Imagine a Christian Magazine in Every Public Library


Our goal here at Logos is to make Bible study more accessible than ever. And now you can help!

With Bible Study Magazine, we are able to share better Bible study tips, aids, as well as thoughts about Bible study from well-loved and high profile Christians.

But, we’re not just your average Christian magazine. To quote Mr. Magazine, “Bible Study Magazine is just that: a magazine to study the Bible. Some will be quick to say, so what’s new about that? Aren’t there plenty of magazines that deal with Bible studies and such? Well, on the surface, the answer is yes, but the more I studied (no pun intended) the new magazine, the more I saw its point of difference. It is not your grandfather’s Bible study magazine.”

We want this cutting edge magazine on Bible study to make its way to your public library, to provide Bible study tips and encouragement to a wider audience than ever before. Simply stated, we want more people studying the Bible.

The public library system generally does not carry niche publications—unless people start asking for them. But Bible study is so much more than a niche. That means there’s one reason why a magazine about the Bible isn’t in libraries everywhere: we haven’t thought to ask for it yet. It’s time to take a stand.

Can our magazine go places no Christian magazine has gone before? The fact that Bible Study Magazine has been in the Whatcom County Public Library System, and now is in the Bellingham Public Library (both in Washington state) says it can!

But let’s not stop with Washington State; let’s get Bible Study Magazine into public libraries all over the nation.

It’s easy. It will take you five minutes, max. Just go to your public library’s website, and find their book request form. (They probably won’t have a periodical request form.)

Then enter this info and submit the form.

Title: Bible Study Magazine
Author: John D. Barry
Publication Date: 11/01/2008
Publisher: Logos Bible Software
ISBN (or ISSN): 1945-0923
Price: $14.95

Join us in making Bible study popular again. To find your local library’s website, click here.

God’s Word for Your Questions

Got Questions?

Today’s guest post is by Sarah Wilson, on the marketing team.

Logos has an exciting new resource under development for your library: Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered a collection of 2,000 common questions with answers straight from Scripture.

You might be wondering what sets this reference work apart from the other commentaries, dictionaries, concordances, and resource guides that Logos has to offer.

Got Questions is not just another reference guide. It is an invaluable supply of important answers to basic questions about life, faith, the Bible, and theology. The publisher, Got Questions Ministries, identified over 2,000 essential universal questions that affect all of us—questions such as:

  • Does God exist?
  • Is there life after death?
  • What is Christianity and what do Christians believe?
  • What does the Bible teach about the Trinity?
  • What is postmodernism?

Imagine that you are looking for some relevant topics to jump-start your small group or Sunday school discussions. The format of this resource is perfect for planning a meaningful dialogue about the nature of God, applying Scripture, or what the Bible has to say about salvation. You’ll have the Scripture references right at your fingertips, as well as a succinct explanation of the topic. Or maybe you are considering preaching a series on how Christianity answers life’s big questions. Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered will help you get started finding the most applicable questions for your congregation. The concise answers will help you focus your sermons on what is truly pertinent to your listeners.

Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered was put on Pre-Pub this week and gathered enough interest for us to send it to development! As a starting point for study or just as a quick guide, this Pre-Pub is essential for your library. Be sure to get in on the lowest price available for this invaluable study tool.

Get Your Bible Study Tips Published!


Do you have some great Bible study tips that have helped you in your study of Genesis? We want to hear about them!

The theme of Bible Study Magazine’s November/December 2010 issue will be Genesis: Tower of Babel to Joseph. We want you to submit your best Bible study tips on Bible Study Magazine’s Facebook page. The best tips will be published in our two-year anniversary issue, Nov/Dec ’10!

If you haven’t “Liked” the Bible Study Magazine page yet, make sure you do so. We are looking at interesting ways we can integrate content from the Facebook community into the magazine, and we are dreaming up some fun contests and giveaways as well! So, make sure you head over to the Bible Study Magazine’s Facebook page and “Like” it.

While you’re at it, check out the new Bible Study Magazine 2008–2009 collection on Pre-Pub. This complete collection of all the 2009 issues of Bible Study Magazine, plus the inaugural issue features over 350 pages of interviews, Bible study tips, info-graphics, archaeological and historical insights, and word studies. Just think, you can subscribe at nearly 50% off the cover price and never miss another issue and get the back issues from 2008 and 2009 you have missed in one bound volume!

And that’s right: Beth Moore is on the next cover! Tell your friends.

It’s Hard to Keep a Good Company Down


On Friday, June 11, 2010, we had a robbery at our Mac satellite office in Bellevue, Washington. By breaking into the strongbox on the outer wall of the building, the thieves were able to get the fire department’s master key to let themselves in. When the cleaning crew discovered the break-in early Sunday morning, all of the computers were gone.

As inconvenient as this was to the Mac development team, it could hardly be considered a set-back. The machines had no access to corporate servers so there was no risk of data loss and—because it happened over a weekend—most of the developers had uploaded their code to the main office in Bellingham.

David Mitchell, the Mac team leader, was in the Apple store early Monday afternoon picking up new machines and we were back in business in no time!

The latest Mac release is looking really good and you can download the latest release (Alpha 22) right here.

Let Logos 4 Read the Bible to You

AudioToday’s guest post is from David Lemmons, one of the wonderful contributors on the Logos Forums.

I am a relatively new user of Logos. I have upgraded to version 4 and I have been learning more about it daily—there is still so much more to learn. I subscribe to RSS feeds of the Logos forums and learn new things about how to use the program just about every day.

One of the ways I use the software each day is in my daily Bible reading. I have a rather ambitious reading plan which leads me to read the Old Testament every 90 days and the New Testament every thirty days. This means I read the entire Bible four times each year and the New Testament an additional eight times.

My old system of getting this reading done was to open Logos to my preferred Bible and enlarge the text to the largest setting possible . In order to do my reading more quickly (and I think also to help retention), I use audio files to read as I scroll. I began with a set of MP3 audio files containing the narration of Eric Martin which I purchased for about $20. I adjusted the tempo of these 1189 individual files (one for each Bible chapter) by using the software Audacity. Adjusting the tempo did not result in the chipmunk-sound, rather, the words were easily understood, but were coming twice as fast as the pre-adjusted files. This project took quite a long time and was arduous, but I knew that once I got them prepared I would use them daily, so I did it. Reading the files at this faster pace requires one to concentrate more on the text and I think this is a useful serendipity.

A couple of weeks ago I learned that the very same thing that I had spent several hours of my precious time working on had already been provided by Logos 4.

I am using Windows Vista. All I needed to do was go to Control Panel and open up “Text to Speech.” I selected the voice that sounded best to me: “Microsoft Anna.” I set the “Voice Speed Slider Scale” to two notches slower than the very fastest setting. Then I opened up Logos4 to my Home Page. My two reading plans are on the home page. I click on the day’s reading. I hit the keys, and Anna reads to me at accelerated speed until I stop her by hitting once again . The scrolling is done automatically by Logos.

My reading for today was 1 Chronicles 23–29 and John 7–11. I read this in 26:30 minutes. With Logos 4, and its wonderfully adaptable reading plans, ability to read to me at whatever speed I choose, to scroll automatically through the Bible text, being a more disciplined daily Bible reader is so much easier and so much more fun—I love it!

Taking Greek Syntax Beyond the New Testament


Today’s guest post is from Michael Aubrey, on the marketing team.

Here at Logos, we’re always working hard to stay on the cutting edge of biblical research. We first introduced syntax databases in 2006 with the release of Libronix 3.0 and they were rightly recognized as the “new frontier” in Bible software. Mike Heiser demonstrated the vast superiority of syntax searches over morphological proximity searches with some awesome videos. And then again, three years later in November, 2009, with the introduction of Logos Bible Software 4, we did it again.

We revamped the syntax search dialog, completely changing the layout and introducing some awesome functions like dragging and dropping and introduced a brand new database: Cascadia Syntax Graphs of the New Testament.

Personally, this was the database that, as a user, I had been awaiting for many reasons.

For one, Cascadia consistently uses accessible terminology: Noun Phrase (NP), Verb Phrase (VP), and Prepositional Phrase (PP). These are labels based transparently and helpfully on Greek parts of speech: nouns, verbs, and prepositions. There’s nothing novel; nothing obscure or obtuse. This is plain vanilla, what-you-see-is-what-you-get syntax.

But more importantly, as soon as I saw the Cascadia Syntax Graphs of the New Testament and read the preface, I knew there was massive potential here—far beyond the boundaries of the New Testament. The editors, Randall Tan and Andi Wu, write:

The Cascadia Syntax Graphs of the New Testament is derived from a new dynamic Treebank project developed by the Asia Bible Society. The Greek Syntactic Treebank Project is built on the basis of a computer-readable Greek grammar, with the syntactic trees (graphs) directly generated by a parser. Manual checking and corrections are stored as data in a knowledge base to guide the parser. The syntax trees (graphs) are dynamically generated form the latest version of the grammar and knowledge base, which enables continual organic improvement and growth as the grammar and knowledge base are maintained and updated.

We humbly present this preliminary version of the syntax graphs to users of Logos Bible Software and look forward to improving and expanding it in the future.

Randall Tan
Andi Wu
November 2009

Did you catch that? The Cascadia Syntax Graphs are derived from “a computer-readable Greek grammar” (my emphasis). If what that means and why it’s significant is lost on you, let me explain.

Unlike our other syntax databases, such as or the Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament, the Cascadia database isn’t annotated and created by hand, one verse at a time. Instead, the trees are all created by the computer from grammatical rules based on the structure of Koine Greek. These generated trees are then corrected by hand. Every verse, every clause, every phrase and every word is reviewed as part of this process. While this is still quite a bit of work, it leverages text already analyzed (the Greek New Testament) to assist with the process of analyzing a new corpus (the Septuagint, and also the Apostolic Fathers). The key is that because these grammar rules are continually built upon and reviewed, they may potentially to be applied to any Koine Greek text.

That’s right: any Koine Greek text.

With that realization, we said to ourselves here at Logos, “Why not? Let’s give it a try!”

Built from the very same computer-readable grammar as the Cascadia Syntax Graphs of the New Testament, these two new resources will make it possible to go beyond the New Testament in your study of the Old Testament, New Testament, Early Church, and Koine Greek. Every syntax search you create for the New Testament will also work in these databases and vice versa. For the first time, you will be able to examine syntactic structures across more than half a million words of Greek text.

Are you curious about the influence of Hebrew on the Greek of the Septuagint? Not a problem. Just pull up the Cascadia Syntax Graphs of the Septuagint alongside the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis!

What’s All the Fuss about Baal in the Old Testament?

Today’s guest post is from David Witte, Information Engineer on the Design and Editorial team.

When I read passages in the Old Testament I always come across the god Baal. This is usually a bad thing for the people of Israel. It seems that they could not help chasing after this deity with gusto. Many rich stories concerning the rulers and prophets of Israel include this nemesis, such as Elijah’s showdown on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 17-18) or Gideon’s nighttime vandalism (Judges 6:25-32).

So to understand Israel’s difficulty with Baal and how God worked within their lives, we need to understand how Baal was viewed at that time. The best place to gain that understanding is by looking at ancient Ugaritic literature. Ugarit was an ancient kingdom located just north of Israel where modern Syria exists today. There is extensive information in Ugaritic literature about Baal, who was known as the “king of the gods” or “the Rider on the Clouds.” Take a look at Dr. Mike Heiser’s excellent write-up “What’s Ugaritic Got to Do with Anything?”.

Understanding the theological environment of ancient Israel gives greater meaning to the stories of Israel’s great trials with, and triumphs against, false idols. God was with them through it all, but it was painful at times. That helps us address modern issues such as: Where do our true loyalties lie? What separates a true Christian from a mostly Christian? How do idols creep into our belief system unnoticed?

I love teaching the story of Elijah and the showdown at Mount Carmel. Whether re-enacting it with kids or walking through the story with adults, it never loses its magic. Understanding how big and important the adversary was, and how little and powerless Elijah was, shows us how almighty and loving our God is. I found Peter Craigie’s book Ugarit and the Old Testament to be a good introduction to the Ugarit people and beliefs. This can be found in the Introduction to the Old Testament Collection. For a more in-depth look at the Ugaritic language and texts look at to the Ugaritic Library.

Biblical Languages and Bible Software

Today’s guest post is from Johnny Cisneros, Product Manager for Systematic Theology, and co-instructor of Learn to Use Greek and Hebrew with Logos Bible Software.

Moving from Digital Crutch to Digital Tool


When I was taking Greek and Hebrew, professors and teaching assistants continually warned us, “Don’t rely on Bible software to help you because it will become a crutch.”

They said that with good reason. The whole point of the language course was to be able to read the Greek New Testament or Hebrew Bible at sight (i.e. with little or no help from a parsing guide or lexicon).

In order to reach that goal, we spent the first year memorizing paradigms, vocabulary, grammatical terms and constructions, and doing basic translation. Weekly assignments could take anywhere from three to nine hours to complete. This went on for about twenty weeks.

I still have fond memories of sitting at a local coffee shop, filling out a custom made spreadsheet for Greek verb paradigms. I even bought a whiteboard for home so I could write out Hebrew verb paradigms first thing in the morning (crazy, I know). Each paradigm memorized was like another trophy earned.

But I learned that not every student felt the way I did. Not every student wanted to get involved in scholarship. Not every student made their own paradigm spreadsheets. At some point during the first year, they lost heart—unable to see the payoff. Faculty encouraged students to persevere with the promise that in the second year they would see that value of what they had learned.

But in first year, when the goal is identify everything word, form, and construction by sight, is software a crutch?


So how can we call our software a tool?

Simple. We changed the goal.

Our goal in Learn to Use Greek and Hebrew with Logos Bible Software is not for you to sight read the Greek NT or the Hebrew Bible without the helps. Instead, it’s to understand how to use the helps for interpreting the Bible. Do we still require you to be able to accurately identify the form of a particular word? Absolutely! But we don’t make you memorize a chart; we use our Visual Filter technology. After all, the inability to recognize liquid aorist verb at sight is not what makes a preacher “dangerous” with the biblical languages; it is being uninformed as to how the aorist tense works.

In Learn to Use Greek and Hebrew with Logos Bible Software we introduce you to the grammatical concepts of a second year course, bypassing the paradigm chart and vocabulary that are supposed to be memorized in the first year. We show you how those concepts connect to English Bible translations, comparing their interpretations of the Greek and Hebrew. We open up commentaries that make use of the original languages so that you can get more value out of your library. And we demonstrate how you can apply those concepts to our original language tools and databases, the majority of which are unique to Logos Bible Software. Finally, we include principles for interpretation so that you can avoid some of the common mistakes.

Not only are these objectives more relevant for a teaching ministry, but the approach is sustainable in ministry.

So whether you are a student, pastor, or professor, there is something here for everyone. Order your copy of Learn to Use Greek and Hebrew with Logos Bible Software today and move from digital crutch to digital tool.

Releasing the Potential of Logos 4


The word potential comes from the Latin potentia meaning power. Potential literally means “that which is possible” and is used to represent the untapped power and resources available in almost anything.

There are appropriate times to get excited about potential. When you send your child off to college, are researching a new business endeavor, or buying an engine for your new muscle car you are thinking of all the power that you hope to see released. There comes a time, however, when you would like to see that potential realized, in many instances, power that is left untapped represents lost opportunity.

Logos Bible Software is a powder keg of potential for your Bible study and we want to make sure that you release as much of that power as you possibly can. We do not want the potential for dynamic study to remain dormant and unused.

There are so many venues available to help you release the power within your Logos 4 resources!

  • Support articles: If you encounter a question or problem, there is a wealth of great information here. There are FAQs, training articles, and answers for known issues.
  • Training Videos: Here you will find literally hours of great instructional videos created in-house, by Camp Logos Instructor Morris Proctor, as well as many user-created videos!
  • Logos Bible Software Forums: There is so much great advice and information on our user forums. With the forums search feature, you can access the thousands of threads already available to help answer important questions or give you ideas on how to get the most out of a feature. But don’t stop there, you can easily sign up to ask specific questions, start your own discussions, or help others get the most out of their study.
  • Logos 4 Bible Software Training Manual Volume 1 and Volume 2: Written and compiled by certified and authorized trainer Morris Proctor, these manuals provide clear, easy to follow instructions to help you master Logos 4!

One tool that should be highlighted is found right inside Logos 4 itself. The question mark in the upper right hand corner of the tool bar or using the keyboard shortcut Alt+P opens up the drop-down Help menu. The Help menu allows you to access audio tutorials explaining the screen you have open, as well as the Logos Bible Software Help section offering hundreds of tips to get the most out of Logos 4’s many tools and features!

As you can see, the pieces are all there for you to use Logos 4 as a Bible study powerhouse. We are continually striving to provide you the most innovative and powerful Bible software in the world and it is up to you to release the potential of vigorous Bible study into your life.

You Are Smarter Than a Lexicon

Today’s guest post is by Dr. Michael S. Heiser, Academic Editor at Logos Bible Software.

Lexicons are commonly used for studying biblical languages. It may shock you, then, that I’m an advocate for discouraging their use by beginning Hebrew and Greek students. I’m not kidding. I’d be happy if beginning students never used them.

I don’t diminish lexicons because they are so frequently abused. It also isn’t because I want people to spend hundreds of hours memorizing Hebrew and Greek vocabulary. For those newly initiated to Hebrew and Greek, lexicons just don’t give you any useful information—and yet professors seem bent on convincing their students that they are indispensable for biblical interpretation.

What’s a Lexicon Anyway?

To be fair, there was a time when lexicons approached that level of importance. Think about what a lexicon is: a book that lists each word in a given body of literature of a foreign language, while assigning an English equivalent to each foreign word. The better lexicons went beyond that service to listing several English equivalents and cataloguing specific instances in the foreign literature where that word occurred. This informed the user that the given foreign word could be used on many contexts and provided examples. All of that collecting and collating had to be done by hand, and very few people were so expertly trained that they could manage the task. But if we’re honest, all of that work only enabled translation and reading—not interpretation.

Why Not Just Use an English Thesaurus?

In other words, the only thing lexicons really did for the user was put data in front of them and suggest a one-to-one correspondence of each word with an English word. If you think about it, that’s basically what an English thesaurus does for English. You start with one word and then are given a list of other words that you might want to swap in for the word you started with. To be blunt, we use a thesaurus the way beginning students use lexicons. If I wanted to know what the word “beginning” might really mean in that last sentence, I could go to a thesaurus and discover that “beginning” might “mean” the following: birth, commencement, onset, opening, inception, source, emergence, rising, dawning, simplest, initiatory, or introductory. You could argue for a couple of those as to what Dr. Heiser intended, and then you’d pick one. Never mind that each of those synonyms has its own range of nuances. Never mind that this method makes the user the point of origin for “meaning”—as opposed to context. The latter requires time spent reading through the spectrum of a word’s usages and then—most importantly—thinking carefully about how the context allows or rules out certain meanings. In the latter you’re tracing the thought of the text and its author in an effort to describe what his point is in as many words as it takes. In the former you’re looking for one word substitutes. That’s what standard lexicons do for you—provide lists of English substitutes. That isn’t word study.

Reading is not Exegesis

Why do we think that the enterprise of looking up a Greek or Hebrew word to get an English equivalent is a useful thing to do? Professors would answer: “So you can do translation.” We now have hundreds of English translations, so why would we need to do our own? The truth is that knowing thousands of English word equivalents for Hebrew and Greek never made anyone a more careful interpreter. Being able to sight read Greek or Hebrew doesn’t guarantee exegetical accuracy any more than being able to read your English Bible does. Reading and exegesis are two very different things. My eight-year-old daughter can read me any passage in the Bible, but I’m not using her in place of a commentary. Reading is not exegesis.

Illustrating the Problem

You might think I’m exaggerating a bit. Let me demonstrate. Below is the entry from The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament for the Hebrew word baraʾ, the word translated “create” in Genesis 1:1.

Bara Strongs

So what did we learn? That the Hebrew word baraʾ means “create” in many instances, and that God is its subject. We’d already know the former if we were using an interlinear. The fact that God is the only subject of that verb is interesting, but it tells us nothing about what baraʾ means. Are you more able to interpret the passage? Did your congregation learn anything when you told them that behind the English word “create” was a Hebrew word that meant “create”? What kind of creating are we talking about? Does the word ever refer to creation using materials? Does it always mean creation from nothing? Does it have synonyms that describe the use of materials? How do I find them? What are the verb’s objects, the things created? Why would an author use this verb and not another one? Does an author ever use this verb along with another one in parallel? The lexicon doesn’t tell us. More importantly, the lexicon never suggests that we should even ask those questions. It just gives us an English equivalent and becomes mute.

Maybe the problem is that I used The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament. Perhaps if I used a scholarly lexicon the floodgates of insight would open. Nope. The entry below is from the leading scholarly lexicon for biblical Hebrew, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (HALOT):

Bara Halot

What did we learn this time? That baraʾ means “create”—just like our English translation tells us. We learned that some other Semitic languages have a verb for “create” as well (really, does any language not have such a word?). The rest of the HALOT entry divides the occurrences of the Hebrew verb baraʾ into something in Hebrew grammar known as stems. Depending on the verb, that can be very important, since translation of a word can depend on the stem. But beginners aren’t going to know about stems, and in the case of baraʾ, even if they did it wouldn’t be useful. The Hebrew verb baraʾ occurs in two stems. In the “Qal” stem the verb means “to create”; in the “Niphal” stem, which is passive, the verb means “be created.” Wow. That’ll preach.

An Antidote

So how can you do better in word study if you’re not a specialist in Hebrew or Greek? There are three truly indispensable things you need for developing skill in handling the Word of God.

First, you need a means to get at all the data of the text. Logos Bible Software is the premier tool for that. Through reverse interlinears, you can begin with English and mine the Bible for all occurrences of a Greek or Hebrew word. Logos 4 then takes that data and renders it in a variety of visual displays and reports so you can begin to look at the material and think about it from different angles—such as the Bible Word Study report, where you see how your word relates grammatically to other words in the sentence. Second, you need someone who is experienced in interpretation to guide you in how to process the data in front of you. You need training in what questions to ask and why you’d ask them. There is simply no substitute in word study for thinking about the occurrences of a word on your own. Lexicons will give you lists of English choices, but cherry-picking a list isn’t the same thing as asking critical, reflective, interpretive questions about the word in its context. Third, you need practice, practice, and more practice.

Logos Bible Software has been helping you do the first of these steps for years. Moving your Bible study beyond perusing a list of English words is precisely why Logos has made a commitment to the second item—by producing nearly twenty hours of guided advice in our Learn to Use Biblical Greek and Hebrew video tools. These video tools are our first step toward helping you understand how to think about words and grammatical concepts so you can begin to discern the interpretive nuances Greek and Hebrew can provide. It’s time to learn how to handle the biblical text, not just read English words in a lexicon. You’re smarter than that.