Legacy of Archibald Alexander

“Do not for a moment suppose that you must make yourself better, or prepare your heart for a worthy reception of Christ, but come at once—come as you are.”—Archibald Alexander

Some people carve a name for themselves out of the tumultuous times in which they live. Others create notoriety by challenging the status quo. And some, like Archibald Alexander, create a lasting legacy by simply leading a life of steadfast faithfulness.

Alexander was born to a Virginian farmer and trader in 1772, only four years before the United States declared its independence  from Great Britain. Despite such turbulent times, Alexander spent his early years working and studying hard. It became apparent quite early that he was a remarkable student. By seventeen, Alexander was a tutor in the home of General John Posey.

An aged Christian woman named Mrs. Tyler was also living in General Posey’s home, and one of Alexander’s responsibilities was to read to her from the sermons of John Flavel. Although not a particularly spiritual individual, the young tutor was touched while reading Flavel’s sermon on Revelation 3:20. Jesus’ words, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. . .” filled Alexander with wonder at God’s patience and benevolence towards sinners. Soon young Alexander was pouring over the works of such preachers as John Owen, Richard Baxter, George Whitefield, and Phillip Doddridge. Before the end of his seventeenth year, Alexander had made his profession of faith.

Feeling called to ministry, Alexander was ordained at twenty-two and preached his way across the northeastern United States. By twenty-four he was president of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia where he served five years before being called to the Third Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia.

In 1812, the Princeton Theological Seminary was founded in New Jersey. Alexander was chosen as the college’s first professor. As more faculty joined the staff at Princeton and the number of students increased, he was able to focus more and more of his energy on pastoral theology and polemics. He was an institutional pillar at Princeton until his death on October 22, 1851.

Alexander was valued by his students for his godly leadership and influence. One student, Charles Hodge, even named his child after Alexander. This child—Archibald Alexander Hodge—went on to be the principal of Princeton (1878–1886).

Archibald Alexander’s 20-volume collection is currently on Pre-Pub. Pick up this theologically rich collection for over 80% off the retail price. With this collection, you will get the first works ever written at Princeton to defend biblical inspiration against the claims of higher criticism, two volumes dedicated to the history of Israel, and a collection of sermons, lectures, and his address delivered at his own inauguration as professor of theology at Princeton.

Order yours today!

Recommended Commentaries: Deuteronomy

The Expositor’s Bible (6 vols.)

Logos Talk’s Recommended Commentary Series highlights some favorite commentaries by Logos academics and the user community.

We want to hear from you!

Each week we will post a forum thread asking which commentaries, available from Logos, are your favorites for a specific book in the Bible. This is a great opportunity to let other Logos users know which commentaries you have found valuable in your studies.

Deuteronomy Commentaries

We asked Michael Heiser, resident scholar and academic editor for Logos Bible Software, to give us his favorite commentaries on Deuteronomy. Here are a few of his choices in no particular order:

Logos Community Favorites

Here are a few commentaries suggested by Logos users:

Do you have a favorite Logos resource on Deuteronomy which isn’t listed here? Leave us a comment. Then jump over to the forum and share your favorite commentaries on Matthew!

Weekly Roundup: October 8

The Weekly Roundup is a regular feature alerting you to significant things happening at Logos this week. Take a few moments to check out these newsworthy items for the week of October 8, 2011.

Important Information!

To celebrate the value of pastoral ministry, Logos has created Pastor Appreciation Month Specials.

For every week of October we’ve selected a theme: Leadership, Worship, Pastoral Care, and Preaching. For each of these themes we’ve chosen five resources (books, collections, or other goodies) which we think could benefit a pastoral ministry. Check back every day to see what new deals we’ve released! You never know what discounts or freebies may await you!

Introduce your pastor to Logos! Get 15% off of a base package today when you use the coupon code BLESSING at checkout—your pastor will thank you!

Logos Talk

Interesting Discussions

Facebook

Twitter Daily Deals

Products

New Pre-Pubs

Last Chance Pre-Pubs

These are Pre-Pubs shipping next week. Don’t miss your last chance to pick these up at their amazing Pre-Pub prices!

Community Pricing 

Don’t miss out in these new offers on Community Pricing:

On the Rise! These items are getting closer to the 100% mark. Don’t miss out on these great deals!

Job Postings

Logos is hiring! Here are just a few of the newer postings on our Careers page:

Design & Editorial

Marketing Department

Publications

Was there anything else from Logos you found interesting this week? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Celebrate Your Pastor with Pastor Appreciation Month Specials!

“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” (1 Timothy 5:17, ESV)

Pastor Appreciation Month Specials!

October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and a great time to recommit to praying for, encouraging, and honoring our clergy. To celebrate the value of pastoral ministry, Logos has created Pastor Appreciation Month Specials.

For every week of October we’ve selected a theme: Leadership, Worship, Pastoral Care, and Preaching. For each of these themes we’ve chosen five resources (books, collections, or other goodies) which we think could benefit a pastoral ministry. Check back every day to see what new deals we’ve released! You never know what discounts or freebies may await you!

Give the Gift of a Base Package

If your pastor is a Logos user, make sure to let them know about Logos’ Pastor Appreciation Month Specials. If your pastor is not a Logos user, then consider gifting them a Logos base package. Not only will it revolutionize their study, but you will be giving them the greatest gift possible—time. With a Logos 4 base package, your pastor can do more study faster. It is a ministerial lifesaver when the demands of ministry overwhelm an already busy week.

Get 15% off of a base package today when you use the coupon code BLESSING at checkout—your pastor will thank you!

And don’t forget to check back often to see the latest Pastor Appreciation Month Specials!

What are your favorite ways to honor your clergy during Pastor Appreciation Month? Leave us a comment and tell us about them!

On Pre-Pub: The Missional Theology Collection

Missions are an important facet of the church’s participation in the gospel. Sharing the powerful message of divine reconciliation across cultures and language barriers is an integral part of Christian obedience. Jesus himself charged the church with the task of going to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19).

Missions require planning and effort. Learning to share the message in a relevant way, in an unfamiliar language, is a herculean task requiring some cultural, anthropological, methodological, and sociological understanding.

If your library could use quality books on mission related concerns, look no further than the Missional Theology Collection. This fifteen-volume collection of books from Paternoster Press offers nearly 4,000 pages of missions oriented material discussed from a distinctly twenty-first-century perspective.

In this collection you will:

  • gain understanding of the origins and spread of liberation theology
  • examine the biblical practice of using discipleship as an effective model for teaching attitudes, values, and behavior
  • challenge some misconceptions about Latin American evangelical theology
  • explore ideas for effectively engaging diverse cultures in areas like creative art, literature, politics, science, and business
  • find a critique of Clark Pinnock’s view of inclusivism
  • and much more
This collection is currently on Pre-Pub for over 60% off of the retail price—that’s nearly $300 off! Don’t miss this opportunity to add incredible insight into modern missional theology to your library.