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Examining Some Ambiguities III: What’s the Quotation in James 4.5?

I’ve been blogging about James 4.5-6. In the series I blogged about examining the text using English translations. Then I blogged about the underlying Greek. There are still more questions with James 4.5-6, however. In this post we’ll consider the quotation from Scripture mentioned in James 4.5 and how it is represented in the English texts. Is it a quotation, or is it a summary of Scripture? Here’s the text:

Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?(Jas 4:5, ESV)

Instead of writing ad nauseum about this, I’ve recorded a video that that compares the quotes in English translations. Examining the way that the major English translations handle this gives us an idea of the options and might even give us help in deciding which option is preferred in this case.

Examining Some Ambiguities II: James 4:5-6 in the Greek

Earlier I blogged on using multiple English translations to see how a passage is translated differently. In passages (such as James 4.5-6) where there are ambiguities, many times comparing English translations can help in understanding the best way to deal with the ambiguity.
With James 4.5, as we saw, translations are fairly evenly split in handling this passage. Recall the issues:

  • Is it ‘spirit’ or ‘Spirit’?
  • Is [Ss]pirit the subject or direct object of its clause?

The first point is determined largely by context and how one reads the text. This means it is important to determine whether [Ss]pirit is the subject or direct object because this may assist in determining whether it is ‘spirit’ or ‘Spirit’. This post digs into the second point above by digging down into the underlying Greek. Of course, this is problematic for the same reason: ambiguity.

Continue Reading…

What Kinds of Hope? NT, Apostolic Fathers, and Syntax Searching

I am a contributor at another blog called PastoralEpistles.com. That blog is one outlet where I work specifically with my favorite section of the New Testament, the Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus).

Over on PastoralEpistles.com, I’m working on a series of posts that combines a few of my loves: The writings of the Apostolic Fathers, Koine Greek, and the Pastoral Epistles. I’m using a book published in 1904 by Oxford titled The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers (that one is actually a Community Pricing title, check it out!) that provides information on areas in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers that show affinity with areas of the New Testament. These “areas of affinity” may be outright quotes, they may be indirect citations, they may be allusions, or they may simply have topical similarity using similar language for similar topics.

I’m also able to use the shortly-to-be-released Logos Edition of the Apostolic Fathers which makes this sort of work loads easier than it was before. It’s true, after long last the work on the Apostolic Fathers is done and it should be released on time — so hurry up and get the pre-pub price while you can!.

Basically, I’m working through where writings of the Apostolic Fathers are noted to have affinity with the Pastoral Epistles. I started in the Epistle of Barnabas. Here’s an example of an entry from The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers:

This short section provides the texts in question and a short (emphasis on short) discussion. But it’s a starting point. Basically I’m reviewing the texts and considering the linkages. You can check out my discussion on the Ep.Barn. 1.3-6 || Titus 3.5-7; 1.2 affinities.

I’m not writing this post to discuss linkages between the writings of the Apostolic Fathers and the NT (as cool as that would be). Instead, I’m going to shift to syntax. In looking at the above linkages, one notices the Greek ἐλπίδι ζωῆς (hope of life) prominent in both the Barnabas and Titus passages.

This prompted me to ask a few questions. First, I wondered how prominent this “hope of life” (Titus has “life eternal”) is in the NT, and second I wondered what other sorts of “hope” there were in the NT. And these questions can be answered with syntax searches.

I made the below video that sets up the search and shows the results. If one just searches the Greek NT for ἐλπίς, 48 verses (53 instances) are located. But there are 18 instances where “hope” is qualified in some way. There are only two instances where it is qualified by “life” (ζωῆς), and both of them are in Titus (the two examples cited above in relation to Barnabas).

Why do I bring this up? Well, with the advent of the syntactically tagged databases of the Greek New Testament, I find myself asking more and more questions like this. And I’m more and more able to run a syntax query (many of which share the same basic template that this search has) to get a clearer picture of some grammatical phenomenon without having to run a blunt concordance search, and then sift through the hits. I’m able to get more relevant, more meaningful instances of what I’m interested in and sift through less chaff in the process. And this has made my study of the New Testament deeper, which can only help my understanding and application. And to my mind, that’s what it’s all about.

Examining Some Ambiguities I: James 4:5-6 in English Translations

In the home group Bible study that I’m in, we’re studying the epistle of James. We’re currently in James 4. While preparing for this week’s study, I noticed some interesting things going on in James 4:5-6. There are some ambiguities in James 4.5. This seemed like a good text to examine a bit further using some of the resources and reports found in Logos Bible Software (things that are in some collections, and some things that are supplemental).

First, the text of the ESV:

Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”(Jas 4:5-6, ESV)

Seems pretty straightforward, huh? It actually isn’t. When reading the Greek in preparation for the study, I noticed a few things that are ambiguous. And these things are pretty noticeable when you compare English translations. So I made a video that shows how to do this.

The basic issues discussed in the video, as a result of examining English translations, set the stage for the balance of posts in this series. At present I hope for two more posts plus a summary/conclusion post, though that may change (likely be extended) as I write further posts.

So what are the issues we’ll look at?

  • Is it ‘spirit’ or ‘Spirit’ in James 4.5? That is, is it the Holy Spirit, or is it more along the lines of Genesis 2.7, the life breathed within us?
  • What is the subject of the quotation in verse 5? Is it:
    • God (also ‘He’)
    • Spirit (that is, the Holy Spirit)
    • spirit (that is, the human spirit, that of Ge 2.7)
  • Where does the quotation in v. 5 come from? (I’ve not discussed this yet, but it will come up in later posts).

Further posts will focus on using syntactic annotations, morphology, critical commentaries and syntax searching to look at this verse further.

All in all, I hope to show that there are features and resources that those who aren’t comfy with the original languages can use to think about these things and that there are other features and resources that those comfy with the original languages can use to examine these sorts of issues more fully.

Active Bible Reference Visual Filter

In a post awhile back, I mentioned something called the Active Bible Reference visual filter.
This is one of those things best seen. So I made a video to show how it works. Check it out.

Labor and Delivery with … Logos?

Yep, that post title is correct.

Lord willing, my wife Amy is due to deliver our first child in mid-May.** (Insert applause here, Amy really is fantastic!) As many first-time parents-to-be, we’re reading a lot and researching the whole process.

We’ve got books on all sorts of stuff, which is par for the course for this bibliophile Daddy-to-be.

One very helpful book has been The Christian Woman’s Guide to Childbirth by Debra Evans and Ingrid Trobisch. It was published by Crossway Books (which is where the link goes) but it is unfortunately out of print, so you’ll have to find a used copy somewhere. We found ours on Amazon for five bucks.

One of the things that Amy and I love about The Christian Woman’s Guide to Childbirth is that it has a great Scripture reference index, and each chapter also lists a number of references having to do, in one way or another, with the basic content or thoughts in the chapter. Good stuff for focusing our minds on our Lord and Saviour and his gracious provision and comfort through the traumatic and uncertain (yet joyous!) time before us.

So to take those references into the hospital with us, we’re starting to use the Verse List feature in Logos Bible Software. We’re making a verse list for each topic, then we’ll just print them out so we’ll have ready-reference during labor and delivery.

How do you make a verse list, you ask?

  • File | New
  • Select Verse List from the New Document dialog
  • Click Add button. Use the dialog or point to proper source.
  • Voila! Use the Preferences button to give the file a name, but the system will prompt for that if you close the document without providing a name.


Printing is pretty easy too. Just open the verse list (either through File | Open or through the Open Document button on the toolbar), then export or print.


** We’ve decided to be surprised, so we don’t know the sex of the baby and don’t plan on finding out before the big day! At the time of this post, Mom thinks it’s a boy and Dad thinks it’s a girl. Either way, we’re greatly blessed!

Using Reference Search With Lexicons

One feature I use frequently is right-click reference searching within a lexicon (specifically, within BDAG). I typically keylink into BDAG and note the sense under discussion, usually by a reference citation (which in my setup is highlighted by the Active Bible Reference visual filter, which maybe I’ll blog about in the future). From there, I right-click on the reference and search the active resource for more instances of that reference.

In lexicons, this generates a list of all articles that contain a direct citation of that reference, which can come in handy when working through a reference. Since this is hard to convey in writing, I made a video.

Oh, yeah. This works for all reference citations, not just Bible references. So you can right-click on an Apostolic Fathers reference, do the same exact right-click functions, and find all the places that the Apostolic Fathers reference is cited as well.

Or a Josephus reference. Or a Philo reference. In any resource. At any time.

How cool is that?!

Syntax Search Example: Hands, Heads and Feet as Subjects in the New Testament

Here’s a fun syntax search. For some reason I thought of searching the New Testament for places where body parts — hands, feet, heads, etc. — served as the subject of a clause.
You know, things like Mt 17.2:

And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.(Mt 17:2, ESV)

As seems to be my habit, I constructed the search and made a video of the process so I could share it with y’all. Enjoy!

Greek Syntax: Components and Head Terms

I received an email from one of y’all with some further questions about word groups, head terms, clausal hierarchy and syntax searching.

Rather than writing something, it was easier to make a video to point out some of the different ways one can structure a syntax search — particularly if you’ve wondered what “Must be an immediate child of parent” does.

I’ll warn you that I rambled a bit, the video is almost 13 minutes. Hopefully the information therein is usable.

Logos Culinary Secrets Revealed!

As Bob has mentioned and as regular blog readers know, from time to time we love to do some cookin’ here at Logos.


Bradley Grainger preparing some condimentsfor his 2006 Curry Cook-off entry

When we have cookoffs, we usually post winning recipes on this blog.

If you’re interested in some of the winners, try searching the blog using the search box on the sidebar for the word recipe. Or just click this link.

Who knows, you could find something you’d like to make for dinner next week!

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