Do You Break These Rules for Greek and Hebrew Study?

Greek and Hebrew Bible study rules

I am a member of OLSHA, the Original Languages Safely Handled Association. Our mission—well, okay, my mission (nobody else has yet joined the association)—is to help people who love Scripture but don’t know Greek and Hebrew to use the original languages safely in their Bible study.

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What Agape Really Means

What does Agape really mean?

“Love” is the third most commonly looked up word at Merriam-Webster.com. Do you want to know what “love” means? You ought to. “Love God” and “love others” are the two most important commands of the Bible, on the authority of Christ himself.

Maybe you’ve already heard that agape (ἀγάπη) is the standard word for love in the Greek New Testament, and maybe you’ve heard that it points to a specific kind of love: a selfless, giving, non-emotional love—as opposed to the friendship love of philia (φιλία).

But I want to question these common assertions, give you a liberating tip for using Greek in your Bible study (whether you know Greek or not), and then apply that tip to one passage in which the meaning of agape figures prominently.

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How Should We Number the 10 Commandments?

Ten Commandments

The 10 Commandments were written in stone, and they still are on monuments around the world. And in this case, the medium is a message: commandments chiseled in stone are supposed to be permanent, unchanging.
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How to Find the Right Passage When Your Memory Fails

Search for Bible versesFrom age four to age 18 I read the KJV pretty much exclusively. All my Scripture memory in kids ministries was taken from the KJV, and I even begged my second-grade teacher at my Christian school to let the class speak in King James English for a day. She actually said we would do it, but she never followed through . . . (My belly hath been made bitter even unto this day.)
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How to Filter the Information Flood with Logos

information overload
There is way too much information out there for you to ever read, let alone process and assimilate. I dare you to click the “Random Article” link on Wikipedia and see how many clicks it takes you to get to a topic you really know something about. It took me 41 clicks before I reached State highways in Virginia (I grew up there).
And that’s just the English version of Wikipedia. German took me 52 clicks (I got lucky); Spanish, 23 (super lucky); French, 48; and please don’t malign me for giving up on Polish before I began. 
Media Ecologists such as Neil PostmanMarshall McLuhan, and evangelicalism’s own T. David Gordon have observed/complained that the amount of available information in the modern West is actually an obstacle to knowledge. How can you determine which information is worth having as the flood rushes by? How can you make sense of the relationships of things when those things are constantly swirling around you?

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How to Instantly Spot NT Allusions to the OT

LogosPro_blogOne of the most illuminating things that can happen in your Bible reading is when a few of your neurons fire as they pick up a subtle allusion a New Testament author makes to the writings of an Old Testament one. There’s great value in making a connection like that. It’s like what N.T. Wright once said about metaphors, “Metaphor consists in bringing two sets of ideas close together, close enough for a spark to jump… so that the spark, in jumping, illuminates for a moment the whole area around, changing perceptions as it does so.”
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Get Help Learning Greek on Your Own

LogosPro_blogNot everyone who wants to dig into Greek enjoys the privilege of having a teacher. And even if you have one, you may find yourself struggling to retrieve certain Greek skills from your brain’s cluttered archives during a three-semester gap between classes.

Whether you’re trying to remember Greek lessons from the past, or you’ve never set foot in a Greek classroom, Logos has some tools that can help you. Let one of my fellow Logos Pros whet your appetite in this quick video, and then stick around—I’ll explain a few more things that might be helpful:
 
 
 

Learning Biblical Greek with Logos

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Keep Track of Your Bible Study Notes with Logos

LogosPro_blog
You get up early, you carve out time for Bible study, and you have an insight as you read. But reader beware: if you don’t write that insight down, you didn’t really have it. It had you. And it dropped you, perhaps never to pick you up again. Unless you have a steel-trap memory, you need to take notes.

I’ve been taking Bible study notes in various ways for almost 20 years. I also have hundreds of pages of sermon notes from world-class expository sermons. The first several years of those Bible and sermon notes were taken on a trusted, lasting technology called “paper.” But not long after Y2K I got a brand new, shiny Palm Pilot, and my note-taking habits changed forever. Since then, all my notes have been taken electronically, including many of them in Logos Bible Software.
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Why Bible Typography Matters

LogosPro_blogThe style and arrangement of words in your Bible is like wallpaper for most people: you only notice it if it changes, and maybe not even then. But in fact, the typography in our Bibles matters a great deal—and it matters because it means. For instance, when editors place line breaks between two sentences, they are communicating that there’s a shift in the flow of thought. We use paragraphs in modern typography to group related sentences together.

The biblical authors, as far as we know, didn’t use paragraph breaks as we do. And ancient biblical manuscripts have relatively few breaks of any kind. But like periods, quotation marks, and other modern conventions, they have to be there in today’s writing. Their absence communicates something as much as their presence. So editors at Bible publishing houses are forced to choose where to put breaks, and standard editions of the Greek New Testament even notate where paragraphs occur in various major Bible translations.
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Do You Really Need to Know Hebrew?

LogosPro_blogYou do and you don’t need Hebrew to understand the Old Testament.

You don’t, because the Bible has already been translated into English.

You do, because there are different levels of understanding: There’s your certified mechanic and your weekend warrior; there’s your freshman and there’s your professor.
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