Tackling the Thorny Issue of Hell

Back in February of 2011, the blogosphere erupted in response to a book challenging the traditionally accepted view of Hell. Social media outlets quickly blew up as well. All sorts of people were coming out of the woodwork to debate and defend a topic which might not normally receive a lot of attention.

Twitter was aflame with words like “universalism” and “annihilationism.” Theological terms regarding eternity were being discussed openly on a medium usually reserved for much more trivial concerns. It seemed that, even if momentarily, Hell had gone mainstream.

Opportunities to discuss issues of eternal consequence, while the general public’s interest is piqued, are rare. With all of the increased discussion, people generally want to know, “What exactly does the Bible say about Hell? How are these passages interpreted? And what are commonly accepted orthodox views?”

Logos has many resources available to help not only solidify your personal stance, but to prepare you for such discussions.

One thoughtful resource can be found in the Contemporary Issues Collection (7 vols.) In Hell: A Hard Look at a Hard QuestionAnglican priest and Archdeacon of Frankston, David Powys dissects the New Testament passages in regards to the fate of the unrighteous.

Powys divides his research into three parts:

  • Historical survey:
    In this section, Powys discusses the perspectives of church fathers like Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine of Hippo. Then he turns the microscope on the pre-reformation era’s views on eternity.
  • Jewish thought and Greco-Roman influence:
    Here Powys dissects Old Testament beliefs about judgment and the afterlife. He then uses the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha to examine how the Hasmonean era affected Jewish thought and rabbinic tradition. This is followed up by looking at both Roman influence and Pharisaical tradition.
  • New Testament passages:
    Looking closely at the Synoptic Gospels, Paul’s epistles, and Johannine literature, Powys interprets the New Testament’s passages dealing with the fate of the unrighteous.

At 508 pages, this book is the largest in the Contemporary Issues Collection. This collection comes with six other titles to help you tackle hot button contemporary issues from a biblical perspective. Whether you are looking for a resources regarding feminism, Christian political involvement, deistic sovereignty, Israel, or a scriptural view of law and justice, The Contemporary Issues Collection will help. And it is currently for sale on Pre-Pub for less than $.05 a page!

If you are looking for more resources dealing with the subject of Hell, Logos has you covered. Other helpful titles dealing with this hot button issue include:

Ultimately, public interest in discussions about Christian topics—even the thorny ones—is a win. Any opportunity to discuss a topic that leads back to the Gospel is positive. With Logos you can follow Paul’s admonition to “be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2, ESV)

What other Logos resources have helped you in your studies on the topic of Hell? Leave us a comment and tell us about them!

Providing Context with the IVP New Testament Studies Collection

We often find ourselves reading through the New Testament paying little heed to context. Many times we are so focused on Scriptural application, we trudge through the Bible without fully grasping the import of contextual information. Sound exegesis and application, however, rely on having a working understanding of the cultural framework of key biblical events.

The second verse in First Corinthians begins with the words, “To the church of God that is in Corinth.” So much of the context of First Corinthians is summed up in those nine simple words. How much more enlightening would it be if we were able to approach this epistle with a greater understanding of the background and social life of Corinth?

What can we learn about the first century church by understanding the society from which it emerged? What social, cultural, or religious practices caused conflict in the early church? What were Corinth’s ethical and theological perspectives? What was life like for a first century Christian living at the crossroad where orthodox Judaism,  Hellenistic Judaism, and Greco-Roman society met?

These are precisely the kinds of questions that The IVP New Testament Studies Collection (15 vols.) answers. The IVP New Testament Study Collection brings you various socio-rhetorical analyses of the New Testament. Presented by some of the finest contemporary evangelical New Testament scholars, this collection is sure to give you an educated perspective on the lives of the first Christian believers.

The fifteen volume IVP New Testament Studies Collection not only goes far and beyond the basic information given to you within the New Testament, but also relies on historical documents and ancient texts to bring you the most clarity in understanding the context of each book.

Aside from knowledge on the lives of the early believers, you will discover the historical evidence and contemporary relevance of the New Testament. Books like Is the New Testament Reliable?  and The Making of the New Testament: Origin, Collection, Text, and Canon provide insight into how the New Testament Scriptures were written, compiled, and passed down to us and why they are infinitely trustworthy. You also get Dean Fleming’s Contextualization in the New Testament which looks deeply at how the early church contextualized the gospel for cultures they were ministering to. This knowledge greatly improves our ability to communicate the gospel message to a postmodern culture.

InterVarsity Press is known for providing engaging and thoughtful scholarship which is academic while still being accessible. Theological students, pastors, teachers, and thoughtful laypeople will all benefit from the perspective of these helpful resources.

Having these studies at your fingertips will provide the context and framework needed to take your New Testament Bible study deeper.

This collection will be shipping Friday, July 15th! Make sure to grab the IVP New Testament Studies Collection (15 vols.) while it’s still at its Pre-Pub price!

Leave us a comment and tell us which of these 15 volumes you are most excited about!

Logos Chosen as a Washington’s Best Workplaces Finalist (Again!)

It is an honor to be considered one of Washington state’s best workplaces. It is even more exciting when you are chosen for two consecutive years. This is exactly the position Logos Bible Software finds itself in this year!

In 2007, the Puget Sound Business Journal launched a program to identity and recognize the best practices in hiring and retaining great employees based on employee benefits, leadership culture, and work/life balance philosophies. The process is extensive and rigorous, including the completion of surveys by employees of over 230 nominee-companies across the state. In the end, Logos Bible Software was one of 25 companies chosen as a finalist in the large company category (companies with 151–500 employees).

When asked about this honor, Bob Pritchett, President/CEO of Logos, had this to say

“We have worked hard at Logos to provide the best workplace possible, and it means so much to be recognized as a place that people want to work. It means even more when the recognition comes from surveys filled out by our own employees and co-workers, the people that know Logos best.”

The Washington State’s Best Workplaces finalists—25 small companies, 25 medium-sized companies, 25 large companies, and 10 extra-large companies—will be celebrated at an awards event at Safeco Field (home of the Seattle Mariners) on Aug. 11, 2011.

And why not check out the Logos career page and see where you might fit on the Logos team?

We definitely love working for Logos! Leave us a comment and tell us how Logos is making your work better too!

The Salsa Competition Heats Up

If you visit Logos during the annual salsa cook-off, you will find it difficult to believe that Americans were once afraid to eat tomatoes. But it’s true. During the Colonial era there was an erroneous belief that eating tomatoes would raise your blood acidity to dangerous levels. Luckily that’s changed. Now the average American eats more than 22 pounds of tomatoes every year. With the annual salsa cook-off at Logos, we are trying to bring that average up.

This year saw a handful of entries in both the mild and hot salsa categories, and the winners (listed below) brought their “A” game.

Matt Rudder, Tony Segar, Eric Olsen

In the mild category:

  • First place: Matt Rudder
  • Second place: Tony Segar
  • Third place: Eric Olson

Jana Gering, Ryan Riley, Robert Campbell

In the hot category:

  • First place: Jana Gering
  • Second place: Ryan Riley
  • Third place: Robert Campbell

As you can see in the video below, these regular Logos cook-offs are serious business! In fact, it is this sort of atmosphere that helps us get nominated as one of Washington State’s Best Workplaces (for the second year in a row)!

Check out this video and—if you are so inclined—why not check out the Logos career page and see how you might fit into the Logos family? And remember, if you have a good salsa recipe it wouldn’t hurt to put that on your resume.

Jana Gering’s Winning Salsa Verde Recipe

  • 3–4 lbs of Tomatillos, husked and washed (on the large ones, cut out the stem as you would for a tomato)
  • 4 Small Sweet White Onions (I used Hawaiian sweets), roughly chopped. (If the onions smell hot, slice them into rings first and soak them in a bowl of ice water for 20 minutes or so before chopping. This removes a bit of the sting and odor.)
  • 4 Anaheim Peppers
  • 3 Jalapeno Peppers
  • 8 Habanero Peppers
  • 3 Yellow Chile Peppers
  • 8-10 Cloves Garlic (roughly chopped)
  • 5 Small Limes, juiced
  • 12 Mini Hass Avocados, or six regular-size Hass Avocados.
  • 2 Bunches Cilantro (stemmed and roughly chopped)
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt, or to taste (I used specialty smoked black sea salt, but regular sea salt is good, too)
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  1. Place tomatillos on a cookie tray or two. Cut the largest ones in half, the rest can be lined up whole. Place in the bottom rack with the oven on broil. Roast until the skins are blackened or browned on top and the juice of the tomatillos has cooked out (about 5-10 minutes)
  2. Place all the peppers on a cookie sheet, and place on the lower rack of the oven on broil. Roast for 5 mins (or until the skins are blackened) then turn and roast the other side.
  3. USE GLOVES to retrieve the peppers and place them in a brown paper bag to cool (this will make the skins easier to peel.) For the tomatillos, let them cool on the cookie sheets, then remove only the charred parts of the skin and the tough stem pieces. You do not need to use the juice that has cooked out, just throw the main part of each tomatillo into the food processor.
  4. Place the chopped onions and the chopped garlic cloves in the food processor (you may need to do this in batches), and pulse until finely chopped. Add the tomatillos, the lime juice, and most of the cilantro (reserving some for garnish) and pulse until blended.
  5. Remove the peppers from the paper bag, and wearing gloves, peel the loosened skin off as much as you can, then slice open the peppers and scrape out as many of the seeds as you can. Slice the roasted peppers into smaller chunks, and add to the food processor. Add the salt and white pepper, and pulse until blended.
  6. Refrigerate the salsa overnight or for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.
  7. Just before serving, chop the avocados and the remaining cilantro and stir into the salsa.

Do you have a tip for great salsa? Leave us a comment and tell us what it is.

5 Interesting Facts About John Wesley

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, turns 308 today. Like any looming figure in Christian history, Wesley has his share of both theological supporters and detractors. But there are very few that will question the fervency and urgency Wesley felt when it came to evangelism and church work. As Prime Minister, Lord Baldwin, said of Wesley, “I am supposed to be a busy man, but by the side of Wesley, I join the ranks of the unemployed.”

To celebrate Wesley’s birthday, I wanted to take a few moments and look at five little known facts about his life.

    1. John Wesley came from a huge family.
      The child mortality rate in eighteenth century England was unbelievably high. Statistics suggest that 70% of all deaths were children under ten. So it is not surprising that many families had an abundance of children. John Wesley’s mother—Susanna Wesley—was the 25th of 25 children and she went on to bear a number of children as well. John was the 15th of 19 children. Susanna lost nine of her children in infancy. When Susanna died in 1742, she was only survived by eight of her children.
    2. John Wesley was a victim of bullying as a child.
      John, a short and intelligent boy, was bullied relentlessly as a child. This abuse affected him for the rest of his life. Accounts tell of how, as an adult, Wesley would tremble when discussing the barbaric treatment he received from his peers.
    3. John Wesley vehemently opposed slavery.
      Wesley was inspired to join the anti-slavery movement when he read a pamphlet by Quaker abolitionist Anthony Benezet. He was so moved that he frequently preached against the slave trade and authored Thoughts upon Slavery—a pamphlet publicly decrying the practice. Wesley’s last letter was written to convert and fellow abolitionist William Wilberforce. In it he wrote:

      “O be not weary of well doing! Go on, in the name of God and in the power of his might, till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it.”

      This letter was written in 1791, and sixteen years later Parliament finally outlawed England’s participation in the slave trade.

    4. John Wesley is one of history’s most traveled men.

Biographer Edward T. Oakes states that Wesley traveled over 250,000 miles by horseback in his lifetime—that’s ten times the circumference of the earth.

    1. John Wesley is credited for coining the phrase “agree to disagree.”

Wesley often found himself at odds with George Whitefield. Whitefield, who shared Wesley’s enthusiasm for evangelism, clashed openly with Wesley on issues of soteriology. Eventually, the rivalry between Wesley and Whitefield’s theologies introduced an impassioned partisanship among their followers.

In a memorial sermon delivered after Whitefield’s passing, Wesley minimized the schism saying:

There are many doctrines of a less essential nature . . . In these we may think and let think; we may agree to disagree. But, meantime, let us hold fast the essentials . . .

This sermon is widely recognized as the first time “agree to disagree” appeared in print.

Get the Faithlife Study Bible—for free!

More insights like this are waiting for you in the Faithlife Study Bible—the world’s largest study Bible. And it’s totally free—get it now!

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Logos Helps Me Hit the Ground Running

Given that we’re in the midst of Forum Week over in the Logos forums, it’s fitting that today’s blog post is by Forum MVP Thomas Black. Thomas is a pastor in Illinois passionate about Acts 6:4 ministry and a longtime user of Logos Bible Software.

Friday: I am home from the Moody Bible Institute Pastor’s Conference—time to hit the ground running.

Saturday: I’m sure glad I finished that sermon before I left, having free time with my family makes it worthwhile.

Sunday: Spending an awesome day in God’s presence.

Monday: The phone rings, “Pastor, I need you….” I’m there. The day is spent in home and hospital visits. Why not add a meeting or two just in case I have any unaccounted for free time?

Tuesday: I don’t even know where today went, It started with discipleship and ended with counseling though I know Bible study prep is in there somewhere.

Wednesday: Finally, it’s Wednesday morning. Time to study. . . but it’s not going to happen. I head out of the office to sit and pray with the wife of a dear friend undergoing critical surgery. Time with family is a priority today, but I can’t forget there’s the prayer meeting this evening.

Thursday: This week has me breathless as I begin to study—the phone rings. I glance at my clock and cringe. . . .

Friday: It’s Friday morning, the phone is turned off and Sunday’s coming. In prayer this morning, I recount the week behind me. A week full of emergencies, counseling, meetings, hospital visits (three hospitals in three different towns!), discipleship sessions, and the plans I had that didn’t pan out. I open my Bible prayerfully and pause wondering, “Lord, how am I going to effectively study this passage well enough to preach it to the congregation with integrity and accuracy on Sunday? This is your Word, help me to take it into my own heart so I can share it with theirs.”

Logos Bible Software is God’s tool for enabling me to serve and preach.

In moments I have a passage guide, my passage, and a commentary. Bible word studies are popping open with regularity as I consult the Greek (or Hebrew) of my text. Prayers are whispered. The Spirit of God coaxes. Notes are taken. Soon I have more notes than time to cover them. My understanding grows and thoughts begin to distill as an outline and body take shape.

But before I can finish the sermon and crawl into bed, it’s off to the local Boy Scout carnival to spend three hours in a dunk tank.

Saturday: Today there is a lawn to be mowed and a family to be enjoyed—but I need to remember to get the Sunday School prep done too and I can’t forget the Sunday Evening message.

Sunday: A glorious day in the presence of Christ and His body the church.

Monday: I wake up on the morning that should serve as my Sabbath, but every pastor knows what I mean when I say Sunday’s coming. . . .

Not every week is quite like this one, but the speed and efficiency made possible with Logos Bible Software enables me to serve and preach His Word with integrity, accuracy and passion.

Do you have a testimony about how Logos Bible Software as helped you in your life or ministry? We would love to hear it! Leave us a comment and tell us about it. Then head over to the Logos forums to check out Forum Week!

Biblical People, Places, and Things

We are in the midst of forum week and are excited to bring you another training post by forum MVP Mark Barnes. Mark is the pastor of Bethel Evangelical Church in Swansea, UK, and author of the Unofficial Tutorial Videos for Logos 4.

One of the great features in Logos Bible Software 4 is the Bible Facts tool, otherwise known as Biblical People, Biblical Places and Biblical Things. These three tools come with most Logos 4 base packages, and gather an immense amount of information from across your library in seconds. If you’re interested in a person, place or even a “thing” in the Bible, then these tools should be your first port of call. In this tutorial, we’re going to concentrate on Biblical Places (but Biblical People and Things work in just the same way).

Accessing Biblical Places

There are four ways to get access to Biblical Places. The easiest is to choose Biblical Places from the tools menu and then type the name of the place you want in the Biblical Places reference box, or use the Passage Guide (if the passage you’ve chosen mentions a place by name). Advanced users sometimes prefer to type “open biblical places” or even “open biblical places to Antioch” in the command bar. But another great way to access it to right click on a place name in most Bibles, make sure that Place is selected on the right-hand side of the menu, then click Biblical Places on the left. (Click on the images below to see them full sized.)

A Wealth of Information

Once Biblical Places is open to the place you’re interested in you’ll find it incredibly easy to access a wealth of information about that place.

In the top ribbon bar, you’ll find from left to right:

  1. A brief description of the place, and a list of all the Bible verses where it’s mentioned (you can click the … to see more). Biblical Places knows when the same place has different names, and where two different places have the same name. So if you select Jerusalem, Logos also includes references to the City of David that refer to Jerusalem, but doesn’t include the references to City of David that refer to Bethlehem.
  2. A list of all the dictionary articles about that place
  3. Other relevant links (to related places, people or things; to Wikipedia; and to Google maps)
  4. An overview of the map currently displayed in the main window

In the bottom ribbon bar you’ll find from left to right:

  • Thumbnails of interactive Logos maps that mention the place
  • A thumbnail of the special interactive Biblical World Map
  • Thumbnails of Logos InfoGraphics that are related to this place
  • Thumbnails of static maps and images from many resources in your library that are related to this place

If you can’t see all this on your screen, click the small left and right arrows at the end of the ribbon bars to scroll, or maximise the window to make it bigger. You can hover over any of the thumbnails in the bottom bar, to see a preview. Then just click to have it shown in the main window. (In the Biblical People tool, the maps are replaced by Family Trees and other diagrams showing the relationships between people.)

If you can’t see the image or map very well, you can use the ‘Actual Size’ and ‘Fit’ buttons at the top of the screen to change the zoom level, or you can use the mouse-wheel to zoom more precisely. If the map or image is bigger than the window, you can grab it to scroll around. If you want to use the map or image elsewhere, you can right-click on it to copy, save, print or send it to Powerpoint.

Interactive Maps vs. Static Maps

You’ll notice from the list above that there are two types of maps shown, and understanding the different will prevent much head-scratching later. On the left are interactive maps, sometimes called dynamic maps. These were created especially by Logos for the Biblical Places tool. On the right are static maps, which come from other resources in your library. What makes interactive maps so much better than static maps is that with interactive maps:

  • You can zoom right in and still have fantastic quality
  • You can hover over any of the place names to get a brief description
  • You can click on any place name to switch Biblical Places to focus on that place
  • You can open Google Maps to any location on the map (and therefore get a contemporary satellite view, or see what modern towns are nearby)
  • You can use the Find Tool (CTRL+F) to locate other places on the map
  • You can measure distances between two points

Most places will have several maps, but there’s one interactive map that’s worth pointing out specifically. It’s the Biblical World map, and it’s always the right-most interactive map (the last one before the Infographics and static images/maps). The Biblical World map is important because it lists every place. As you zoom in, more and more detail is added, and it should be your map of choice when you want to see how a place relates to other places nearby, as in the screenshot below.

Let me finish by showing you how to measure distances between two places on any interactive map (there’s more information about the other features mentioned in the video below). All you need to do is hold down the CTRL button, then click the mouse button on the place you want to start calculating this distance from. Then, continue to hold the button and move the mouse around the map. The distance calculated as you do, in both miles and kilometres. You can see below that Gilgal is nearly 30 miles from Joppa.

 

If you never used the full power of Biblical Places, why not try some these features now? But this tutorial has explained only some of the great features available. To find out even more, you can watch or download the Unofficial Tutorial video on Bible Facts, which also covers Biblical People and Biblical Things.

Have a Logos 4 feature that you would like to see a post on? Leave us a comment and let us know! Then head over the forums to check out Forum Week.

Lectionary-Based Study with Logos: Part 2

SproulThis is the second half to last week’s Lectionary-Based Study with Logos: Part 1 by Louis St. Hilaire, Logos Bible Software’s Catholic Product Manager.

Using Lectionary Resources in Logos Bible Software

Lectionary resources in Logos Bible Software are designed to make it easy to find the text for the day and to read it in the Bible translation of your choice.

The readings are arranged by calendar date and the book automatically opens at the next set of readings. For each Sunday or feast, the title, the season and the liturgical color is given. The text of the readings for the day is displayed in the translation you specify at the top of the panel, and links are provided that you can use to open your Bible or right-click to quickly open up Logos guides, tools and searches for deeper study and sermon preparation. (Click the images to see them full size.)

Lectionary Readings for the Day

For more general study, you can also find a complete listing of readings organized by liturgical event (i.e. more like a print lectionary that you can re-use year to year) in the “Index of Readings” found at the end of the lectionary.

The home page ribbon also gives you quick access to your lectionary. It displays the title and readings for the next Sunday and opens up your lectionary when you click.

To get your preferred lectionary to show up, prioritize it from Library.

In addition, the “Lectionaries” section of the Passage Guide allows you to quickly see where the passage you’re studying appears in your lectionaries. How and where a passage is used in a lectionary reveals important ways that your passage has been used in worship in connection with other passages or important feasts.

Passage Guide

To get this section to show up in your Passage Guide, click “Add” on the Passage Guide title bar and select “Lectionaries”.

Helps & Commentaries Geared Toward the Lectionary

Besides the lectionary resources mentioned in Part I, Logos also has several commentaries and sermon preparation helps that are specifically geared toward use with a lectionary:

Do you use a lectionary? Leave us a comment and let us know which one.

Great Tools for Discipleship on Pre-Pub

When I am asked about my discipleship as a young Christian, I always end up talking about Jerry Bridges.

I was in my early twenties when I made my decision to follow Jesus. David—a man in my church who took discipleship seriously—quickly took me under his wing. He gave me a dog-eared copy of Bridges’ The Pursuit of Holiness and asked me to meet him on the following morning to go over the first chapter.

We met nearly every Monday morning for the next three years. After wrapping up The Pursuit of Holiness, we went on to read The Practice of Godliness. Jerry Bridges became such a big part of those early years that when I think back, it is almost as if Bridges was with us—counseling, instructing, and convicting.

I recently read through the notes I had scrawled in the margins of those books, and I was struck by their action-oriented nature, things like: “Make this my prayer,” “Memorize  this verse,” and “Resolve this!” These weren’t just theoretical meditations on theological principles (although it was that too), they were the nuts and bolts of applied discipleship.

Ten years later I was the one discipling college students, and I was leading them through Bridges’ books.  I can honestly say, I have read every book in the 15 volume Jerry Bridges Collection with a student at one time or another.

One of my favorites in this collection—and one I have used more than a couple times—is Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate. In Respectable Sins, Bridges reminds us to be mindful of our internal posture and outlook. It may be the overt sins that will trip us up, but it’s the deep-seated conditions of the heart which can poison and blind us over time. In a real and vulnerable way, Bridges reveals how he has identified sins like envy, selfishness, and pride in his own heart, and offers practical solutions to combating those conditions we tend to ignore or explain away in ourselves. In this book full of conviction and encouragement, we are reminded that, although we all fall short, there is no excuse to grow complacent in our attitude towards sin.

The strength of these books lie in their ability to be simple without being simplistic. I have found them to be powerful tools for deep, reflective discussions more times than I can count. If you do your own discipleship, have a Bible study or home group, or even want to get back to the practical aspects of your own personal faith, this collection is a must.

Six of the fifteen volumes in the Jerry Bridges Collection are study/discussion guides. By reflecting on, discussing, and responding to these guides you can compound on Bridges’ already practical content and really delve into its personal application—whether you are using them alone or in a group.

Three of the study guides are for books which have been available from Logos for some time but are not in this collection. If you already have a copy of The Pursuit of Holiness (only $6.00 on Logos.com!), The Practice of Godliness, or Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts for Logos 4 then you’ll want to add the Jerry Bridges Collection (15 vols.) to your resources. Otherwise you can get the collection while it is at its discounted Pre-Pub price, and pick up the other books at your leisure.

Have you led any one through one of Jerry Bridges books, or used it in your own spiritual formation? Leave us a comment and tell us about it!

 

Lectionary-Based Study with Logos: Part 1

Sproul

What is a Lectionary?

A lectionary is a book or list of selections from Scripture (sometimes called “pericopes,” “lections,” or “lessons”) chosen for reading in public worship. The Christian practice of Scripture reading in public worship likely derived from the synagogue, and over time, in both Jewish and Christian traditions, the pericopes associated with the different Sabbaths or Sundays and other celebrations of the year were fixed and compiled in books and lists. For the traditions that use them, these lectionary pericopes often form the basis for preaching and provide themes for worship.

Who Uses a Lectionary?

Use of a lectionary is usually associated with the more liturgical traditions within Christianity, such as Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism and Lutheranism. Nonetheless, in recent decades, some non-liturgical churches have also adopted optional or occasional use of a lectionary as a way of broadening the texts used for preaching or relating Sunday worship to the church year.

What are the Most Common Lectionaries in Use?

Until the 20th century, most Western Christian liturgical traditions used some derivative of the lectionary of the Roman Rite that took shape in the Middle Ages. This lectionary consists of an annual cycle of readings assigning an epistle and a Gospel pericope to each mass.

Lutherans and Anglicans reformed this lectionary in accord with Reformation understandings of Scripture and worship, while the reforms of the Council of Trent adjusted and standardized this lectionary for use in Catholic liturgy. These lectionaries are still used by some Lutheran and Anglican/Episcopalian congregations and in Catholic communities that celebrate the traditional Roman Rite.

Logos Bible Software base packages include two Lutheran Lectionaries that follow the traditional, one year, format: the Christian Worship One Year Lectionary from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and the Lutheran Service Book Historic (One Year) Lectionary from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

In the 1960s, the lectionary for the Roman Rite in the Catholic Church was revised in response to the Second Vatican Council’s call for more extensive use of Scripture in the liturgy. The traditional lectionary was replaced with a three year cycle of three readings for Sundays and major feasts days and a two year cycle of two readings for daily mass. For most of the year, the Sunday cycle consists of an Old Testament reading, a non-Gospel New Testament reading and a Gospel reading. The lectionary also supplies a Responsorial Psalm that follows the first reading.

This arrangement found favor not just in the Catholic Church but among Protestants as well, and many churches began adopting versions of it. The ecumenical collaboration of the Consultation on Common Texts eventually resulted in the Revised Common Lectionary in 1992, which today is the most commonly used lectionary among English-speaking Protestants. As a consequence of this development, the same texts are proclaimed, reflected and preached upon on any given Sunday in congregations around the world and across many Christian traditions.

Logos Bible Software base packages include six of these modern three-year lectionaries:

Are the use of lectionaries important to you in your private or public worship? Leave us a comment and tell us why.

Next week we will look at using lectionary resources in Logos 4.

Today’s guest post is by Louis St. Hilaire, Logos Bible Software’s Catholic Product Manager.