Biblical Studies & the Myth of Neutrality

myth of neutrality

Neutrality is a myth.

Put in biblical terms, either you love the Lord or you don’t. Every thought you think, every choice you make, every word you say, flows from that heart and is determined by its fundamental direction, whether toward God or away from him. There are no fully objective human arbiters of opinion.

And yet even evangelicals who share this conviction sometimes slip into a mythological world in which neutrality is possible. I’ve developed a special highlighting style in Logos to mark these little slip-ups, because I just can’t let such statements go by without scrawling out my disapproval. (I’m an emotional reader, not just an analytical one.)

[Read more…]

What Is Exegesis & Why Does It Matter?

exegesis

One of the few framed items in my school office features the words of Ezra 7:10: “For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.”

The pattern has three steps:

  • Study the word.
  • Practice or do the word.
  • Teach the word.

Before you teach the word to others, you need to practice it. You must practice what you teach and preach. But before you practice and teach the word, you have to know what it says. So you must study it. You must exegete it.

[Read more…]

How to Hear the Greek Text Read Aloud in Logos

In a recent blog I wrote about the pronunciation of biblical names. In response, someone asked this question:

Where in Logos can one hear how Greek words are pronounced?

So just in case you didn’t know, I’ll show you where to go to hear various Greek texts read aloud by Faithlife’s own Dr. John Schwandt, Executive Director of Mobile Education.

Editor’s Note: The read-aloud functionality below requires The Greek Audio New Testament, which is available to add to your Logos base package here.. If you have the Logos 7 Full Feature set (also included in most older Logos base packages), you also have access to individual Greek word pronunciation; for a short demo, see this informal video.

[Read more…]

Finding Hope in Jeremiah, the Weeping Prophet

jeremiah-weeping-prophet

At one point in the famous allegory Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian finds what he thinks is a more agreeable path to the Celestial City; but this choice puts him in the grips of the savage brute Giant Despair, and he finds himself locked in the dungeon of Doubting Castle.

It’s not always easy for me to discern my subtle shift off the path toward Doubting Castle, but once in the grips of Despair, his maneuvers are unmistakable.

[Read more…]

How to Search for a Greek or Hebrew Phrase from Your English Bible

search

A fellow Logos user recently emailed me this question:

I wonder if you can advise me how to search for the phrase “the promise” (found in Acts 1:4 ESV) in both the original languages (Hebrew & Greek).

This is an excellent question which I’ll answer from the standpoint of an English student, not primarily using a Hebrew or Greek Bible.

[Read more…]

5 Bible Study Tools No Christian Should Go Without

bible study tools

I can get a bit obsessed with gear. Whether it’s art supplies, audio equipment, or Bible study tools, I sometimes find myself believing that if I just get pro gear, I’ll become a pro myself.

But the reality is, you only get good at something with lots of practice, and even if you have the right tools, they won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to use them. With that in mind, here are five essential Bible study tools—and a basic explanation of how they work.

[Read more…]

What a Postmodern Literary Theorist Taught Me about Biblical Authority

Postmodern literary theorists are favorite whipping boys in evangelical hermeneutics textbooks, and Stanley Fish is no exception (although Fish prefers the title “antifoundationalist”). This makes Winning Arguments, the latest book from the former New York Times columnist, an unlikely book for evangelicals to pick up. But as with all of Fish’s oeuvre, this new book might as well be titled Under the Sun; it’s a profound exploration of the vanity of life a la Ecclesiastes—and it clarifies biblical authority by deconstructing pretty much all others.

[Read more…]

The Power and Pitfalls of Studying Biblical Lists

ten-commandments

Christianity cannot be boiled down to a list of words—say, positive character qualities to be cultivated and opposite, negative qualities to be avoided.

goodbad

[Read more…]

Even the Bible Needed Upgrading, but Don’t Let That Scare You

bible upgrade

Wait a minute. The Bible needed an upgrade?

Those sound like fighting words to anyone with a high view of Scripture. An upgrade implies that something needed updating, but the Bible is timeless!

That’s true, but in this case I would have to excuse myself from the ring. I wouldn’t want to tangle with those responsible for the improvements: the biblical writers and, well, the Spirit of God.

[Read more…]

How to Use—and How Not to Use—the Amplified Bible

amplified

I’m working on a project, and I need your help. I’m looking for insights Bible readers have gained into Scripture by comparing English Bible translations. The lone rule is that you can’t know Greek or Hebrew. (You can reach me at mark.ward@faithlife.com.)

I mentioned this request to an astute friend and diligent Bible student, a grandmother who works full time as a writer-editor. Super sharp. A day later I received this:

[Read more…]