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?

Yes.

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.

Share
Written by
Jayson D. Bradley

For the last 20+ years, Jayson's been a pastor, worship leader, and church planter. Now he writes about ministry and Christian engagement.

View all articles
Written by Jayson D. Bradley